Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The longest blog of my life... Ruthie's Birth Story

30 days young. My sweet baby girl.

I thought I'd finally take some time to share about her entrance into the world.
And that is my "warning"... only proceed in reading if such topics don't make you uncomfortable ;)

It's always been my desire to have my children naturally. However, with Gabbi we had the unfortunate experience of a horrible doctor combined with not being informed enough, which led to her being birthed by C-section. With Catie, I was so focused on being able to have a VBAC that I didn't prepare mentally or physically for a med-free birth. I wish I would have in hind-sight, seeing as how the epidural I caved in to only took on half my body. Her birth really did go well (and quickly) but my lack of preparation made it miserable.
This time around, I decided to truly become informed & prepare for the natural birth experience I have desired for 3+ years. A great friend of mine recommended I watch the documentary Business of Being Born- where my thoughts & ideas on birth were forever changed. I may write more on that topic sometime in the future. But in the mean time I want to suggest every Mommy, soon-to-be Mommy, or one-day-wants-to-be a Mommy to watch this movie... with an open mind. I feel that we, as women in the US, are terribly uninformed about the risks of all the intervention doctors perform.
Anyway, after watching the movie, I ordered Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way and read it, sharing much of it with Dustin along the way since he was going to be the one "coaching" me through the whole process. The movie, coupled with reading this book and one amazingly supportive husband, made me so much more at ease with what was inevitably going to happen. So often doctors here in the states look at childbirth as an illness, something that needs to be "treated", something that is dangerous and you need to be terrified of. Don't believe me? Just watch a few episodes of "A Baby Story" on TLC- something "tragic" is always happening lol.
(I will insert here that I am fully aware there are legitimate emergencies during childbirth. There are times when C-sections are honestly necessary. For those circumstances- those true emergencies- I am thankful for modern medicine.) These two things reminded me that childbirth is a natural thing, something our bodies were created to do, and it's nothing that you need fear. The Bradley Method taught me to not fight against contractions, no matter how painful, but to remind myself to work with them, relax through them, and to allow my body to do what it was made to do. Of course, Dr Bradley didn't put this anywhere in his "method", but everything constantly brought me back to the Lord. This is how He created me, what He created me to do, so I knew He would enable me to do it.
So I was ready. At 35 weeks I was starting to progress... and I was ready, just prayed she wouldn't come while Dustin was halfway around the world. Well, she didn't.
Dustin came home from a mission trip to Africa when I was 36 weeks... and I was ready.
I finished washing her clothes & ordering her cloth diapers right at 38 weeks... and I was ready.
Finally got her car seat installed at 39 weeks... and I was ready.
Then it came, April 22nd, her "due date"... and it left... I spent Easter Sunday pregnant, sporting the same maternity dress I wore 2 Easters ago when pregnant with Catie! I thought maybe she wanted to be an "Easter baby"... well, she didn't.
Week 41 came... and it left... and I made jokes about this stubborn girl not wanting to be born in April since that's when I told everyone she was coming. The entire week past her due date i spent taking warm baths in the evenings because I read the only thing that would truly help labor come is getting completely relaxed. So that's what I did. Dustin hardly allowed me to lift a finger once he got off work. He spoiled me with foot rubs & saw it as his duty to get me as comfortable as possible. Which, let's face it, is almost IMpossible 9+ months pregnant.
So we waited, and I prayed that God would grant me peace as I waited and began to get impatient. I prayed constantly for discernment and for Him to remind me if I was the one being stubborn in not letting my doctor induce me. I prayed he would honor my desire for no medical intervention... and prayed He would JUST MAKE HER COME!!!! (Yes, that "all caps" truly was the tone of many of my prayers.)

Then it was here, April 31st. I spent that Saturday morning toting both Gabbi & Catie- and my 9+ month pregnant belly to Gabbi's Weeball game since Dustin had to work for the first time in years. It was a stressful day to say the least. I was tired & frustrated and truly was not walking in the Spirit as I should have been. But as always, my husband was amazing, and encouraged me so much when he got home... even though I do know he was beginning to get anxious as well. We talked about going to my appointment Monday morning and letting my doctor know I was willing to be induced then. Was it really worth all the stress we were both under, and the physical pain I was feeling? After all, I could still (potentially) have a pain med-free birth even though I was induced. I took a bath again that night, and as I lay there I prayed, so tossed between my desire for no intervention and my desire for her to just COME! I prayed that if God saw fit, He would just allow her to come before my appointment Monday so I wouldn't even have to make a decision.
After my bath, I went and just laid on the couch. A friend called me around 10 and we talked for several minutes. During our conversation I had a couple contractions that just took my breath away a little... contractions were not abnormal for me, seeing as I had them since about 20 weeks! But this one was a bit painful. We hung up, and at 10:30 on the dot I had a tight pain all across my abdomen, worse than anything I had felt previously. I told Dustin, about it and remember saying "Maybe, just maybe, this is it???" He was pretty calm and said we'll just wait and see, and not to get my hopes up because I had several "Maybe this is it" moments the previous few weeks. Well, the contractions came consistently every 7 minutes for the next hour and a half. Some very painful, some not too bad, but I continued to just lay on the couch and try to relax. At midnight we decided to go on to bed and try to get some sleep, and also to see if it was the real thing. The previous times I had contractions consistently they just went away when I fell asleep. But these were much more intense and I pretty much knew there would be no rest for me. We tried though. Dustin maybe dozed off for 30 minutes. I got up to go to the bathroom several times, each time I got up the contractions intensified, and finally I told him this is it, they're getting worse, they're coming every five minutes, we should call my parents. I moved to the couch because I seemed to be more comfortable there earlier while Dustin got up and got things together, although we still thought it would be a while before we left for the hospital.
The Bradley Method describes labor in 3 emotional stages- 1st is excited. 2nd is serious. 3rd is the "I can't do this" phase. The signs to look for getting ready to go to the hospital are one: the 2nd "emotional" stage of labor, where the mom is very serious, very focused on the contractions. He says she won't be smiling or concerned about anything else going on around her. And two: when contractions are consistently 3 minutes apart. I never had either of those signs. When my parents got there, I was still talking to them between contractions, and asking Dustin to make sure "such and such" was in the bag. My contractions were never consistent. I'd have one or two that were 3 minutes apart, then 7 minutes, then 3 minutes, then 5 minutes. So Dustin kept saying "I just don't think we're ready to go." And while the contractions were intense, and no kidding, the most painful thing I've ever endured.... it wasn't unbearable. To be honest, I kept waiting for them to get worse. As long as I laid there, not moving, on the couch I think I could've handled them for a long while. But I didn't have to... around 2:15 I got up to use the bathroom and the shakes came over me. I wasn't cold, but my body was shaking uncontrollably like I had the chills. I called Dustin to come to me and told him, I think I remember reading your body begins to shake when you go into transition (7-10cm)... but couldn't totally remember. We were trying to think it out when I had another contraction and finally said, "OK, we need to go."
We arrived at St Mary's around 3am... the longest drive to the hospital in my life. There is no getting comfortable or relaxing through contractions in the car. When we pulled in, I admitted that I didn't know if I could do it. If they offer me the epidural, I just may need to take it. Dustin encouraged me that he knew I could... and I remember our previous many conversations about "no means no"... basically, I told him not to let me cave and he said he wouldn't.
When we got into triage, I prayed to be at least 5cm. Please be at least 5cm. The nurse checked me, then said, "Well, we're going to get you into a room because you're... uh, 9 centimeters!" My mom and Dustin gasped with excitement while I became terrified instantly. There's no option now for the epidural, and I am not prepared to push this girl out!
The next hour in the room went by so fast. I was laying there working through the worst part of labor as people were running in and out getting ready for delivery. The doctor came in- mine was out of town so Dr Edmonds delivered her, she actually has delivered a few of my friends' babies. I was so pleased with her, actually like her better than my own doctor. So that truly was from the Lord. When Ruthie dropped and I was ready to push, she just let me stay how was comfortable for me. The next couple minutes were the most intense and indescribable pain of my life- but considering I only pushed through two contractions versus the near 45mins I did with Catie, I prefer the pain. In no time she was here, wailing her way into the world at 4:21am after not even 6 hours of hard labor.

I am so thankful for the Lord's sovereignty and providence over every stage of my pregnancy and delivery. His grace has- and continues- to sustain me. He answered my prayers, granted me the desire of my heart, and has given me more than I can ever imagine- in the blessing of an amazing husband & 3 beautiful daughters. Life is... different... these days. It's been an emotional ride these past 4 weeks, but I love being a mommy. I love my girls & all that comes with taking care of them! I thank God for what a responsibility I have and pray I'll bring Him much glory through my motherhood- and that in turn my daughters will bring Him much glory in their lives as well. After all, that is the chief end of our existence.

1 comment:

Rebecca Burgener said...

I am so thankful I was in Dr. Martin's office the morning you had delivered. They called out several times, "Has anyone heard from Rebekah Haddock? Did she deliver?"

My ears perked up each time because I'm a Rebecca too, but it took a few minutes to realize I also recognized the name Haddock.

I met Dustin my senior year of high school, a year when God absolutely surrounded me by real Christians. I had many lessons to learn for my walk with Christ, and God used Dustin as well as others in those lessons. (Still learning, of course. I don't think it's a process that is ever "finished.")

Anyway, I looked Dustin up on Facebook, wondered onto your profile, and found your blog.

I'm so glad I did! I'm about five weeks away from my fourth delivery, and I see many similarities in how my outlooks and thoughts have changed over the past six years to the way yours have over the past three. (Perhaps I'm a slow learner.)

Your blog has been a blessing to me. Thank you for sharing your story.