On Monday April 10th I woke in the wee hours of the morning to a rush. I had wondered while laying in bed the night before if I'd wake up in labor after experiencing lots of bloody show and mild rushes all day Sunday. With the light of the near full moon shining in from the window I laid patiently waiting and hoping for the next wave to come over me. At 2:36am I felt a familiar POP and knew my water had broken. I knew if I made any sudden movements our bed would be soaked. I woke Marcus and asked him to quick grab me a towel because my water had broke. He shot right up! He handed me the towel and I wadded it up under me and sat up. As soon as I did my waters came rushing out. We were both buzzing with excitement. We headed downstairs and began to set up our birthing space. Knowing how quickly my others had come after my waters ruptured we were sure that we were well on our way to having our sweet Ruby earthside. Marcus began to fill the pool and I text my midwife to keep her in the loop. I also called my mom and sister to have them head over. At this point it was storming and Hazel woke to the thunder and hollered out for me. I went to her and tried to snuggle her back to sleep in our bed. Soon my mom and sister arrived and Marcus came up to relieve me from Hazel duty. She ended up waking enough that he just brought her down to hang with us. Pretty soon the other kiddos started waking up and getting excited because they'd seen we were all set up and waiting on Ruby.
My rushes were almost non existent at this point coming maybe every ten minutes and very weak compared to any rush I'd ever experienced after my waters had broken. The rest of the morning continued on like this. My ex husband came to pick up Owyn and Ellie because we hadn't planned to have them there for the birth. I think I showered. We got Hazel down to sleep and I napped for an hour or so somewhere in there in hopes of things picking up if I let my body really relax for a bit. I woke to Marcus laying next to me and we locked eyes. Things hadn't really picked up at all. Hazel woke and we all goofed around in the bed for a while.
I spoke with my midwife and they decided to head over around noon to try some different techniques in hopes of bringing baby down into a good position suspecting this was the reason things weren't moving along. They arrived and they checked Ruby's heart rate and I had my only cervical exam of my pregnancy. I was dilated to a four and Ruby was sounding good as ever. We got my belly wrapped up nice and tight and then Marcus, Hazel, the dogs, and I went for a walk around the track behind our house. When we arrived back home my mom and sister had decided that they would take the kids and head out to my sisters in hopes of giving us some peace and quiet and getting things rolling. This was only our second time being without Hazel since her birth and she was a little hesitant and calling my name as she was being strapped into her carseat. They were planning on being back in time for the birth and I was feeling relieved to get the chance to just try to labor without a toddler on my heels, haha! Little did I know this is the last time I would hug and kiss Hazel with her being my youngest babe.
After they took off we wrapped, walked, lunged, and laid in different positions hoping for some good solid contractions to kick in. Nothing was working and I was beginning to feel really discouraged and let down by my body. I was starting to feel like I would be transferring to the hospital come morning and lose my decade long dream of having my homebirth. I expressed how I was feeling to Marcus on one of our walks and he reminded me to keep my head positive and said that he was sure we'd have this baby by morning. (days later admitting that he too was having some doubts.)
We'd gotten home and were talking with the midwives and they asked how I felt about trying some black and blue cohosh. I agreed and did a shot chasing it with my Naked juice sometime around 4pm. It was pretty earthy tasting. After that we wrapped the belly up again and took off for another walk around the track. This time I had five or so good rushes and as they would hit I would squat leaning into Marcus to help me back up. I came back filled with hope for the first time in a while. I remember jokingly saying something about drinking the whole bottle of B&B cohosh. It felt like a miracle! I did some more lunging, side lying intervals on Dom's bed, and took another shot or two throughout. My rushes were coming every seven or so minutes at this point and becoming more intense. We may have walked or laid or lunged.. It was such a long day but I was finally feeling like things were picking up and Ruby would be in our arms soon. Marcus drank a couple of PBR's and I could tell he was enjoying being at home rather than in a hospital room. A bit before 6pm my midwives decided to go grab some dinner. I feel like as soon as they left and it was just Marcus and I things grew way intense. I paced between the livingroom and Dominic's room. (our back up birthing space off of livingroom.) As I paced I would stop in the doorways and rest my head against the trim of the door and sway my hips through rushes. My back began to hurt and Marcus rubbed it for me. I felt like they were becoming so strong and was really wanting to get into the water. I text my midwife at 6:24pm to ask if I could jump in the shower and she told me she was on her way. When she got here she agreed that I could shower but wanted to listen to Ruby first. Ruby sounded great as always. At this point I was getting really teary eyed and would tear up during each rush or even just when my midwives would talk to me in their gentle midwife/doula/loving tones. :) My midwife checked my blood pressure and temperature. Both of which were up. My blood pressure not concerningly so but my temperature was worrisome. I had a long sleeved shirt on so my midwives had me strip down to my bra and skirt and rubbed peppermint oil on the bottoms of my feet. I sat on my ball feeling sure that I was heading for transfer if we couldn't get my temperature to come down. I was reassured when I was told that since Ruby sounded good she wasn't entirely concerned and that we could also attempt Tylenol to bring it down. Luckily the oils and less layers brought it down.. SUCH RELIEF!
Around this time my midwife's second assistant arrived. I hadn't met her before but remember thinking that she brought in with her the sweetest presence. I was so blessed to have this group of women supporting me. My rushes were so strong at this point and I would jump off of my ball and sway in the doorways as they would hit. As they became almost unbearable I retreated to Dom's room and Marcus followed. I remember glancing out at the sunset. I paced in there having a few really strong ones and I think I may have been standing arms around Marcus' neck for a few trying to make it to the other side. He whispered to me during a really hard one that we were doing this. "This is it babe. It's really happening. You're getting the birth you've always wanted. You're so close now."
I was standing at the foot of Dom's bed and said something along the lines of feeling her head and having the urge to push. I remember looking to my midwife for her approval and her reassuring me, telling me to listen to my body. I was feeling nervous about pushing. I knew at this point that things had gone pretty fast and that the pool wasn't all the way filled or the right temperature. I also knew how fast my body pushes my babies into the world and was so afraid I'd tear. Funny because I worry about this every single birth and it has yet to happen. (wait, let me rephrase that, with Ruby being our last it never will! haha!)
As I was pushing Marcus was sitting on the end of the bed. I had one knee on the bed and was standing with my other foot on the floor. I had my arms wrapped around Marcus' neck and he sat under supporting me and ready to catch his second daughter. (my midwife later told me that he had the sweetest grin on his face) I was really trying to breathe her head down and slow my body from just PUSHING like it likes to do in hopes of sparing her from bruising and instead just easing her out. Looking back I think I did an okay job of it and my midwives assistant even mentioned that I'd done great at it. Her head was born and my midwife said something to Marcus about seeing her beautiful face. Shortly thereafter her shoulders were born with real force so much so that it felt like they were tugged out. She slipped into the world and her daddy's hands at 7:38pm. I crawled onto the bed, laid on my back, and they handed her to me. I was so relieved to have her in my arms. Marcus came and kneeled next to the bed and we admired our brand new daughter. He snapped a couple of pictures of her and I laying there in pure baby bliss. I delivered the placenta and Marcus cut the cord. I sat up a bit and Ruby latched right on and nursed really well. After a good nursing/cuddling session I got up and was helped to shuffle to the bathroom to clean up while Marcus cuddled Ruby. I came back out and laid on the couch and she nursed again. Shortly thereafter and in between buzzing about and cleaning up the birthy mess our midwife checked Ruby over as well as weighed and measured her. She weighed in at eight pounds thirteen ounces and was twenty one inches long. Just one ounce bigger than Hazel making her the biggest of my five. She was and is pink and perfect! Our midwives finished some laundry and picking up and were out the door after hugs were shared.
The next morning I'd woken up and was feeling bummed that things hadn't gone "as planned." Wishing that my labor had been more predictable like my others. Wishing I'd have had time for my water birth and that I'd been able to handle the intense contractions with more ease. These thoughts lasted an hour or so and then I really came around from that sort of thinking. Letting go of expectations can be so hard and birth can be so unpredictable. I am so grateful to have had the homebirth experience with this last babe of mine. I stood in my son's bedroom and pushed my baby into the world, into her daddy's hands. That's pretty badass and I did it, WE DID IT! Then we snuggled into our own bed and fell even more in love. It's now just over 78 hours later and I'm still here floating around on this oxytocin high. Ruby is still nursing wonderfully and as of today everyone is smitten (it only took a certain toddler a minute to come around after a couple of "MY MAMA'S!!" were hollered out... ;)) She is so beautiful and we are all so blessed by her, our sweet Ruby Ophelia.