I wrote Ruth's birth story today, and thought I'd share it here for those interested! It's not too graphic, but it is about birth, so... :) I love reading others' birth stories -- birth is such an amazing miracle! :)
We're doing well. I am trying to rest amid the craziness that comes from having 2- and 3-yr-old boys plus a newborn. ;) We've had plenty of help from my mom and sisters, which has been a huge blessing. And dinner this evening was provided by some friends of ours... another great blessing. :)
Ruth is a sweetheart and I'm loving having a little nursling again, since Eliyahu weaned a number of months ago. :) Her hair is so long -- at least an inch long all over her head! Pretty neat that our little girl already has hair that's substantially longer than her brothers'. ;)
So, I'll stop rambling and get on to the birth story. :)
Ruth Patience was born at home on January 23, 2008. We were blessed with a quiet, relaxing birth, and we're so thankful to our Heavenly Father for His generosity and goodness to us!!
My pregnancy with Ruth started out slightly differently than my first two pregnancies: we didn't have a set due date. Since I was still nursing Eliyahu (16 months) and hadn't been paying enough attention to my body, we weren't sure how long I had been pregnant when we found out. :) However, we had learned from past experiences that due dates are just rough estimates (my first pregnancy lasted 42+ weeks, and my second, 44 weeks) and Joshua and I both felt that our best course was to just be observant and listen to my body, knowing that unless there were signs of complications, my pregnancy would start and end in Yahweh's perfect timing! :)
A few days before Ruth was born, I noticed that I was leaking small amounts of amniotic fluid. I didn't allow myself to get too excited, since I know that small leaks can occur weeks before delivery. :) I was still feeling pretty good, and having fun coming up with things to do to keep me busy until the baby was born. I felt pretty big, but, I also didn't feel as though the baby was growing too large. And what 9-months-pregnant woman doesn't feel a little huge?! :)
I didn't get much sleep the night before Ruth was born, but that was my fault. I did my usual evening chores, and stayed up blogging about making strawberry shortcake. When I did go to bed, it took me close to an hour to fall asleep. I'm not sure why -- I must not have been tired enough! Eliyahu (24 months) woke me up a couple times needing a diaper change and needing covered, and then Yehoshua (3.5 yrs.) woke up with his usual middle-of-the-night crying/bathroom trip. I had gotten a couple hours' sleep at this point, and when I laid back down after taking care of Yehoshua, I couldn't get back to sleep. It was 4am, and I didn't know that I was in labor yet. I was laying there, unable to relax and fall asleep, but also not in any real discomfort... at least, nothing I could pinpoint.
I had a few contractions from about 4-4:30am, but I wasn't sure they were contractions because I was having trouble distinguishing when they began and ended, and they were more like a wave of nausea than a wave of pain. I thought, "I hope I'm not going into labor. I'm way too tired. This can't be labor. I'm not having a baby until this weekend at least."
At 4:30, I decided I was tired of trying to go to sleep. I got up and checked my email and put away a few dishes. After about 5 minutes of being up, I realized that I was having real contractions. I started timing them using the online contraction timer (which is so easy to use -- I would never have bothered timing them otherwise) and they were every 2-3 minutes, and about a minute long.
During the fourth contraction, I decided I should call the midwife and let her know I was starting labor. I dialed our phone card number, but before I could dial her phone number, the contraction ended and I felt just fine. I hung up the phone, thinking "Okay, that was silly -- I've only had 4 contractions. This could be a false alarm... I'll call her after a bit."
The next contraction started, and I started feeling a little... well, helpless, I guess. I grabbed the phone and dialed again, and when our midwife answered, I told her that I was pretty sure I was in labor. She asked how I was feeling and I said, "Well, I feel just fine, unless I'm having a contraction." I told her I was going to go ahead and call Joshua at work, since he had a 30-minute drive to get home.
I dialed the number for Joshua's work, and I confess I did feel a little silly telling the guy who answered, "Umm, I need to talk to my husband. It's an emergency; I'm in labor." They located Joshua quickly, and within a few minutes I heard Joshua's voice on the phone (this was the first time I had ever called him at work!) and I told him I was doing fine, but labor had started. He said he'd come right home.
I continued doing little things in the kitchen to distract myself in between contractions. I couldn't do anything during contractions, besides pacing the floor (which didn't give any real relief, but helped me feel less frantic!). Eliyahu was sleeping in his bedroom, and Yehoshua was asleep on his "trundle bed" in the living room. I looked at Yehoshua with envy... wouldn't it be nice to be sleeping instead of laboring! ;)
By the time Joshua got out of work and drove home, it was about 5:20am. I was still fairly calm, and assurred him that he should go ahead and take a shower. While Joshua was showering, I had some really intense contractions.
When Joshua got out of the shower, I told him I wanted him to call my mom, who lives 15 minutes away. I wasn't able to call her myself at that point, or I would have called during his shower. I wasn't expecting or hoping to have an extremely fast labor this time, so I had prepared myself to expect more "warning" and to not look at the clock, hoping for a fast delivery. I still expected labor to last at least another hour.
I got hot (even though it was only 66 degrees in our house) and Joshua helped me take off the sweatpants I was wearing. Joshua clipped his fingernails really short, and I can't remember what else. Then, I hugged him through a contraction, holding onto him for support. He started quietly praying for me but even his calm voice was too much for me to handle, and I asked him to please not talk...
It was about 5:40 by then... within the next couple of contractions, I started feeling a little "pushy", but told myself I was imagining things, since I couldn't possibly be that far along. A couple of contractions after that, I could literally feel the baby descending and I knew that I was going to be pushing soon. I told Joshua that the baby was coming soon, and I pointed to the chux pads that were with our birth supplies. Before the next contraction, I grabbed a plastic-backed sheet and put it on the couch, and we put down a couple of big chux pads.
With the next contraction, I grabbed onto Joshua and pushed with the urge. We heard a "splat" as my water broke, onto the chux we had just put down. I looked down at the wet pad and said, "It's clear. Good." Joshua helped me take off my wet underwear before the next contraction came, and I started pushing again. I could feel a head very low; I wanted to tell Joshua to be ready to catch the baby, but I couldn't communicate very well. Joshua put his hand down under me, and I said "Good." He must have been reading my mind! ;) (I also wanted a drink of water, but there was no one to ask, since Joshua was supporting me while I pushed.)
With the third pushing contraction, the baby's head came. It was soft, and covered with wet, soft hair. I reached down to feel the head (I was squatting, holding onto Joshua for support). I couldn't believe that the head was already out! I had tried to push slowly and "gently" because I didn't want to tear (although I didn't tear, even though the baby came out very quickly!).
And with the fourth contraction, the shoulders and the rest of the baby came. Joshua let go of me to catch the baby, and after she was out, I sat down on the couch behind me. Joshua handed her to me, and I held her on my tummy while he quickly grabbed a few towels to cover her. Joshua remembered to look at the clock, and she was born at 5:55am. She was blue, which we knew was normal, and had good muscle tone. She started to breathe shortly, but was having trouble and was a little gurgly, so Joshua used the bulb syringe gently on her nose a couple times and then we called our midwife's cell phone, and she said to rub the baby's back, as well. Our midwife said she wasn't too far from our house by then, and Ruth was breathing fine, so we hung up the phone.
Joshua asked me, "Did you look to see if we have a boy or a girl?" and I said, "Not yet... but it looks like a girl because the hair is so long!" ;) We looked, and it was a girl.
Eliyahu had been awake in his crib for a little bit (I guess Joshua said Eliyahu was saying "Dada! Mama! Dada!" in a pleasant voice from his crib during the last few minutes of the birth, but I totally tuned it out!) and Joshua went and brought him out into the living room to introduce him to Ruth. Eliyahu pointed to her wet and matted hair, saying "Ewww! Icky!" and then Eliyahu woke up Yehoshua, who was surprised to see a new baby in the living room! :)
The midwife and her assistant arrived, and my mom came shortly afterwards. She was surprised that the baby was already born, since we had called her only about 25-30 minutes before, and hadn't indicated that there was any big hurry. ;)
The placenta came after about 45 minutes (which was much sooner than my last two, thankfully!) and then Joshua clamped and cut the cord.
I took a nice herb bath, and we weighed Ruth -- 8 lbs 5 oz -- and not too long later, our midwife got a call from another laboring mom, so she finished up the paperwork/medical notes and they headed out. My mom stayed for quite a while to feed the boys and help out before taking them to her house for the afternoon (during which time I actually got a nap!).
I'm so thankful to our Heavenly Father for the beautiful, peaceful birth He gave us! It wasn't what we had planned for ourselves, but it was what He had in store for us, and it couldn't have been better. :) And now we're all enjoying our third little blessing, Ruth Patience. :)