She's Here!

Ruby Josephine Rogers

Surprise! Ruby Josephine Rogers decided that she wanted to meet mom, dad, and Homer a month early... and there was nothing we could do about it! Ruby came into this world on Tuesday, May 20th at 4:59 p.m., weighing 6 lbs., 13 oz., and measuring a Daddy-esque 19 3/4 inches. She's happy, healthy and loves a good snuggle! Here's her story...

 On Monday morning I got up just like any other morning at 7:30 and headed off to the bathroom. Before I got there I felt something drip down my leg and land in a slow trickle at my feet. "Grant... I think my water just broke." I walked to the toilet to sit down and on the way more slow trickle happened. This time it was on the white bathroom tile and I could see that I hadn't suddenly become incontinent and, yes, I had just gone into labor.

Looking back, I was surprisingly calm. I was surprisingly calm throughout the entire process actually. About 85 percent of the time Grant is the calm and steady one, blazing a clear path forward while I flail around spastically. When my water broke, Grant was freaking out and I kept it together. We called the midwife, who told us that we should head to the hospital and wait for her at labor and delivery. Typically, women's sacs don't rupture before they go into labor, so I was an anomaly. Hospitals also don't typically admit women in labor until they are well into their first phase. However, I was a high-risk patient due to my marginal umbilical insertion, so I had to go right away.

Side note: I have never been happier to be a Type-A planner. Ruby came a whole month early--a month when most women are still preparing for the baby. When we got the surprise of our lifetimes we had the go bag completely ready to go and the nursery fully decked out. It was so amazing not to have to worry about that in the midst of everything else happening.

When we arrived at the hospital I spent a couple hours in triage waiting to be admitted and for my midwife to arrive. The monitor showed that I was experiencing steady contractions but I couldn't feel anything at that point. Once we got admitted to a labor room it was hours before I felt anything. Hours of talking and reading and walking back and forth from wall to wall. I was trying to avoid induction and pain medication so even though I had been in the hospital for 12 hours with very little progress (about a centimeter) we tried to avoid those things as much as possible. My midwife and the doctor on call made the decision to give me Cervadil, a cervix suppository that thins the cervix and sometimes triggers labor contractions. The process of administering Cervadil was... uncomfortable. Besides transitional labor, it was the most uncomfortable part of the labor. But, it got the ball rolling. After a few hours real contractions started. Not excruciating, but painful enough to prevent me from sleeping for the rest of the night. 

In the morning, around 9 a.m. (more than24 hours after my labor had begun), my midwife checked on my progress to better make an assessment about whether or not I needed Pitocin to get the labor contractions started. I was only dilated 4 centimeters and was fully effaced--a definite gray area for induction. Thank goodness my midwife knew how much I wanted to labor without interventions. She said that I could wait a few more hours to see how much I was progressing. 

At this point I was desperate to kick things into high gear, so I stayed on my feet for hours. Walking seemed to be the only thing that made the labor progress quickly, which was unfortunate for my increasing pain level and decreasing energy level. Four hours later, I got checked again. I had only progressed (maybe) another centimeter. The news was a rocket to my heart. At that point I was in pain, having progressed into active labor. The last four hours it had been progressing to the point where I felt that transition was right around the corner, and basically nothing had happened. 

Still, my midwife let me put off Pitocin for a couple more hours in the hope that my instincts were right and I was right on the cusp of something. Within the hour, the pain ramped up. Steadier and steadier contractions that grew longer in length and closer together. I still couldn't stop standing for fear of halting my progress for a walked and leaned and stood and wondered whether the idea of doing this whole thing without pain meds. Because my water had been broken for more than 24 hours, checking my progress wasn't something that we could do over and over, so this last try was the last chance we had to assess what our next steps would be. At this point I was 7 centimeters--a number that everyone in the room seemed overjoyed about, and that was utterly depressing to me. Even though they told me that the next three centimeters would go quickly, I felt like a third of my labor left to go was too much for me to handle. Was I still in active labor? Transitional? How much longer would this pain last?

Honestly, I wanted to give up. I felt like every labor pain was ripping my body in half, and if I had hours more of it I don't know that I could have done it. The only thing that got me through this portion of labor was the fact that my midwife let me labor in the shower. I spent the next hour in there, going through transitional labor pains that made me feel like dying. Grant was there the whole time, being encouraging and telling me that I could do it despite my doubts. If he hadn't told me over and over that I was stronger than I believed, and if my midwife hadn't told me that I was handling the pain really well*, I don't think I could have made it through. After that hour in the shower, I could feel things were changing. I think because I was being so polite between the pains (apparently midwestern manners prevail even in the darkest of times since my midwife remarked on how "clear-headed I was between contractions" around the eighth time I thanked Grant for bringing me water), my midwife didn't realize how close I was... but I did. Exhausted from standing on my feet through hours and hours of labor (most of it while squatting, something that would help move the baby down) I tried laboring on all fours in the bed. That. Was. Excruciating. That was also when I felt the baby's head move down. See, when the head moves down it feels like you're pooping. I thought that I had and that was a signal to my midwife that I was ready to start pushing.

I switched over to my back and waited for a contraction to help me with the pushing. I can honestly say that pushing was much easier than transitional labor. That said, I had a relatively short push time--29 minutes, which is really especially quick for a first pregnancy. I think the push time was so short because my midwives and nurses made getting her out sound really urgent and I was afraid that something would go wrong if I didn't. I was being yelled at by everyone... Push harder, don't stop, you're taking too long to breathe, pull your legs back, push your elbows out, push even harder, hold it longer. It was pretty frustrating. I had been in labor for 34 hours, most of it on my feet and had gotten an hour of sleep. When they told me to push harder, I genuinely meant it when I said that I didn't think that I could. Somehow, after feeling her head crown, I found an extra reserve of strength and made it happen. She crowned for three different contractions--a time that felt like forever--and when her body came out it was the only time that I felt out of control in all of the 34 hours. I let out a primal scream (seriously, the poor women being admitted to start labor who walked by my room must have been scarred for life) and there she was, screaming her little head off.

The nurses handed her to me and it all felt so surreal. I'm the kind of person who cries at any commercial with dogs in it, but I didn't cry. I think I was so pumped up on adrenaline that I wasn't quite aware of what was happening, but I was so, so happy to have her in my arms at last. A few tests for Ruby and a few stitches for me (her arm was covering her face when she came out so I had an even bigger circumference to push out), and she was officially ours!

Because she was premature, more tests were required than a full-term baby. Her blood sugar was low, something that is fairly common for preemies, and since my colostrum and her latch were not cooperating, we gave her a supplementary bottle to try and get her levels to normal. Less than an hour later we were cleared for a private room (something Grant and I decided early on was worth springing the extra money for, as recovering from birth with another family in the room sounded god awful), and we got to take her with us.

After we got there, I got dosed up with Pitocin to facilitate my uterus contracting and shrinking back down to size, and the nurses took Ruby to check her blood sugar levels and run a few more tests. Grant went with her and I took a much-needed nap. Every time they needed to take her away (running tests or giving her a bath) Grant went with her and they got in some awesome daddy-Ruby bonding time.

The next couple days were a blur. The staff at St. Luke's-Roosevelt was amazing--everyone from the L&D nurses to the housekeeping staff treated us with care and respect. Two days (and a jaundice scare) later, we were discharged and got to come home. It's been a blur of feeding, diapers, cleanup and loving ever since. I'm getting very little sleep, but a lot of bonding time in and I couldn't be happier. Welcome home, Ruby girl! I never knew I could love anything this much!

Leave a Response