Archer’s birth story
such a surreal moment to be typing up this post! We've struggled to get pregnant for 14 years and finally got pregnant through IVF. I shared our I'VF journey as we were going along on Instagram, but I plan to share several blog posts about our experience. I also plan on starting a podcast at some point!! (I'm sure y'all are getting sick of hearing me say that). LOL It's on my goals list for this year (2023). For real, I need to rip the bandaid as they say and just do it! haha. It just feels daunting, but I know it will be worth it to share our experiences. And it's really not about me, it's about helping others!
Archer Bennett Ryan, born july 3, 2023 at 10:52 am
(I'll share the story behind his name farther down in this post)
My bestie took this pic of Archer and I on his birthday. My hubby thinks he has the cutest yawns. haha! :)
IVF pregnancy & induction:
The dr's office I went to suggested that I be induced at 39 weeks since we did IVF to get pregnant. They said that it's pretty standard for IVF pregnancies to be induced at 39 weeks for several reasons. There can be more complications with IVF pregnancies and there has been a coorelation with stillbirths and IVF pregnancies that go past full term. I did a little bit of research myself because I wanted to make an educated decision and I REALLY didn't want to be induced unless it was totally necessary. I talked with my dr at my next appt and told him that since I don't have any of the risk factors and my baby was healthy and passing all of the extra testing that I would rather not be induced. He agreed with me and said that they just wouldn't want to push it out to far into the 40th week to be safe. They also explained that the reason they treat all IVF pregnancies as high risk, is because of the extra risk factors but also becaue they want to take every precaution because they reconigze how much couple go through to have this pregnancy in the first place. Hearing them explain all of that really made me feel a lot better. I really had my guard up thinking I needed to fight for myself because dr's just wana control eveything and do what's best for them.
2 weeks before: week 38 & 39
My induction was scheduled for Sunday july 2nd at 3pm. The 2 weeks leading up to my induction I was trying to get him to come on his own. At my first cervical exam I was already dialted 2cm and was about 60-70% effaced. That really gave me a false sense of hope! lol I figured if I was already progressing that much then surely he would come on his own. At my next appointment I had my membranes swept but it didn't really help. I also tried a few things that my doula suggested to induce labor. I didn't go too crazy with it because I started feeling overwhelmed with ALL the things everyone was telling me to try. I ended up just sticking with a few simple ones and prayed about it. I tried sitting on an exercise ball every evening for the entire week leading up to his birth. I also drank raspberry leaf tea a couple of times, but I felt weird about it an ended up stopping (I know it's a legit thing and isn't bad for you). I tried the miles circuit a few times and did curb walking that last week. Spoiler alert- he didn't come on his own. haha
Induction Day: week 40
They told me to make sure and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner before I came in (not sure how that was supposed to work out since I was scheduled to be there at 3pm. lol) We had a big lunch at Longhorn Steakhouse because I was craving steak (protein and pizza were my main cravings my entire pregnancy) haha! We headed back home, packed our bags and made sure everything was ready at the house for my friend to dog & house sit for us. Then we headed to the hospital. It felt like a calm before a storm! Haha! We joked about how we had always expected the drive to the hospital to be this ultra dramatic experience with my hubby driving like a crazy person - and here we were leisurely making our way to the hospital to meet our baby. I felt a little nervous and excited but not as nervous as I thought I would be! I knew God was and would be holding us in His hands and that whatever happened would be part of His plan for good.
Once we got to the hospital, it took about 30 min to get all checked in and into our room. They immediately had me change out of my clothes & into a hospital gown. I also had to wipe down basically my entire body with these massive, scratchy antiseptic wipes. I got into the hospital bed and they immediately put a port into my forearm, put a heart rate monitor and a contraction monitor on my belly, started taking my vitals and did a cervical exam to see where I was. I was still 2cm dilated and 60% effaced.
I asked the nurses if I could start with a cervical ripener rather than going straight to pitocin bc I had heard so many horror stories about pitocin. They said they would talk with the dr and let me know. My dr said that was fine and came in a couple hours later (6:30pm) and put in the first dose. She said they could do it every 4 hours. In the mean time, my hubby ran out to grab us dinner from Mission BBQ and his family came to visit. We just visited in our room while I ate dinner and the nurse came in to check on me every hour. At one point she came in and asked me if I could feel the contractions I was having and I said no! I wasn't feeling anything! She said "do you have a high pain tolerance?" I told her that I didn't think so and that I didn't want to get too cocky! haha but I'm not going to lie, it gave me a slight, false sense of hope. 🤣 She showed us how to read the contraction monitor and from then it was fun to see the contractions happening but not feeling them! I realized what I had thought was the baby moving, was actually contractions. LOL! 🤷🏻♀️
My nurse was still coming in every hour and I would talk with her about some of my fears and the things I had read about online about dr's pushing c-sections any chance they get, and the horrors of getting an epidural. She really helped me feel better about all of those things. She said, "we definitely don't want anyone to get a c-section unless they have to. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but c-sections are A LOT more work for us and I'm not trying to make my job harder LOL!"
After 4 hours, 10:30pm, my dr came in to check & there hadn't been any progress, so she put another dose of the cervical ripener in. She said next time they would move onto the next steps, which would be breaking my water & starting pitocin if there wasn't any progress. I still wasn't really feeling any strong contractions, so I decided to take a nap since I wasn't sure what to expect or if it would be the last chance I'd get to sleep. My nurse still came in every hour, but she made a point to try and not wake me. The nurses I had were so sweet- seriously every single one of them.
After 4 more hours, my dr came in again, at 2:30am, and did a cervical exam. I still hadn't really made any progress so she suggested that we break my water and start pitocin. I decided to be super honest with her and share my fears. I told her that I was nervous about doing a bunch of interventions & it causing me to have a c- section. I told her I had heard "interventions lead to more interventions". My dr said if I was hesitant then we should talk through everything so she sat on the end of my bed and listened to me. I also told her that my doula was suggesting that we start with a foley ballon before we break my water or start Pitocin (at this point I was texting back and forth with my doula since I wasn't needing her just yet). She was so kind and understanding, unlike I had expected- sadly! All the videos & things I had read all on social media acted like drs are just trying to get you in & out and that they ultimately just want you to have a c-section to make it easier on themselves. She said the same thing my nurse had said, that it was a lot of extra work and they only do them if absolutely necessary. She said that I was too far dilated for a foley ballon to help. She said we could try the cervical ripener one more time, but that she really didn't think it was going to help since it hadn't the 1st 2 times. She also said that research showed that artificially breaking my water and starting pitocin where the best course of action but ultimately she would do what I felt the most comfortable with. She gave my hubby and I some time to talk about it and we ultimately decided to go ahead with breaking my water but waiting to start pitocin until the next check in. My dr broke my water, and to be honest, I hated it. It was the most violating feeling to me. :( I hate thinking about how it made me feel. It wasn't anything that my dr did during the process that made me feel that way, necessarily, she was gentle, talked me through it all and went slowly but it was such an odd feeling that's hard for me to describe. Ultimately, everything worked out and it was fine, but I can't forget how it made me feel.
Literally like 30 minutes after she broke my water I started feeling strong contractions! (Now this is when things start to become a blur for me but luckily I had been texting with my doula so I was able to find most of the details there.) haha. My nurse was still coming in every hour and checking on my vitals and everything. At one point she told me that if I wanted an epidural I needed to tell her before it got super bad bc it's a whole process. She explained that you have to get an entire bag of fluids and then they can do it. She said when it starts to feel like it's about to be unbearable soon- it's time to say you want it. My plan was to hold out for as long as possible so I tried to sleep as best as I could. My contracts started getting stronger and they were happening 3 at a time rather than one long one. The first of the 3 was the longest and strongest and they would taper off. I was feeling them in my back which I was annoyed about haha because I had heard back labor was way worse.
At some point, it started getting really painful and my hubby came over to hold my hand (he had been sleeping and I was letting him but once it was super intense I had to wake him up lol). He said it felt like I was going to break his finger a few times. haha! He told me that I should get the epidural and that it wasn't a sign of weakness to get it (that was why I was trying to hold out). The nurse said the same thing, she also said, "you're getting to experience labor right now.. you aren't missing out on it." LOL! So I decided to get an epidural. I was still nervous about it being painful, causing me to have to get c- section and/or paralyzing me for the rest of life (like you read online)- MINOR things really. 😅 LOL! My nurse started the IV fluids to prepare me for the epidural. At about 6am the anesthesiologist came in and they set me up on the bed to get it. I started to get super nervous and wanted to back out but just as I was feeling that way I had a contraction so bad that it made me throw up. LOL It was just the reminder that I needed. My hubby was sitting in front of me holding me as I got it. GIRL, IT WASN'T PAINFUL!! The only "pain" was the burning sensation from the numbing medicine going in. It wasn't worse then when they put my IV in. The anesthesiologist also explained that it doesn't go in far enough to paralyze you and that the worst thing that could happen would be that you could get a headache. She also told me that she had 1 baby without an epidural and one with one and was never going back. lol! It made me feel better to know that she had also had one especially since she knows everything about them and does it for a living! You would think she would be the least likely person to get one if she had seen so many bad outcomes, ya know!? Once the epidural kicked in I went to sleep! haha it was so nice! It didn't feel like it took all the way though because I was still able to feel most things. I felt when they put the catheter in and when they did the cervical exams. They weren't extremely painful but I could still feel it all.
Once things really started progressing I was starting to feel the contractions pretty strongly. The pain in my back was pretty much gone but I could still feel it downstairs. It was more of kinda painful pressure, the epidural was taking the sharp edge off though. I got checked again at about 7:45am and had progressed to 5cm/80%/-1. My dr checked me again at about 8:30am. I was at a 6-7/80%/0 and they started pitocin. Afterwards, my nurse came in and had me lay on my left side with my right leg up in a stirrup to help me progress further. They were also keeping a close eye on the baby the whole time and said he was responding really well to everything. She only had to rotate me once more because it really did the trick! At about 8:45am she rotated me onto my right side with my left leg up in the stirrup. At this point I was still trying to rest but once I was on my right side the contractions were super intense. My legs and feet weren't numb so I could feel the contractions happening downstairs pretty intensely. It wasn't a sharp pain but it still wasn't fun and I had to stop and breathe through them. My best friend, Rachel, showed up a little after 9am and sat at my bedside. I told her about the whole experience leading up till now while she held my hand. I had to stop talking during the contractions. lol. It was nice to have her there to keep my mind off the pain and help the time go faster.
Not too long after, I started feeling a super intense pressure that wasn't going away. My nurse had told me if I felt that to press the call button because it meant that it was close to baby time. She came in to check and sure enough his head was right there. She immediately called the dr to come check as well. The dr came in a little after and said I was at a 10 and ready to start pushing! I started pushing around 10:10am. It was nice because I was able to feel all of the contractions and was able to push pretty effectively. He was born at 10:52am on July 3, 2023! The final push to get him out and them laying him on my chest all happened so fast but my brain was processing it all so slowly. I remember when they laid him on my chest it took me a couple seconds for my brain to catch up to what was happening. I held him on my chest for awhile, they did delayed cord clamping and my hubby cut the cord. The nurses took Archer over to the little bed to check that everything was 100% and my hubby went with them while I got stitched up! My dr said that I just tore on the sides and that it wasn't too bad but I still needed a couple stitches. At one point, I totally started to feel her stitching me up and she hurried up to finish faster! haha
Once they checked him and got me stitched up, I was able to breastfed him and eat something. They brought me a thurkwy sandwhixh and it was one of the yummiest things I had eaten! haha! I've heard that's a thing after giving birth and it's so true! While I was breastfeeding him, one of the nurses gave me some tips and helped me. They took us to our room and showed me how to clean up downstairs and use all of the fun postpartum products! haha
We had friends and family come to visit, which was fun and if I'm being honest, a lot at the same time. We even had friends from church come to visit the next day, on July 4th, and bring us an entire 4th of July cookout! I had been saying for days that I was craving cookout food! haha My hubby had been coordinating it with them but it was a total surprise to me. They brought hamburgers, hot dogs, all the fixin's, French fries, drinks and even made the TikTok viral s'mores chocolate chip cookies! It was the absolute sweetest!!
We ended staying in the hospital for a couple of days. We wanted to go home sooner but ultimately I'm glad we stayed because the last night we were there was super rough. Archer hardly slept at all and was really fussy. The nurse I had helped me with breastfeeding and soothing him. I wish I had gotten her contact info. She went above and beyond. She would stay in our room a little bit longer than usual and talk with me. It really felt like she was a friend. She even gave me a hug before she got off her shift! I hope I run into her again or that I'm able to get in touch with her somehow. There was also a lactation specialist that came in every day to help me and check in. It was really helpful, but every time I was feeding him and a different nurse was in the room, they would also give me tips. It felt like everyone was saying something different and it was a little frustrating to be honest.
All the drs, nurses and staff we had were wonderful though. We had such a great hospital experience and I was pleasantly surprised. I really was expecting the worst after all the stuff I had read and watched on social media and online. To be honest, this experience really changed my mind completely. I was SO scared of giving birth (just in general) and nervous about the entire hospital experience. Everything went smoothly and everyone was kind, informative, caring, helpful, understanding...etc etc. All the things you would want. I'm really thankful we had such a great experience, that everything went pretty smoothly!
Deciding on a name for him was the hardest part for us!! I never thought we'd disagree so much!! Lol We would literally get in fights about it. It was bad. It also made me really sad. Here we were, finally pregnant and now arguing about what we were going to name him. I joked to some friends that the devil didn't get us in the waiting period, but he sure got us after with the naming portion. 🙈 I liked the name Archer before we even got pregnant with him. I liked that it's uncommon, a strong boy name and didn't clash with our last name. A lot of the names my hubby liked all clashed with our last name! My hubby thinks it's cool when all of the names sound similar. I want them all to be different. For example, I don't want all the names to end in an "n"- my hubby likes it.
His middle name Bennett, came from one of my hubby's best friends- his last name. They served in the Rangers together and were super close. I thought Archer Bennett Ryan flowed really well.
My hubby liked Archer at first and then all of a sudden decided that he HATED it. Lol We got into a huge fight about it one night and I went into our room and cried. We didn't talk about it at all for almost the entire next day. Finally he said he wanted to name him Archer and that he liked it. Immediately I felt bad, I felt like he was just sick of arguing with me and was giving in. I wasn't wanting it to feel like a bullying situation for him. He said that wasn't it. He just got caught up in finding other names that he forgot that he liked Archer and just had a bad attitude about it all. Once I realized he was serious and wasn't feeling pressured, a huge weight was lifted! Haha it's really stressful to not know what you are going to name your baby! We are hoping that it won't be that horrible for our next one!
Thanks for reading through all of this!! I know it's a lot! Haha I'm just so grateful that we finally get to hold a healthy baby boy in our arms after all of these years. It felt so surreal in the beginning. I kept thinking, wait.. this really happened!! We have a baby!! and I would totally start to tear up and cry. God is so good and I'm so thankful for His timing. I always held onto faith, but I feel like I can totally see God's perfect timing with were we live now, the church we are apart of and the friends we have. And thank you to all of you that have prayed for us! All of y'all's encouragement and prayers mean more than you know. The tips & encouragement y'all shared through the IVF process helped me so much! It was what I needed to keep going when things were tough.