Posted in Blog, Featured, Mother, Shawna, Wife

Ruby’s birth story

Editor’s Note: I wrote this about two days after Ruby was born, on June 5. I didn’t want to forget anything! Not sure how I ever could. With Ruby nearly six months old now, I thought I should share it already :)! 

Ruby grins at one day old

My beautiful, mellow Ruby Katherine came in the wee hours of Friday, June 3– her due date. I have just been enjoying the heck out of her since then, though my hollow uterus feels so weird!!

Hubby and I had just shut out the light at around midnight Thursday night/Friday morning after having kind of a rough time getting my 23-month-old daughter down. Within five minutes of my shutting out the light, I felt a low slamming in my pelvis and heard and felt a light pop, almost like when my water broke with Quinn two years previously (which didn’t happen that time until after 6 hours of labor and when I was 10 centimeters dilated). I got up to go check, but I wasn’t leaking at all. I had the same light cramps and pelvic pains I’d had the previous two days, but nothing else going on. We went back to bed.

Within 30 minutes my contractions started, and they started HARD, less than four minutes apart and 1.5-2 minutes long. By the third one, I was on the toilet with intense diarrhea, and a few contrax later I was throwing up. It was then that my husband told me “This is really happening, honey,” which I really needed to hear because for whatever crazy reason I still wasn’t sure “this was it.” These were already not the early or middle contractions you can breathe through, but the late, transition contractions that have you yelling, grunting and trying not to swear (me, anyway!).

I think part of me knew I was already in transition even though it had only been 20 minutes or so, but the rest of me was just freaking out at how intense the feelings were and I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to make it. I remember really going in to the zone with Quinn, but this time my body was just racing too fast for the endorphins to catch up, and I was just hanging on for dear life! I have never prayed so hard, and it was sometimes for strength and sometimes for salvation but mostly just for it to be over, however that might be ;)…I just keep thinking Oh no I am still so alert! When am I going to get foggy headed already? Help me!!

Remember, this is only 30 minutes in, but hubby has the foresight to call the midwife, who says she will be there as fast as she can, and to start filling up the birth tub (ha, ha!). It was the hardest thing I ever did, letting him go downstairs to get the tub ready. He was so fast too, maybe a minute, tops. But I was alone on the front of a freight train, with my head in a bowl, trying to escape. I think we were both in serious denial about how far along I already was. (Ruby was nearly in my arms by the time the tub was ready to go!) He also called my sister, who had just moved back to Seattle FOUR HOURS earlier after years of living in other cities for years.

Anyway, another 25 minutes of me hanging on the back of a freight train, barfing my guts out, sitting on the toilet and pooping and yelling NO but trying to remember to picture an opening rose, an opening anything, anything even remotely positive or having to do with my baby. I couldn’t move, couldn’t even lift my head, the vomit was just pouring out of my mouth and hubby was catching it in different bowls. Suddenly, the fog descended over me. It was still so intense and painful, but I started to drift off a little. I was so relieved. I surrendered completely. Hubby was able to carry me to the bed. My contractions were right on top of each other at this point. My hubby, resident tailbone pressure applier, later said I was just catatonic all the sudden.

It was right about then that my midwife and sister got there. I don’t even remember seeing my sis at all. I know she took the baby monitor so she could attend to my toddler if she woke up (her room is right next to ours and she slept through the whole thing!!). My midwife was asking me questions and I couldn’t form the words to answer for a long time. I had stopped barfing, though, and felt very feverish and far away. She checked my vitals and all was well. Baby was so happy and strong!! Didn’t check my cervix- she said later that she knew instantly that I was already complete and was just waiting for me to figure it out. I should have known that the few minutes of near “calm” meant that, especially with the baby’s head already pushing against me, but I was just so in denial that I could already be at that point in less than two hours. My midwife’s assistants arrived a few minutes later, and greeted me. I couldn’t even form the concept of what I was supposed to do in response.

So when the urge to push came, a few minutes later, I declared that I needed to poop again, somehow forced myself over to the toilet and I think I sort of started to figure it out then. I was still yelling and screaming through intense contractions. My midwife came next to me and told me that I could sit on the toilet but that I shouldn’t push there. Still didn’t quite get it, but I looked at her and said “I’m not going to poop, am I?”

I got back on to the bed on my side and my midwife lifted my leg and I started screaming for compresses, which of course she was already pushing in to me :). Hubby was pushing hard on my tailbone. My midwife said I could push whenever I felt like it. I really, really felt like it but I just couldn’t believe it. It had been less than two hours since this all started. “Are you sure?” I asked. She said if I felt like it, yes. Then my water broke, but it was so subtle, it just started burbling out as baby’s head was right there blocking its exit. So I started pushing, then resting as I felt like it. Within about four pushes, maybe 10 minutes had passed tops and baby’s head was crowning. The ring of fire was as I remembered it, but I was mostly just washed with gratitude and relief to already be pushing, to almost be done, to not be throwing up anymore. I pushed again and tried to hold back, but her whole body just shot out of me. She started squalling, gurgling as she was still partway in her bag of waters. She was beautiful and healthy and it felt so heavenly to have her out!!

She was 6 pounds, 10 ounces, 20 and 3/4 inches tall, and had dark hair and the cutest little high cheekbones! I was in love again and hubby and I snuggled her.

My placenta came not even five minutes later. I had some really mild skids that didn’t need stitches. My baby girl wanted to nurse almost immediately and successfully latched almost right away (something that NEVER, in 18 month of nursing, happened without a nipple shield with my first daughter).

I just wish I had known that my labor would only be 2 hours! I could have handled that freight train ride so much better! I apologized to everyone after but they all said I did amazing and claimed they didn’t know what I was talking about ;). My first birth involved two nights, eight hours each of regular practice/early labor before the actual birth day, which lasted about 11 hours– it took me five hours to get from 5 cm to baby in my arms, so it was a fairly fast first birth once it got going, but nothing crazy.

This time, my midwife was at our house for only 41 minutes before my daughter was out, and her assistants were here only 28 and 14 minutes before. I was already complete before any of them got here, and felt the urge to push– I was just in such denial. My husband had been saying for months that he was scared he would have to deliver the baby himself, and we all laughed and reassured him there was just no way. Poor guy. He was so right!!

I feel so blessed to have her here with me so early. My first daughter came on her own 14 days late as I stared down an induction. It was very stressful. To have this little one start her own birth at the stroke of midnight on her due date is a more marked contrast than I could have ever dreamed of.

My daughter Quinn is also already an amazing big sister. I am so grateful to her for her sweetness and her empathy. She relinquished so much of her beloved mommy without a fight, telling me I need to kiss the baby and hold the baby, and getting misty eyed whenever her little sister cries. She loves holding and kissing her and is so, so gentle and loving. We are so blessed and love our little family!

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  1. She was born in the caul?!? Soooo special!

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