On February 3rd we welcomed out sweet bundle of joy, Ruby Joon. All of 5 pounds, 7 ounces – 18.5″ long, this tiny package has already changed our world.
I write this from my couch with this 10 day old beauty sleeping soundly on my chest. She clearly dictates life around here and let’s just say mom and dad are some tired new parents! I suppose all new parents are just as tired and because of that I take back every, single “I’m tired” I’ve ever said aloud prior to baby. Holy cow does momma look forward to a day/night/anytime of 3 hours consecutive sleep! Ah, but she’s worth it!
So here’s our mini-birth story. I share this with a number of “TMI’s” removed but nonetheless, our story of Ruby Joon…
Thursday morning (2/2) – Day of Induction
I woke with the world’s most intense headache. I had been on heparin shots for a few weeks prior to planning our induction to prevent blood clots and to allow for an epidural should I have gone into labor before planned. I’m quite sensitive to blood thinners and headaches were normal to me, but this was different – causing for terrible nausea and leading me stay close to the waste basket. I’m not one to get sick to my stomach from a headache and I never had morning sickness or anything leading me to the porcelain gods in this pregnancy, but there I was on my last day of pregnancy getting sick. Thinking it was nerves, anxiety, etc., I ignored it and retreated to “relax” with Don before our 4:00 call time at the hospital.
I decided to send Don out for bagels and checked email, finding a message from my father-in-law indicating that the car seat they purchased for us had been recalled. It was like a comedy of errors. This wonderful, new, car seat that has been sitting our living room for months – one we’ve been tripping over and practicing on was finally ready to be used and was now on recall. Fabulous. This leading to two phone calls to pout. Call one – to a dear friend. She tells me to call the doctor and not to worry about the car seat as she’ll lend me hers until all is replaced. I am incredibly thankful for friends. Call two – to my parents, particularly my mom. Clearly I will never get too old to need my mom. She, too, tells me to call the doctor and insists she’ll buy us a new car seat to get home. I reassure her we’re fine with our friend’s and promise to call after I speak to the doctor. I did not know that the phone call back to her would be to tell her we were to rush into the hospital hours early as the doctor wanted me in right away. Like, no time for a shower, right away. So there Don and I were driving to the hospital – our last time just Don and Sandi. We went into the hospital as two and came out as three.
Admitted and in our labor and delivery room, the nurses tell me they’re testing me for pre-eclampsia (hypertension in pregnancy). I was getting tested weekly, sometimes twice and having just been to the doctor the Monday before, I had always been negative. Though upon being admitted around 11am, it was near 3:30/4:00 before it was brought to my attention that I was positive for severe pre-eclampsia. The doctors were going to start me on a round of drugs to cut the headache and prevent side effects but it was rough. I had a round of oral fiorecet and norco, an IV of morphine and dilaudid, but it wasn’t until they gave me a shot of the dilaudid in my muscle did I start to feel better from the headache. Fun drugs. They also had me on an IV of magnesium, which apparently prevents seizures and strokes brought on from the pre-eclampsia – something the doctors feared I would be susceptible to with the severity of the headache.
Around 4:00 the doctors wanted to start the induction, which included a balloon catheter and the cervix. Like I said, I wasn’t going to get too TMI, so let’s just say it didn’t work. Twice. And it was the most awful, gut-wrenching, painful experience out of the entire labor process. Finally at 5:00 we went with plan B for another induction method, leaving me in bed for 12 hours. I was pretty “high” and trying to relax but I definitely told the doctor I was just ready for a c-section. My mom and sister insisted I not go with the c-section, but between the magnesium hot flashes, intense headache and lack of rapid induction, I was not prepared to labor for the next 24 hours. Doctors told me I could do the c-section, but I should wait and try this for as long as I could. So I did.
Needless to say, I went to bed that night having gone in to the hospital for the baby – an exiting time but no longer had a car seat, did have pre-eclampsia and later found out the family dog was put down that night at the emergency pet ER. Like I said, a comedy of errors.
Friday (2/3) – Baby Time
Before Don woke, I was up at 5am for the start of pitocin. The 12 hour “induction” from the day/night before didn’t advance me much, if any. The doctors amp’d up the pitocin every 20 minutes to get this labor show on the road so it wasn’t long before I was feeling contractions. Cue the epidural…
I’m a bit hazy from all of this – between all the narcotics for the headache, I was pretty exhausted and just ready to have had the baby and move on. I remember the anesthesiologist having a bit of trouble “hooking” me up, but it definitely worked and soon I was numb. The doctors wanted to break my water and I remember hesitating, but I’m not sure why. And when they did they said there was a touch of meconium in the water – which is when the baby has a bowel movement and inhales the residue from said act. It can be deadly and while I worked myself up into an incredible tizzy over this, the doctors assured me it was not pea soup meconium and we would both be fine. Nonetheless, again, I asked for the c-section to hurry this along. Again, I decided to wait and give labor the good ole’ natural try. Turns out my body just wanted to work against me rather than with me. After a total of 33 hours since our arrival to the hospital, both the doctors and Don and I decided a c-section was inevitable. I had only advanced to 3cm dialated and there was no way I would advance fast enough and safely with the water already having been broken.
I was nervous – and excited. Strangely. While I do think there is some ease in simply having a c-section and not having to worry about the pains of labor, it is surgery and not just that, but surgery I’d be awake for. However, just as nervous as I was does not explain how Don was feeling. I’ve never seen the man so nervous! But there he was, sitting next to me – holding my hand and singing along to the music in surgery while we awaited the arrival of Ruby Joon.
I don’t remember a ton from the surgery. I know they gave me lots and lots of drugs – and in addition to that, I was exhausted. I remember closing my eyes a lot and trying to tell myself to wake up so I didn’t miss any of the important stuff. I could tell when they were ready to make their move with Ruby based on the pressure and I woke up to hear them say she was here and perfect. And tiny!
We don’t know how or why Ruby came to us in such a small package. Don and I were just in disbelief. A month prior, at an ultrasound they said she measured out to 5 pounds, 4 ounces – so to only “gain” 3 ounces in the final month seemed off. But the scales don’t lie! As I was being sewn back up, the doctors told Don he was welcome to go out to the waiting room where my parents, his parents and my brother and sister were waiting to share the good news, but that after he went out he could not return. He decided not to leave but the doctors said we could instead use our cell phone to call and share in the elation. Imagine my dad’s surprise when he received a phone call from me, on the operating table, congratulating him on being a grandpa again. Ha.
The next few hours were a haze. It was so late at night and not until 2:30am when they brought Ruby to our recovery room so we could spend a little time meeting her and taking in all the baby excitement. She was perfect. She is perfect. And on Tuesday last week, we brought her home.
I’ve been recovering from surgery. A c-section is difficult and while I can simply say “don’t do it” if you have a choice, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. It does require a day or two of pain thereafter but I think it’s more a mix of exhaustion and a desire to be pro-active to be a good mom and do as much as you can as fast as you can. I’ve quickly slowed down.
So now we’re home. I spend my days staring at Ruby and cooing at her and telling her how much I love her. Today has been our first day family and friend free, with Don at work and I think we survived pretty okay. Now to just teach her the difference between night and day so we could potentially get one good night of sleep a week. That shouldn’t be asking for too much – is it?
Here are some cute pictures… always more to follow…