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Life's Greatest Miracle  

Thomas in his mother's arms, with father looking on Judith and Sam welcome Samuel Allen Thomas Richards.
Great Expectations
Journal entry #4
November 30, 2001

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On Tuesday night Sam and I took a two-and-a-half hour newborn care class—and not a moment too soon.

Quite unexpectedly, about three hours after we got home from the class, my water broke. Instead of going to bed, we were going to the hospital. Less than four hours later, at 3:40 a.m. on Wednesday, November 28th, Samuel Allen Thomas Richards made his first appearance, weighing in at six pounds, eight ounces.

The baby arrived three weeks before the due date assigned by our doctor. And Thomas, as we'll probably call him, was breech—rear-end first, rather than headfirst. Sam and I had scheduled an appointment for the following Friday to attempt to coax the baby around in the womb, but by the wee hours of Wednesday it was already too late for that. I had to have a Caesarian section.

We were both considerably scared before we heard the baby's first cries. You think of all the things that can go wrong. I was squeezing Sam's hand tightly as the doctors worked. It was a blessing when a small but feisty Thomas appeared. Every aspect of him seemed perfect.

I had spent many evenings prior to the birth lying feet on the couch, head on the floor, trying to get the baby to turn himself around. It didn't work, obviously. Maybe that wasn't such a bad thing, however, given that when contractions finally came about 90 minutes before the delivery, I discovered, as most women do, that they were quite unpleasant. I may have been spared a painful labor process.

Everything went amazingly quickly, from preparing to go to bed at midnight as a mother-to-be, to seeing my son for the first time less than four hours later. I may have been spared labor, but I paid for that by spending three-plus days in the hospital on pain medication. And all of this happened so fast that we were not very well prepared. We didn't pack a hospital suitcase, didn't read all of the baby books, didn't get all the arranging at the house done on time.

But it all worked out well just the same.

Sam and my parents spent a considerable amount of time with me in the hospital. At first, little Thomas was extremely peaceful but on the second day he fussed and cried incessantly when I pulled him away from nursing. His failure to go to sleep with ease wore on both Sam and me and foreshadowed many more frustrating moments with Thomas to come. We were both exhausted.

But when he is not crying Thomas gives these little looks that I'm sure God designed to endear babies to their parents. Darned if they don't work.

I expect to be home from the hospital on Saturday. Sam and I will get plenty of help from my mom, who lives nearby, and from Sam's mom, who is flying in from Montana to spend a week with her new grandson and his new parents. Sam will have two weeks off from work to help get life with young Thomas started.

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