In keeping up with the last few Tuesday’s Tidings posts that involved my pregnancy updates, some of you have followed our journey since the beginning of the year when we found out we were pregnant, so I felt it was only fitting to share Ruby’s birth story on here. Not just to share, because bringing a baby into the world is quite possibly the most beautiful and magical experience, but for me, so that I can always come back and read about it later, before all details become mushed together in my memory! We won’t be sending out an email about this, or doing a ton of sharing on social media, or anything like that, but if you like happy baby stories, read on…
You should know that every single day for the past four weeks Christian has asked me if I was going to go into labor. I, of course, had no idea, but my body was definitely doing a lot of things that would give us the impression that labor could be anytime.
At my last appointment, I was 5 cm dilated, which was encouraging because I was halfway there, but after getting my membranes swept at my appointment a week earlier, nothing had happened (other than a lot of contractions!), except that I was in a considerable amount of discomfort and becoming more and more emotional and anxious.
On Monday, September 11th, I sent my brother a Happy Birthday text and we joked about how Ruby could still be his birthday twin. Little did I know that I would be delivering her later that night! Josh was out meeting with a client on Monday, but was back home in the afternoon.
I had just settled onto the couch, eating my salad from Trader Joe’s and looking through Pioneer Woman’s new magazine when my stomach started feeling weird and I began contracting again. I was pretty tired of timing contractions at this point because they always withered off and I had already been to labor and delivery once (overnight!) and been sent home. But after timing the contractions for nearly two hours and walking around with the contractions not disappearing, I decided to call my doctor’s office and see what they thought I should do, since I knew I would already be in town to get my nails done (That never happened.).
I was told to go to the Birthplace at our hospital to get checked out and take it from there. We got to the hospital around 4 pm and I got all hooked up to the monitors to track her heartbeat and my contractions…and at this point, the contractions were still there, but slowing down. But before we left again, my doctor, who happened to be working, wanted to stop by and see me. When she got there, we discussed different plans, and agreed that, since I was almost 6 cm dilated now, if I hadn’t gone into to labor by Thursday, we would induce. Then, after taking another look at my contractions, on second thought my doctor said, “You want to just have this baby today?” I said yes!
She swept my membranes again to get things going before and said she was going to go home, have dinner with her family and put her little son to bed and come back to help me deliver Ruby. She only said that I couldn’t go into labor before 8 pm because she wouldn’t be back before then (jokingly). At 6:30, after I had finished dinner, I was contracting regularly, and they started talking about breaking my water to help things along.
By 7:45, we were breaking my water and I was definitely to 6. Ten minutes later I was beginning to have very strong contractions 2-3 minutes apart that seemed to last forever! Seriously, I went from laughing, “Bring on the pain so I can meet my daughter!” to not speaking at all and concentrating on my breathing, while giving Josh’s hand a death grip. Because I was contracting so well, there was no need for the pitocin or any other intervention to get things going any further, and when my doctor showed back up around 8:30 she looked at me and remarked, “I see were a bit more uncomfortable now!” Yes, yes I was!
Shortly after 8:30, Josh’s parents dropped Gracie off. We had talked at the beginning of my pregnancy about her being there for the delivery, which was something she wanted to do. She found a spot on the couch, out of the way while so much was going on.
At 8:50, I was dilated to 8 cm and could tell things were getting very close. I wanted something to take the edge off, but the only thing they could offer was an epidural, which I did not want (I’ve had tough recoveries after an epidural in the past), so I opted to take nothing at all. I felt like I need to push – the nurses were getting all their gear ready – and everything was happening so fast I could barely think through the pain. I just remember that when my doctor said she would be back in another 10-15 minutes to check me again, I was thinking, “No, please don’t go – I’m ready now!” But when she came back to check me, right on time, she exclaimed, “Oh, yeah! Let’s have a baby!”
From there on out, the whole thing is a blur! I can recall the nurses and my doctors setting the bed up for delivery – my doctor is a very neat and meticulous person, so she had drapes and cloths everywhere. They cut my band off that held the monitors in place and it was time to push…which was the most intense, painful, and incredible thing all in one. I was only coached on pushing and breathing and I was completely in control of my body – feeling the contractions guide me through each push and hearing Ruby’s heartbeat get quieter and quieter as she moved through my body and just before her head came through, I heard my doctor say that she had a full head of hair! I kept thinking, arguing with my brain that I couldn’t do it, that the pain was too much, but the pain is what drove me closer to meeting her and I knew I could do it!
The only voices I could hear were Josh’s encouragement about how close I was to meeting her and my doctor, now directing me to grunt a little with each push, which helped push her out even more. And then, one last final push and she was out and placed onto my stomach while they got the cord situated. I kept repeating over and over again, “She’s here,” and trying to pull her closer, but I kept hearing someone tell me it was a short cord and to wait a second. Josh cut the cord and Ruby was brought up to my chest. She laid there and whimpered a bit, but was mostly silent, blowing bubbles with her cute little mouth and nuzzling into my body while the placenta was delivered and I was cleaned up.
She and I laid together for an hour and I was able to nurse her “successfully” for 40-45 minutes – which is a big feat for me because nursing is just one of those things that has never worked very well for me. But it was beautiful and sweet and time stood still during that first hour. I love that the hospital does that now! As soon as she was done, my nurse went to weigh Ruby and get her straightened out, and Josh’s parents brought Eden and Christian in to meet their new little sister.
Ruby Gladys Louise was born less than two hours after having my water broken and after only seven minutes of pushing. She was born with a beautiful head of red hair, weighing in at 7 lbs 3 oz, 19.5 inches long at 9:33pm.
I can honestly say that she is truly an answer to prayer, and while I can remember and rejoice and celebrate our family before she was born, I can’t imagine her not being in our family now! In the short week that she has been with us, I’ve seen more joy and pride in my children than ever before. I’ve melted a million times over at the way Josh cares for her and loves her, and fallen in love with him more as he cares for me and little Ruby.
We’re so overjoyed that she’s finally here and in our family. Life just got more extraordinary because she’s in it!
“She is more precious than rubies, nothing you desire can compare with her.” Proverbs 3:15 (NIV)