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Ruby's Birth Story

Thursday, August 21, 2014

So, obviously - I'm a little behind in updating my SparkPeople blog... but my daughter was just born! :D And I wanted to memorialize the story before it is too long out of my mind.

TL;DR Version -

Due date: 8/24

Ruby Arrived: 8/15, no meds all natural, 11:56 PM, 8lbs 7.4 oz, 20.5 in

For the full details:

Slightly earlier in the pregnancy, my Maya Abdominal Therapy doctor commented during one of our sessions on how much space my baby had in me and that especially considering that first time moms average about 10 days late, and that I had all this extra room - I had a good chance of going very late. So she suggested I try some acupuncture as well as the MAT to prepare my body for labor and help prevent myself from going super late. I had been interested in trying acupuncture for some time, so I was like sure! Why not!

Pregnancy treated me well - I had a very smooth pregnancy with few complaints and while people kept saying things to me like "I BET YOU'RE READY to have that BABY!" Like I was some tortured soul being burdened with late pregnancy... it really wasn't bad for me at all. I was always like - "No, I'm good. :) " Very content to go with the flow and even go late. I was prepared to go late.

So in my MAT sessions, she started doing a couple of techniques in my last two sessions that are specifically designed to help ripen the cervix and prepare the body. I also started acupuncture in those weeks. After those techniques and acupuncture on week 37, I started to see some loss of the mucus plug and was like - oh, hey - things are happening after all, maybe I won't go late! My sister and many other women will lose that early and not go into labor, so I was still not at all concerned about going early, but excited rather that it might not be a long long wait.

After my next MAT session, I even got a little pink in it. Then Thursday 8/14 I had another acupuncture session - after the session, my doctor asked if I had any contractions while I was there or felt anything. Nope. She said the stimulus is sometimes so great that women just start having contractions right then, even if they don't progress later. I honestly wasn't expecting a huge reaction from the acupuncture, but was happy to try and didn't think much of the fact that I didn't get a reaction then.

But after that session, I had more menstrual cramp like feelings that I had been having occasionally for a week or two - nothing severe or tightening, just feeling like things are moving down into place I felt. I also had more of the mucus.

That night I woke up several times to go to the bathroom feeling crampy - late pregnancy thing for me, if I don't pee soon enough, get a cramp, go pee - cramp goes away. So I didn't think much of the cramping until the morning when I noticed I woke up 4 times in a row about 15 minutes apart. HA! Timing! So I started using a contraction timer app and yep, these sensations were coming regularly.

I figured that they would probably stop and go away - so many women I've been talking to (either friends who are also currently or recently pregnant, and women from a group I met online for Due in August babies) have had some contractions that didn't go anywhere at least once (some several times) before going into actual labor. I had never had any noticeable Braxton Hicks even except one that tightened part of my stomach (no pain). So I figured this was just a pre-cursor, took it as another good sign, and drove my husband to work.

Well, I continued to labor all day as a matter of fact - the contractions did not progress in a very linear way, so I wasn't convinced still. When it was time for DH to come home from work, I was around 5-7min apart (still unconvinced it was the real deal) so he got a ride home. Since things kept happening all day and most were less than 10 minutes apart, I figured we should get prepared just in case. He packed a hospital bag for me and I commented that we didn't even have any baby clothes washed. While he was packing the bag, I was progressing - when he came down with bag packed and a bundle of baby clothes to go into the laundry, I had to say - "I don't think we have time for that! We have to go to the hospital!" I had at that point had several contractions that were less than 2 minutes apart, and getting more intense. So off we went!

I should mention that early in the day I contacted my doula to let her know things were maybe happening, and I called my OB office when I was around 5min apart as well. I didn't believe I was going all the way so I declined to come into the hospital at that point to be checked. As a matter of fact, I declined being checked in my OB visits, too, because I figured I didn't really need to know before I was in labor anyway. haha! So, at that time when we left I contacted everyone again to be like - just kidding, we're going to the hospital now.

We arrived at the hospital at about 9PM, and walked through the hospital wings to get to the elevator for the right section to go up to Labor & Delivery. So far to walk for a woman in labor, but moving is good for it and it wasn't that bad. My doula is waiting for us right outside the ward and we head on in and check in. I had been hoping to try a water birth, submitted all the right protocols - but they only have one water birthing room at the hospital with the appropriate tub, and it was occupied when we arrived so we got checked into a regular room.

I tested positive for Group B Strep, so they needed to try to put an IV in me to give me a dose of antibiotics. First they monitored me and the baby and gave me a check - 5cm dilated, fully effaced. So glad to hear I was at least that far along although considering how close things were contraction wise and the intensity I thought it was possible I might be a bit farther, that was pretty close to what I had hope to hear.

They had a real struggle getting the IV in, I have bruises on my forearms. They ultimately got it in my hand, but all the while prior to that and during, my contractions are getting more intense and even closer. By the time they get the IV in, I'm basically back to back.

I should also mention at this point that someone from church jinxed us. He kept saying over and over that we were going to have her on the 15th because that's his birthday. We were like no way, I'm going late, that's over a week early, yaddayadda. So DH is telling the medical staff that when we come in, how he jinxed us and everyone's like - oh well, she's probably going to be born on the 16th at least so don't worry.

So back to me in labor, I've moved about a bit during the process, walked, gone in the bathroom, bent over, etc. - but I think I spent most of my time on the "birthing ball" which is really just maternity talk for a stability ball. At a certain point I could tell I wasn't getting enough release between contractions so I climbed to lay on my side in the bed, and that was great for a while so that I could really completely relax my body between contractions, since I had so little time at that point between them, I needed all the help I could get. Things got super intense after that so I'm glad that I was in that position. I realized around here that I really kept my eyes closed almost the whole labor process - I was zoning.

DH was the most amazing support ever. He was constantly there, rubbing my back, my shoulders, doing counterpressure, hip squeezes, talking to my about my breathing, saying reassuring things. At one moment when I had my "I can't do this" statement, we happened to get a moment alone in the room and he prayed for me - a very special moment. He wins best supporting actor award, for sure. Out of all women's labors ever. Obviously.

My doula was there also giving reassuring and calming touches, and vocalizing in soothing ways throughout. Because DH was so physically supportive and close, she was not as much in that particular way, but she did at times when needed and was basically the perfect extra support person to have in the room. I found out after the fact that she also helped stop the doctors from getting carried away and clamping the cord before a delay. So glad because I was in another world at that point.

So - back to the labor again. I'm on the table, in the most incapacitating pain I've ever felt. I couldn't imagine that my body could feel something like that - but I did, and I was handling it (not gracefully, but it didn't kill me so it made me stronger, right?). At times I even remember breathing through it and not just flailing around like a nincompoop. I was really feeling the pressure that she was coming, and I said something about it but then I just said "I need to get it out!!" And DH started laughing, the doctors seemed to think that was inappropriate of him but I didn't mind. :) They checked me and in fact, yes - I was 10cm dilated and ready to go.

It was around 11pm. So in 2 hours I went from 5cm to 10cm, and the doctors still figured Ruby was arriving at least on the 16th. Well... no. I start pushing and I'm great at it apparently, because she was born at 11:56pm - just squeaking in on the 15th.

I did have some tearing, 2nd degree they call it - apparently that is a pretty typical amount. I was hoping for the water birth to help in that respect, but alas - it was not meant to be.

Aside from DH being an amazing support throughout, he was making the medical staff laugh the whole time. I wasn't able to join in, I was a bit preoccupied. If we had arrived in earlier labor and I had any time between contractions I am sure I would have been laughing, too - as it was, it made me feel good and I appreciated it inside even though I couldn't show it because my body was too busy dealing with the contractions. I have to memorialize my favorite line - when the pushing got going and they see that she has lots of hair, he said," You made a baby AND a toupee!" HAHAHAHA!

I couldn't even believe it when she was brought up toward me... a baby! An actual baby! I was pregnant, and had a bump, but now she's a person. (Well she was there all along...) It was the most mindblowing moment and it's still mind blowing.

Thoughts on natural birth, etc.:

So, it's not like a marathon. But it is. It's more intense, more painful... but the similarities are so strong that I understand why people always make the comparison.

When I was going into transition, and I said I can't do it - well guess what. That is mile 20-22 - that time when you're so far yet so far away. Physically you're REALLY starting to feel it and you're not sure you can hold it together. Mentally you are flailing, searching for hope. Finishing that stage and pushing? That's like seeing that mile 25 marker. You still have more than a mile to go, that's nothing to sniff at when you've just run 25. Your body is feeling everything but now you really see the end in sight and you KNOW you're going to make it no matter what. You physically often get a second wind and things start feeling better. Entering that stage in labor was the best because I finally got a break between contractions again. Between pushing sessions I could really relax and refocus. I won't try to tell anyone that the pain experienced is the same, transition is like living the last dying parts of a PR pace 5K for wayyyy longer than you experience that feeling in the 5K itself hahahaha. But the mental game is reallllllly the same. I thought it sounded like something that would help me ahead of time, and in the experience it really did.

So that is my story - or Ruby's story? And now we get to move on to the next stage in life.

After I get some recovery weeks behind me, I think I will likely be returning to regular SparkPeople use to get some mojo going in the health and fitness arena again. For now I'll just leave you with a couple of pictures:

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