Larry and I are still kind of in shock that there’s a baby in the house. Our second son, Samuel Turner Chen, surprised us by coming almost a month early. We were definitely not ready for him to make an appearance so early; in fact, he was born a day before we had planned to drive down to So Cal for a friend’s wedding. Thankfully he came a day earlier or else he might have been born somewhere in Kettleman City among the cows. Needless to say, we never made it to the wedding.
The original plan had been for Larry to go down to the wedding by himself, leaving Friday night and coming back on Sunday, while I stayed home. But as the weekend drew closer, I proposed to Larry that we both go, since I was feeling fine and didn’t see any problem with taking a short road trip. I had a regular appointment with my OB that Thursday, so we decided to run it by her to see what she thought. When I asked her about taking the trip, she said it would be fine. Then after she checked me, she said the baby was low and that I was already 1-2 cm dilated, which basically meant that I could deliver anytime. “It could be tomorrow or it could be 4 weeks from now, there’s just no way to know,” she said. She still gave me the okay to go, but advised me to take along my pregnancy records and make sure I map out all the hospitals along the way. I came home and talked to Larry about it. We vacillated between going and not going for awhile and then finally decided to play it safe and stay home for the weekend. That turned out to be a very good decision.
The next day, Friday, while I was out in the morning with CC, I thought I started feeling contractions. But I kept thinking they were just false contractions or that I was just being paranoid because the doctor had said I could deliver anytime. After we came home and I put CC down for his nap, the contractions started to get a little stronger. It hit me that this could actually be it – so I started frantically packing my hospital bag and texted Larry to come home. My labor with CC had been super fast and they say the second one is usually faster, so I didn’t want to take any chances. Larry came home and we started timing the contractions but they weren’t that regular and after lying down for awhile, they actually started to subside for a bit. I began to think maybe it was just a false alarm and reminded myself that my due date was still a whole month away. We had already made plans to go to Costco that afternoon with two of the students to shop for a 4th of July BBQ. Since my contractions had lessened, I didn’t think there was any need to change plans.
Larry had downloaded a handy app for me to time my contractions, so I had it open on my ipod the whole time we were in Costco. Somewhere in the meat section, I realized that they were starting to become more regular, 3-4 minutes apart. And they were getting STRONGER and it took more effort for me to walk and push the cart. As we made our way to the check out line, I told Larry we needed to get home ASAP because I really didn’t want to be in active labor in Costco. We rounded up the two students, who thankfully were already done shopping and told them on the way to the car that I was probably in labor. We asked one of them if she could stay with Christopher that night and she very graciously agreed to do it even though it was so last minute.
Oh, and did I mention that we were supposed to have a home meeting at our place that night too? I texted some people on the way home and arranged to have everyone go to another small group. We got home, I called the doctor, and she told me to get to the hospital right away. Larry and I ran around putting away food and gathering our things and just as we’re about to go out the door, CC threw up in the kitchen. If I hadn’t been in labor, I think I would have started laughing. Thankfully, he didn’t get it on his clothes too much so we didn’t have to change him. Larry brought CC down to our neighbor while I mopped up the puke on the floor and then we headed to the hospital.
We checked into triage at around 6pm and the nurse told me I was 5 cm dilated. We waited there for almost 45 minutes before another nurse came to take me to the delivery room. On the way there I told her about how my first child had come really fast, so she said she would check me again when we got into the room. She checked and I was already 7 cm dilated. They went looking for the doctor and tried to get things ready. By this point, the contractions were coming hard and soon after my water broke. Unlike my labor with CC which happened mostly at home, this time I screamed my head off. Fortunately, this part only lasted for about 20 minutes. The doctor came, I started pushing, and our little bundle of joy was born on Friday, June 29th, at 7:57pm. The whole thing happened so fast that the nurses had me filling out the paperwork after I had already delivered. I found it rather comical that I was signing a consent form for a vaginal delivery even though the baby was out already. It was all so unreal and it wasn’t until I held our little 5 lb 10 oz son in my arms that it hit me…whether we were ready for it or not, we were parents again.