I am so excited to post that I have a new daughter! Ruby Josephine was born at 1:15 am on April 1st, 2013. She weighed in at 9 lbs even and was 22 inches long! Everyone was shocked at her size. She’s such a big girl! I love her chubby cheeks and strong legs. She also has full grown eyelashes! They are so pretty!
On Saturday March 30th we were at Dave’s mom’s home having an Easter party. The kids were in dyeing eggs and I wasn’t feeling so hot. I was crashed out on the couch trying to de-swell my ankles when I had a contraction that was really strong. I didn’t really pay that much attention to it until I felt the next one about 19 minutes later. I started paying attention to them and realized I had had 5 strong contractions in one hour. We got the kids and headed home so I could rest. At home I had a couple more but they were spacing back out so I wrote it off as false labor and went to sleep. All night long I dreamed I was in labor and then finally at 3:00 am the contractions started waking me up. They were still about 15 minutes apart so I slept between them. At about 7am, I just couldn’t take it anymore so I got up and drank some Red Raspberry Leaf tea, ate some breakfast, and hopped into my giant bathtub to soak. In the tub the contractions got a bit stronger and closer together. I stayed in the tub for 4 hours. Dave took pictures of the kids finding their Easter baskets and got them ready for church. He took them to church and as soon as he left with them the contractions picked up. They became 4 minutes apart and some were lasting 2 minutes long. I used a baby sling to wrap my belly to encourage the baby to drop and get into correct position and then I started walking around the backyard. My dog was fascinated with my walking. For a while she followed me around and around and then she stopped and laid down and just watched me. I started to really feel that this might be baby day so I called my sister who was my photographer and my doula and told them they could come over.
Julia, my doula got there first. We sat at the dining room table and talked and laughed and I continued to have strong contractions about 4-6 minutes apart. It was my goal to labor a long time at home and then to go to the hospital to have my epidural. My labors are usually quite long and drawn out so we expected it to be a few hours yet. A little while later my sister came and a bit after that my kids and Dave got home from church. We were just hanging out talking and contracting when a friend stopped by with some yummy sugar free chocolate dipped strawberries for me. What a delicious treat! I ate quite a few of them. (Thank you Tina!)
After a while the contractions started getting even stronger. I had one that felt extremely strong and I told everyone that I felt like it was time to go to the hospital. I had so many strong contractions on the way that I started worrying that we weren’t going to make it there. How disappointing it was then when we got there and they checked me and told me that I was only 3 cms dilated. I couldn’t believe it! I tried not to let it get me down but I was also pretty set on having a baby. The contractions were really strong still. They let me labor for an hour and when the midwife came to recheck me I was 4 cms. They agreed to keep me, even though I wasn’t really in “active labor”. We decided to start pitocin to get the contractions to do more work and to help the baby move down. I decided to hold off on the epidural for a while so that I could be upright and use gravity to help baby move down as she was still ballottable (not engaged in the pelvis/floating).
For the next six hours I labored attached to an IV pole and monitors. I rotated from the birthing ball to standing to sitting on a stool. The contractions were really strong and sharp but they were still manageable. I decided I wanted to wait as long as I could to get the epidural in hopes that it would bring the baby lower down into my pelvis. The midwife was great keeping an eye on me. She noticed that I was tensing my shoulders and helped me relax. Then Julia, my doula massaged my shoulders during each contraction. I was amazed how well I was able to handle the pitocin contractions. The midwife kept a close eye on me, knowing I did want the epidural at some point. I knew when I had a certain intensity contraction that I would be ready.
At one point near 11:30 pm I had a contraction that told me I was ready for the epidural. I immediately asked for it and there was a lot of commotion. Julia, my doula, had gone out to grab a drink and when she came back she was surprised to see everyone in action! The anesthesiologist had been on standby and he immediately came in. My family went out and they started the epidural process. The contractions were insane! I couldn’t believe how strong they were and staying still for the epidural placement was pure torture. The epidural did not go in easily or painlessly but thankfully when it was in, it began to work quickly and was very efficient. My only complaint was that I got the shakes. But the amount of pain relief was perfect. My family came back in at about 11:45. They checked me and I was at 6 cms. A few minutes after that, my water broke on it’s own. After about a half an hour I was still feeling the contractions in my bottom. I told the nurse this and she immediately wanted to check me. She said I was 8 cms and we would be having a baby soon! 15 minutes later I was at 10 cms and baby was +2 ready to be born. It seems my plan to use gravity had really helped to bring the baby down. I pushed through three contractions, about 9 pushes in all and she was out! I got to help pull her up onto my chest and I got to check to see if she was a boy or a girl! Everyone was overjoyed that we had another little girl! Sadly there was meconium in the water and she was gurgly so they had to cut the cord and suction her out. The midwife looked at me and we both said what was on our minds…that’s a big baby! We were expecting a 7-8 pounder. From the table they called out “Twenty-two inches!” and I just couldn’t believe it! My longest baby!
As soon as the NICU team was finished making sure her lungs were clear she was immediately put skin to skin with me and it was bliss. Right away she started rooting. I asked them to weigh her before I nursed her. They quickly did and called out 8lbs 15.9 oz or basically 9 lbs even! Wow a big girl! I was so surprised! After that she came back to me so I put the back of my bed up and started nursing her. She was a pro nurser from the start and I didn’t have any trouble getting her to latch. She has the longest eyelashes I have ever seen on a newborn and the sweetest jowels. What a beautiful baby girl! I am over the moon!
And here are the lovely birth pictures my sister, Angela Galloway, took for me! Enjoy!