Our little adorable one, Archer Fox, has arrived in his own signature way. Hello, world!
Here's the skinny: On Halloween, I began to get more of an inkling that this guy was on his way. People were commenting on my belly and not just because of my hilarious 8-Ball costume:
It looked different and I felt different and a few other little bodily details to give me hints. After warning my husband, I made it through that evening and even the next one (my little baby shower celebration) without a hitch.
However, at about 4am on November 2, I got up to pee (per usual) and got a weird cramp. It wasn't a huge deal, but it was a little more uncomfortable than anything I'd had thus far.
I took a second to pray, because at my previous week's appointment, I had found out that baby was breech and I had an External Cephalic Version (or just "version") scheduled for November 4th, one day short of turning 38 weeks along. It was early Sunday morning and no sign of him flipping on his own and I really did not want to have to do the version!
So I prayed, "Lord, please help this baby come out the way he's supposed to, and when he's supposed to. Help me get through it and have a healthy, whole baby when I'm done. Amen."
No sooner did I utter that "Amen" than my little baby gave a huge lurch in my belly. I had enough time to think, "What in the wor--" before my water broke in diluvian fashion. I reached over to smack my husband and tell him, "It's happening now! My water just broke."
Now, a little backstory to give perspective on my frame of mind here. My labor and delivery with my first son was long and difficult and for a few days after, incapacitating. It involved forceps and when I left the hospital I still needed to use a walker to get around and was limping for weeks. I'll spare you any more gory details, but imagine all the things running through my mind about what might be in store for me in the coming hours!!
Ok, the rest of the story pretty much needs to be told in time stamps!
4:20am - Water breaks, I wake husband. We both freak out for a minute because this is happening about 2.5 weeks before we were expecting it! I half-heartedly throw things into a hospital bag (aka cloth shopping bag) while breathing through some pretty strong contractions. I struggle to find the number for the hospital to warn them we're coming and pass that task off to my husband.
4:50am - We hang up the phone with the advice nurse whose famous last words were, "If you feel like you have time, you could take a quick shower before heading over, but if contractions are coming too hard and too fast, you can just head over now." Without a moment's hesitation, I knew the latter to be true. I told my husband we needed to just throw the 3 year old in the car and GO. I've never felt the urge to push before but I'm pretty sure that this is what I'm feeling now. My body seems to have taken over completely and these contractions seem that they will very soon do the job of pushing my baby right out!
We hurry down to the car with a sleepy preschooler, with me breathing through contractions, beginning to pray we will get there in time. I have enough of a space between pains to explain to my son where we are going and why mommy looks like something hurts. "Don't be afraid, it just means we get to meet your brother very soon!" He responds, rather airily, that he is not afraid while his dad literally throws an uninstalled infant seat in the car, and off we go.
5:05am - After a mercifully quick drive to the hospital, me biting the seatbelt straps to keep from yelling and scaring the kiddo, we arrive at the ER. My husband rushes in to grab someone and I'm whisked into a wheelchair. We're still wondering where the heck our preschooler is supposed to be during all this, while the orderly is asking some triage questions. It quickly becomes apparent to them, as I gasp about the urge to push and tell them last I knew this baby was breech, that it is about to get real in the ER! They surmise there is no time to get me all the way across the hospital and up to the 3rd floor for labor and delivery. The ER Doc is calm but I can tell he's concerned and when he checks me I hear the words I already knew were coming, "Oh yeah, that's a foot!" He tries to push the foot back in and hold it there, which was one more clue that this wasn't going to be your normal delivery.
5:09am - The Labor and Delivery docs receive the call to get down to the ER for a footling breech extraction. I find myself on a gurney getting my clothes literally cut away from my body. I know this baby is coming very soon and briefly and distractedly wonder how they will possibly have time to get me prepped for what I assume will be an emergency C-section. I also wonder what I'm going to do with the one bra that still fit me lying in pieces!
Two doctors appear and an RN grabs my hand and tells me to push, and I am shocked. PUSH the baby out feet first?! I have no time to think further as that's pretty much when the pain came and I could hear myself howling and hollering without any permission from my brain. There was no breathing between pushes, just push, push, push, (scream, howl, holler), push, "this is the most important push" (giant yell) and then that was it. I hear somebody say, "Cry?" and I ask frantically if he's crying. I hear a voice float back,"It's a boy! He's crying, he's fine!" I finally open my eyes and see my RN for the first time as she calls out, "Time?!" and I hear somebody say...
5:17am I dazedly sit up to see my husband rush in and he's crying and telling me how well I did and then my tiny son is in my arms and then seemingly from nowhere my older son is there and gazing at his brother for the first time.
I look up from my baby's face to see the rather large crowd of gobsmacked hospital personnel that have materialized outside my room, suddenly realizing what a crazy event this was, not just for me but for anyone within ten yards of my bed. People begin to congratulate me, then my very own OBGYN appears at my side and I'm so happy to see her because she understands all that led up to this point! She happened to be on rounds at the hospital that morning. She says, "I missed it!", to which I reply, "Almost everyone did!" She looks delighted and awestruck and says cheerily, "Well, at least I get to deliver the placenta!"
At this point I've got a baby in my arms and they begin to wheel me up to my proper place in Labor & Delivery. At different points in the coming hours I get shocked visits from the advice nurse from the phone and the two L&D docs who rushed down to help deliver a footling breech baby, and an email from the nice young doctor who tried to push my baby's foot back into the birth canal. I decide not to mention that to him but thank everyone profusely for getting my baby into the world safely.
I got to have some of the gaps filled in and the timeline filled out from the aforementioned visits from doctors and nurses who were involved.
A few questions people kept asking were, "Wait, you delivered him feet first?", to which I reply yes, and then they try and clarify, "You PUSHED him out feet first?!" This makes me smile because it is exactly the the thought I had when that RN told me to push!
They just don't do breech deliveries anymore; I've even heard they only teach the theory in passing to incoming doctors since there's no one to practice on...hospitals simply will not deliver a baby breech unless, as in my case, there is no other recourse. So you can imagine that the poor ER doctor was only semi-prepared to deliver a baby that morning, and completely UNprepared to do a footling breech extraction!
The other question I get is where my husband and son were during all this. I realized later that my husband had to take my son down the hall somewhere to sit with a nurse, and by the time he got back to me, Archer was already born! I estimate that my older son was with that nurse for approximately three minutes before getting whisked to my bedside. So the answer is that he was with us for all but the moment of truth, as it were.
And there you have it! Less than one hour after my water breaking, with almost no warning at all, Archer Fox shot fast as an arrow into this world and into our hearts!
I'm so happy to not be pregnant anymore and to begin our lives as a happy family of four! Praise God for His provision and protection and complete answer to my middle of the night prayer and all the similar ones that came before it!
"For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well."