It happened! On June 22, 6 days after her due date, our baby GIRL was born! I am just going to type up what I wrote for Rue in her "1000 First Days" book here. But first, a photo collage of the last month or so of iPhone photos to reward you all for putting up with the silence of my blog!
And now, the story.
"I thought I was going to have you early, but I was wrong! Labor technically began 3 days before you were finally born. Contractions were 15 minutes apart on average from Wednesday until Saturday, June 22, at 11am. Suddenly, contractions were a mere 2 minutes apart! Your Daddy had gone to town to run some errands & wouldn't be home for another 15 minutes or more! I called my mom, who came straight over. By the time she arrived, I was panicking. I was in a too-small tee shirt & PJ shorts, clutching a food warmer to my abdomen & crying! Your grandma calmed me down & you Daddy arrived home. Soon, we were in the car, headed to the hospital (an hour drive!). Daddy drove with me in the passenger seat & Grandma behind me. During a contraction, they both held my hands while Grandma timed them on my labor app on the iPhone.
When we arrived at the hospital, they hooked me up to a fetal monitor to see how you were doing. As usual, you hated being monitored, & my birth plan was changed from occasional monitoring to full-time monitoring, so they could try to keep tabs on you. I was put on an IV drip for dehydration, too, but I was also allowed to drink water throughout labor. I labored about 8 hours unmedicated, until I was 90%+ effaced & 9cm dilated. Then your vitals went off-line for a long time.
I got an emergency epidural in case we needed to go into surgery for a cesarian. I kept telling your Daddy how scared I was, how I wanted so badly to birth you free of drugs! But he reminded me how I could be brave for you. Despite my phobia of needles, the epidural was safely in place after 2 bouts of very intense contractions (I had to stay perfectly still!). The drugs were on the lowest setting, but I still was able to fall asleep.
Soon, it was time to push. I pushed & pushed & couldn't really feel if you were moving down. A nurse set up a mirror so I could see. When you crowned- so much hair!- I had to keep you there for a while, stretching me out. I thought about how they broke my waters & nothing but blood came out. I was worried that my body was no longer safe for you. Your head stretched me wide & it hurt- I wanted you out! Another set of pushes & I saw your face! It was scrunched & red & it looked like it was in the wrong place, but I didn't have a lot of time to think about it because with one last push you slid into this world. Your cord had been wrapped around your neck, but the doctor slid it over your head in the moment before you tumbled out of me. I reached down & grasped you under your arms & pulled you to my chest, feeling your legs side out of my body.
Your Daddy & I cried as you cried & I told you your name, 'Ruby Dawn.' We marveled at you until your cord stopped pulsing & your placenta was born. I began to breastfeed you as your Daddy cut your cord.
You were your own person for the first time."
Our labor day was SO busy for the hospital- we were only one laboring couple in the filled up ward... more laboring women had to be set up in other areas of the hospital until one of us birthed our baby & vacated a birthing suite! Another woman was experiencing the same complications we were, but she was not as severe a case... it was expected that we would need a cesarian or at the very least, foreceps-assisted birth. Our midwife assisted the lower-risk mother, while we met the OB for the first time. She was as wonderful as our midwife, & committed to giving us a birth experience as close as possible to what we envisioned. She sang hilarious songs to Rue as I labored & kept telling the best jokes... it was like being in a comedy club, which really helped me to relax & stave off the panic that I would need surgery. In the end, I birthed my baby vaginally under my own steam, no assistance needed!
I have never been so tired, so exhilarated, so scared, so sure, & so happy in my life. Birth is a process, an indoctrination into mamahood. It isn't easy, the recovery is long & arduous, & the actual event is harrowing & amazing all at once... & it is all worth it.
I am a mama!