Archer’s Birth Story
With only a few days left until Archer’s first birthday, I’ve been thinking back about that day when he was born and I wanted to share it. I LOVE a good birth story, especially a positive csection.
With my previous medical history, I knew that I would be having another csection with Archer. I have a jpouch – that means that I don’t have a colon anymore and my small intestine functions as my bowel. I have this really crazy convoluted medical history thanks to my bout with Ulcerative Colitis. So my OB didn’t want me to get too big and have some kind of medical complication with the pouch. So we scheduled my csection for 38 weeks.
Several weeks prior to this, I was having a lot of contractions starting in the evening. They’d be pretty regular from about 7pm until 1 or 2am and i just knew I was going into labor. To be honest, this kind of freaked me out. I only made it to 33 weeks with Jude due to preeclampsia, so I had no experience with labor at all. But after a few hours of contractions every night, they’d always stop and my OB said there was zero progress at all. So frustrating and yet also reassuring at the same time.
In the week leading up to my csection, I did pretty much nothing except clean out stuff (NESTING OVERDRIVE!) and lay on the couch binging on Call the Midwife. Sunday morning, Jude went to stay with my birth mom and I was happily wrapped up in a big blue blanket on the sofa. Simon was nervously pacing and listening to the same Beyonce song on repeat (yes, really).
Poor Jude. He was so anxious, bless his sweet heart. He started throwing up in the couple of days leading up to Archer’s birthday. His poor little brain didn’t know how to process the big changes ahead of him, and so throwing up was how he manifested in. Kim and Nonnie were absolutely amazing with him and were so nurturing to his little spirit. I felt so good about him staying with them for the following week while we got through delivery.
The morning of January 19th was so bright and beautiful, crisply cold. We weren’t scheduled until 11am, but were due to come in at 9am to start getting ready for my csection. I was ready – the bags were packed and my hair was fixed. I cannot begin to tell you what a different experience this was than Jude’s traumatic emergency birth. We were so calm this time around! We came in and sat together in a tiny room where I got prepped for the csection. We joked and laughed and watched the contractions on the monitor. It was so weird, sitting there with that baby in my belly and knowing that in just mere hours we were about to totally rock his world.
Then at 11, it was time to go back. And again, the contrast to Jude’s birth – this time, I was walking into the ER with confidence (and admittedly, a little anxiety). I remember it being so cold and bright. But the anesthesiologist was kind and reassuring, and before I knew it, I was laying there fully epidural-ed (or spinaled or whatever it was). I threw up a couple of times in response to the meds, and once my BP was regulated, it was go time. Simon was brought in with the camera and we held hands with him up by my head.
Internet, I was nervous about the csection. Jude’s was so hard, so mentally difficult as I was so sick and frightened out of my mind. I was fearful that this was going to be the same way. Fear, unknowns. Anxiety. Mentally checking out. No joy. I told Simon that my mental happy place was Castaway Cay and that I was going to focus on crystal clear blue water.
But then! Before I even realized what was happening, my precious OB was squealing “I see dark hair!” He was so near! There really was a baby in there! And then his sweet precious cry as they pulled him out and Simon proudly standing up to see him. I craned my head to catch a glimpse of him. And in that moment, my heart really did explode, just like everyone says it does. Then the nurse brought me that baby all wrapped up in a blanket with his little hat, and this time I got to KEEP him, unlike precious Jude who had to be immediately whisked off to the NICU with wires and oxygen and all the tubes keeping him going. Archer weighed in at 6 pounds 3 ounces and was all screams and big hands and long feet. We called them his “finger toes” because they were so long!
Internet, this was my moment of victory. A veritable phoenix rising from the ashes as I held that precious longed-for baby in my arms. There was no more pain or anxiety over the experience. We were redeemed and victorious, our little family now of four. I am so emotional as I write this. I cannot even begin to tell you how validating and healing the entire experience of Archer’s birth was.
Then we were rolled down the hallway back to our little corner room. I held my baby proudly – have you seen this baby? Look at him! He’s the most beautiful thing on the planet! Surely the most beautiful baby ever born (which, incidentally, I also said when Jude was born – in fact, I remember telling Simon that we should have a dozen of him!). And then we stayed sequestered in that corner room for the next two or three hours, doing nothing but bonding and snuggling that precious tiny bundle. Baby heaven! I still get emotional when I walk past that window when visiting the doctor’s office there. It was such a holy place to both Simon and I.
That night Jude came to visit his baby brother. He tentatively walked in and looked shy. He was sooo nervous about what had just transpired. He climbed up into Simon’s lap where Archer was bundled like a burrito. I was in a total haze of morphine and coming off of the spinal. But I remember his wonder and tentativeness as he approached his new baby brother. It took him a few days to decide that he would hold the baby, but once he did, man he was proud!
It was a glorious few days. We stayed until Thursday when we were finally released to go home. We continued on in a sweet haze of baby heaven. My favorite memory of those early days was snuggling together – all 4 of us – in the big bed, reading stories and singing lullabies. It was maybe some of the sweetest days of our marriage – I felt so taken care of emotionally and physically by Simon in such a tender way.
A side note on my delivery with jpouch for all you fellow ulcerative colitis girls: the delivery was as smooth as it could possibly be. I had no idea what to expect on recovery, though, with the jpouch. It was surprisingly painful afterwards, much like having the takedown surgeries, due to gas and bloating. So take a pillow with you to press against the incision because it hurts like crazy when you go to the bathroom. And much like after takedown surgery, things were watery and off for a few days. I didn’t have much of an appetite but then after about four days, we were back to normal in all ways.
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