Ruthie Pearl or A Birth Story

Sunday, August 18, 2013

This post has taken me a while to write. There are a number of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that I just had a second kid and my world is trying really hard to stop spinning out of control.

But there are other reasons too. Like, I wanted to wait until I had some really good photos. And I wanted to go over the notes I took in the hospital about the experience and really remember it all again. And also that I DIDN'T want to remember it all again because, to be honest, it wasn't the greatest. This makes me feel bad. Because Ruthie is here and we are in love with her and obviously we are so so grateful that she is here with us and that our family has grown in such a wonderful way. But when I talk about the birth experience, it's not all roses. So how do I talk about the whole thing HONESTLY without sounding ungrateful or whiny? I don't know. But I will try.

After passing my due date (7/26) I was scheduled to be induced the following Tuesday at 7:30am. This was perfect as it gave my family time to drive down from Boise. Monday night was spent repacking my hospital bag and chatting with my parents. We went to bed a tad too late and I thought I would regret it but fell asleep pretty quickly.

Then my water broke at 3am.

I was determined to shower and shave my legs (something I was planning on doing in the morning) so I told Scott my water broke and jumped in the shower. Contractions started quickly but I was on a mission. I was worried about getting the bathroom wet after I got out of the shower so I shouted for Scott and was answered by silence. So I kept shouting until my mom came in and finally Scott came to put towels on the floor. ... He had fallen back asleep!

As I (and Scott) got ready to go, my contractions got worse. I was also determined to eat something so I had a little toast and a banana and some juice. My contractions really came on now and I was finding I would have to breathe through them a bit. We timed them and they were exactly 2 minutes apart.

I kissed my sleeping Georgia and whispered that I was going to bring her a sister.

When we got the hospital (about 4am), they put us in the EXACT same room I delivered Georgia in! It was like a way more painful flashback. Turns out I was at 5 1/2 cm.

Things were getting more intense so I decided to get an epidural but wanted to wait until my mom got to the hospital. I was breathing through contractions and I wanted Scott to distract me from the pain so I told him to talk to me.

"Have I ever you told you about Malawi?"

During each contraction, Scott would talk to me about the demographics of different African countries because it's all he could think to say! And I would ask questions through gritted teeth
"Is it more tribal?"

Once my mom arrived so did the anesthesiologist. He was very quiet and seemed a little grumpy which was my biggest fear. I got a lot of anxiety about it and he had not one word for me. He just told everyone to sit down. He was the farthest thing from comforting but he did his job. The epidural was so relieving.

I rested a little while until it was time to push.

I pushed for about an hour but was told that the baby's head was not coming down. I pushed some more and then was told that the baby was actually flipped facing up instead of down and that she would need to turn before we went on.

 Well, they had me lay on my side and told me to NOT push. This was worse than contractions. I wanted to push so bad and the pressure was really really intense and was wearing me out.

After an hour of that, they checked me again and told me nothing had changed. So they had me roll over to my other side and told me to NOT push again. I hated it. I was on my other side for another hour and was becoming pretty exhausted. I was riding the pressure like a wave, but it was tough

They called in the anesthesiologist again so that it wouldn't be as intense. Also, I was told that the baby still had not moved and so my doctor was going to try and flip her himself.

I was having a lot of anxiety through all of this, and I was really happy that I had brought some essential oils with me. I really think they helped me relax.

I trust Dr. Steele very much and he came and literally flipped the baby in a few contractions. I was happy they had refreshed my epidural before that! There was also a part of me that wished they would have just manually flipped her in the first place rather than going through those 2 hours of not pushing. Although she was in place, they told me she was still up very high.

After the baby was flipped, we decided to push again and I had some renewed energy to get her out. I pushed with everything in me but the baby's head was not getting any lower. This is when talk of a c-section started. I did NOT want a c-section. I was not mentally prepared for one and, quite frankly, it terrified me.

Scott gave me a priesthood blessing. I desperately wanted the blessing to say that I wouldn't need a c-section but instead it said that our baby would be born and healthy. That is what I had to focus on. But still, I prayed so hard that each of my pushes would get the baby down lower.

That was just not happening.

My anxiety really started going crazy. I was a nervous wreck and my doctor told me that I would most likely need a c-section. He said my body had been working for 4 hours to push the baby out and she had not dropped to where she needed to be. He told me that I would wear myself and the baby out soon. But I wanted to keep pushing until I HAD to stop. So that's what I did. After about another 30 minutes, he came back in and showed me that the baby's heart rate had started to drop. She was now in distress.

I started bawling. I mean, I really lost it. My mom kept telling me that it was okay to cry like that. She kept telling me to get it out. And I did. I cried because I felt like I was a wimp and that I COULDN'T push her out. I cried because I didn't know how I was going to take care of my 2 year old after surgery. I cried because I didn't know what to expect with a c-section and I was worried about a whole new type of pain. I cried because I kind of felt like a failure.

The doctor asked me to sign a release form "stating you're okay with a c-section even though you aren't."

I asked if I could have Scott AND my mom in the operating room. The grumpy anesthesiologist said no. This made my mom grumpy in her own right.

I didn't feel good about having a c-section, so I looked to Scott and I asked him if he thought it would all be okay. He had so much peace in his eyes and on his face. He assured me that he knew everything would be alright. Now, I have never in my life made a decision based on what someone else felt or told me without coming to grips with it myself first. But that day, I completely relied on my husband and his faith and assurance.

We got ready to go in and I was so happy that Scott could be there with me. He also looked pretty amazing in his operation-room-scrubs.

Once I was all on the table and everything they told me that they wouldn't be able to put the baby on my chest right away and that she would go be weighed and measured in the other room. This made me feel sick. Scott sat up by my head with the anesthesiologist. I felt overwhelmingly grateful for him in that moment and told him so.

The exhaustion really started to hit me while they did the cesarean. I have since told people that I kept "falling asleep" but that makes it sound like I was weirdly relaxed and relieved which I was not. Scott said I can go ahead and say I was "in and out" because I was pretty much incoherent. I woke up to hear Ruthie cry and I tried so hard to keep my eyes open! Scott went into the other room where she was and the next thing I heard was everyone in the operating room shouting:

"Oh wow! 9lbs 10oz! Did you hear that, Carrie?!"

I don't know if I responded or not.

I know that every once in a while I would wake up and start shouting "I'm all done now! I'm all done!" The anesthesiologist had told me that I might feel anxious and that he would give me something for that. The next thing I woke up to was Dr. Steele asking "is she calmed down?"

And I gotta hand it to Mr. Grumpy medicine man. While he barely said a word to me through out my labor, he was there for me during the procedure. He would stroke my head and told me "it's okay, sweetie" and assured me it would be over soon and that I would have my baby. He wiped my mouth when I vomited. He was really wonderful in the end.

Scott brought Ruthie in to see me but I couldn't keep my eyes open which I remember feeling really guilty about at the time. I was just so so tired.

They gave her to me as they wheeled me back into the delivery room and I slowly realized that she was here. That I had her and that we were okay.

 I could not wait to get her fully into my arms!

That's it. I remember when being wheeled back into the room and telling my mom "that was hard!" Because it was. But in the end, I got the chubby, dark haired baby I always thought I would have. There has been so much more to this transition to two kids than I thought there was going to be, but I think I will talk about all of that later. There are more photos and more things to say in the coming blog posts (and private journal entries) but for now I'm happy I was able to get this story down. We are so grateful for the healthy and safe arrival of our baby Ruthie!

And let's talk about these pictures. Anna had given me the gift back at Christmas to take my birth photos. She was on the short list of people I wouldn't mind being in the delivery room. Of course, the birth did not go as planned but as I was looking through these photos I became so weepy! She pretty much captured the first time I REALLY saw my baby and I will be forever grateful for that gift.


  1. If my photos make you weepy then I've done my job. ;)

    Just wanted to tell you that in that photo of you really seeing Ruthie for the first time you were saying "Hiiiii!!" and I loved it.

    Also, it makes me feel good that people are like, "wow, those photos somehow fit your story so well!" Because it shows that I can document a story how it truly is. :) (I mean, it's also kind of funny to me when people say that. It's like, do you think Carrie is making this stuff up? She's telling what happened and I was there... photographing what happened....) ;)

    1. I know! It's funny how surprised everyone is at how well the photos fit. It's like- hello we were both telling the same story people! Haha!

      Again, best pictures ever

  2. This is amazing! I love your real details Carrie and I got a little weepy too. Anna, You are amazing!

  3. First of all congratulations!! Secondly you are a trooper :)
    To share a little bit about my 1st born... my water broke...I took a shower too :) After 12 hours of labor and them trying to give me petocin (which I cried about because I read it made contractions hurt more...and it did) and the epidural and spinal didn't work- the doc came in and said, "Let's do a c-section!" I was ok with it at that point because being poked and prodded and hearing my baby was not dropping I was so ready for it! "JUST GET HIM OUT!" :) To answer why the epidural and spinals don't work is because I have rods in my back from scoliosis surgery when I was 14 and they fused my spine shut. Baffled the docs :) But I think the reason I was also ok with c-section was I had gone visiting teaching a month before my baby was born and the person I visited had told me she had c-sections and she wouldn't have it any other way. That brought me comfort. And after my 3 c-sections I would say the same thing...I wouldn't have it any other way! :) I get to fall asleep and then when I wake up I have a baby. :) Don't ever feel like it's your fault or that you failed! You are amazing! And laughing hurts am I right?? Before I had the baby I told my husband to bring a funny movie in to enjoy and well that was a bad belly would jiggle like a bowl full of jelly and it made me laugh even more and it HURT! I hope you heal well and all goes good :) Thanks for sharing your story and the pictures were beautiful!

  4. Wow you are a strong woman!!!


I like to hear all of the beautiful things you have to say.