Friday, April 9, 2010

:: Archer's Birth Story ::

* read the original version of this story on my blog *
:: of Scottish/English origin
:: a shortened version of Archibald, which is composed of the Germanic elements ECRAN, meaning “genuine” and BALD, meaning “bold” or “brave”.
:: also “bowman” from the Latin word ARCARIUS
:: hasn't been a popular name since the 1880's

:: of Old English origin, and its meaning is "from Britain"
:: Britton is an uncommon first name for men but a very common last name for both men and women (#1183 out of 88799). (1990 U.S. Census) 
:: Britton is my mother's maiden name, and Williams is Spencer's mother's maiden name

* Warning/Disclaimer: This is a very graphic birth story. It's also pretty emotional and really long. Archer's birth story is just as crazy as his brother's, but in a very different way. Don't read this story if you are squeamish or don't want to know personal details about me. I didn't leave much out! Also, if you're interested in reading my friend and birth doula Jessica's version of Archer's birth, you can read it here on her blog, which is great and updated all the time. *

The day I started true labour was a Wednesday, and Wednesday the 10th of March seemed like a fine day to be born. It had never occured to me that my baby's birthday would be on the 11th – it seemed like such an un-famous number to me. I had been secretly hoping all along that this baby would be born on or very close to Spencer's birthday on March 1st, as I was born on my Mum's birthday (July 13th) and it's a really special thing to share.

I will write more about the few days before Archer's birth later on, but for now I'll say that I'd had the standard overdue non-stress-test and ultrasound on Tuesday the 9th, and one of our midwives called on Wednesday to let me know the results. I already knew that the non-stress-test had gone well, because there was a chatty and friendly nurse on duty and she told me that the baby was “perfect”. Sadie called me with the ultrasound results, which revealed that the baby's amniotic fluid was a bit low. This was an issue because I'd had the same tests with Liam when he was overdue, and he had a 0/8 which no one at the hospital had seen. His low amniotic fluid was one of the main reasons that he was taken by c-section (he had aboslutely none left at all).

This baby was doing a lot better, but the low amniotic fluid rang some alarm bells for Sadie. We had previously thought that one OB was on-call for the end of the week at the hospital, but further information proved that he was in fact not on-call. Instead there was a female OB, and she lost a baby a few years ago due to a uterine rupture in a VBAC mum, and almost lost the mum as well. So this OB who was on-call for when I would most likely give birth would have to be consulted because of the low amniotic fluid, and Sadie was worried that she'd want me booked for a c-section by Friday if I hadn't gone into labour before that. She has a reputation for veering toward sections for VBAC mums if things look sketchy.

So the pressure was on for me to get labour going. VBACS are not candidates for artificially-induced labour with pitocin or prostaglandins, due to the increased risk of uterine rupture. So far we had tried everything. And yeah, I mean everything. I had even been pumping with my hand pump because prolonged nipple stimulation causes oxytocin release, which is one of things which starts uterine contractions. I had gone for long walks, mopped the floors, and generally not sat around on my ass at all for the last few weeks, hoping to get things going. I didn't want to take castor oil straight-up because I had taken it with Liam and it gave me nasty diarrhea but no labour. At my last midwife appointment she had informed me that I was about 3cm dilated, so as a last-ditch effort before being ordered into a c-section, she said we could also see if the OB would be okay with me having my membranes ruptured at the hospital. 

:: three days old ::

The anticipation in these last few days was unbelievable. Spencer was also working in town here every day, so it was just me and Liam, and me hoping and envisioning labour at every spare moment. I was dreading a c-section so much, as it was an experience I never want to re-live. Having doctors root around your insides and take your baby from you, rather than actively giving birth, is unpleasant and unnatural, in my opinion. I also did not want to have the separation from baby afterward (at least an hour) and then have to come off an epidural in bed with a catheter and leg-inflators. Liam had to live in an oxygen-filled isolet for the first few days of his life due to wet lungs from being born via c-section, and I wanted to avoid that as well.

I was starting to feel like my body was a dud; two pregnancies but no natural labour! None of the women in my family had ever had this problem: they tended to get the whole thing over with quickly and efficiently, with neat little six or seven pound healthy babies. I was reading Ina May Gaskin's Spiritual Midwifery and Guide to Childbirth again, and began repeating something she wrote, as a mantra in my head: “My body is not a lemon, my body is not a lemon.”

There were times when I was discouraged and tired of all the anticipation, and thought that a scheduled c-section would just be easier. But I know that natural labour and birth is healthier for baby, with typically an easier recovery for mum, and selfishly I wanted the experience for myself. I moved to Vancouver at nineteen to apply to UBC's Midwifery Program, and later I completed birth doula and other related courses at Douglas College. I had attended hospital births as a doula and attended my first home birth in 2009. Even though life isn't often fair, I felt like I deserved to give birth naturally and wanted it with all my heart. I also wanted a normal birth experience for Spencer, as Liam's birth was so medically managed and he hated the whole thing. After my phone conversation with Sadie, I felt like the medical establishment was trying to get me down and that a c-section was literally looming over my head. But the midwives and I had one last trick up our sleeves, which I had known about for awhile and was nervous about, but I was sure that I would do it if things didn't get moving.

I'm talking about a Special Cocktail here, and in the weeks leading up to Archer's birth I met three women who had taken it. Two of them had successful labour and birth within hours of drinking it (one woman had her baby 31 minutes later!), and one woman took it several times with no effect, and eventually had her membranes ruptured at home and had a home birth. The cocktail is nasty, horrible stuff, and it does contain castor oil, but together with the other ingredients supposedly doesn't induce horrible diarrhea like when you take it on its own. I had all the indredients assembled at home, and after my telephone conversation with Sadie on Wednesday we decided that I should down it and hopefully labour would start that day.

I mixed it up at 10 am, and called my girlfriend and birth-partner friend to talk to while I drank it. It was a large amount of liquid to drink, with fruit juice and almond butter to bind with the castor oil, but the overpowering scent of oil of verbena gave it a strange lemony odour like lemon Life-Savers. The instructions said to drink it over half an hour, which I did, chugging bits at a time. It was horrible, but not as horrible as a castor-oil screwdriver, which I had taken to try and go into labour with Liam.

I had woken up that morning with mild crampy contractions, which continued as I puttered around the house after drinking the cocktail. I had put off taking the cocktail until Wednesday because I didn't really believe it would work unless my body was ready to go into labour already. But the clock was ticking until the OB's office received the results from my ultrasound, so it was time, and I did feel ready.

 :: one week old ::

Spencer got home from work just before three, and Liam skipped his afternoon nap. I drank the cocktail again, because the instructions said it could be taken again in five hours if nothing happened. I drank it in the bathroom because I thought I might vomit. It was truly horrible to drink the second time. The oiliness of the drink seemed worse the second time around, and the smell of the verbena sickened me. I struggled to get it down because my contractions were still just mild and not regular at all, just as they had been all day. I didn't vomit, but I did chuck the last mouthful down the sink – I just couldn't do it.

After that the contractions started to come regularly and much more strongly. At 3:30 pm they were noticable, and while I could talk through them I was definitely uncomfortable. I asked Spencer to start recording them at 4:00 pm, which he did by hand on paper. Later we switched to an awesome online tool called Contraction Master.

All three of us went for a walk in the miserable weather because I wanted to stimulate more contractions. I had them regularly about ever two or three minutes the whole time. It was trying to rain and it was very dark and windy out. Liam likes cold wind so he was happy.

The contractions stayed two or three minutes apart for a few hours but got a lot more powerful, and I was worried about Liam seeing me in pain because he wouldn't understand what was going on at all. I decided to call Jessica and get her to come over after she had put her girls to bed. I also called Teneille to let her know that she would probably have to take Liam for the night. They were both so excited that I was actually in labour, and I finally started to believe that it was actually happening!

Teneille came over and stayed for a bit, and Jessica arrived shortly afterward. It was getting really stormy out and it was very dark and spooky. I lit my labour candle, which was a little beeswax taper I had bought. I had told myself I would light it at home when I went into labour, and let it burn until we left for the hospital. There is a little nub left, which will go in Archer's baby keepsake kit.

Liam definitely knew that something serious was happening, and wanted to cuddle me in my lap, which was excruciating during contractions. I had told him previously that he would be going to see Tia, to go on a car ride with her and play with Ronan at their house, but when she came he really didn't want to leave me. He fought putting on his jacket and dissolved into hysterical tears, begging for Mummy and saying he didn't want to go. It was so hard; I couldn't carry him to her car but we all went out to kiss him goodbye, and he was just hysterically crying and yelling the whole time. I wanted the labour to stop so I could just cuddle my boy, I wanted it to be all over just so he could be comforted like he was used to.

After she drove away we went back into the house and I just sobbed through another few contractions, devastated that Liam was hurting so badly. Thankfully the phone rang minutes after they left, and it was Teneille was just calling to say that he had stopped crying and was totally happy as soon as the car started moving. This made me feel so much better, knowing that my boy was with the person who could have that amazing effect on him: his Tia. I didn't worry about him at all after that, and was really able to focus on what was happening with my body.

:: one week old ::

The contractions were approaching one minute long, so I called the midwife around 10 pm. She wanted us to wait to come in to the hospital until they had been one minute long for about an hour, which was a good decision. We kept in contact over the phone, and decided to go to the hospital some time before midnight. I knew that they would want to monitor the baby, and I also believe this is important for VBACs due to the slightly increased risk. We quickly cleaned up a bit and grabbed my bags and our snacks. We had been snacking on fruit bites and welsh cakes,and I think I had put Practical Magic on for background noise. It was really raining out and the wind was cold. I had contractions on the whole drive to the hospital, but it doesn't take long to get there, especially when there is no traffic on a stormy night. Jessica followed us in her car.

We had trouble with the new parking meter machine (of course) so Spencer dropped me off at the door and Jess helped me into a wheelchair. The storm was really raging and Jess and Spencer got soaked in the parking lot trying to feed the parking machine. I was pre-registered for the birth, so we went straight upstairs as soon as Spencer came back after parking the van. Deborah met us upstairs, and the maternity ward seemed very quiet considering there were other births in progress. I got the one room that doesn't have an attached bathroom, but by that point I didn't care.

It's really warm on the maternity floor, so I changed into my comfy sleeveless tunic and had the joy of having blood drawn while in labour. I received a lovely bruise from having the needle in my arm during a contraction, but the nurse said it would be better than having to re-poke me. Deborah also inserted an IV catheter into my wrist in case I hemorrhaged or needed to go down for a c-section.

Deborah checked my progress and I was at 5 cm, which I was happy with. I had to wear these little circular monitors on my belly, which were held in place with thick tensor-bandage-like elastic straps. They were cordless, so I could walk around, which was great and helped me move the labour along. One monitor was for the baby's heartbeat, and the other was to measure contractions. Jess and Spencer learned that an average contraction was around 80 or 100, and the really strong ones were up to about 140 at the most. I thought I would lose my mind during the peak on those ones, but Jess breathed with me on almost all the contractions, and she'd always remind me during the peak that it would get better after. The belts were annoying when they would slip off, as Deborah needed to have me constantly monitered for paperwork reasons, so they would have to be re-adjusted.

:: one week old ::

I tried my best to change positions whenever I could, and I laboured on the bed sitting, kneeling and leaning over the back of the raised bed (brutally painful on my cervix!) squatting on a birth ball, in the shower on a vinyl seat (nice but the stupid monitors kept slipping off when the bands got wet and stretched out) and I got through a lot of them by doing this funny dance back and forth from foot to foot. Jess said I didn't really make a lot of noise, but I remember moaning through the peak of the contractions pretty frequently, sort of a sing-song moan. When they got really intense I would say a little mantra over and over: “This is for my baby, moving down for my baby,” and imagine my cervix opening up and the baby moving down.

After a few hours of working through contractions and breathing with Jessica, I was at 7 cm, so Deborah ruptured a little bag of waters that she thought may be holding back a lip of my cervix. We also tried to move the lip with Deborah pushing manually on it while I pushed during a contraction. This was my first experience with pushing, and it was hard to coordinate it with Deborah and was pretty painful, but we did this for several contractions through the night. After a few more hours I had plateaued at 9 cm, with that stubborn bit of cervix that just wouldn't stay put behind the baby's head. Time and time again Deborah would push it back past the baby's head, but then it would pop back over again. She would give me breaks in between and I had to get up and try some different positions, or walk around, or just simply sit and get through some contractions on the bed.

I had been at 9 cm for about three hours, and it was getting tough because we were all so tired. Jess and Spencer had taken turns in the big lazy-boy chair sneaking wee cat naps, and even Deborah napped on her uncomfortable little stool next to the contraction monitor machine. I kept having naps that felt like they were ten minutes long, and then I would snap awake horrified, convinced that my ten-minute-long naps were slowing the labour. Everyone in the room would tell me I had only closed my eyes for a few seconds, but it truly felt like minutes of sleep, and I had dreams too! One dream was that my friend Jamina, who is a chef, was writing a cookbook with her husband. (Which I think is a great idea, btw. Steven was doing the art/design side, and Jamina did all the recipes.)

But my labour was slowing. The contractions lessened in intensity, and they stopped coming as often. I felt like I had been in transition for hours (and I likely had been) with the shakes and other strange sensations. Combined with the sleep deprivation and exhaustion from labouring all night, the energy in the room was pretty low. Jess had faith, and wouldn't let us give up, even though I was getting discouraged that a VBAC was not going to happen. Deborah seemed discouraged too, and explained to us that since my labour was obviously slowing down, my uterus was likely tired out. She would have to call the OB soon to consult, because my labour was not progressing any longer. At this time, they hooked up the IV in my hand to a bag, which I assume had water and sugar in it to keep me hydrated, and also in case I had to go downstairs for a c-section. Jess had been giving me juice and water and later ice chips all night, but I wasn't allowed to eat after a certain point in case I had to go for a c-section, so I was shaky and weak.

:: two weeks old ::

Just before 7 am the OB finally came in to work, and she had to consult with me and the other woman across the hall who had also been labouring all night. Deb explained to her about the lip of cervix that wouldn't stay put, and about the labour slowing. They had a conversation about who needed a c-section more – me or the lady across the hall? Because there was only one OR available at the time. I was so dejected at this point, and I really believed I was going to end up in the OR again.

The doctor checked that lip of cervix, and she asked if she could try giving it a push while I had a contraction and pushed against her. I had been really nervous to meet her, but I actually really liked her, and appreciated her straight-forward manner. She gave me some good coaching while I pushed on that lip of cervix against her fingers. She told us that she thought if I could get past that lip that I could push the baby the rest of the way out, so the other woman ended up in the OR with a c-section.

Deborah tried again with the cervix lip, and by that point my contractions seemed to have picked up again! I think it was because I was hooked up to an IV, and because the doctor had actually given us some hope. I remember thinking that there seemed to be a glimmer of a chance that it could really happen – I could actually give birth normally! The baby was doing fine the whole time, and didn't seem bothered by the labour at all. We all had a sense of renewed energy, and during one of the contractions, with Deborah pushing on my cervix, I pushed with every ounce of conviction I had. And it stayed put! I was finally ready to push! The nurse in the room clucked to someone, “She's fully!”

:: two weeks old ::

However, I didn't really have an urge to push at this point, maybe because I had already been at 9 cm for so long already. They told me to go ahead and push with the contractions anyway, and that it would take a few contractions for me to find my rhythm and learn how to push effectively. I pushed in two positions mainly – squatting with the squatting bar attached to the bed, and leaning back on the raised part of the bed with my feet waaaay up in the air on the bar. Spencer stood on my right, and thankfully he is physically strong enough to stand for two hours supporting me with one arm whenever I was squatting. I actually used his arm to push and lean against. Jess stood on my left and held my other leg for me, and her words of encouragement helped me so much – she urged me to keep pushing, and push harder, when she knew I needed to do it for the pushing to make any progress. Spencer kept saying positive and encouraging things to me, telling me that I was strong and I could do it.

At this point they also got the room “baby-ready” which was exciting for me and helped me realize that I would meet our baby soon! They unwrapped rolling tables with all sorts of instruments on them, warmed up the baby table, and put this wacky fun-house mirror at the other side of the room for me to see my progress in, which really helped towards the end of the baby's journey. There was suddenly more people in the room, and at 8 am the nurses switched shifts. One of my favourite nurses came on, a woman named Lisa. I needed someone to guide me for the pushing, and it was great to have her in the room and even take over for Deborah when she needed to leave for a few minutes.

The contractions were fairly close together now, and I had to mentally prep myself to get up and into the pushing position when I would feel one start. I was really focused on the act of pushing, and didn't realize that the contractions were still very strong. I had to learn how to push, and Lisa and the doctor gave me some good advice, telling me to curve my body around like a C, and curl my pelvis around my baby. I could get four or maybe five good pushes out of each contraction, holding my breath while pushing and taking a big breath of air in between each push. I would push as hard as I could, with my eyes squeezed shut and Jessica's voice in my ear, and at the end of each push I would have to go further and push even harder than I had been already. And when I would push that extra bit harder is when everyone would say, “That's it, you're doing it, we can see your progress!”

There was one contraction that I wasn't ready for, which came almost back-to-back with the previous one. I wasn't prepared, and it got the better of me. I couldn't work with it, and the pain and strength of it overtook me and I literally lost my shit, and stood up on the bed and yelled, because I couldn't decide what position I wanted to be in. I finally got it together and quickly squatted down and got a couple pushes in. The only other time I lost it was one time I was taking my leg off the bar and I accidentally kicked Deborah in the face and knocked her glasses askew! I apologized profusely and was pretty embarrassed, which doesn't happen to me often.

:: three weeks old ::

Close to 9 am everyone started saying they could see the baby's head, and I could finally see it myself in the mirror! I reached down and touched its hair, and this got me so excited to finally meet this baby! Sadie also came in at this time, and she is such an awesome coach and cheerleader combined – I remembered her coming in the room at about the same time during Teneille's labour with Ronan. Except this time Sadie was fresh and ready to go, and not exhausted from all-night labouring. Poor Deborah was flagging, but she stuck in there like a trooper right until the very end. I remember feeling like I had been pushing forever, and like it would never end. I had no idea what time it was, but I had been pushing for two hours. I was very uncomfortable in between contractions, with the baby being in limbo, so to speak, which created intense and painful pressure. I couldn't squat anymore because my legs would start to give out, but sitting down on the bed intensified the pressure between contractions.

I have always been nervous about “the Ring of Fire” that women talk about in reference to the baby crowning, but by the time I got there, I was so tired and uncomfortable that I actually didn't care. It took a few contractions to get the head out, and I only opened my eyes to look in the mirror and and see my baby. As soon as the top of the head came out, the room was silent for a moment. I looked in the mirror, and realized that the baby's head was huge. It didn't even look real. I pushed again, not even waiting for contractions, and felt the baby's face slide out, a very strange sensation.

Deborah was focused on the baby now, and told me I had to get it out right away, and with a few pushes the rest of it came out. She lifted the baby onto my belly, and she later told me that she was so tired, and the baby was so heavy, that she barely managed to accomplish this! I couldn't believe how big the baby was, and first thing I did was check to see if it was a boy or a girl, and I turned to Spencer and yelled: “BOY! Spencer it's a boy, another boy!” We couldn't believe it – we had thought this baby was a girl right from the get-go. Someone opened the curtains, and it was a beautiful sun-shining day outside, a beauty after the storm.

I didn't realize at the time, but apparently there was a lot of blood when the baby came out, so the midwives thought I was hemorrhaging and ordered oxytocin for my IV bag right away. Sadie took over while I had one last push and got the placenta out, and Deborah took our big boy over to the baby table for suction and some resuscitation – he was a slow-starter. I was so happy that we finally had our baby, and that I didn't have to push or have contractions anymore! I didn't even care that I might be hemorrhaging, but then Deborah and a nurse checked my uterus and said that it was already contracting and getting nice and small, so I was okay.

Sadie pulled up the stirrups and took the end of the bed off so she could have a good look at my damage and stitch me up. All the blood was actually from a tear and not my uterus. When they pulled the end of the bed off, all the blood that had pooled on the mats spilled onto the floor, creating a horrific puddle which Spencer described as “a horror film” and Jess separately described as “just like in the Shining when all that blood pours down the walls”. I find this hilarious both because I am morbid in humour, and also because I didn't notice in the least at the time. I also had a haematoma as a result from Archer plowing his way into the world, which ended up being the least of my concerns.

Deborah took Archer to the scale and we guessed how much he would weigh. I guessed at over ten pounds, because I had already held him once and Deborah had said, while looking him over, that she was sure he was more than ten pounds. He weighed in at 10 lbs, 3.4 oz, and his torso looked like a little tank, hence his sometimes nickname from me – Tankie. His head had a circumference of 39 cm, which was the biggest the midwives thought they had ever seen. Liam's head was considered quite large, but normal for his dwarfism, at 37 cm. Archer was 59 cm long, which explains the crazy dancing he would do in my belly with his feet when I was pregnant! At my one week post-natal appointment Deborah told me that she thought his large head (and size in general) was the reason for the length of time I spent at 9 cm dilated. She said that with a head that size I likely had to dilate to 11 cm instead of the usual 10 cm to get his head down. I also never imagined myself having to push for two hours to get a baby out, since no one in my family ever took that long, but it makes sense that it took me that long to push out a ten pounder.

Someone offered me the laughing gas while Sadie stitched me up, and I happily enjoyed it, huffing away like a junkie the whole time. Archer was totally fine and snuggled up with Spencer in the lazy-boy chair, getting sweet nothings whispered to him from his Dada. It took Sadie an hour to finish the stitching, which she apologized for but said she wanted to take her time and do it properly because it was a jagged, tricky tear. She and Deborah both said that there was absolutely no way I could have a baby Archer's size and not tear, especially with him being my first vaginal birth.

I huffed on that laughing gas so hard, which was pretty fun after ten months of pregnancy, sixteen hours of labour, two hours of pushing, and one hour of being poked with a threaded needle. The room felt like a party, and the midwives had the room pretty well cleaned up by 10 am. Deborah deservedly went home for much-needed sleep after a big hug and a kiss from me and Archer. It was so exciting to cuddle my big baby boy, and he nursed a bit after Sadie helped me with a sponge-bath. The nurses gave us lots of time to enjoy the room, and I got to have a lovely shower and then went to my ward room afterward. Spencer stayed with us for a bit, and then left to go get Liam from firefly where he was with Tia. We had already called her, and both Grandma and Nana, from the labour room to give them the news.

I spent that night in the hospital, which the midwives recommended due to the trauma to my body from the birth. I was glad to get my meals in bed! I was in the bed next to the other woman who ended up wtih a c-section, but never learned her story. Liam and Spencer came to visit me before bed-time, but he did not like being in the hospital and was very upset with me and wouldn't look at me or acknowledge me, screaming and trying to get away when I tried to touch him. He was thankfully quite happy to be with Spencer though, and they had had a great afternoon nap together and bachelor-dinner at home. I will write more on Liam's experience later – this story is about Archer.

He is so different from Liam physically, and it's been surreal for me to have a baby this big and with so much strength! One of the characteristics of kids with achondroplasia is low muscle tone, which Liam had from before birth, and still has to this day. (Although now it seems more like laziness.) Archer is big and heavy and strong, and could lift his head well right away and push with his arms and feet. Many of the newborn clothes that Liam wore for months never fit Archer at all, and he had already outgrown most newborn and 0-3 month-size clothing at three weeks old. He lost a pound by his first home visit weigh-in from the midwives at five days, and regained it back a few days later. The next week he had gained another pound, putting him at 11 lbs 3 oz. Usually babies gain ¼ to ½ a pound a week, not a pound. Sadie said he may just be at the top of his growth curve, so it will be interesting to see if he will stay big or even out at he gets older. He has lots of hair like I did as a newborn, and he looks a lot like I did, but he definitely has Spencer's eyes so far. They look pretty blue, and they have the signature Williams shape from his mum's side of the family.

Sometimes I can't believe I really did it! At times during my pregnancy and labour I was so discouraged, and thought I would end up in surgery again. Getting Archer out was definitely the hardest thing I have ever done, and right away Spencer and I decided that two is enough for us. I am starting to forget the sensations of labour, but the healing process for me has been long and I can't forget that. It's been frustrating for me to be less than 100% physically for so long. Combined with the rainy and cold weather we've been having, I'm definitely feeling confined at home and I'm very happy to have finally gotten my driver's license while I was pregnant so I can get out once in a while.

Our little boy is a welcome joy to our lives, and we are so grateful that everything worked out and his journey to be with us was a successful one. He is healthy and thriving, and I feel like things will only get better from here. Thanks for reading!

:: our first family photo with Archer at one week and Liam at two years and four months ::

Archer Britton Kennedy
March 11th, 2010 at 9:08 am
10 lbs, 3.4 oz

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Emily said...

What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing. Congrats again on achieving the birth you were hoping for! Archer is gorgeous. I hope Liam's adjustment period is getting better - I remember enduring the same thing when Grace was born, and now she and Seamus are the best of friends.

S said...

Hi Chelsea,
We dont officially know each other but I stumbled upon your blog through our mutual friend Jessica's blog. I just wanted to say I am so inspired by your birth story and successful vbac. I totally bawled while reading it. I am also hoping to one day experience a vbac myself. Just wanted to say Congrats!!! Might have questions for you when I am pregnant for a second time.

Chelsea said...

Thanks so much for your comments, ladies! Emily: it's so good to hear that they started out rough and are friends now. He doesn't really acknowledge Archer unless he's in a good mood and we prompt him, and honestly he has even HIT Archer on the head, which is so weird! So it's good to hear that it will get better.
And Sheena: go for that VBAC! I was so doubtful all along that it would happen for us, or that I would even go into labour, but I visualized it with all my might and tried to manifest it! That sounds hokey, but I think it worked ;)

Theaterre said...

Beautiful! Such strength and perseverance, good for you! Deborah and Sadie are such wonderful women (Sadie actually delivered me when she was only 19)! Their experience and passion for creating birth stories like this make them all the more amazing.
I, too, took the Doula course at Douglas College a few years ago and attended my first hospital birth just last month (I've usually been to homebirths). Unfortunately, it ended in a c-section, but I know she would appreciate stories like yours to give her the strength to have a VBAC next time.
Hope you are able to get some rest ;)

Kim said...

What an amzing story. I was riveted. I had a section with Preston because they predicted a lethal form of dysplasia. So hats off to you for going the VBAC route. I don't think I will ever have anymore kids because I'm divorced and the more years that pass the more I am ok with one and so far out of the diaper stage. Your story though was a beautiful one. What a lovely beginning. Bless your whole new little family!

Rosina said...

Oh that was so wonderful to read!! I've had 3 c-sections with one happening after an unsuccessful VBAC so I was rooting for you the whole time I read it *grin*. I've actually been reading your blog for quite some time and didn't realize who you were until I met Teneille through Twitter and at the store and she had told me about you having your 2nd baby and mentioned your sons name and then I saw your blog update on his birth and put two & two together *grin*. Congratulations and enjoy your new bundle of joy :)

karen- said...

Ok, so should have read the part that there are only two sons in there, first before writing. They look so different as they grow! Come to my page and see my pic page, it should be up by tommarrow. Thanks-k

Ashley said...

I also had Deb & Sadie for the attempted VBAC (which failed) on March 9th 2010. I had the room across from the nursery and I believe you were down the hall more towards the peds desk. I remember hearing Sadie talking to a nurse about a huge VBAC they just had.. You were the talk of the unit! I remember lying in that hospital bed hearing your news, holding my 8.5 lb baby girl and crying because I "couldnt" do it. I however had an amazing amount of joy for you, even though I had noooo idea (still dont) who you were. I remember turning to my parter after I had finished with my tears and saying "Am happy for that lady"... You will definatly be an inspiration for all VBAC'ing mothers and also for St. Joe's so in the future they may be more understading/accepting of VBACS.

All the best.


Chelsea said...

Wow Ashley! What a connection! I am a baaaad blogger and haven't even logged in here in awhile, but I am so thankful for your comment. I am so sorry about your attempt, but I don't think you "failed"! You got your baby out and you had to go through hell to do that! Thanks again for commenting! <3