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Archer's Birth Story

Last dinner as a family of 5!
Not so bright but early, on December 18th, Kyle and I got dressed and ready to head to the hospital. We had gotten very little sleep because our little Fischer chose that night to come down with a chest cold and spent much of the night and wee morning hours in our room.
(probably the last time I will ever be that huge! And look how low that baby is... Too bad he didn't just want to fall out!!)

Based on wisdom from our doctor, and a few other factors, we had decided that week to induce. Because I was going for a VBAC, it couldn't be a full induction, but the plan was to break my water and start me on a very low level of PIT to start my labor. My doctor was confident in this plan because I was such a good candidate for a VBAC (2 previous vaginal deliveries with a very small and very low c-section scar with no ruptures or spreading in the scar).

Last time, with Fisch, when we got to the hospital, we had to check in downstairs at the main hospital, even though we had pre-registered, and it took FOREVER. Then we had to basically do it all over again when we got upstairs. This time, we had been told to go straight up to labor and delivery and check in there. SO. MUCH. BETTER. We went up to the door and rang the doorbell and when they asked how they could help me I said, "I'd like to have a baby today please." Magically the doors opened and we went to the nurses station where they got us a room.
It just so happened that we were in the same room as we were last time. This did not freak me out, surprisingly. Redemption, people! We got settled in the room and the nurse came in to get all the info and officially check me in.

At 7:00, we met our nurse for the day Jennifer (who was amazing!), who got my IV started.
Around 8:30, my doctor came in to break my water. This is the part I was most nervous about because that was when Fischer freaked out last time and we had to have a C-section. Instead of using the hook this time, he broke my water by putting an internal monitor on Archer's head. Doing so made the water break a little more slowly, as opposed to one big gush, as well as tracks the baby's heart rate as closely as possible. Archer handled this extremely well, and my doctor even teased, "Well that went a lot better than last time." He also told me I was dilated to a 2, which is exactly where I was the Monday before... Which was frustrating considering the number of contractions I had been having. I had really hoped to be more progressed.
After I labored a little bit and was really starting to hurt, I told my nurse I was ready for my epidural. A very nice man named Javier came to put it in. It didn't hurt very much at all. Javier took his time explaining everything and waited for a while afterwards. Which is good because my blood pressure dropped (similar to what happened with Shepherd) and made me feel really crummy: hot and dizzy like I might pass out. He gave me a little medicine to combat that in my IV and then gave me lots of fluid because he said the cause was dehydration. Which, of course it was! I was a good little girl and followed the rules and didn't eat or drink anything after midnight! After I was hydrated, I was fine! And this turned out to be the best epidural I had ever had. I could still feel what was happening without any pain... Truly.
The day was pretty easy day as I slowly progressed. I watched Gilmore Girls and slept.

My parents arrived sometime after lunch and not long after that my doctor came back by to check on me. He also put another internal monitor in to monitor contractions because Archer kept kicking off the monitor on my tummy and they couldn't get a good reading on my contractions. At that point, I was only a 4-5 and my doctor predicted Archer would be born around 5:00.
All day, Archer was perfect. His heart rate stayed steadily in the 130s and he had great movement the whole day. I tried to soak it in knowing it was most likely the last time I would feel a baby move in my tummy.
Things continued to progress towards 5:00 and I got hungrier and hungrier. This is my hangry face.

I have never been so hungry in my whole life.

At some point in the afternoon my nurse came in to turn my PIT off because my body had taken over and it was making my contractions come on too quickly.
Finally around 5:00, I started feeling lots of pressure and knew things were getting close. My nurse called my doctor and at 5:15 or 5:20. I was at a 10. At this point several things happened at once. My nurse removed my catheter and I had 3 contractions all on top of each other. Archer did NOT like all of that happening at once and his heart rate dropped low. My nurse moved very quickly, opened the door to call my doctor in, called NICU in, put a mask on me and told me I was going to have to push like I had never pushed before. Needless to say, I was freaking out and trying so hard not to panic and assume the same that happened to Fischer was happening again. This took place in all of about 30 seconds. By the time my doctor was at my feet, Archer was back to being great again. That didn't stop me from asking every 5 seconds if he was ok.
That was the only scary thing that happened. After that, it was actually really kind of awesome. We have really good rapport with my doctor so we were joking and laughing almost the whole time. For the first time, my epidural was perfect so I could feel just enough pressure to know when to push. No one had to tell me to push. I asked if I could push when I felt like I needed to, and I did. There was no counting this time, just listening to my body. Very cool experience. (Also, so thankful it was pain free!! I still believe the epidural is one of God's greatest gifts to women).

It was a very joy-filled room, and after only 20 minutes of pushing, at 5:52, Archer Leigh was born.
My first thought when I saw him was that he looked like LK. My second was that he looked like Shepherd.
The laid him on a blanket on my tummy and Kyle cut the cord. The cord was so big that it took Kyle two cuts to get through it. After that they took him to the warmer for his apgar and measurements. At this point they said he weighed 8lbs 13oz and was 19 inches long (they measured his length wrong by 2 1/2 inches!!!). I was SHOCKED he was so big. He was a whole pound bigger than any of my other three. My mom said she could hear me from the hallway yelling "8, 13!!!"
While I was being sewn up, because unfortunately I did tear, they brought Archer to me for skin to skin and to nurse. Also to be noted, is that I have zero recollection about the delivery of the placenta at all. I think I was too surprised at how big Archer was.
Things got a little rushed at this point because we wanted the kids to get to come up to meet Archer but it was closing in on their bedtime. Archer took a really long time to latch on and nurse but that was #1 priority for me in that time. We decided in the moment for Kyle to go get the kids while I finished up nursing. When they got there, I had just finished so my parents were finally able to come in too. They were all so excited, Shepherd probably most of all. He walked up to him and said, "Hi baby Archer! I'm your big brother!!"
At the end of it all, I was SO. HAPPY. I felt so proud of myself for how I had pushed in labor and was so relieved that the VBAC was successful and absolutely so in love with my 4th baby.
It was one of my favorite days in my life and I am so very thankful for how the Lord showed his faithfulness and redemption through Archer's birth!

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