so, here goes.
my due date was march 18th. at my last few prenatal check ups, i was told i wasn't dilated at all. i hadn't been having any contractions. i pretty much didn't think this girl was coming out and that she had decided to take up permanent residence in my uterus. even though her landlord was seriously ready to evict her butt. :) however, my doctor had informed us that he would be out of the country from march 8 - march 20 and since i kinda wanted him around for the big show, i was willing to hang out with my co-pilot a little while longer. my doctor scheduled my induction for the day after he returned from vacation and i had settled into idea that i would likely be induced.
however, ruby had a different plan. :) when i went to bed march 14th i felt a little "off". i can't really explain it but i was just unsettled. i got up that night 10 times to pee, which was more than my usual 6. and i remember waking up feeling like i was getting cramps, but they were so light that i would fall back asleep right away and didn't think much of it. i woke up around 7:30 am on march 15th, rolled over, and heard a "pop". yup, that's right. you can actually hear when your waters break. gross, i know. i remember saying to T "oh my gosh! i think my water just broke" and jumped out of bed. at which point, my suspicion was confirmed as i waddled to the bathroom with my knees held tightly together. i had noticed that it looked like ruby may have had her first poo (i know, ew!) already so i called the hospital right away and they said to come in. we live only 4 blocks from the hospital, which was great because i got to jump in the shower (and stall a minute while i processed that this was actually happening!) and get myself together. terence, of course, had yet to pack anything for him to bring to the hospital so he ran around and did that while i showered. we let our families know, i called into work, and off to the hospital we went.
i obviously had nothing to compare contractions to, but i was surprised by how strong they became and how quickly they became that strong. by the time we got to the hospital (around 8 am) they were coming about every 3 or 4 minutes and were pretty uncomfortable. they checked us into a room and hooked us up to some monitors. they checked me and i was at about 3 cm around 8:30 am. the nurse started taking background and health information from me and this is when the contractions really started getting stronger. i definitely couldn't talk through them at that point. around 10:00 am, the monitors picked up that ruby's heart rate dropped quite a bit (in the 80s) for about 6 minutes. at this point, a lot of doctors, medical students, attendings, etc came into our room to check me out. ruby had an internal monitor put on her to monitor her heart rate closer. it seemed whenever i sat up, walked around, or changed from any position except on my sides or on my hands and knees, her heart rate continued to drop. it was really scary. i was so grateful for the medical staff that helped us. they were supportive and informative and really made me feel like we were in good hands.
ruby's heart rate continued to drop every so often so i kept switching the sides that i was laying on. my nurse kept reminding me to breath deeply and slowly so that ruby would get enough oxygen and that really helped me to stay focused on what ruby needed from me. contractions are uncomfortable, to say the least. the pain is maddening, after a while. it just keeps coming and you know it's going to come back so it can be difficult to relax completely in between them when you know it's returning soon. at one point, the contractions were lasting 3 - 4 minutes long with about a minute break in between. i just kept thinking to myself "just breath. it's just one more thing you have to do for ruby." that, and T rubbing my hands and my forehead, really helped me focus and get through the pain.
around 12 noon, i was checked again and was told that i was 8 cm dilated. 8!! i couldn't believe it. as far as pain meds went, i knew i didn't want any IV meds. i assumed i would get an epidural, i just didn't have a plan as to when. i figured i'd wait until i needed it. when they told me i was at 8 cm, i remember thinking that i'd be coming up on what they call "transition" which was when all the preggo ladies on "a baby story" would become absolutely crazy-looking and start screaming about how they "can't do it" and "get the baby out!!!" i had managed to stay pretty focused and had yet to "lose it" so i told T and our nurse that i was ready for the epidural. the nurse told us that the best anesthesiologist was in surgery and if i could hold out another hour, she'd recommend waiting for this anesthesiologist, in particular. i agreed and carried on.
and man, was she right! around 1:30, the woman of my dreams, er, i mean, my anesthesiologist arrived. within 5 minutes, the epidural was in and within 15 minutes, i was feeling like i was in the middle of a spa day instead of in labor.
by 5 pm, i was fully dilated but ruby was facing up so she wasn't descending exactly like she was supposed to. i pushed for about an hour and a half, during which time her heart rate continued to drop. the doctor who was taking care of us (remember, mine is in puerto rico at the moment! ha!) voiced her concern for ruby and her heart rate continuing to drop. she recommended prepping me for a c-section and then using a vacuum to try and help ruby out. if that didn't work, we'd immediately proceed with the surgery. the epidural had worn off by then and i quickly agreed. :) in all seriousness, though, i was scared for ruby and was just absolutely ready to meet her.
they got us ready and wheeled me into the OR. T was right alongside me. they tried with the vacuum during one contraction but it wasn't successful. the doctor said we'd try through one more contraction and move forward with the c-section if it didn't work. thankfully, we didn't have to have surgery. at 7:26 pm, ruby finally made her appearance. she was worked on pretty quickly by the medical team present because she had the cord wrapped around her neck 5 (yes, 5!!) times. they got her to respond pretty quickly but her APGAR scores were very low and they let us know she needed to stay in the NICU for one night for testing. before they took her down, though, we got to hold her and take a few pictures while they took care of me.
to be honest, i was kind of in shock, i think. i remember feeling absolute relief that she was here, she was okay, and that i wasn't in pain anymore. i just couldn't believe that she was here - in the same room as me. i mean, this little person that i've been literally sharing everything with for the last 9 months, was finally on the outside and i was looking right at her. i was still worried about her and her health, but she seemed to look okay to me, so i tried to let that worry subside a bit. i do remember ruby looking directly at me, like she knew me. it was the most surreal feeling. and actually, she did know me already. and i knew her. i can't really describe it but any of you mothers out there know what i mean, i'm sure.
i went to the NICU three times that night to feed ruby. she seemed to take to nursing pretty quickly, although she couldn't do it for very long. those times together, just the two of us, in the middle of the night, were really wonderful, though. i still couldn't believe that she was actually my daughter, but i was immediately over-the-moon proud to say she was.
she came to our room the next day and has been with us ever since. :) she was in the 10th percentile for all of her measurements at birth and caught up by her first month appt. now she is in the 50th percentile and growing like a weed. she's come a long way...
|ruby when she was brand new to the world. |
we're a good team, rubinski. we got you here all safe & sound.