Friday, April 1, 2011

Birth Story...Finally

    I figured I better put my birth story in writing before I forget it; so get ready for the longest post in the history of this blog.  

Where to begin...At 34 weeks I started having cramping like contractions,  nothing too serious, they would come and go but never turned into anything.  Once I reached 36 weeks I started doing things to try and start labor.  I went on 5 mile walks, bounced on my stability ball, would sit in a deep squat for long periods of time, did lots and lots of hip opening yoga positions, started taking evening prime rose, ate all the things that supposedly put you in labor, and then some (I continued all this until I actually went into labor).  37 weeks came and went, 38 weeks came and went, and I was still pregnant.  At my 38 week prenatal visit I had my midwife check my cervix.  She said the baby was at station +1 and my cervix was super duper thin.  She then let me know that once my body goes into labor all I have to do is dilate before I can push.  It was very nice to hear that since I was sick of being pregnant.  I had one week and two days of work left.  I was hoping I would go into labor before then but ended up working every single one of those days.  Tuesday January 18th was my last day of work and it felt super weird to leave a company I had worked for for five years.  I woke up early on Wednesday to a crazy snow storm, went to the thrift stores, checked the mail, visited my husband at work and went to the airport to get my mom who was supposed to be flying in at noon but due to the crazy snow storm my mothers flight was diverted to Sitka.  Since she was stuck in Sitka I went to lunch with my sister Jessica, then hung out and relaxed until Dan got home.  
When Dan got home he went out to shovel our driveway, which was covered with about a foot or more of snow. Since I wanted to go into labor so badly I put on my jacket and went out and helped him shovel;  It was hard work. At 9:30 my moms flight finally made it in so I went and got her from the airport.  She was exhausted from her long day of travel and I was pretty tired too.  I laid down at 10:38pm (I remember looking at my phone right before I went to sleep) and immediately started having some cramp like feelings much like I had been experiencing for the last 5 weeks.  I didn't think anything off it until they kept coming and getting more intense.  I knew they were different and that I was starting labor.  I didn't want to get my hopes up so I laid there and tried to ignore them, but  I couldn't ignore them.  I got out of bed, went into the living room and got on the computer to distract myself.  While I was on the computer I was loosely timing my contraction with the clock on the computer.  They were never more than 3ish (didn't have seconds) minutes apart.  At 12:30ish I had a small gust of fluid soak my pants.  I ran to the bathroom and figured my water had broke.  I changed myself and got back on the computer with every contraction fluid would leak so I went and sat on the toilet and contracted for a couple hours.  The contraction were frequent and getting more and more intense with every passing minute.  At 2:30 I finally convinced myself that we were in fact having a baby TODAY and decided it was time to wake Dan up.  I went into the bedroom and calmly laid on the bed just as a contraction started.  I grabbed Dan's arm and just started to squeeze it.  I squeezed it harder as the contraction got harder.  He soon woke up and asked me what I was doing.  I didn't say anything, then he asked me if I was OK.  I said, "I am pretty sure I am in labor and my water broke two hours ago." He then asked me, "Are you sure you didn't just pee your pants?"  I said I was sure.  I continued sitting on the bed contracting while Dan went out and looked up online what it looks like when your water breaks (obviously he wasn't sure my water broke).  He came into the room and asked me a few questions about the color of the fluid, the smell etc..  To which I humored him and answered.  I finally convinced him that my water really did break.  
We got out the timer on Dan's cell phone and started timing the contractions.  They averaged two and half minutes to three and a half minutes apart.  Soon my contractions became more intense I could not talk through them.  The midwives told us that when I couldn't talk through the contractions, it was time to call them.  So Dan called the midwife and told her my water broke and how far apart my contractions were and she told us to start heading to the birth center.  Dan woke my mom up and told her I was in labor and we needed to go.  Dan and my mom got everything together and put it in the car.  After making sure we had everything we left and headed to Dan parents house to drop Jack (our dog) off.  Leaving their house we almost got stuck in a big snow berm in front of the drive way;  luckily Dan got us out by driving up onto the sidewalk.  I had a handful of contractions in the car and they were the WORST (I am so glad the drive to the birth center was short)!  My sister Jessica had made it to the birth center before us so she was sitting in the parking lot waiting.  Once we pulled up Jessica ran over and helped Dan and my mom get everything out.  I just went straight to the birth center door, it being three something in the morning, it was locked and I had to ring the door bell.  Becca (our Midwife) came running to the door and let us in.  I started a contraction right as she opened the door.  So I took a few steps in and held onto the wall while Dan pushed on my back. 
Eventually we made it to our birthing room where Becca checked me.  She said I was only 3cm dilated and the baby was back to back with me.  Right away Dan and I were disappointed; I was only 3cm and we figured we would be there forever.  Becca told me to labor on my hands and knees with my butt in the air to hopefully get the baby to rotate into a better position. 
I took her advice and pretty much labored in that position for the next two or so hours;  I did try the birthing tub but it just made the contractions hurt in my back more.  Being on the bed with my butt in the air helped take a lot of the pressure off my lower back.  With every contraction I would take slow deep breaths and remind myself that the contraction would end.  The entire time I was laboring I kept in mind that an open throat is an open cervix (thanks to "Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth").  So I made sure to never tense up my throat and to keep it as open as I possibly could.  Dan stayed by my side and pushed on my lower back with every contraction.  Whenever he would go to the bathroom I found myself praying to not have a contraction while he was gone, having Dan right by my side made everything more bearable.  The two hours I labored on my hands and knees it was just Dan and I, so I was able to really concentrate.  The contractions started to move down into my thighs so I got back in the birthing tub.  I think that was the moment Ruby rotated.  Becca came in the room to check the babies heartbeat, take my blood pressure and my pulse.  She mentioned coming back in an hour or so to check my progress.  Just then I had a really hard contraction and I started leaking bloody fluid.  Becca changed her mind and decided to check me at that moment, I was 10 cm.  I went from 3 cm to 10 cm in two and a half hours!  (Thank you Ina May!)

 The warm water provided much needed relief to my achy body.  Dan perched himself right in front of me and rubbed my head and back.  He kept telling me he loved me and how proud of me he was.  He was so caring and gentle, just what I needed. 
 When I got into the tub my Mom, Jessica, Hannah (took all these photo's) and Sherrie came in.  I took my glasses off so I could stay more internal.  It really did help, I knew everyone was in there but I couldn't see them.  I could only see Dan and Becca. 
 Soon after being in the tub my body just started to push on its own.  It is truly amazing how your body knows exactly what to do.  God sure knew what he was doing when he created us. 
 Everything started to go pretty fast and the contractions started getting more and more intense.  Every contraction I would say a little prayer asking God to give me the strength I need to get through it.  He sure followed though!
 With every contraction I pushed and pushed.  I could feel Ruby making her way through the birth canal.  I could feel her move down a little with each contraction and then move back up.  I was told that this is how it happens and it is good cause it stretches your tissue slowly.  It was incredibly discouraging.

 I was getting exhausted and just wanted to push her out.  I could feel my contractions getting further and further apart.
 Dan kept encouraging me and praying.

my favorite picture of Dan from the birth
 Becca checked Ruby's heart rate and found that it was getting slower.  She decided I need to get out of the birthing tub and get on the birthing stool.  She also had oxygen put on me to help Ruby.
 It was weird getting out of the tub with a baby half down the birth canal.  My legs didn't want to work so Dan and Becca had to help pull me up and help me over to the birth stool.
 I was so tired and and in my own world the entire time but I do remember feeling like I could push better once getting on the birthing stool.
 My contractions started to speed up to where they were before and the oxygen gave me some much needed energy.
 I remember just pushing and pushing even if I didn't have a contraction.  I wanted to meet my baby.  After several pushes her head finally started to crown and come out.  Dan looked and noticed the baby had hair, which was one wish I had.  He looked up at me and said, "Honey the baby has a lot of hair."  Becca checked to make sure my tissue and everything was doing OK and found that Ruby's hand was out.  Ruby had actually grabbed Becca's hand so she had Dan feel.  It was such a sweet moment!  Another contraction came, I pushed and finally her head was out.  Soon after Ruby's head was out I could hear her breathing.  It was seriously one of the best and weirdest things I have ever heard.  Becca looked up at me and told me just one more push and my baby would be out.  I remember not even feeling like pushing but I wanted to see my baby so badly I just pushed anyway.  I remember holding someones hand and squeezing it with all my might.  Becca and Dan got ready to catch her and out she came at 7:36 am.
 Immediately Becca placed her in my arms and I looked down to see if we had a boy or girl then I grabbed her and and hugged her with all my love.  I couldn't believe how much I loved her that instant.  My eyes flooded with tears, I kissed her and told her she was beautiful.
 Her cord was short so I had to keep lowering her and hold her low until the cord stopped pulsing, then Dan cut it and I was able to lift her all the way to my chest.  I just hugged her and cried.
 My placenta wasn't coming out so I had to pass Ruby off to Dan while Becca worked with me on getting it out.  We tried everything to get the placenta out but eventually they had to give me a shot of Pitocin to make my uterus contract.  At the birth center you have 30 minutes to deliver your placenta or you have to be transported to the hospital.  I delivered mine four minute shy of 3o minutes.
 Dan was able to get some bonding time with her.
Finally the placenta came out and I was able to get my precious little daughter back into my arms.  She came out ready to nurse and was a champ at it.

 After about two hours Becca came in and weighed Ruby and did all the other checks.

 Ruby checked out perfect!

 After Ruby was born we had family come by to meet her.  Seeing everyone meet her was absolutely beautiful.


Deanna said...

ashleigh! thank you for sharing ruby's birth story. it had me in tears this morning. :) your faith in God, and love for ruby and dan is so evident!

also, i LOVE the way they weighed ruby. so much better than laying the baby in a metal box! it reminded me of a stork bringing the baby in. :)

Joy LaMay said...

ugh it just melts my heart. it was so encouraging hearing your story. and i'm so happy for you guys. good work momma!

Lauren said...

What a wonderful story! I got goose bumps! God is good! :)

happy owl erin said...

lovely!! xoxox

Dan said...

Great story, it feels like I was almost there.

Body of Words said...

These are AMAZING photos! And what a beautiful baby!

renee kristine said...

i am a new follower and this is so beautiful!... i love the name ruby.. and all the hair, gee wiz! so cute!