One week ago today, Archie Benjamin made his official debut. It was a great day, labor was easy, and he literally almost came flying out. The week before, at my previous and last prenatal visit, my doctor scheduled an induction for the following Tuesday. I've been induced with all three of my children due to my Addison's Disease and I love it! I love being induced and this time was particularly great. Adam took the entire week off work and so we spent Monday running around doing errands, cleaning the house, and just sort of waiting for morning. I was scheduled to check in at the hospital at 7:00am so I got up and drove myself to the hospital and checked in. Adam stayed at home until Ruby woke up which is usually around 8:00. I figured it was sort of pointless to have him there anyway since they wouldn't have any pitocin going until 8:00 or 8:30 anyway and then there would be a lot of waiting while I dilated. It worked out perfectly. They got me into a room, put in my IV and started the pitocin around 8:00ish. My doctor, Dr. West (best OB/GYN ever!!) stopped by to check on me. I was only at barely a 2 so he put a balloon catheter into my cervix to open it up. He said I have a cervix of steel. (It's not something I like to brag about. Some women have buns of steel and I just happen to have a cervix of steel.) That was the most pain I would experience all day. That was pretty rough but bearable. He left after that and said he would let me 'stew' for a few hours and see what happens. He said I could have an epidural whenever I wanted it. So, a few hours went by and I was having contractions but they really just felt like mild cramps. I knew Dr. West was coming back around noon and would probably break my water then so I finally asked for an epidural around noon. Such an amazing invention! It was a really good epidural-- I could still move my legs but the pain was gone. By noonish I had progressed to a 5/6 and then there was just more waiting after that. It was actually a pretty boring day. There was NOTHING on tv and poor Adam was going stir crazy. He finally left and ran over to Winco for a bit and came back. The pain was starting to seep through a bit so the nurse gave me another bolus through the epidural. Dr. West came back again around 3:15 and said I was at 9.5 and could probably start pushing. They started preparing the room. I pushed through two contractions and out he came. It was so easy and I actually felt pretty awkward as we were just sitting there waiting for the next contraction to come, all eyes on me and we're just waiting with me in that position. The nurse, Adam, Dr. West, and a resident physician were all just sitting there watching me in total silence. I finally started making small talk and I told the doctor that I really wasn't comfortable when all of the attention is on me. He said, "The fact that you're not actually makes this kind of fun." At which point I pushed again and shot some fluid over his head! I told him he needed to wear the full head gear protection. The delivery was actually kind of fun because I was so relaxed and was able to enjoy the moment rather than writhing in pain. He was born at 3:41pm and weighed 7lb 7oz and was 20" long. I love Dr. West! He said I needed to keep having babies because he was going to miss seeing me in the office and I make him laugh. Ahh, that's so sweet. I guess I will miss him a little too but I will definitely NOT miss being pregnant. A few years ago, my two sisters, myself, and my sister-in-law all had baby girls within like 9 months of each other and Dr. West delivered them all. We took a picture of all four girls wearing their little shirts that read "Dr. West and Christie took care of mommy and me." He told me a few weeks ago that he still has it hanging in his office and he loves it. I thought that was so neat because he is one of the most popular and busiest OB/GYNs in Boise. After the delivery, my mom brought the kids over and Adam's parents showed up too. Everyone was anxious to know his name but we were still VERY undecided. Don't ask me how we ended up with Archie Benjamin. I'm still having second thoughts although it's quite a process to legally change someones name after you have submitted the paperwork. Oh well, we've been calling him Archie and we figure if we don't end up liking it then we can start calling him Benjamin instead. I like that it's different. I like that it's old. I like that it's on the top 10 list in Britain but not even on any list here in the US. I kind of like the shock value of it as well. We've seen/heard of wrinkled noses when people hear his name. My mom hates it. Anyway, he's healthy and happy, he's a great little nurser, and he will be circumcised this Friday in the doctor's office, poor little guy. James and Ruby have been very cute and sweet with little Archie. They love to hold him and smother him with kisses. James cheered in the background when Adam called my mom to let her know that the baby was finally here. James always talks about how much he loves the baby. The four days or so following delivery were pretty rough due to post-partum edema. I was so swollen everywhere-- my feet barely fit into my shoes. It was very uncomfortable and pretty depressing that I wasn't dropping any weight yet because my body wouldn't release the excess fluid. But, my body finally started flushing itself out and I am now very anxious to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. It took a week with James and two or three weeks with Ruby. I'm really afraid that, with number three, it's going to be different with an old stretched out uterus and all. I feel very grateful to have a healthy, beautiful baby boy and that labor and delivery was quick and easy. I'm grateful that I had a healthy pregnancy despite the awfulness of the first trimester. There is nothing that compares to holding a newborn. The way he smells, his breath, his sweet little head are so intoxicating. He's a little miracle. It is amazing to me that he grew inside of me from a single cell into a normal, healthy human. How can anyone hold a newborn and not feel the stirrings of eternity?
Last week I attended my first parent-teacher conference with James' kindergarten teacher. I was excited to receive her report on how James was doing in school. She said she has to constantly remind herself that he is only five because he is far beyond the maturity of all the other kids in the class; that he is a very good example to the others and she thinks of him as the 'wise old man' of the class. She also noted his impressive ability to grasp concepts quickly, to think deeply, and draw meaning and metaphor from things that the other kids don't really even get. Wow! I was sort of blown away. Of course, I knew going into the meeting that James is smart and obedient but I just assumed he was a pretty typical five year old. His teacher also said that she immediately thought of him when she was asked to consider kids in her class that would do well in the GATE program. She said that he wasn't eligible this year but not be surprised if his teachers in the future recommend him for the program. Wow! Coming away from that meeting, I actually felt validated as a parent. It is one of the few times when I felt like I must be doing something right to raise such a great kid. If only that feeling would last. I also walked away thinking that I really needed to ease up on him a bit and that I expect too much from him as a five year old. Pretty good parent day that day! I love my little James. He loves to play this little game where he tries to tell me how much he loves me. Usually, it's all the way up to Saturn and as big as the whole town and as big as our house. Then I tell him that I love him even more than that, all the way to the sun, and he gets this cute little smile on his face. I know someday, sooner than I realize, that I will yearn for those conversations with him. For now, I'll treasure the time I have.
All of the cousins before they headed out trick-or-treating. What a fun group! We were fortunate enough that some friends from our old ward were able to join us at our ward Halloween party. These were James' closest friends in our old ward. He sure misses them and was so excited to see them there. These pictures are out of order and I couldn't rearrange them. Oh well. This is James at the Fireman's Memorial in Boise which is also right next to the training facility for fireman. He was so excited to watch the fireman roll up their hoses and practice shooting water, etc. I wonder if he'll ever grow out of this phase, not that I want him to or anything. I love his imagination and his love of trucks, especially fire trucks. We went to some community trunk-or-treats the Saturday before Halloween. It was fun. I think it's safe to say that we got a lot of good use out of the kids' costumes. This is James' firetruck. It actually turned out pretty cute. The lights in front and on top actually work. Everyone loved it wherever we went which made James beam with pride. It was pretty easy to do and worked out really well when it was dark outside. His little headlights kept a safe walking path for the other kids. Again, the pics are out of order. The weather was so beautiful for a few weeks leading up to Halloween and we tried to take advantage of the waning warmer temps by playing outside as much as possible. This is at our favorite spot on the river. We would walk from our house over to BSU (beautiful sidewalks-- perfect for big wheels!) with his stupid gun around his neck (thanks Adam) and the kids would spend forever just playing in the sand, throwing rocks, playing rescue games, gathering sticks, and finding all kinds of treasures. I sure hate to see winter come. It is my least favorite time of year.
Thanks everyone for the support and encouragement. I am feeling better. We finally got some closure on a situation that has been going on for two years and I think that has helped. I also had my doctor prescribe something. Oh yeah, and I've been sleeping better which I think has been the biggest factor in my feeling better. Here's hoping for a slightly early delivery!