*****Disclosure***** This is a birth story, so it will be graphic-ish. Don't expect cute and fluffy. It will be the raw, unedited real deal!
I have been wanting to get this story written down for some time, but due craziness of the entire story, it has taken me some time to process everything, and put it into words. Archer's birth story is unique and very empowering for me. Enough with the intro though. Lets start at the beginning... ish...
Imagine huge pregnant Kylee being a week over due. I was all sorts of miserable. No baby, feeling huge, trying so patiently to wait, and zero signs of baby coming any time soon. I asked my amazing friend and neighbor to do some foot zoning on me to help put me into labor. She came over on Friday, September 9th. She spent a couple hours working on me, and said that she felt like baby was close, but not quite ready yet, (but she also has a 48 hour "almost" guarantee to start labor). With that "almost guarantee" I figured Sunday would be the longest I would be pregnant. I certainly hoped anyway. Also, by this point, I had been losing pieces of mucus plug for the past 2 days, (for me this was weird, because with Jace I lost my plug while I was in labor. It all sort of happened at once). And to lose little pieces slowly was very different because I never knew quite how close I was to going into labor.
Saturday, September 10th I woke up feeling just as normal as ever. I remember being slightly bummed that no baby came because Sue had worked on me, and I definitely wasn't in labor. The morning went like most Saturday mornings usually do. Paul mowed the lawn while Jace and I picked the garden and pulled some weeds. We came inside and had some breakfast/lunch when I started noticing a few contractions. I couldn't quite tell if they were real or Braxton Hicks because I had had so many BH contractions throughout my pregnancy. But I could tell that they were slowly starting to become consistent so Paul and I started to track them. I also asked Sue if she had some time to come work on my feet again, (with hopes that it would keep things going and help it progress). Paul had me text our midwife, Rachel, and let her know about the contractions. I didn't really think that I needed to, because I didn't think I was in labor, but I ended up sending Rachel a text with a heads up. She definitely thought that I was in labor. I refused to believe it because I felt WAY to good to be in labor. I just remember feeling miserable and puking with Jace. But she still seemed to think so.
After we put Jace down for a nap, Sue came over to worked on my feet some more. I didn't really feel like contractions were picking up, (at this point they were inconsistently between 7 and 20 minutes apart but, but also not gaining any intensity), but they were definitely still going. We had a relaxing afternoon watching the office. I even tried to take a nap. 5:00 rolls around and still no baby.
Our neighbors were having a party to watch the BYU vs UofU game which we had said we would attend if baby hadn't arrived yet. So we figured we would just head over, (it was literally 2 houses away), and if we needed to leave to come have a baby it would be a piece of cake. Contractions still hadn't picked up so I figured that we would maybe have a midnight baby or early Sunday morning baby so I wasn't too worried about getting things set up. Paul thought that we should at least inflate the birthing pool before we left, (yes we planned to have our baby at home), but I shrugged it off and said we would have plenty of time when we got home to set it up.
The game starts and I'm still feeling same old same old. We have some snacks, and watch the game a little bit, but still no crazy increase in intensity or closeness of contractions. Rachel called and asked if anything had picked up. I said that it hadn't really picked up yet, (still thinking I'm not in labor). She suggested doing some movements to reposition the baby. She said he might just be mispositioned and thats why labor was somewhat stalled. I shared this information with my friend Meagan who suggested we go and do some rebozo to try to help coax babes into a better position. Meagan and I snuck away and walked back to her house to get her equipment, (by the way Meagan is an awesome doula so she is super knowledgeable about all of this stuff). Meagan had me lay on the floor almost in child's pose but with my butt sticking up in the air. I felt ridiculous, and I am sure I looked a little ridiculous as well, but she just pulled out her scarf and did her thing, and didn't even mention anything about how silly I felt. After about 10-15 ish minutes maybe less we decided to head back to the party.
All the while I was continuing to track contractions. Once we got back to the party I noticed that my contractions started picking up a little bit. It was half time at this point so I was thinking Paul would for sure get through the game before we needed to head home. Slowly over the next few hours my contractions started to get closer and closer together as well as grow in intensity. The app on my phone told me probably every 3 contractions that it was time to go to the hospital. I just chuckled and didn't think much about it because 1, I feel like people go to the hospital way to early and just wait around doing nothing, and 2, I wasn't going to the hospital so I only needed 5 minutes to get home and I was good to go.
All the wives were sitting in the kitchen chatting while our husbands were down the stairs watching the game. I remember sitting with the girls, just chatting, and then as soon as I felt a contraction come I would hit my timer. Then when the contraction would finish, I would hit my timer again. All the while just carrying on conversation and trying to keep myself distracted with what they were saying. As the football game progressed so did my contractions. Eventually they got to the point where I could not comfortably sit through a contraction, I needed to be standing up. This should have been my first sign that things were starting to progress. I think I was just recalling my labor with Jace, that even after contractions were close I was still pushing for several hours. I eventually texted my midwife to update her. I told her that they were getting more intense, and about 6 minutes apart. She said she would head out if I needed her, (she lives 40 minutes away). I replied that I wasn't sure, she would be a better judge if I was close enough or not. Rachel ended up calling me just after that text and told me that she would leave in about 10-15 minutes so as to arrive within an hour. At that moment I started having a contraction and continued to talk to Rachel on the phone through the contraction. She said, yeah, you should be fine, but I'll head out anyway.
Now keep in mind this whole time, I was waiting for the moment when I could not talk through a contraction and I had to just stop and focus and breathe. Meagan said that that would be a good indicator that I was getting close. So being able to talk on the phone through a contraction was me thinking that I still had plenty of time left before I would be in transition. Meagan and Kaylene, (my amazing friends), were so great to talk with me, and encourage me, and even massage my back occasionally during a contraction. (They were pretty much awesome). And we still waited for my contractions to be too intense.
The BYU game was basically over. Only 18 seconds left with no hope of BYU winning, so I told Paul that he needed to leave and go fill up the tub. I asked him to take Jace home with him and get the tub ready and I would be over. I started to collect my things and was headed out the door when I started to have another contraction. This time though, I started to feel a pressure as if I were just about ready to push. Not quite ready, but I certainly felt the pressure. I turned to say bye to my friends, then wobbled out the door. Halfway from Kaylene's house to mine I started having another contraction. Because of the pressure I had felt at Kaylene's I felt a sense of urgency to get home quickly, so I forced myself to walk through the contraction and get home. I came in the garage and headed down the stairs. I saw that Paul had the tub inflated and was in the process of filling it up. He was also frantically laying down plastic in the walk ways and such.
I walked myself straight to the bathroom where I proceeded to undress. I was seriously SOOO hot at Kaylene's so all I wanted to do was strip out of my layers so I wouldn't be so hot. I switched into my sports bra and put on some basketball shorts then walked out to see how the tub was coming. (I really wanted to be sitting in the tub instead of standing in the hall). It wasn't even half full yet and I felt the urge to push. Along with this though I just knew I was going to poop because I totally hadn't pooped all day, (even though I had been trying so I wouldn't need to in labor. Like that would ever happen though right!). I told Paul that I needed some tissues right away. He handed me about 5 and I pushed, (and pooped) and grossly, caught the plopper in the tissues and wobbled back to the bathroom to flush it down the toilet, (and try to get some more out). Squatting in the bathroom I felt the urge to push, and I don't even remember pushing it just sort of happened, then a big pop came, and a huge gush of warm liquid splashed all over the floor in the bathroom. I yelled to Paul that my water broke and asked him to text the midwife letting her know that my water broke. I also sent a text to my friend Meagan, who I had asked to kind of doula/be a birth photographer letting her know my water broke.
Paul ran in with Rachel on the phone, (he had texted her, and she called him back), telling Paul to get me off of the toilet and said be prepared because baby's head would probably start crowning soon, and obviously she wasn't going to make it to our birth in time. Paul pulled me up off the toilet, and held on to my legs because they were shaking like crazy. Right as Rachel said that baby would start crowning I said, "Paul, the baby is crowning." Rachel heard and told Paul to reach his fingers up and make sure there was no umbilical cord around baby's neck. At this point Paul told Rachel that he needed to put her on speaker so he could use both hands. He set the phone down super fast, but before Paul could check and see if there was a cord around baby's neck, baby was sliding out and into Paul's arm. He was seriously holding me up with one arm and catching our baby with the other. Right after Paul caught babes, he looked and said, yeah, no cord around the neck. He quickly handed baby to me as our little guy took his first breaths and started crying. I was a little nervous at first because baby sounded gargly like there was a little bit of liquid in his lungs, but he was pink, and breathing, and I just felt really peaceful like everything was ok, so I stopped worrying and tried to take in the moment. I was also a little worried about hemorrhaging especially without a midwife there. But again, that peacefulness came over me and I didn't worry about it anymore.
Ok, so keep in mind, that all of the above paragraph happened within a matter of minutes. Seconds almost. I have played it over and over in my head and it seems like it happened within the blink of an eye. Really it wasn't that fast, but seriously, two pushes basically and my baby was here. Now, Jace had rushed back to the bathroom with Paul, not sure of what was going on. He ended up getting to watch the birth of his brother. I hadn't fully decided if I wanted Jace there or not, but I guess there were other plans that had decided that he was going to be there. I hope he wasn't traumatized, but he seems ok right now.
After Paul handed me baby, Rachel told him that I needed to lay or sit down and wait. Paul ran out of the room with Jace, took Jace upstairs to our sister in law, (who so graciously saved the day and watched Jace for the next 30-60 minutes), also yelled at Jess to turn the hose off upstairs because the pool was now about to overflow, and then rushed back to me in the bathroom carrying loads of towels. He gave me one to wrap around baby, (I was worried that he was going to be too cold), and put the rest on the floor to try and mop up the blood that was EVERYWHERE. Seriously, guys, white linoleum floors make red blood look really red! (thankfully I cleaned and disinfected the bathroom a few days ago on a whim). So here I am, laying on towels, my legs covered in blood, waiting for the midwives to show up. Paul is running back and forth trying to get everything sorted out (bless his heart), and baby and I are just chilling. I remember sitting there in disbelief that all of this had taken place so fast.
Rachel's backup midwife, and apprentice showed up about 15 minutes after the birth. They started cleaning up some things, and checked me and baby to make sure that we were good, then set to work doing some more cleanup. I still hadn't delivered my placenta yet, nor had I felt the urge to push it out, so we were just chilling. 5-10 minutes later Rachel showed up. They pushed on my stomach to try to convince my uterus to contract and push out the placenta, but still nothing happened, then Rachel said, oh, its just sitting right here, give me a quick push Kylee. So as weird as it felt, I pushed, and out slid the placenta. Paul got to cut the cord which had long stopped pulsing at this point, and baby was free! I passed him off to Paul for a minute while the midwives stood me up and tried to clean up some of the blood that was coating my legs. I had wanted to take a shower, but there was no hot water left from filling up the tub, and they had already drained the tub so I couldn't get in it to rinse off. So I had a wet wipe bath for the time being.
They got me cleaned up and walked me to my bed where I got to snuggle it up with cute babes. Paul brought Jace down to meet his baby brother, and we all spent a few minutes together just cuddling and snuggling. Then Paul took Jace and put him to bed. I was worried that with all the people and the commotion he wouldn't want to sleep, but he went down without a fuss, so that was really nice. I think the fact that he had spent the previous 4 hours running around with his friends, then got to bed 2 hours late really helped.
Our baby was born at 9:38 pm. Not even joking you, he came 10 minutes or less after I got home from Kaylene's house. While I was 10 days over I fully expected to have a bigger sized babe. But our sweet boy weighed in at 7 lbs. 3 oz. It took Paul and me a good 12 hours to decide on a name for him. We had narrowed it down to 3, then to 2, and I felt like he could be named either, and I liked both equally. After prayer and thought, we decided on Archer. Archer William Burnett. William is a family name on my side of the family, and Paul's as well. We chose Archer because of the meaning behind it. Archer means just that, a bowman. Someone who uses a bow and arrow. Even though Archer is going to be a younger brother I feel like his personality is going to be more of a protector, which, an archer would use his bow to protect. I also felt the connection to Nephi in the Book of Mormon, and the faithfulness that he had, despite his bow being broken, he was still able to provide for his family. It is hard to put in words the connection I felt to Archer's name, but there is my best effort. :)
As I have pondered about our experience it has gone from a crazy whirlwind of emotion and memories, to a spiritual and empowering experience for me. My biggest fear when asking Rachel to be my midwife was that she would not be there to attend my birth. It just worried me that she was so far away. But I also felt really good about choosing her to be our midwife. So despite my fears, we made the decision to choose her. I know, that while Rachel wasn't there for our birth, Paul and I were not alone in that bathroom. We had so many experienced hands helping us bring our sweet boy into the world. Even though they could not be seen, I know that they were there, each doing their part to keep me steady and on my feet, directing Paul's hands where they needed to be, holding onto Jace while he stood there watching, and safely guiding baby here. I feel empowered because I know that I can do hard things. I am strong. And even though society thinks that women are inferior, I know we are not. Not that I would choose to deliver my next baby the same way we delivered Archer, I am so grateful for the acknowledgements I was able to make because of it.
These were the best pics we got of the night Archer was born. Jace looks so tired in this picture! But he was happy to hold his little brother. Poor Archer still has some blood on his head that hadn't been cleaned off quite yet.
My sweet sweet boys! and look at me in the comfort of my own bed!!
I see this picture and it reminds me that I don't have to be a "hot mess" to have a baby. Yes I don't look all dolled up or anything, but I don't look like what society thinks a mom looks like after they just have a baby.
My sweet hubby holding our cute Archer. I told him that Skin to skin was the best thing, so I mad him take his shirt off. :)