Our Birth Story

Today is my due date, and The Bird is now 10 days old, so I thought it would be the perfect day to share with all of you our birth story. I have to say, hands down, giving birth is the biggest mountain I have ever scaled. Not everything went according to plan, but in the end, I know that our birth story came out exactly the way it was supposed to, and both my husband and my birth team are very proud of the way it came out.

I should begin by saying that days before I went into labor, I knew that I was really close because my male Border Collie became extremely clingy and worried over me. Finally, by Saturday night (the day before Mother's Day), I thought I was losing my mind and declared, "I guess Ollie is just acting weird--must have been a false alarm." That was when I went to bathroom and realized that I had lost my mucous plug!! That was the morning of Mother's Day.

My husband and I packed up all our stuff for the hospital and decided to travel with it...just in case labor was truly close. We spent the day with family, taking walks and eating food and I tried not to think too much about my labor progressing. By the end of the day, my husband and I decided to make our way home, maybe get a good night's sleep, and see if labor would progress more at home (instead of at my mom's house.) We brought along my friend, Jenn, who is also Ruby's godmother.

By the time I got home, being in my own environment really stoked the fires of labor and it was less than an hour before we headed back to my mom's in Lewes to be closer to the hospital. My plan had been to labor as long as I could at my moms, but it wasn't long until we were thinking we might want to go to the hospital and at least get checked out to see how things were progressing. So, about 11:40PM on Mother's Day, we made our way to Beebe in Lewes. I was formally admitted at 12:30AM because they thought that my water had broke. The bad news? I was only 1 CM dilated. It seemed I had a long way to go....

The nurse, Mary, wanted me to take a sleeping medication and rest, but I refused--no interventions meant no interventions. She was a little dismayed when I also declined the routine IV, but she was supportive and assured me that no one would offer me pain medication throughout the duration of my labor, as was my request. The hospital was really quite accommodating; because Jenn was with us, it brought my total of people in the room to four; my mother, my husband's mother, my husband, and Jenn. Surprisingly, they let her stay (I think it was the gift basket that really tipped the scales.) We prepared to rest and wait for baby Ruby to make progress. We figured it would be a while...

By 3:00AM, I was fully checked in (blood work done, questions answered, waivers signed, IVs refused), and surprisingly, hard labor seemed to have begun as well. Contractions came on hard and strong, surprising even me. That was when my team swung into action. My husband's mother scented the room with essential oils, they turned the lights down low, and made sure I was constantly in different positions to ease the labor pains. Early on we established a system of getting through the contractions. I would yell, "GO!" and my mom and Jenn would watch the clock. Jenn would call out 30 seconds and then again at 60 seconds. This system became my lifeline during labor...if I could make it through 30 seconds, I could make it through 30 more.

When the contractions really started coming strong, I knew I was going to lose my lunch. Finally, as their intensity increased, I began throwing up a lot. All of a sudden, Mary (the nurse) swooped in, thinking that I was transition, and once I was done throwing up, she checked me. She thought I was fully dilated, but also felt something she wasn't sure of. Another nurse was called in. I asked what was wrong. "The baby is butt down and folded in half," she said, "DON'T PUSH!"

Suddenly there was a sense of urgency in the room. The second nurse checked me and confirmed what Mary had said--they both through that Ruby was breech. They told me I would be getting a c-section. My heart sank. I asked for an ultrasound. They agreed that I would get an ultrasound, but began prepping for a c-section anyway. My mother in law got very emotional, I could see her disappointment for me written all over her face, but I wasn't ready to throw in the towel. My mom was also really starting to panic. The nurse swept everyone but my husband out of the room.

The ultrasound machine came in, I held my husband's hand, and there was The Bird: perfect, head-down, but not fully engaged. What they had been feeling? My water bag, which hadn't actually broken yet. WE WERE BACK IN THE GAME! At that moment I was so happy, I began to cry, saying, "I know I can do this! Someone call the midwife!" They called the midwife and she came in, called me her hero (never a bad thing to hear when you are in labor.) As we were assessing whether or not she should manually break my water, WOOOSH, that water bag broke and the games had REALLY begun.

There was just one more bit of bad news to contend with: The Bird was still sunny side up, so I was going to have to battle through back labor. Back labor, for those of you who haven't experienced it, is incredibly painful. It feels as though your back is going to explode and fall out of your butt. So it was into the shower with me, along with the birthing ball.

My husband really rose to the occasion at this point, giving me encouragement, water, and coaching me. Throughout the entire labor, he was an amazing rock for me, and I know that there is no way I could have done it without him. He employed nearly everything we had learned in lamaze class, and when I was in the haze of labor, he helped me reach my potential. Also, I remember a couple of times as I was walking around, naked and feeling half crazed from the pain, hearing my mom say things like, "You look beautiful." At another point, as I was doing my moan breathing, Jenn said, "it sounds like beautiful music." These things were sustaining.

At one point I came out of the shower, and I was in so much pain. I declared I just couldn't do it anymore. My mother in law asked me to wait it out another half hour. My mom and husband reminded me that I was almost at 6 CM and that the pain was going to plateau. They kept me drinking water. Jenn kept the contraction counts. I forgot about time entirely.

I marched when the pain got to terrible and said, "GET OUT BABY!" I laid in the bed on all fours during contractions and rested in between. When I didn't know what else to the do and the pain was just immense, I simply yelled out "WHY?!" And then, suddenly, I popped up, and I felt the urge to push. The midwife who had originally come in had left (her shift had ended) and in came another midwife, Sally Ruby...how fitting! After what seemed like forever of me being "sure" it was time to push, it was actually time to push.

Transition had ended, and yes, transition is as intense as everyone says it is....there is no exact way to describe it other than an otherworldly experience. I felt everything. Once it was time to push The Bird into the world, though, the intense pain of transition ended. While I was still having contractions, they were lower (no longer on my back, thank god!), and I was being instructed to push. It took me a little while to get the hang of the pushing, but once I did, it was productive. The one nurse kept taking The Bird's heartbeat while I was pushing and heard them saying her heartbeat was low. I looked at the midwife's face, and I knew I had to do this, and fast. But first I stilled myself, took a couple of deep breaths and in my head asked Ruby to bring her heartbeat back up. The heartbeat did, in fact, come back up and even though I felt short of breath and exhausted, I knew this was basically the end.

They brought in a mirror, which I was hesitant to look at, and there I saw the whole thing unfold. I pushed for about 45 minutes and then finally, out came The Bird! The midwife said immediately, "This baby really is a miracle, look, her cord is tied in a knot." The Bird took her time crying, but she was awfully alert. They laid her on my chest and I looked at the people around me--my husband and the women who had ushered me on this incredible journey--and I said, "We did it guys!" I was so thankful.

I did it all naturally. It was hard, hard work, but it was absolutely worth it. I wouldn't have had it any other way. The whole thing still feels completely surreal. I can't believe I've had a baby. I can't believe I did it naturally. I am so proud of our family. I hope that other women find encouragement in our birth story and the strength to give natural childbirth a try. I really felt that the staff at Beebe Hospital was great--in fact, I plan on writing another post about that for anyone who might be interested--and I was nervous about giving birth in a hospital! In the end, though, everything came out just perfectly; we have a healthy, beautiful baby and I was able to have the natural birth experience I was hoping for.

There is no way I could have made this journey without the incredible support of my husband and my birth team, dubbed "Team Bird." Everyone pulled together to help me realize my full potential, and for that, I am so grateful.

A very proud and intimate moment where we realized: we came through it together and we are parents. 

My women. 
Not pictured, my doula, who didn't attend the birth but has been an intricate part of the process (and continues to be,)  who also deserves a big thank you!

The Bird's footprints! 

The Bird and Daddy getting skin to skin! 

Please Welcome The Bird!

Alright everyone, I've been MIA for a week or so now and that's because last week, I gave birth to our daughter, The Bird. I plan on posting the full birth story later on in the week (hopefully) but until then, I wanted to give you all a look at our new baby girl who we are just soooo in love with.

She was born on May 12 at 9:15AM. 6 pounds, 5 ounces and 19.5 inches of perfection. We hope you think she is as cute as we do! (Although we are a little partial.)

When we got done our skin-to-skin and moved into our room, The Bird and I had a moment together and I snapped this shot. 

Daddy giving The Bird her very first bath! 

Going home from the hospital and VERY excited!!! (Outfit credit goes to The Bird's  godmother, Jenn!) 

Settled in at home with all three doggies who are just as in love with The Bird as we are!!!! 

Stuff I Use: [Pregnancy Edition] Evening Primrose Oil

I feel a little bit like the queen of trying everything and anything to make this pregnancy healthier, but I guess there are worse things to be in this world, so I'll take it! Earlier I wrote about drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea, which I really like, and have kept steady on, even adding Mother to Be Tea, which is reallllly good too. I have also kept up on my exercise (Zumba as well as my birthing ball exercises and back stretches) and trying so hard not eat every cake every created on the face of the earth (since my sweet tooth cropped up.)

Just to warn you, this post is about to get graphic, so if you don't want to hear about my vagina, you should probably stop reading about now. Because this is mostly about my vagina. You've been warned. And no, I don't think it's a "TMI" moment because women need to know about this stuff. 

Another thing I have been doing, as it can only help and can't hurt, is beginning an Evening Primrose Oil routine, which I began at 35 weeks. I take one capsule (1,000 mg) by mouth in the afternoon, and then in the evening I have my husband burst open a capsule and insert it vaginally. He works it toward my cervix (as close as he can get it.) Another way to do this is to insert the capsule (unbroken) yourself, pushing it up as close to the cervix as you can get it, and simply let it dissolve overnight. If you do, wear a pad to catch any oil that leaks out while you sleep (which the one time I did this, wasn't too much, really.)

The purpose is to help ripen the cervix and thereby make the birthing process overall more easy on your lady parts. I have a friend who had her hubby massage the oil into her vagina, and she really enjoyed the difference it made for her. I like it because it's also a great opportunity to work on vaginal stretching, which is totally worth it since I'm planning on a natural delivery. It's a vague safety net against vaginal tearing, or at least can help minimize it according to my midwife.

I find it's a pretty intimate time with my husband when he applies the oil each night. I was worried it might be a little weird, but really, it's not. The stretching part can be a little uncomfortable, but it's a good opportunity to practice some communication.

There is a misconception that if you are taking Evening Primrose Oil that it can "induce" labor, but I want to break through that misconception and say it's just not true. I've been on it for over two weeks, and it hasn't induced me into labor, so don't worry. However, I am happy to report that my cervix is, in fact softening and ripening, which could be a coincidence, but hey, it's cool with me!

If you are thinking about doing the primrose oil, I can say I really like it so far. Postpartum, I will write about what I think worked and what didn't. Also, as a little "bonus" to this post, I felt I should also say that an even more natural version of this is to have sex and have your husband ejaculate inside of you--it has the same effect on the cervix. (There are some nights that we did this instead of the oil) Isn't nature great!? 

I Got My Own Hospital Gown

If you've been following me during this pregnancy, then you probably know that I had some major issues coming to grips with a hospital birth. It wasn't initially what I saw for myself as the ideal birth. One of my big issues was putting on a hospital gown. I didn't want the energy of something that has been worn by multiple people seeping into my experience. If that sounds a little out there to you, then you don't know me. Haha. What can I say? It's just how I roll.

So, part of me getting over the whole hospital birth thing was getting my own hospital gown...something fresh and new and something that I could launder that would smell like me. If you have been pregnant and looked into getting your own hospital gown, though, then you probably already know how expensive they can be. I was shocked, and just refused to swallow a $65 fee for the gown. 

I was REALLY happy when I came across the Milk and Baby website. They have a TON of great stuff to help enhance your hospital birth, including gowns that are disposable, or just not as expensive as those ones on Etsy. Not knocking Etsy, of course, just a mom trying to save a little dough. They also have flat rate shipping, which is great. 

Looks like  a standard gown, feels like home. 

Sometimes it's just about the little touches, right?! 

I ended up picking up this pink polka dotted gown with green trim. It's got buttons and everything, just like the ones in the hospital, except none of the wack karma that comes with wearing something that everyone else and their brother has worn. I haven't gone the girly route too much in this pregnancy (as evidenced by our very unisex nursery) so I splurged on the pink in the form of this gown...I am having a girl, after all. 

All in all, I'm really happy with my gown, and it's just one of those small things that is making me happier and more comfortable with our hospital birth. So tell me, how did you get cozy with a hospital birth? Did you purchase a gown or do something else that helped ease the transition from home to hospital??? Share with me the comments section below.