One week ago all of our waiting ended and we finally got to meet our last and littlest, Archer!
I had been debating the idea of having a birth photographer this time as each of our babies’ birthdays were easily the coolest days of my life… however, my actual memories are pretty blurry and Joe has reminded me of all sorts of moments that I had completely forgotten about. At the last minute, I coordinated with my friend and fellow photog Brianna who is freaking amazing and who was willing and able to attend and document the birth. I am incredibly grateful she was there because it ended up being a rollercoaster! Here’s how it all happened this time:
Having had two regular deliveries, and one C section, my doc and I discussed at length if I wanted to just plan on a scheduled C section or attempt a V-bac. Knowing how rough C-section recovery is, I decided I would wait a couple days past my due date and then opt for an induction before going straight to C-section. Which is what we ended up doing. So we woke up bright and early, bundled up, left our kids in grandma’s care and headed for the hospital. Once there, we settled in and made friends with our nurses (I love labor and delivery nurses so much, I even brought truffles for the staff!). My doc broke my water and we started Pitocin somewhere around 8 am. From there contractions started up, but I was still able to walk around, eat pancakes, bounce on a yoga ball, etc.
I knew I wanted to get an epidural once I couldn’t talk through contractions anymore because pain is not my jam and I wanted to save my strength/energy for when it was time to push, if we were able to get to that point. I was able to delay an epidural until about noon and I think I gave the anesthesiologist the biggest smile ever when he came into the room.
Life post-epidural in the afternoon was pretty fab. I still had enough mobility to feel/move my feet, yet the pain had pretty much subsided. I couldn’t feel any contractions. I was able to text, eat my clear liquids, discuss names with Joe, chat with Bri, and even shut my eyes and rest a little bit. The nurses helped me roll from side to side with the peanut ball (a peanut shaped yoga ball) between my knees to help baby drop down. With Rosie, this technique worked fantastically and I was hopeful this time around.
I was starting to feel more uncomfortable around 5 pm or so… as in I could feel contractions again. I had insisted that Joe and Bri run out to get themselves some food. Just as they were getting back, my doctor checked me again and said it was about time that we could start pushing. I couldn’t believe we were at this point and that we were going to meet our baby so soon.
The first 15 minutes of pushing or so were effective but within the next hour things had started to stall out. Baby was coming down during pushes, but then would somehow move back up (apparently that can happen???) Some part of my epidural had become disconnected during pushing so I was definitely able to feel a pretty full range of sensation… pressure/the need to push along with contractions.
And good lord, it was exhausting. I kept telling myself I should have made time for more cardio, done a spin class or two… something! I even threw up a couple times. It was that same feeling you get when you work out too hard but you’re not QUITE in shape for the activity you are taking on. About an hour in my doc said we could continue to push since the baby was doing fine, but there wasn’t much progress being made at this point.
Instead of pushing for hours more, I decided I would be ok with going to C- section and also not risk uterine rupture with my previous delivery being a C-section. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get my epidural to numb me up enough and a spinal tap was no longer an option at this point so I had to be sedated for the procedure and Joe also couldn’t be in the room. All of this was a bit hard to process. But I remembered the last time I was in an operating room about to be put under was during our miscarriage and I was getting a D & C done. Before I passed out I remember thinking that it was a blessing to be in the position I was right now. Although it wasn’t quite the birth I had pictured, we were still on the brink of joy and meeting our baby.
I wept when I saw all of these above photos of Archer and Joe for the first time. I was still in the operating room getting all fixed up during their first meeting and had Brianna not been there, I never would have seen these moments. From here, I got transported to the room where we’d be staying and recovering for a couple days and I finally got to hold and meet Archer and have Joe tell me “It’s a boy!” (Also, I can’t get over how handsome Joe looks in all of these photos and I look like a train wreck, but whatever.)
Even after looking at these pictures, I still can’t put into words all of the feelings I was experiencing in these moments. I was so thrilled to finally meet our baby after months of waiting. It seemed there was such a long time between the moment we decided we wanted a 4th to the moment that we actually got to meet him. I was absolutely delighted to have another boy, I was mesmerized by his face, and I felt sad, yet relieved knowing that this is it for us and our family is now complete. We decided on the name Archer that night, and eventually figured out his middle name the following morning. (Quinn is my godfather’s last name.)
He was born on a Wednesday night and I spent the next couple days bed-ridden/ taking baby steps (or steps even smaller than baby steps, if that’s possible), listening to Christmas music, trying to figure out nursing, enjoying having meals brought to me, and enjoying short visits from Joe and our kids. I have to say the limited range of mobility that comes with having a C-section was unnerving. I wasn’t able to stand up holding Archer or even change his diaper for the first couple days after his birth.
We were discharged from the hospital on Saturday morning. Since then I have been resting and recovering from my attempted Vbac/C-section which is no picnic, but I feel loads better that I did one week ago. We are definitely still adjusting to having a newborn around… oh my word, it’s work. We are living moment to moment, snuggle to snuggle, and still trying to keep our household running and all of our other kids happy and not feeling like their world has been terribly disrupted. No sweat.
So there you have it! Birth! It’s a wild, gnarly and beautiful way to start humans. Thank you to all who have been so kind, supportive, and loving throughout this pregnancy and during this period of joy and adjustment for us. We are beyond blessed!