On Monday, October 30th I waited my turn at the doctor's office, hoping to hear that Baby could come at any time. Instead, I was told my body was nowhere near ready to start labor and my baby was breach. A c-section was scheduled for Thursday, unless Baby managed to turn around before then. I went home nervous and admittedly telling my baby the entire thirty-minute drive, "You've got three days to turn around." Once home, I started contacting family to let them know what was happening. My dad asked what they could do to help, Mom reassured me that everything would work out fine, and my mother-in-law asked if she should try to rearrange things to come earlier than the planned visit my in-laws had already set up. I emailed my husband so he could arrange a substitute teacher for his classes.
Wednesday I had my pre-op appointment and i sat nervously waiting. I knew Baby hadn't moved from his position. Not even a little bit. My doctor was running a little behind and my wait was longer than normal. As I sat waiting, Baby started to move. A lot! I got a little hopeful. Maybe we could skip the whole c-section thing after all! Went back with doctor to the ultrasound room. Baby was now sideways, with his back down. "Why don't you come into my office and we'll talk about what this means for you, Mom, because this will change things," My doctor said. Somehow I knew this wasn't changing in my favor, so I grabbed my bag and followed him to his office. He explained that with how Baby was now positioned, he would need to do the more difficult c-section incision. "I've done it before and you can heal fine from it, but it will have more scarring and take more time to heal." Fabulous. I didn't care too much about the scarring part, no one really sees that area of me anyway, but the idea of a longer recovery time made me nervous. I had three other children at home who would need me. "The good news is, since your baby has turned this far, there is a better chance he'll figure out how to move the rest of the way and then we can just wait for the baby to pick a birthday."
Again, I drove home telling Baby to turn around, and again I called family to update them on what Doctor had said. I talked with the babysitter about having to be at the hospital at 5:45 the next morning and offered to let her stay overnight at my house so she wouldn't have to get up at 5 to make sure we had plenty of time to get to the hospital. She accepted the offer and promised my two at home that they would have an awesome sleepover together.
Very early on November 2nd, my husband woke me up and we drove to the hospital. I could tell Baby had shifted around again, I just wasn't quite sure which direction he was. He had moved a few times during the last several hours and there was part of me that wanted to tell my OB, "If he is head-down, just induce me. I don't think I can handle another week or two of this!" We arrived at the hospital, the nurses got me situated, and my doctor arrived. "Has Baby turned?" he asked.
"Yes, but I have no clue where he or she is now." I replied.
Using the ultrasound, they discovered Baby was still sideways, but had moved in such a way that the vertical abdominal cut would not be necessary. "Let's get you into the OR and have this baby before he decides to turn around yet again!" Doctor said.
And so the anesthesiologist came in and explained what he would do and the OR nurse helped him wheel me into the OR. My husband waited in the hall while they got everything they needed to set up. That was probably the most nerve-wracking time in the whole experience. I trusted my doctor, the anesthesiologist had put my mind to ease, and I knew I was being taken care of. But not having my wonderful Prince Charming there just made me nervous, especially when they strapped my arms down. Shortly after that, they brought Jonathan to me and the anesthesiologist said, "Now son, you're going to sit right there and hold your wife's hand."
Within moments my doctor and the med student came into the room and the anesthesiologist said, "Now, you're going to feel some movement, and you're going to feel some pressure. But if you feel any discomfort or pain, who are you going to yell at?"
"Good girl," he said, patting my shoulder. The entire time they worked, he and Jonathan talked to me, keeping me calm and helping me feel more in control than I really was.
Soon Doctor was pulling Baby out and asked, "Want to know what you're having now?"
"You have a boy."
I couldn't hear much after that because our baby boy was born with a healthy set of lungs and he was letting the world know it was cold and too bright and he did not appreciate any of them just then. My pediatrician showed him to me and I knew right then little Samuel Christian had joined our family. I smiled. "Hi, Sam," I said and kissed his little forehead before the pediatrician took him to get cleaned up and the anesthesiologist sedated me so Doctor could take care of my needs. While the birth wasn't what I had planned, I was grateful for a healthy, happy baby boy and for excellent medical care. I learned after I had woken up that our little boy was born at 8:10am at 19 1/2 inches long and a whopping (for Elliott babies anyway) 8 lbs. 7 oz.
So, why the name? My dad is Samuel and hadn't known we were considering his name for a baby. (Yes, Daddy, sometimes I can be sneaky.) When he asked, I couldn't word my answer very well. But now I'll explain. Samuel Christian has always been a name on my list. Ever since I was twelve or thirteen and first decided that someday I was going to be a mommy and would have to have names for all those babies I planned to have. I've always been Daddy's girl. Always. So the idea of having a boy named Samuel after my hero daddy really appealed to me. Christian was a name that hadn't been used in a long time and I loved the way the name sounded. I was even okay with flipping the name around to be Christian Samuel if my spouse preferred.
When Jonathan and I got married and started talking about family, I told him it was important to me that we use family names. I didn't care too much which side of the family they came from, but I wanted our children to have family names. "Give them a legacy to live up to." So Jonathan and I went through our family history and started picking names, I gave him my list from when I was twelve. A couple names that weren't extremely important to me got nixed. But we both liked Samuel Christian. "We could turn it around if you wanted," I told him.
"No, I think Samuel Christian sounds just right with Elliott."
This conversation was had back when we were expecting our daughter. With our oldest, we'd discussed mostly names that I had liked and my sweet Prince Charming hadn't had much input for me. When my husband's grandfather became ill, I said, "If we do have a boy, wouldn't it be wonderful to name him for your grandfather and mine?" And after that, I think part of both of us knew we would be having a boy. The other names fell to the side and we saved the big "name discussion" for later. I still have the list with the names we have picked out. Three have now been crossed off the list because we've used them.
Little Sam, since we don't want to confuse his PaPa too much, is perfect in every way. And it wasn't until my mother told me a funny story of a conversation she and her coworker had that I realized we had Sam Elliott in the family now. Which only makes my little one's name the more perfect since his namesake loves a good western. And I have to admit, I agree with her coworker. "Oh, I hope he has a deep voice when he grows up!"
Jessica L. Elliott
Author, artist, mom and super-genius