I seriously thought I’d be pregnant forever. After almost 43 weeks in my belly (yes, you read that right), Ruth Margaret Gable is finally here!
After that last post I wrote, I was sure I’d be going into labor at any moment. Like I said, since about 37 weeks, I had been having a ton of false labor pains. I’d sit through a few hours of contractions, getting more and more uncomfortable, sometimes I’d make a call or send a text to my midwife to give her a heads up, and then pfffffft. Like clockwork, they’d fizzle out and I’d go to bed with the sads. I had made up my mind since the very beginning though. I wasn’t going to get my little grubby hands involved in any way this time. I wanted my labor to start naturally and to have as little medical intervention as possible. I realize this might not be an option for everyone, so I’m very thankful for the chance to experience pregnancy, labor and delivery in the way I felt the most comfortable and in control as I was able. After two previous forced starts to labor (castor oil and pitocin), I really wanted a different experience. I have to fess up though… I did drink a bit of castor oil somewhere around 41 weeks in a moment of weakness, but most of it immediately came back up and gave me nothing but a bad case of gas for a few hours. Which, let’s be real… wasn’t all that different from every other day of the pregnancy.
On the morning of August 2nd, I woke up feeling a little off. I was just sort of lounging on the couch all morning watching HGTV and was feeling some period-like cramps, which I pretty much dismissed as another bout of false contractions. I was going to be pregnant forever, remember? Around 11 or so, the four of us got up and around and took a trip to Walmart to get some plumbing parts for our leaky toilet. I said something to Justin about how funny it would be if I was really in labor and didn’t have a working toilet. HAHAHA, SOOOO HILAR.
Walmart was Walmart and I wanted to leave after about 3 minutes. I was more agitated than I had felt in a long time and was still feeling contractions, but I wasn’t quite convinced they were the real deal yet. On to Target we went.
It was about the time the kids were looking at a giant book about Legos that I realized. I timed a good handful of contractions with an app on my phone as we leisurely strolled through Target and they were about 45 seconds and 4 minutes apart. Welp, I guess it’s time to grab that gigantic tub of licorice I’ve been craving and skidaddle.
In the parking lot, I called my midwife. She had checked me out the day before and I dilated to about a 4, but after discussing it and considering all the starts/stops, we decided it’d be okay if she headed out of town to go to her granddaughter’s birthday party for a day. By the time I called her to let her know I thought this could be the real deal, she was already in her car with her husband and on their way. I had a back up midwife lined up if anything like this happened, so I wasn’t really worried. Plus, I kind of still didn’t really believe I was really in labor. I KNOW. Looking back and thinking about how I had to stop and breathe through contractions and how I even passed the makeup aisles without so much as flinching in their direction, HOW COULD I NOT HAVE KNOWN? This is the third time I had done this, for Pete’s sake. It’s almost like I needed it in writing, signed by the President or something.
My midwife suggested I go on home, take a bath and eat some lunch. Usually, relaxing a bit will cause false contractions to ease off, so that’s what we were trying to do. I did what she suggested and while I was in the shower, Justin was scrambling around the house, straightening up and making a bed for me on the couch. He also fixed the toilet at lightning speed and I am forever grateful. He was such an angel throughout this entire thing… More on that later.
So after being home for only about half an hour, I was starting to feel legit pains:
(Apologies if the exposed midriff is causing you to stumble.)
After Justin took that photo, I had to use the bathroom like whoa, so I hung out in there for about 20 minutes (TMI, don’t you love it? Poop and labor = BFF). I could hear him pacing the living room and making some phone calls. My midwife, who was still on her way out of town, gave him the number for the back up midwife. He called her and she was 40 minutes away. Yikes. Next was a phone call to my parents, who were supposed to pick up Maddie and Jack at this point, but they were 2 hours away. Then a call to my doula, who was busy at another birth. I remember leaning on the bathroom counter and Justin came in to tell me that we were on our own for at least the next 40 minutes and we seriously just laughed. During the pregnancy, we talked about what would happen if he had to deliver the baby and they covered it in the home birth class, but we never formally planned for it to ACTUALLY happen. I can’t describe what was going on in my head at that moment, but even though everything I had envisioned was seemingly slipping through my fingers, I somehow knew it was going to turn out more than fine. The peace was indescribable… as were the poop pains. Back to the toilet, brb.
A few minutes later, I emerged a new woman — a woman in honest-to-goodness active labor. I ended up on my knees on the floor in front of the couch, leaning my upper body over the seat cushions. I have no idea how I chose that place to have the baby. I had tossed around a few possibilities beforehand, thinking maybe it would happen in our bedroom or bathroom. The tub, perhaps? Candles lit and relaxing music playing? The fact that I landed in one of the most random spots in the house without any recollection of consciously choosing it proves what I had heard about home birth and your instincts just leading you to settle in the right spot for you to birth the baby. Sounds kumbaya my Lord, but honestly, it did end up being the best place for me to have the baby. By the way, there was no time for candles or music. I labored to the soothing sounds of Jumanji on TV in the next room where my kids were hanging out. Screeching monkeys really puts you in the frame of mind for birthing, FYI.
Justin called my midwife, put her on speaker and set the phone on the couch about a foot from my head. I clearly remember NOT wanting to talk or be helped in any way. I wanted to be done. I screamed, I cried a little, and she calmly coached me through it. She told me to put my pain to good use and bear down through the contractions. Justin was behind me (sorry, honey) and was doing everything my midwife instructed him to do. I’ll spare you some of the details there. Water had started leaking, he was checking for the baby’s head, you get it. I can’t remember exactly what he was doing that whole time, but he was encouraging and sweet throughout it all. And remarkably calm! I felt so safe with him there.
I felt the baby’s head move down at one point, then again during the next contraction. I was like, “ohhh craaaap, this is really happening” and my midwife could tell by my screeching what was going on. The baby was almost out. She said, “Okay, Justin and Morgan. I need you to look in each other’s eyes and agree that you still don’t want to call 911. Are you ready to do this?” Through blurred, mascara-teared eyes, I looked at Justin and we both said “Yes.” I’m sure I looked so hot in that moment. Like, irresistible even. Justin’s expression was the best though. I’ll never forget it. Excited, a little nervous about the unknown, but still confident. And dang cute. I think he looked the cutest he’s ever looked to me on that day.
You guys, it felt like I had to take the biggest poop of my life. I knowww, I’m sorry for the repeated mentions of poop, but it’s honestly what it felt like! The pain in my butt was literal and it was something I hadn’t felt with the previous epidurals. It. Was. Intense. But it didn’t last long.
I pushed once and the baby’s head came out. No time for 911 anyway at that point. Justin held it, as I was still leaning over the couch. Right at that moment, the back up midwife busted through the door, slid across our living room floor while simultaneously snapping on her gloves. It was kind of Matrix-y and awesome how she flew in like that. She put her hands down there to catch the baby as I pushed her out. She passed Ruth through my legs and I held her for the first time. Baby Ruth. She was here and she was perfect!
Don’t be fooled by this picture. This was about 10 minutes after I had Ruth, I totally wasn’t wearing pants and still had to deliver the placenta. Buckets of fun! That part took three flippin hours and was honestly the most painful part. My back up midwife kept saying, “How do you spell relief? P-L-A-C-E-N-T-A” and she was not joking. Getting that thing out was the best feeling ever. Then I could actually take a shower, snuggle my sweet baby and eat some Chipotle.
Our sweet Maddie and Jack were in the next room the entire time, poking their heads in and out to check on me. Maddie even unlocked the door for the midwife and handed Justin a few things during the crazy part of my labor. Justin and I had done our best to prepare them, but I think my screaming kind of took them by surprise. They were incredibly sweet to the baby when she arrived though, and that hasn’t stopped since.
More posts to come, as I’m sure I forgot a few details and I’ll have some questions to answer. I’ll get to that soon. For now, know that we’re in heaven with our family of 5 and are all enjoying every second with our precious Ruthie.