Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Introducing Archer William – His Birth Story

Well better late than never! My little (big) boy turned 19 weeks yesterday! Someone has accidentally knocked the fast forward button on my life's remote control, and I can't seem to find that pause button!! In the blink of an eye Archer has turned into a happy, giggly joyous little boy. Here's his story about his arrival. (Note: it's quite long!)

Four days past due date, and my mum and sister were due to arrive from the UK in ten days. I did not want to be in hospital when they arrived. I wanted to be settled back in at home as a family of five. And I wanted my little five-day holiday in hospital where I had people at my beck and call, cooking for me and cleaning for me, thank you very much! So I had my check up with my midwife and obstetrician on the Monday. I explained my predicament to the midwife and she offered to do an internal and a stretch and sweep. Conditions were favourable and I was already 2cm – yay! My obstetrician booked me in for an induction on Wednesday. Not my ideal but agreed to it, and prayed to go naturally beforehand. Off I go about my day, taxi-ing big and little people back and forth. Nothing happens.

Taxi-ing begins again on the Tuesday. Hubby off to school, and I call the midwife and ask if I can pop in for another stretch and sweep, as you do, before I drop Mahlia off at preschool! Mahlia and Leila are completely unfazed by what she does, and the midwife confidently tells me I'll be having my baby that day. I think to myself, 'please don't get my hopes up,' but I'm secretly excited by the prospect!! Drop Mahlia off at school, take Leila to swimming, home, lunch, back to pick up hubby. I ask him to drive as we head to Montessori to pick up Mahlia, I just didn't feel like it. Driving over the bumping roads, I notice I'm having regular tightenings but I can't feel anything—I'd been having regular Braxton Hicks since I was about 16 weeks. We spend some time at Montessori watching the kids play, and with a hand on my belly I mentally note I'm still getting the tightenings but still not feeling them. Back home and the evening ritual begins of playing, dinner prep, dinner, bath, kids to bed etc.

Hubby had a class to teach at the gym and didn't think he should go. I waved him off, saying it's fine, I'm not feeling anything. He called me before coming home, and I admitted that I think things are happening as I was getting twinges. He came home and called his mum advising her to be on standby that night. The tightenings (still not convinced things were actually happening) were coming every 2–3 minutes and I was starting to consciously breathe through them to practice for what was to come. I decided to hang some curtains in the baby's room as that would be where mother-inlaw would be sleeping IF we had to go that night. So, I'm standing on the bed, reaching up and POP I have a little trickle down there. This was around 9.15pm. I giggle and call out to hubby "Um, my waters have broken", shuffle, shuffle, shuffle to the bathroom. Cue hubby freaking out, frantically calling his mum to get here NOW! I'm now groaning through contractions, and laughing at him in-between. He gets angry at me for not getting in the car before his mum came, he wanted the neighbour to come and wait so we could go. His mum arrives and we drive at break-neck speed to the hospital. I call my mum and dad and leave a message, and text my brother and sister to let them know our little man is on his way! Hubby is freaking out, as from past experience, things happen quite fast. I was still laughing at him at this point!

So we make it to the hospital in record time. We get to the labour ward reception and there is another couple waiting. I had called ahead to tell them we were coming in and things are likely to move fast, as my previous labour was three hours. The midwife casually takes the other couple to their birthing suite—they were coming in for an induction. So we're left at the desk! Contractions coming thick and fast! The midwife then realises the situation and kicks out the first couple and ushers us in. I head straight for the toilet and shut the door. I don't want to come out. But I do, and she does an internal. 6–7cm. Hmmm, thought I was closer than that. She calls my obstetrician to tell him to come in now and while she's convincing him that he needed to come now even though I was only 6–7cm, I vomited in the sink. She said that would've got me to 10cm and sure enough I could feel movement. I was quite focussed on washing my spew out of the sink at this point before doing anything though!

I gave birth to Leila standing up, and assumed that's how I would want to birth this time. The midwife wasn't keen, as it's quite hard to catch a slippery baby! So I reluctantly climbed up on the bed and went on all fours, leaning over the bed head, conscious of utilising gravity. I remember freaking out a little at this point – the whole 'I can't do this, someone help him out' and saying to hubby 'I'm not doing this again'! The pressure gave me a nose bleed. At this point my obstetrician had arrived. Baby's head could be seen, but panic was rising as his heart rate had dropped and wasn't coming back up again. I was told to turn onto my back. It didn't help. The doctor said he was going to get the vacuum to help him out. I know I said I wanted help but I didn't mean it. I told him I definitely did not want him doing anything of the sort. He said he had to and I said no. So, in his Egyptian accent he tells me 'you have two minutes – you push like crazy lady'. So push like crazy lady I did, and out popped my little man, with his hand on his face, like he's waving (in hubby's words). The midwife said he would have come a lot sooner had he not had his hand there, so luckily he had, otherwise poor hubby might have had a bit of a shock at home. It was still only around a two hour labour though. Born at 10.43pm, 26th November, weighing 3.7kgs/8.2lbs, 52cm long – big boy! And no tearing - woo hoo!

He came out peacefully, unaware of the previous panic. He looked around, then fell asleep. My perfect little boy. He then woke again and had a good look around. So alert and chilled out. We were left alone for three hours to bond. It was perfect! Here are a few photos, they are a bit grainy due to the dimmed lights.

He still crosses his little feet like this. His right foot had tallipes and needed a cast for a week to straighten it up.

Meeting his sisters who were just besotted with him.

So it all turned out perfectly. I had my natural birth, my mini-holiday in hospital, and a few days at home before the family arrived. And thank goodness they arrived when they did. The Sunday night, when Archer was 12 days old, I rushed him into hospital with a high temperature – 40oC. The worst night of my life. His heart rate was at 250bpm and his temp wouldn't come down. After bloods were taken, lumbar puncture and a chest X-ray in emergency, we were taken to the children's ward, where we stayed for the week. It took a couple of days for his temp and heart rate to come down. He was pumped full of antibiotics and fluids, and had an MRI. He was puffy and red all over, and detested anyone touching him apart from family.

Unsure of what it was, they treated it as if it's a bacterial infection. It turned out to be this new-to-Australia virus called Parechovirus. There were a cluster of cases in Sydney and Newcastle. When the results came back to confirm this, I requested the antibiotics be stopped. By this point he had fought it off, and the doctor let us home on the Saturday. He made a full recovery thank goodness, and has regular check-ups with the paediatrician to check he's developing normally, as the longterm effects of the virus are unknown. But he is fine and thriving. Such a little trooper.

He has made my family complete. I am so blessed and thankful to have three, beautiful, perfect, healthy children.

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