Ruby's Birth

I've been avoiding putting Ruby's birth into words hoping that better words would come to me to describe it. Not only have few words come but in the 6 weeks since the event most of those words are fading. I've decided just to get down what I can before it's a total blur.
*note: I'm going to say Ruby but we didn't know she was a she until she was born. :)

Although the Sono-tech estimated Ruby would be here around June 18th the Midwives based their estimations on my cycle as well as our known conception date. So we were expecting Ruby around June 8th.
About a week before she was due I experienced some contractions. They were in my lower back and and irregular but we got a little excited anyway. I told Jen (my friend who is a wonderful massage therapist and would be attending my birth) about them and let her know that I was really glad she would be there for the birth as I didn't enjoy lower back pain.
Chuck's cousin's wife was due to have her baby girl on June 26th but due to some complications she gave birth via c-section on June 5th. It's interesting to note that Chuck is 20 days older than this cousin although he was due to be born after him. Seeing little Dakota only made us want to see our baby more but we were in no rush and wanted her to come in her own time. I was even prepared to wait two weeks or more after she was due.
June 8th came and went without contractions. I did, however, enjoy telling people "Today!" when they asked when baby was due. Little did I know that the following evening she would be here!

My sister, Liz, offered to make dinner on June 9th and I was happy to let her do that. Chuck and I sat and chatted about what we'd like to do that evening. I started to notice my lower back aching and tried different sitting positions, lying down, etc. but began to realize that it wasn't a constant sensation but ached in intervals.
At 6pm I began to time what I decided must be contractions. I timed them during dinner and found they were about 5 minutes apart. For those of you who have had babies or done any research on the topic, that's relatively close together. In fact, many books suggest that when they are 4 minutes apart you head to the hospital. I, however, was sure that this would be like most of the first time labors I had read about and last for at least 8 hours. In fact, when Liz asked "So, are you going to have a baby tonight?!" I said "No. Tomorrow morning at the earliest but this could go on for a long time."

About 7pm Chuck asked me what I'd like to do. I remembered reading that walking intensified contractions so we should do that, and I was craving an ice cream cone (milk fat was a constant craving the latter part of my pregnancy) so I decided we should go up to the square and take a walk. That way if the contractions lessened or lasted forever then we'd have a nice date anyway.

Chuck being the planner that he is thought it best to pack the car with our bags just in case we needed to head to the birthing center during our outing. I thought that this was a little extreme as we were only a few miles from both the square and the birth center and surely there would be time to come home and get everything, but I let him do that for his peace of mind.
By the time we got the bags all packed and into the car I was feeling the contractions less as an ache in my back and more as a cramp towards the front. I even leaned against the door frame during one as we got ready to leave at about 7:30.
We got half way to the square and I had two contractions, one while talking to my mom on the phone, and began to feel nauseous. I no longer wanted to go to the square. I really didn't feel like sitting any longer or throwing up in public.

Chuck suggested we go to our friends Clay and Emily's house as they were only a few block from the birth center and in Chuck's words, since "Emily wants to have a home birth, I doubt she'd mind if you have a baby at her house." I was, however, still not convinced I would have a baby in the next few hours.

I had another contraction on their porch, and according to my watch that was only 2.5 min. after my last one. Chuck began video taping with our new camera - good thing we had bought it two days before rather than wait, another good reason I let Chuck be the planner. As we walked in Emily asked why. "Because I'm probably in labor" I responded (notice the probably... I'm so slow) She and Clay were both excited and we chit-chatted for a bit while they made dinner.
I had another couple of contractions and with each one was enjoying them less and less. We went into the living room so as not to intrude entirely on Clay and Emily's dinner. "They're not supposed to be this close together!" I whimpered to Chuck. He had no idea what to tell me as that's a sort of an odd and demanding statement so he suggested we call Jean my midwife.
I wasn't so sure that was the best idea because she had told me not to call until I couldn't talk through the contractions and I could but she could just tell me to call back. I called at 7:50 and said that the contractions were about 2 minutes apart although I'd kind-of lost track and they felt closer. I could talk through them but didn't want to. She said she'd meet us up at the birth center at 8:15 to check me. I hung up with Jean and called Jen directly. Another contraction came on right when she picked up but fortunately Jen was excited about my birth and had been answering every time I called with "are you in labor" so all I had to say was "yes, meet us up at the birth center at 8:15."

About that time I really felt nauseous and not really being able to think asked Emily, who was now sitting in the living room awaiting news, where she would like me to throw up. Chuck swooped in and suggested we go outside. I quickly threw up in the front flower bed (Sorry again Em!) but felt better. My wonderful husband assured me that it was like compost and Emily would be pleased. I brushed me teeth which also made me feel better and since I didn't like how contractions felt sitting down while we drove earlier I decided we should walk to the birth center. I was really only two blocks away.

Chuck videotaped a little as we walked and we talked about our life up to this point. We had to stop every few feet because I was not only experiencing close contractions I was having mini spasms due to our walking. By the time we got to the birth center I told Chuck that Jean had better not check me and tell me I wasn't far enough along and should go walk because I wasn't going to.

Jean did not have to advise me to walk, however, because I was already dilated to 8 cm! I went right into the birth room. Before I go further in my story I should explain for those of you not familiar that I didn't deliver Ruby in a hospital. I received all my prenatal care and delivered at Inanna's, a birth center here in Denton. Some women choose it because it can be less expensive but most women birth there because of their beliefs about birth. The birth center also does not offer an epidural or pitocin. They believe in less interventions while many hospitals routinely use more drugs and other measures to hurry the baby along. I chose the birth center because I didn't want an epidural or pitocin, I wanted to know that the person attending my birth felt the same way about it that I did instead of a rotating cast of nurses just checking vitals and offering drugs and really I just don't like hospitals.

So, I'm an 8 and I'm laboring in the main birth room which used to be a living room I think - the birth center is in an old house. We didn't think to take many pictures while we were there. In fact, I don't even have a nice one of the three of us just after Ruby was born. My contractions were very steady and only about a minute apart. I began "sounding" through them and rocking on my hands and knees on the bed. I hadn't done much research on breathing or pain coping because I believed it would happen naturally. That's a post in itself I'm sure so I'll move on.
Jen arrived shortly after we did and although she didn't do much massaging I am very glad she was there. After about an hour I was having a harder time with the contractions but Jen and Chuck really helped me, reminding me they wouldn't last long and telling me about how beautiful the baby would be. In between the contractions, however, was wonderful. I have never been so relaxed my whole life. Granted I've never been good at relaxing, but I was amazed at how my body knew that it needed to conserve energy.

Jean told me that if I felt like I needed to push I could. I tried to push but it just didn't feel right. I actually thought to myself "I can't push! Oh my goodness, how am I going to have this baby?!" I told Jean something along those lines and she assured me that it was ok, that just meant I wasn't ready to yet. I almost cried during one of the contractions because I was beginning to really lose focus and they were quite painful so Jean came over and checked me again - I was a 9 - and suggested she break my water. I was hesitant because I really wanted everything to happen naturally but I trusted Jean. I sheepishly asked if it would hurt and she assured me it wouldn't. She broke my water (probably around 9:20/9:30) and the next two contractions were what I later recognized as transition. I was on my back because I didn't have much strength or time to get onto all fours so I rocked my body back and forth and clutched Chuck's hand. I didn't think I could go on but amazingly (God's perfect design) the contractions never got worse than my body could take. I'm so glad I didn't have any medication so that I could fully experience what my body is capable of.

After those two transition contractions my body began to push. I didn't, but my body did. I actually said something like "OH, Jean! I think I'm pushing!" I'm sure she was amused by this as she's attended plenty of first time births. She encouraged me to push with my body and to stop sounding so as to conserve more energy. I had read about women saying it felt good to push and thinking "OK. Crazy" but now I'm one of those women... After transition they did feel good. And it's totally impossible to really describe.
Jean kept an eye on everything and soon told me to lift my legs and push but I couldn't so Chuck and Jen held them up for me. From there on out I had my eyes closed. I was focusing on Ruby coming out. Telling her it was ok and that I would see her soon. I remember feeling her head come out (as that's the largest part and stings the most) and then her body sliding out.

Jean held her up and Chuck said "It's a... It's a..." He couldn't see at first because the umbilical cord was in the way and then he couldn't believe it (We had been almost sure it was a boy for some reason) so Jean handed her to me and I said "It's a girl!" I was pretty surprised myself. Ruby Nora Lynne was born at 9:56pm.
I actually couldn't believe that she was here. That she had someone fit inside me and I had someone gotten her out just seconds before. I started crying and saying we just had a baby and other obvious things that for some reason didn't make sense just then. I held her while they wiped her off and kissed Chuck and cried some more. It's really quite a blur...
I love talking about it though.

Oh, and they weighed her and all of that right there on the bed next to us. She nursed right away, some family came and saw us and we were home about midnight. It was pretty awesome.
I'm amazed by God. That he designed my body to do all of that and he provided the strength to make it through. He knit Ruby together in my womb and knew everything about her even before we knew she'd be here.

A whole little person... she began as chromosomes... awesome.

8 comments:

Brad & Jen Windle July 23, 2008  

how fun to remember that sweet experience! thanks for sharing those moments with me...love ya girl!

Kenny and Leah July 25, 2008  

Thank you so much for sharing that story! I teared a little reading it!

Melissa~ July 28, 2008  

Wow Ginger, that is one beautiful baby. Loved reading your story.

♥ Melissa~
Pink Paper Peppermints

Jenny July 28, 2008  

We have a tradition in our family, we always tell the birth story on our children's birthday. I figured it would be a special way to celebrate by remembering the precious way they came into this world. I loved giving birth to all my children and every birth story is different and unique to that child. It also reminds me of how we tell the birth story of our precious Lord and Savior every year on His birthday. My plan is to write them all down including mine and Shawn's and create a family birth story book. I love you all and can not wait to see the beautiful Ruby.

Kim July 30, 2008  

Ginger, that's awesome! I'm so glad you posted the whole story. :D

Anonymous July 30, 2008  

Ginger,

Your daughter is absolutely beautiful. I hope motherhood is treating you well! I will be praying for all three of you!

Lisa Noyes

GO GO Gordons August 01, 2008  

I love it! Thanks,
Lisa

Anonymous August 17, 2008  

Oh, wow. I happened onto your facebook and decided to look at your blog. Where do you get info on birthing centers and such?

Cate Kendall