Monday, November 30, 2015

Welcome to the world, Ruby Lee!

I can't believe it, but today is Ruby's official due date and she's already over three weeks old! What better way to celebrate than with her birth story and some adorable baby pictures?? 

*** If you're squeamish or just want to see the cute pictures, I suggest you skip down to the bottom of the post ***

On Tuesday, Nov. 3rd, we went for my 36 week checkup and things started getting real. My doctor said I was already progressing (1cm dilated and 70% effaced) and that it was unlikely I'd make it past 40 weeks. He asked if I had my hospital bag packed, and I joked that we planned on taking it to our childbirth class that Saturday just in case. He said that might not be a bad idea and laughed. Little did any of us know, we wouldn't even make it that long! 

At 5:55 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 6th, I woke up to go to the bathroom for the millionth time. I got back to bed and as I sat down, I felt fluid gush onto the mattress. I panicked that I'd just peed the bed, and then I panicked realizing my water must've broken! I was only 36 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I wasn't ready for this! I woke Shane up to get ready to go. I think I made him nervous because I took my time getting out the door, checking and rechecking my packing list. 

Left: On our way to the hospital. We called our parents saying I was 99.9% sure I was in labor, but we'd let them know for sure once we got checked at the hospital.

Middle: 7:30 a.m., waiting in the emergency room to be taken to Labor and Delivery triage. The hand towel crammed in my pants was completely soaked at this point (there's a LOT more amniotic fluid than you'd think) so I started to accept that yes, I really was in labor. My contractions were really light but seemed to be coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting about 30 seconds each. 

Right: The midwife came in to check and make sure my water had broken. More fluid gushed out as she lifted the sheet, so further tests were deemed unnecessary. A cervical check put me at 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. 

We were moved to a delivery room. I wanted to use nitrous oxide as pain relief during labor, so they got that set up. It was really easy to use -- during each contraction, I would just hold the mask up to my face and breathe it in. Through trial and error, I found that 3 breaths was a decent amount, 4 breaths made me feel woozy and gross. 

Soon I was at 7cm dilated and felt the urge to push. I was told NOT push to prevent injury to myself and the baby. This is a LOT harder than it sounds because your body takes over and pushes anyways. Things were happening quickly, and at 11:00 a.m. I was 10cm dilated and 100% effaced. Time for baby! The doctor decided to let me labor for an hour to move the baby further down and that I could push starting at 12:00 noon. 

At noon, it was time to get the party started. I was born at 12:27 a.m. on January 6th, so my labor-addled brain figured it would be reasonable for my baby to be born by 12:27 p.m. on November 6th. Shane and the nurse coached me through contractions, which were coming 2 minutes apart and lasted about 30 seconds each. 12:27 came and went with no sign of baby. 

During each contraction, I'd get through three 10-second pushes. Each time, push #1 would shock me with the intensity, but would do nothing. Push #2 was actually productive, moving the baby along, but would also make me feel like my head would explode and like my body was trying to turn itself inside out. Push #3 usually went back to being really intense but doing nothing. 

The nurse reassured me that most first-time moms push for two hours, so I tried to stay positive. I could do this! Towards the end of hour two, we started trying different positions. They attached a bar to the bed so I could get on my knees and lean forward. I could barely hold myself up, so more advanced positions including squatting or leaning over the bed were out. If I got out of that bed, I knew I'd never make it back in. 

Hour three is where sh*t got real. I'd been trying my hardest to push push push, but was still only getting an average of one productive push per contraction. I was physically exhausted and napping between contractions (yes it IS possible to sleep for 2 minutes at a time). The nurse would give me breaks where I'd rest for a few contractions and didn't have to actively push, but my body would push anyways. The doctor decided my contractions weren't consistently strong enough and were too short, so they started me on pitocin to kick things up a notch. 

In hour four, Ruby's head was visible during good pushes, but would slide back afterwards. I could see the clock and kept giving myself time goals...she'd be out by 3:15...which became 3:30...and by 3:45, I knew something had to give. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I didn't think she'd ever come out and was terrified each time a contraction would start. I asked for an epidural, which they were able to come in to place quickly. Turns out that after four hours of pushing, I was REALLY swollen, so sitting on the edge of the bed while they placed it was extremely unpleasant. I hugged my pillow for dear life while they worked. Turns out I still had plenty of amniotic gushed out down my legs and onto the floor with every contraction while I was sitting up. 

The doctors came in to watch me push again and said it was time to consider alternative delivery options. I was moved to the operating room to attempt forceps delivery, with a strong chance that they'd have to perform a c-section. I was given a LOT more medicine to be numb from the waist down and pretty loopy. I'm glad for that, because Shane said there was a lot of blood and the forceps looked like giant salad tongs. Also I think there were whole hands in places you really don't want whole hands to be. 

They got the forceps in place and after one contraction, Ruby was born! The doctor said after all that trouble, she pretty much slid right out. 

Ruby Lee
5:45 p.m. - 7lbs 12oz - 20 and 3/4 inches

Unfortunately there was still the issue of Ruby being born prematurely. If she was born two days later, she would've been 37 weeks and full-term. As it was, she was considered late preterm. The NICU team had to be present in the operating room just in case. 

After she was born, they had to put her under the warming light and check her out quickly to make sure everything was okay. She was grunting when she breathed, so they had to put her on CPAP machine for a few minutes to pressurize her lungs and get things working properly. Thankfully I didn't know about this until later or I would've absolutely panicked.  

Everything seemed to be okay, so about ten minutes later, I got to hold her for the first time. And it made everything worth it. 

Ruby and I both slept a LOT those first few days.

Shane and Ruby. He's already an amazing daddy. 

Shane's parents, my sister Hannah, and my parents with Ruby. 

We had to deal with some other issues after birth which made the next few days pretty stressful. She started grunting again while laying on my chest, so Shane followed her to the nursery while I went back to my room. She had low blood sugar ( needed to be at least 50) so they had to give her a dose of glucose. They had to continue doing heel sticks and blood sugar tests every few hours for the next day. I almost passed out the first time I was allowed to walk to the bathroom by myself. Ruby's white blood cell count was too high, so we had to stay an extra day as they gave her an IV and administered a 48-hour round of antibiotics. We were moved to a family room and had to sleep on the most uncomfortable pull-out couch (felt like wooden boxes wrapped in vinyl) but at least got to stay there and not have to go home without Ruby. I had an emotional breakdown because I felt so horrible, I was so worried for our baby, and I just wanted us to be able to go home already. And then right as we were about to go home, they became concerned about her weight loss. I was shown how to hand-express milk into her mouth as she nursed so she wouldn't have to work too hard and use too many calories, and we were only allowed to go home after they set up an appointment for us to go to our doctor's office and have her weighed the next day. 

First family selfie in the family room. 

Someone was NOT happy getting in the carseat for the first time!

The good news is that we're home and we're all doing great! Shane and I feel extremely lucky to have such a wonderful little girl, and we still can't believe that she's finally here! 

Since I know this is really what you all came for, here are some more adorable pictures of Ruby: 

She makes this face a lot, we call it her kissy lips face. I would love to put some lipstick on her and have her make lip prints on everything, haha!

Life lessons: just because your baby is technically 0 months old does NOT mean she's going to fit in 0-3 month clothes. 

Testing out the props for her newborn photo shoot. Awake naked baby = crying baby...unless she's currently eating or has just finished. 

Kinda a kissy lips face, I also think she looks like a little baby turtle in this one. 

Tummy time! And a look of bewilderment. 

When she's not swaddled, she prefers to sleep with her arms straight up. 

She looks really suspicious in this one to me. 

And here's one of her today, 23 days old. Happy due date, Ruby!