So, yeah…I haven’t felt much like updating this lately.
Can you tell?
It’s really that I’ve been crazy busy, and given that I work in front of this computer screen all day, the last thing I really want to do when I’m done working is look at it more.
But, today is my sweet little baby girl’s FIRST BIRTHDAY, so something had to be said.
And since I never finished her effing birth story (seriously, in a year, never finished it), I thought I better just go ahead and post what I did write. And I have to say, it’s been really fun going back over the details and thinking about the night (that long, loooooong night) that my sweet little baby Ruby came into our lives.
A proper birthday post with all of the fun baby book details should follow next week, along with some nauseatingly sweet photos of the birthday girl on her special day.
Leaving for the hospital…look at that woman full’a baby!
Well, I’m finally getting around to writing miss Ruby’s birth story. She’s almost 10 days old, and life seems to get more hectic every day, so I thought I should go ahead and get started.
(Edited to add that I’m still working on it, and she’s going to be 4 weeks old in a couple of days…
Edited again to add that her first birthday is in two days, and I’m just now finishing it…I suck)
So, let’s see…after the 34 week appointment where I learned that Ruby was sideways, we tried lots of different things to get her to turn. Apparently, something worked, because at my 36 week appointment, she had turned head down. I had my first internal exam of the pregnancy and learned that I was 2cm dilated and about 50% effaced. I was gearing up for a much earlier baby. I also learned that I tested negative for Group B Strep, which was a relief. Right after the doctor’s appointment, I left for my home town, and then left there to go to Georgia for my Great Aunt’s retirement slumber party weekend.
At my 37 week appointment, I was 3cm and 75% effaced. Now I was starting to think that this baby wouldn’t be so early. At this appointment, the doctor mentioned that I could start thinking about a date, 7 to 10 days before my due date, for an induction. I told her that I’d like to avoid that if possible, and told her about Sadie’s birth, and walking into the hospital for my induction 7cm dilated. I would end up repeating this story at every appointment after this.
That Saturday, we had our baby shower at The Godmother’s house. The Godmother and “Big Ruby” (our dear friend who has the same name as my little one) did a fantastic job! Everything was so cute, and it was so much fun seeing Sadie and Rose (Big Ruby’s daughter) play most of the day. Those girls are so precious, and I can’t get over how much they’ve grown! The Godmother said that Ruby could come any time now, since the party was over. The Godmother said she wasn’t allowed to go to her own shower.
The night of the shower, when I got home, I started having some pretty uncomfortable pains. I timed them for about 45 minutes before I realized that they were gas pains. Awesome.
My 38 week appointment was on Tuesday, and I was still 3cm dilated and about 75-80% effaced. The doctor kept saying how low she was, which I had heard at the past three appointments. I was starting to feel BH contractions more frequently, especially when I was in the bath tub. By this point, I was taking baths every night. There were several times when I thought they were getting more regular, and mentioned to Kyla that tonight might be the night, but nothing ever happened.
For the rest of the week, I tried to get work done and get things settled around the house. I never really had a burst of energy, but there were days when I wasn’t quite so tired. I usually got exhausted about mid afternoon, and had to doze a few times on the couch while Sadie played and watched cartoons.
Friday morning felt different just about from the time I got up. Again, I didn’t have a ton of energy, but I felt like work things were much more urgent. When I got Sadie up that morning, I went into the living room with her while she watched her cartoons and ate her breakfast. After she was done eating, I got her out of her high chair. Shortly after that, she climbed up on the couch with me and snuggled in my lap for a good 20-30 minutes. I can’t tell you the last time she had done that…sat in anyone’s lap for a significant amount of time. It was wonderful, and now I’m so glad that I had that time with her before her sister came.
For the rest of the day, I hung out with Sadie, worked, answered emails, and napped a bit. Ruby had the hiccups a good bit of the day, and since she was so low, it felt like my butt was hiccuping. Sadie’s daddy got home, and I really wanted McDonald’s (which had, unfortunately, been a large part of our diet for the entire week). I kind of wanted a salad, because I felt like I should eat something light. I ended up not listening to my intuition, and had him get me a Big Mac (plain, with only cheese). I only regretted this decision a little bit later.
Ruby and Daddy
After dinner, Sadie got her bath and we put her to bed. When we let the water out of the tub after Sadie’s bath, we heard a gurgling in the kitchen sink. We called my dad, and asked his opinion. He repeated to me several times that the vent was probably clogged from squirrels putting stuff down in there and he said we should flush it out with the hose pipe. I said that I would get Kyla on that when he got off work the next day.
So, I decide that I’m going to take a bath. I’m not sure what time I got in, but it was a little while after Sadie went to bed, so it was sometime between 9:30 and 10:30. I get in the bath like I always do, and was soaking and trying to relax. I was in there about 15 minutes or so…maybe up to 30. There’s no clock in the bath room. Then, I felt something weird. It felt like a fart, but it wasn’t in my butt. I guess you could describe it as a “pop,” but I think fart works better. It felt like an inside fart.
I sit there a minute and wait to feel the “gush” you always hear about with water breaking. Didn’t feel it. So I got up on my knees to raise my butt out of the water to see if anything is coming out. Sure enough, there’s something dripping out. Seriously, it was like thick water. It wasn’t pee…it was thicker. It wasn’t like discharge…it was more watery, and there was more of it. It was unlike any other bodily fluid I had seen before (remember, I never really saw my water with Sadie, since I was in the hospital and trying to avoid looking down there by that point in the game).
So, I sit there watching it for a minute, and it hits me that my water has broken. I call Kyla in there and say “Babe! I’m leaking!!!”
We discuss for a few minutes whether or not my water has actually broken. At this point, I know it has broken, because what the hell else could this be, but we discuss it anyway. As we were discussing it, he kept walking off into other parts of the house. I’m standing (more like crouching, I guess) in the bathtub, trying to talk to him, and he’s already so worked up that he’s wandering around the house. Literally, just walking off as I’m talking to him.
I start to get out of the tub to go lay down, as I remember something at this point about if your water has broken, it will still come out when you’re laying down. He insists that this is not the best plan to determine the identity of the substance leaking out of me, and insists that I should stay in the large porcelain tub with a drain if I’m leaking anything. So, I stay there, standing in a tub full of water, watching something dripping out of me.
We discuss whether or not he should go ahead and call The BFF (our babysitter for Sadie), or my parents, or his parents, or the doctor, or if we should call anyone yet. I wanted to take a shower, since I was already in there and I knew that we still had a while, since I had no pain yet. And I really wanted to be clean going into this. He gets on the phone to call The BFF and my parents to let them know that something is going on and they should be ready.
My mom tells him that its probably not my water…how she came to this conclusion, I’m not sure. So Kyla comes back and tells me that my mom said my water probably hasn’t broken, and I’m like “yeah, it did…its not pee, its leaking constantly, A LOT, and there are little twinges of blood…CALL HER BACK AND TELL HER MY WATER BROKE!”
So, I get out of the shower and call the doctor. I have to say here that I am so happy that this doctor was on call. She’s one of my favorite docs at the practice, and I was super excited it was her. I told her that my water broke, and that I wasn’t in pain, and she says that I can stay home if I’m more comfortable there, and to come in if the contractions get closer together and start hurting, or whenever I’m ready. This is exactly what I wanted to do, and I’m so glad I didn’t have someone telling me to get to the hospital ASAP. I live five minutes from the hospital (if that) so I knew we’d make it, even if we waited until the last minute. She says that if I haven’t progressed by first thing in the morning, that I should go ahead and come in around 7AM.
Mommy and Ruby
So, Kyla calls The BFF, and tells her to come on over. Calls my mom and tells them to get on the road, as we will be going to the hospital first thing in the morning if we don’t go tonight. We call his parents and let them know so they can head this way also. I believe this was around 11 or 11:30.
Side note: According to my cell phone record, The BFF was called at 10:35 and 10:50. We had also talked that day around 12:30, when I think she had called to ask me if we had a baby yet
The BFF seriously got to the house like 10 or 15 minutes later. I wasn’t even totally sure that Kyla had told her to come on over when she showed up. She was awesome.
Now, since I got out of the shower, I had been walking around with one of Sadie’s diapers folded in half in my underwear, because I had never thought about the fact that I might need something to catch that fluid if my water broke at home, so I was totally unprepared. I walked around with diapers in my drawers for a good half hour until The BFF got there, and then we sent Kyla out to get me some pads.
It was so great to have The BFF there with me while we waited for my parents to get there and for something to start happening. I would have contractions every now and then, but they still just felt uncomfortable and didn’t really hurt, and they still felt like the BH contractions I’d had for weeks. These did slowly get more frequent, but otherwise, about the same. We hung out, talked, watched TV, but mostly just talked. Once Kyla got back, he and The BFF discussed the Gamecocks’ chances for the game the next day. I thought that was amusing.
Our precious baby girl
My parents got there, I think, around 1 or 1:30 in the morning. My parents got a speeding ticket near the traffic circle in this itty bitty town on the drive to here. These people have not had a ticket between them in 20 years, so this was also pretty amusing. I was so glad to see them! Honestly, having my dad there while I was in labor was not part of my original plan, but it ended up being alright. I just wasn’t as comfortable discussing the details of my experience with the room since he was in it. I also think it was hard for him to see me in pain like that, but I really wasn’t in a ton of pain at the house, so I don’t think it was too bad for him.
We all hung out (me, Kyla, The BFF, and my mom and dad), timed my contractions, and ate popcorn. I think my dad was watching golf a good bit of the time. And I ate most of the popcorn, primarily because everyone else was afraid to take it from me. I spent some time bouncing on the exercise ball that we got for Sadie’s physical therapy, and let me say that thing was awesome. It was much easier to squirm around and get comfortable through the contractions while I was on that thing.
We really only timed my contractions for one hour, because at the end of that hour, they were getting more uncomfortable and only about 4 to 5 minutes apart at the most.
Personally, I wasn’t really in a hurry. I was comfortable where I was, and didn’t really want to leave, but all of my helpers were getting pretty antsy, and worried that we would be too late (and it’s a good thing they did!)
We got ready to go, called the In-Laws and told them to meet us at the hospital, because we were about to have a baby.
My mom and dad took the their car and followed Kyla and I in ours. I don’t remember much about the drive to the hospital. it was quick, and I sat on a towel and drank water. I do remember that we weren’t really sure which parking lot to go to, and had to just kind of follow the signs to the emergency room. Oh, and Kyla hit a big old pot hole in the parking lot while I was having a contraction (awesome). We parked, got out, got our bags, and headed on in. I grabbed my pillow and purse, but no one would let me carry anything else. We walked into the emergency room and I think it was pretty obvious why we were there…you know, extremely pregnant woman, pillow, suitcase. I think I told them that I was in labor and that my doctor said she was going to call them to tell them to be expecting me. A nurse just walks up and is like “follow me.” None of the situation I had prepared myself for: arguing heatedly with a nurse about how I was going to have the baby in their waiting room if they didn’t get me to L&D STAT!!!
It was a piece of cake. This was about 3:30AM.
Wide awake…and not screaming (weird)
We go on up and go to the L&D check in. Kyla fills out some paperwork and we head to our room, L&D room 2. We had to kick my dad out immediately, because I didn’t really want him in there when I had to get into the backless hospital gown. I know he changed my diapers and all, but its nothing he needs to see now.
So, I get in the bed, they start hooking me up, asking me questions, etc. They ask if I’ve had any complications with a previous pregnancy or birth, and we tell them about Sadie and her heart problem, just in the interest of full disclosure, even though I doubted that information would be pertinent. Then the doctor comes in to check me and I’m already 6cm! Yay! The nurses were asking me if I was thinking about getting an epidural, and I told them about Sadie’s birth and about how I really wasn’t in pain yet, and they were very encouraging, telling me that I probably didn’t need the drugs. I was seriously floored, as I had been trying to prepare myself for a battle with the nurses about the epidural, and since I had heard all of these horror stories about women being pressured into the Pitocin and epidural and who knows what else that they didn’t want. It was really great, and I cannot tell you how amazing those nurses were.
Also during the epidural conversation, I mentioned that I probably would not need the epidural as much as I would just need someone to tell me to “just suck it up and do it.” The doc and nurse said that they wouldn’t say that to me, but my mom offered to be that person if it came down to it.
So, we get settled in…me, Kyla and my mom, and hang out for a bit. I was having contractions every 3 to 5 minutes at this point, but the pain was still pretty manageable. Then the anesthesiologist comes in to talk to us. We told him that I really wasn’t planing to get an epidural, and he was fine with that, and told me that we would have to do it right then if I wanted it, since I was already so far along. Then, he said that he had seen on my chart that our oldest child has Williams Syndrome. And here is the crazy part…he told us that his older brother has it. Seriously, WS is like 1 in every 10,000 or so live births, and our anesthesiologist just happens to have a brother with it.
He told us that his brother is 32, graduated high school, got his driver’s license (though they don’t like to let him drive by himself), and that he has a job. So, I’m sitting there, dealing with contractions that are getting more painful and closer and closer together, and now all I can think about is how heart wrenching it is for me every time someone tells me a story about a child with WS who goes on to achieve great things. Its not that I’m not happy to hear stories about people who haven’t had to deal with major medical issues and debilitating developmental delays. Its just that I don’t like to think that Sadie graduating high school is going to be one of her crowning achievements. I want to think that some kind of college level education is not only possible, but probable. I like to think that a relatively normal, and largely independent life is exactly what she’ll have, not what she might possibly be able to have. I don’t like to think about there being any limitations on what she can do in life, and I like to think that me keeping that mindset will eventually benefit her somehow.
This also brings Sadie to the front of my thoughts, which makes me think about whether or not our decision to have another child was the right one, an issue I had been struggling with since we found out I was pregnant. Was it fair to Sadie? Was it fair to the second child? Would we be able to provide for both of them the way that they each deserved? Was I wanting another child to fill some kind of hole…to be the child that I had wanted Sadie to be? Did I want another child so that someone would be there to take care of Sadie when we were gone? I hate these thoughts, and this whole situation just brought them all up.
The absolute most delicious meal I’ve ever had in my life…pure bacon ecstasy
Kyla and I had discussed all of this before, and felt very good about having another baby…but I just thought I’d share what was going through my head while I was seriously less than an hour away from having a completely un-medicated childbirth…you know, to show you how crazy I am.
Then, I started really feeling rough, with contractions coming almost on top of each other and almost taking my breath away when they came. I also started feeling a ton of pressure. I said something along the lines of “its been great talking to you but I really think something is going on now.” He said he had enjoyed talking to us as well, and said that since he didn’t handle that end, he’d go get someone.
My doctor came in a few minutes later and checked me. I was at 8cm. She said that I was feeling so much pressure because the baby was so low, and literally right there. She and the team of nurses who had come into the room rather quickly all filed out, and left us to it. This was around 4:30, I think, maybe closer to 5.
At this time, I was really feeling the contractions. They weren’t as bad as the contractions I had with Sadie that made me get the epidural, but they were rough. I started moving around and trying my best to get in a position that worked. It ended up that the most comfortable position was on my hands and knees, rocking back and forth. My poor little hospital gown was just hanging off of me, and no attempts to get it to cover anything worked, so I think I just forgot about it after a minute or two. I was just rocking back and forth, not caring about it all hanging out.
My mom and Kyla were fantastic. My mom rubbed my back and put pressure on the lower part of my back, which really helped ease the pain (just a tiny bit, but any little bit helped in that situation). They were telling me that I was doing great, and trying their best to get all of my crazy monitors situated. I had the IV hooked up, and had the contraction and fetal heart monitors on my stomach, but they would not stay on with me rocking in that position. I also had this horribly annoying blood pressure monitor that would check my bp every so often. It would inflate and squeeze my arm…drove me crazy. I remember thinking that I could deal with anything if that stupid thing wasn’t bothering the shit out of me every couple of minutes.
So, here is the amazing part. The nurse came in and said that she would see if they would let me take the monitors off, and just put them back on intermittently to check everything. How awesome is that?! So, she got it cleared, and was able to take the monitors off, which really made it so much easier to concentrate and move. It was amazing, and this woman was fantastic. I cannot put words to how much I loved her for that.
So, we’re rocking, and rubbing, and grunting, and wiggling, and being checked every few minutes. My mom was trying to talk me through it, and was being as encouraging as she could be. Then she said something about reaching deep down inside and finding the strength or something like that, and I think my words were “too much pep talk!!!” I was told later that the nurse chuckled at this. I felt terrible for about a second, because my mom was being so amazing and I didn’t want to snap at her, but I quickly decided I had more to worry about at the time, and made a mental note to apologize to her later.
This was the period of time when everything gets pretty blurry. I remember looking at my mom and thinking how happy I was that she was there with me. I remember looking at Kyla and thinking what a great job he was doing being there for me, and thinking how much I loved him. I thought about Dooce’s blog post about laying in her hospital bed, on her side, holding her husband’s hand and being totally calm and out of it before she gave birth with no meds. I thought about how I would punch her if I knew her and she was standing there at that moment.
First picture of Ruby, Mommy and Daddy
I remember thinking about how weird I sounded, grunting and half screeching. I cared for about a second if it sounded weird to anyone else, but I mostly just thought how it didn’t sound like me. I thought about how I wished I had that damn exercise ball, but I knew that it wouldn’t have helped that much either. I think I was doing about the only thing I could do at that time. And really, it sucked, and it hurt like hell, but it could have been way worse. I always had at least a few seconds to a minute in between the contractions, so I had at least a little time to breath and get ready for the next one.
I also remember thinking that this could not possibly go on much longer…and I was totally right.
I don’t even remember the feeling that brought this on, although I wish I did, so I could describe it. I think I felt like I had to poo, and I believe I told someone (my mom, Kyla?) that I was going to poo everywhere. But anyway, something made me realize that I needed to push. For Reals.
So, nurses come in and the doctor comes in and everyone is moving around and doing stuff. I had to lay back on the bed. I think I asked if I needed to or made some comment about it, about having to lay down. Of course I had to lay down and turn around…how else could they get to me to get the baby? So I lay down. Legs are up in the air, some nurse is holding a leg, and Kyla is holding the other. At least I think he was. He might have been holding my hand…I don’t know. All I know is I’m in major pain the second I lay down, and I’m grunting and screaming and who knows what else. Some nurse kept putting my hand on the inside of my leg so I could, like, pull my leg up towards me, and I kept moving it and putting it on the top of my leg, pushing my leg down. I actually spent time thinking about this (you know, a second maybe), but at that point, not too many thoughts were actually sticking in my head.
So, doctor is down there, telling me that the baby is right there, I’m fully dilated, I need to push, yadda yaddda yadda. I remember at this moment that they (people…the internet…that lady on Oprah) said that when you have the urge to push, that pushing actually eases the pain somehow.
It totally did not. It made it worse.
I think this is when I felt the “ring of fire.” I don’t remember a ring, but I literally felt like I was going to be torn in half if I kept pushing. Now, I had actually been pushing a little before the doc told me I could, because I couldn’t help it. My body was making me.
Looking back, it’s actually amazing to me how my body just took over and did what it had to do. I tried to stop pushing, because it hurt so bad, and I think I said something about how it was going to tear me in half, and then I said “I CAN’T DO THIS!!!”
I guess these were the magic words. Kyla later told me that a ton more people came in when I said that, like they were getting reinforcements ready.
I remember seeing my mom standing over by the window…I don’t know exactly what she was doing, but I assume she was trying to get out of the way of all of the staff that were surrounding me. I am happy that I remember where she was, because I don’t remember where anyone was when Sadie was born. But anyway, I saw my mom standing back behind everyone, and it made me feel a little better, just to see her. I don’t know if she told me to suck it up…I have no memory of her saying it, but at that moment, I remembered that she said she would. And I knew I just had to suck it up and do it.
Mommy and Ruby
Meanwhile, the doctor is giving me a speech that basically says “suck it up,” but in other, more tactful words. She says that I have to push, and that they can’t do anything for me. She says that there’s nothing else to do but push, and I just had to.
She said something about not yelling anymore and using that energy to push. Eff that…I had the energy to do both. I just had to get up the balls to do the one that hurt more.
So, I pushed.
And everyone’s like “there’s her head!” but they kept telling me to push more.
I distinctly remember thinking “HOW ABOUT ONE OF Y’ALL GET DOWN HERE AND DO IT THEN!”
I found out later that her head would be almost out, then I would stop pushing and it would go back in. Everyone is yelling “push push push push push!” and I’m yelling crazy caveman noises and pushing like there’s no tomorrow. It was harder to push with Ruby then I remember it being with Sadie, I guess maybe because it hurt this time. I kept thinking “isn’t she out yet?!” With Sadie, I remember the last push, and I remember her sliding out, but with Ruby, I don’t remember the exact moment she came out. The whole end of the road part is kind of a blur.
I think I had to push to get her head out, and then push again to get her shoulders. Don’t quote me on that though, because like I said, this part is kind of a blur already. I don’t think I was pushing for very long, maybe only 5 or 10 minutes, and I really only pushed maybe 3 good times, with a few little half pushes. But, at some point, I pushed, and out she came. But it was so amazing…the second she was out, the pain went away almost completely.
Ruby was born at 5:30 AM on Saturday, October 17. She was still pretty small, but not as small as Sadie. I didn’t know this when she was first born, but she was 5lbs. 12.5 oz, 18 inches long, and her apgars were 8 and 9.
Daddy and Ruby…36 hours after birth, getting ready to go home
They put her up on my chest as soon as she was born. She was filthy and wiggly, and her little eyes were about half open. I remember that she looked at me, and I was just floored by how alert she looked, being that she was only a minute or two old.
Ruby wasn’t crying when she was born, which alarmed me a bit. They got her over to the little table thing where they examine the baby, and then I heard her making noises, but it wasn’t the constant, ear piercing scream like her older sister did. It was just kind of a half scream, half grunt noise.
I still had some pain when I was pushing out the placenta. That’s something else I don’t remember about Sadie’s birth…pushing out the placenta. It was just like all of a sudden it’s out, and I saw it…and was pretty grossed out. So I didn’t even look at it when Ruby was born.
Almost the second she was out, it was like I came down off this huge adrenaline rush. It wasn’t really an exhausted or hungover feeling, but I could tell that my body was basically like “alright, done…done done done…now let’s sleep.”
I can’t remember now if she latched immediately. During the hour that we had her before they took her to get her first bath, she did latch on pretty well, and I was able to nurse her successfully before bath time.
Taking our little pumpkin home
Kyla was there with me, and we held our little baby girl, soaked her up, and basically just sat there in amazement at how the two of us could make such beautiful children. The whole pregnancy had been surreal to me, much more so than my first, and it was really like it finally hit me that we were having a second when she was in my arms.
Yeah, I know…I’m real quick.
The truth is that I didn’t know how I was going to feel. I wasn’t sure that I could love anyone like I love Sadie, and I was much more worried this time around than I was the last time. Worried about…well, everything.
But when I held that little angel in my arms, everything changed. I wasn’t sure I’d have enough room in my heart for anyone else, but our precious little Ruby came into our lives, quietly and sweetly, and showed us how easy it would be to fall completely in love with her.
That’s as far as I got, y’all. Funny how I wrote a novel about the “before,” and then got tired when I actually got to the good part. You know, the part where we actually have the baby on the outside.
I kcik myself now for not finishing it while I still remembered everything.
I didn’t get to the part where we kept switching rooms, or where little Ruby slept through the night from like the minute she was born, or where Kyla was yelling at a football game on the TV in the recovery room at 11 at night (after we’d been up for, like two days). I didn’t write about how my Mama called me on Sunday morning to ask where she could find some emergency money, because there was sewage coming up out of the drain in our bathtub and they didn’t have enough on them to cover the emergency plumber.
Yes, my bathroom was covered in shit just hours before we were supposed to come home.
I didn’t get to write about what an absolutely amazing husband I have, and how he was everything I needed him to be before, during, and after the birth. How he held my hand or my leg or whatever body part I needed him to, without question or complaint. Or how he almost fainted (seriously) immediately after she was out, from either exhaustion or adrenaline. I didn’t write about how he always knows what I need, humor or sweetness or just his being there. He was amazing.
Or how my BFF stayed with Sadie while everyone was at the hospital, and how The Godmother brought me a cupcake to the hospital (as a gift from her, the BFF, and Sadie). And how awesome everyone was who came to see us, and help us get through the first few days. My parents, Kyla’s parents, all our friends and family were there for us, and it was just so awesome.
And I didn’t finish writing about how much easier the first few days postpartum were after the un-medicated birth, or how Ruby was the easiest baby that ever existed.
Hopefully, I’ll get around to it one day.
But for now, I’ve got a sweet little girl in my arms who is growing up at an unbelievable pace, and I want to get in at least another half hour of snuggling before she goes to sleep.
Happy birthday, my sweet little girl. Words cannot say how much I love you, and how thankful I am to be your mommy.