Where to begin? I hate to start comparing already, but I have to have a preface to my story of Sammy's birth, otherwise I fear people will think I am just plain crazy. Well, I'm sure people think that already, but not necessarily in this context.
So, we found out early on that Sammy would be a boy. We named him Sammy. We started calling him Sammy in the womb. As the pregnancy progressed, it became pretty obvious that Sammy was going to be a relatively large baby. Relatively for me, possibly not for some other, better equipped woman. I could see the concern in my OB's eyes. They tested me for gestational diabetes--twice!! Now, here is where the comparing starts coming in... you see, Joey was a VERY difficult delivery. Many things went wrong, but possibly the two biggest problems were the paralyzing (literally) epidural and maybe the size of Joey. At 8 pounds, 3 ounces, he was a pretty big baby. So, after every OB appointment the doctor asked me if I wanted to have Sammy by C-Section. I was very distraught over this. I had heard horror stories of how long the recuperation time was, that you can't pick up your other children, that you can't drive and Michael did not have ANY vacation time. So I would be on my own. How would I do it? Plus, I wanted to prove I COULD do this. I was bound and determined to have this baby on my own with no drugs. I was convinced my body would prove itself worthy of the challenge. So my OB begrudgingly agreed. Sammy was due on November 2nd (my Mom's birthday which was kind of exciting).
Moving right along, we had a regularly scheduled doctor's appointment on the morning of Friday the 22nd of October. The doctor was very concerned, Sammy was growing so large; they scheduled an ultrasound for that afternoon. They estimated Sammy would weigh over 9 pounds if they delivered him right then. What? There was no way I was going to deliver a baby that day... we were in the middle of selling our house. The buyers were coming the next morning to sign the papers. AND it was Michael's 30th birthday the next day and I had a party planned. Plus, if we went in that evening, most likely he would have been born on Michael's birthday and I didn't want him to share his Dad's birthday (for some reason sharing it with his Grandma was okay with me?) So, I told them we would be ready to deliver on Monday.
We arrived at the hospital on Sunday night at midnight. This way Michael could get up the next morning, take Joey to daycare and possibly get in a couple hours of work (remember, he was down to NO vacation). I mean these induced pregnancies take FOREVER. Plus, I was not going to take any paid meds, so they wouldn't be cranking up the pitocin too high. I really did not want to take any drugs, but there was no other way to get the party started without pitocin. So, they started inducing at about 7:30am. By 10:00am I was already bored with it. There were only minor contractions with really no pain to speak of. They upped the pitocin. An hour later they increased it again. Things slowly started working and I was in great spirits. At a little after noon, my OB came in for an exam--Michael was not there yet. The doctor got a very worried look on his face. Sammy had developed a prolapsed cord during labor (basically the cord was wrapped around his neck) and they would have to do an emergency C-Section. He was so sorry, but all I could think about was that MICHAEL WASN'T THERE YET!!! I started hyperventilating. This was no trick; the baby was in real danger. The anesthesiologist became concerned and threatened to put me under if I couldn't calm down. My blood pressure was so high and then Michael walked in the door. Sammy was born at 1:30 in the afternoon just as pink and perfect as can be. No complications whatsoever--at 9 pounds, 1 ounce. My OB, who I trust with all my heart, stood at my bedside and said "... there is no way you could have delivered that baby, I'm glad it worked out this way."
(Above: One Day Old, yellow musical elephant is a present from Aunt Tiffy)
So, the C-Section turned out to be no big deal after all... maybe because my body did not have to go through any labor trauma. By Friday afternoon I was taking a walk in the park with my boys.
(Above: 3 months old, we loved Baby Gap)
Sammy was the perfect baby. He slept 22 hours a day for his first 3 months. Other than during growth spurts, he slept through the night from the day he was born. He held his own bottle at 4 months and ate like a champ from day one. He was completely entertained by his older brother and smiled almost non-stop.
(Above: one year)
Joey would take a toy away from Sammy, but Sammy would just find another--and smile. Maybe Sammy knew all along that he would soon be bigger than his brother, much bigger. We have a video around here somewhere... I will have to track it down. It is SO Sammy. We are at the Oregon Coast, Seaside if I remember correctly. Sammy is 4, Joey is 6. We are trying to teach Joey to ride his bike without training wheels. We are on the boardwalk. Joey is too scared for us to let go, meanwhile, in the video, Sammy is riding by, back and forth--no training wheels, at age 4, saying "Joey, you can do it, you can do it". Such a sweet brother.
(Above: my favorite picture of Sammy)
When he was little, Sammy's favorite books were Runaway Bunny and Are You My Mother? We read them over and over. Sammy also had the most beautiful blond curly hair. I knew it wouldn't last, so I took as many pictures as possible.
(Above: two years)
Sammy's first words were ball and blue. He was--and is--all boy. When Sammy was three, I laid out a peach colored shirt for him to wear to preschool. He took one look at the shirt and said he would not wear it--it was pink. I explained to him that the shirt was peach and asked him why he would not wear it. He said that color was for girls???
(Above: Halloween, age 4)
Sammy could be quite mischievous in a very adorable kind of way. It was really hard to get mad though when you knew he really just wanted to have some fun and did not understand why pulling up tulips at the tulip farm was unacceptable behavior.
(Above: Woodburn Tulip Festival)
And then it happened. Sammy got his first major haircut and many of the curls were gone. His blond hair slowly started turning darker. Sammy's best friend from preschool had very straight hair. Sammy no longer liked his curly hair and thus began Sammy's "buzz cut" era. From the age of 5 to oh, about 10 1/2, Sammy wanted his hair kept very short. I must say, I really missed the curls, but the short hair was very easy to maintain.
(Above: Sammy in Nara, Japan, Age 6)
Sammy attended the Japanese Magnet Program and we loved our trips to Japan as a family. Sammy went to Japan for the first time for spring break when he was in first grade.
(Above: Sammy's first year playing tackle football, age 8)
For five years Sammy played tackle football. He also started playing golf and tennis at the age of 4, played T-Ball from age 5 and then baseball nearly every year since. When Sammy gave up tackle football (because the guys on the other side were just getting too big), he picked up soccer and played goalie and defender. He has also played basketball since middle school. Like I said, his first word was ball, and this kid loves sports.
(Above: Sammy on a train in Japan, his 3rd of 4 trips to Japan, so far. Fifth grade, age 11)
So have you noticed? Sammy's long curly hair is back. Some time around Joey's Bar Mitzvah, both Joey and Sammy decided they would let their hair grow long. Perhaps it was the "rock band" stage for both of them.
(Above: Sammy's Bar Mitzvah. He still gets mad at me for his hair being so long??? Somehow this is my fault? I think it looks great)
Sammy did such an awesome job at his Bar Mitzvah. He really stepped outside his comfort zone, got up in front of a crowd, SANG, and totally earned the big party he got that evening!
(Above: Sammy's Middle School graduation with his good buddies Austin and Andrew)
It was really hard for Sammy to leave his friends behind and move on to a new high school. Notice how he has grown out of the whole "pink is for girls" thing!
(Above: Sammy and Lily at Cannon Beach, February 2009)
We have loved taking family vacations with our boys. Whether it is a quick trip to the Oregon Coast or to Seattle for a Mariner's Game, or all the way to Europe for a Mediterranean Cruise or spending Thanksgiving watching American Football in our hotel room in Edinburgh, Scotland, it has been a pleasure traveling with our kids and we hope Sammy continues to travel and share his sweet, kind and generous personality with the world.