Sitting here, four days after the birth of our daughter, I’m struck by the power of the mind. Just four days ago, I had one of the most powerful experiences of my life, and already the edges are becoming a bit blurry. The details have already become a bit lost in the big picture. But I will never forget the emotions surrounding Ruby’s birth. Here is her story...
Although throughout the pregnancy, I adamantly proclaimed that I thought Ruby would come early, her December 3rd due date came and went with little fanfare. After that day, I resigned myself to the idea that she would be stubborn like her big brother and come out at the very last minute on her own. The rational part of my brain allowed me to consider the induction process as a possibility, but my heart was telling me to just be patient. Any pregnant Mama who goes past their due date will tell you that those last few days or weeks are the toughest. Well-intentioned friends and family stating the obvious on a daily basis -- “Oh, you still haven’t had that baby, yet?”
On Friday, December 9th, we went into the clinic for a biophysical profile. In our OB’s office, it’s pretty standard practice to check on the baby at a week past the EDD, so we weren’t concerned. The test looks for specific behaviors and gives the baby thirty minutes to show us that she’s doing okay. That day, Baby Ruby slept through the test which resulted in a failing grade. The nurse practitioner wasn’t overly concerned -- fluid levels still looked good, I felt great, and all signs pointed to a healthy baby; except for the failed BPP. Per protocol, we were sent over to the hospital’s Birthplace for a follow-up test and to see the doctor-on-call (not our doctor).
Baby Ruby passed the follow-up non-stress test with flying colors. Again, everything looked great, and I felt fine. All my Mama instincts were telling me that baby was fine... And then the doctor came in to talk with us. She explained that in her opinion, the BPP was telling us that something was wrong, and she was quite certain we should induce labor that day. She kept using the phrase, “sick baby,” which was unsettling and frankly, not fair. It completely ruffled my Mama feathers, and made John nervous.
Now, I understand that hospitals have protocols, and doctors are trained to avoid worst-case scenarios, but nothing about this reaction seemed right to me. I asked to have the BPP repeated in a few hours and assuming that we passed, told the doctor we wouldn’t want to be induced. Baby Ruby passed the second BPP in about 5 minutes with a full 8 out of 8. We went home.
We agreed to come in again the next day to be monitored, and then follow-up with our doctor in the clinic on Monday. We had a third BPP on Monday and everything looked great. Dr. Greenleaf agreed that we were back on track to wait for baby to come on her own. She stripped my membranes and told us that we’d need to come back on Friday if baby wasn’t out, yet, and we’d schedule an induction for Saturday (two weeks post date).
John went back to work, and I went home to hang out with Jack. By about 5:00, I was having some uncomfortable contractions, and although they felt different than any I’d had up to that point, they weren’t regular, and they weren’t very intense. Jack and I sat on the living room floor and played with his cars. Suddenly, I felt a gush of fluid and my pants were wet. I got up and went to the bathroom, certain that either my water had just broken, or I had massively peed myself. Either option was completely plausible at that point. My instinct told me that it was the former, so I called John and asked him to skip the bread store and just come straight home from work. I also called our doula, Sara, who told me that since the baby was so high still, we should probably think about heading into the hospital to be checked in case of cord prolapse. I called my mom and told her, “It’s time!” and she hurried over to stay with Jack.
|the last photo of us as a family of three|
In the car on the way to the hospital, my contractions basically stopped. I didn’t say anything to John, but I was so scared that the whole thing was a false alarm, and that we’d get to the hospital with no contractions and they’d simply tell us that I’d peed my pants...