Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ruby is 1!

photo by Jon and Melissa Photography

At exactly 4:30 a.m. a year ago, a deep pain in my lower back and abdomen roused me from my sleep and I turned to Ryan and said, "I think this is it." I wasn't positive that this - Ruby's birth - was really actually happening since it was my first painful contraction and I had never experienced spontaneous labor before (Ethan was induced). I waited and about 10 minutes later, I had another contraction. I told Ryan to get up while I went to call the answering service for my doctor to let them know that little Ruby was on her way.

Five weeks earlier at a regular doctor's visit, the nurse practitioner was almost finished with my appointment when I asked her if she could check if I had dilated at all. She said they don't normally check this early, but... sure, why not? She did and discovered that I was already at a 3. They sent me to labor and delivery to get a stress test, where I found out that I was having contractions five minutes apart... only I couldn't feel them at all.

I was given some medication to slow things down and told to take it easy at home and stop lifting my 2 1/2-year-old. I didn't touch the medication but I was more than happy to hang out on the couch :-). At the next week's appointment, I was told I was at a 4 and that I needed to be on true bed rest for a week. They said the baby would probably be fine if she came that early, but would most likely have to live in the neonatal intensive care unit for a week. I wanted to avoid that at all costs so I listened to their advice and took another week off - thanks to my wonderful husband and friends, who took Ethan without me even asking, brought me delicious dinners and came to just hang out. One girlfriend brought a Ricki Lake documentary about natural childbirth over to watch. I laughed at her, but after watching it, thought I should probably learn how to breath through contractions because I had the feeling that my labor would go so fast that I wouldn't be able to get an epidural.

At three weeks until Ruby's due date (Oct. 8), I was off bed rest and at the park every day. I went on walks and lifted my child and danced around like I normally do. I was told I was at a "4 to 5" (factoring in the diameter of the pinky, maybe?) and I should have this baby "any day now." Every day I woke up without any plans. I prayed every night that I wouldn't go into labor but woke up every morning feeling disappointed that I hadn't.

Normally, a woman in labor is told to stay home until her contractions are regular and occur between 3 to 5 minutes apart. But those two hard contractions 10 minutes apart in the very early morning hours of Oct. 5 2009, were enough to get me out of bed and on the way to the hospital. Since I was already basically halfway through labor, my doctor told me to go to the hospital if I had any painful contractions at all.

So I called our neighbors to come stay on our couch and watch Ethan. My contractions were coming 3 minutes apart as Ryan took a shower and I got everything together. We left the house at about 5:15 a.m. As we started going, my contractions slowed and I thought maybe we should turn around and go back home. I dismissed the thought, feeling too embarrassed after waking my poor neighbors up. Ryan suggested we stop and get gas on our way since the little arm on the gas meter was like 1/4-inch below empty. Luckily, there were no gas stations along the way (and fumes ended up being enough to get us there).

We got to the hospital at about 5:30 a.m. and moseyed our way on up to labor and delivery. I stopped at several places and fell to my knees to labor through a few contractions (they were back with a vengence). I filled out my forms, changed into my gown and by 5:45-ish was lying on the table crying for an epidural. At about 5:55, my water broke. Dr. Meta, the most beautiful older woman I have ever seen, came in and checked me at the same time the anesthesiologist walked in. She turned to him and shook her head. I couldn't hear her but I watched the anesthesiologist walk backward out the door saying, "I'm sorry."

At that point, I just knew I needed to push and I must do it without medication. I was kind of excited to try. And then a contraction forked through my body and took over my determination. It's all a blurry memory to me, but Ryan said I screamed like I was being stabbed. The nurse told me to turn that scream into a push. I did and after about three pushes, Ruby came into this world at 6:04 a.m.

Her speedy delivery might have been an early indication of her personality. She is fiesty and fun and does not like to wait :-). She knows how to defend herself from her 3-year-old brother and is very good at fake crying and getting him in trouble. One of her hobbies is standing on my lap and trying to pull my eyelashes out. All joking aside, she is also really sweet and is constantly giving loves and cooing. She adores her binky and blankey and has a lot to say. Her babble of choice is "tickle-lickle-lickle" and she says a few words like "baby," "ball," "bye-bye," "momma," and "dadda." She loves peek-a-boo and talking on the phone. She stands up easily without pulling herself up but has only taken one step alone. Sometimes she starts dancing spontaneously in the shopping cart to the store music.

And today she is 1! We love her and feel so lucky to have our little Rubster.


Anonymous said...

We love her too!

Susan said...

What a great story! I feel like I can relate since Oakely was born 6 days ago and she came all natural too.

Jon and Melissa said...

so cute! happy birthday ruby!! and way to stick out the natural Megan! That Ruby is the sweetest little thing.

Belle said...

A beautiful story and a beautiful child. Sometimes life is so lovely isn't it?

Rachel said...

Happy birthday Ruby!! Harper (& me & shi) is super happy you were born!

mckenzie said...

woo hoo Ruby! sorry we didn't call. kind of slipped our minds today. i hope you guys had a fun day!

Krysten said...

Happy Birthday Ruby. You are such a cutie!

Hallie said...

love the story!

Nan said...

I can almost ditto you w/ Alicia's birth. I had no idea you went through that. But I was scared to death when the anethesiolist was turn away. You're a brave woman!

Ruby, Ruby! What a cute little one. We miss her so much.

shamers said...

she is gorgeous!

JEM said...

Way to go, Megan! I heard a quote a while ago that hippie-natural-birth-types like: "The big secret about childbirth is not that it's hard, it's that women are strong." Or something along those lines. It certainly seems appropriate here. Ruby's a beauty.