Friday, November 1, 2013

My favorite time of day..

My favorite time of day begins each morning at around 7am.

It is still mostly dark outside. The lines between the vertical blinds are still filled with a deep blue.. just light enough only to know that it is blue...and that the sun will soon be making it's appearance..but still dark. Ruby starts to squirm. She finds her fists to suck..only to find that they are not providing the nourishment she wants... she settles quickly, but not for long. I hear her sucking on those little hands again. She isn't one to make a lot of noise at this time in the morning...I know once she starts moving her legs and sucking on her hands that she is ready to nurse.

I pick her up from her bassinet that is attached to the side of my bed. (I love that she is only inches away from me at night. I can pick up on her cues before she gets upset and it leads to a quieter and more peaceful night.) She is still waking up, but when I put her to my breast, she knows exactly what she wants. Her little fingers flex and move along my breast and the neckline of my shirt. Sometimes she opens her eyes for a few moments to look at mine before they close again, heavy and sleepy.

Her sucks slow down. Her hands rest, the neckline of my shirt in her tiny grasp. She comes off me only to nestle her cheek right where her lips and nose just were. That sweet, peaceful sleeping babe feeling so comfortable and safe in my arms.

Light blue shines through the blinds.
Noor is doing is morning scripture study on the couch.
Our room is still.

I scoot into the center of the bed and move the comforter out of the way. I lay my sweet Ruby next to me. I am on my side, my right arm around the top of her, my nose touching the hair that begins just above her forehead...and I breathe. I watch her little body rise and fall with each perfect breath. I smell her dark hair, sweet and full of that baby smell. I feel her soft little hands...each one of her tiny fingernails. I remember what those hands were like only 8 weeks ago...so wrinkled and pink. They are smoother now...and pale. She has my skin. I hear the silence broken with each barely audible breath she exhales. I marvel at her perfection. What a true testimony she is to the power of creation...to the power of our Creator. I marvel at the love that I have for her..the love that was so instantaneous..that was so strong from the day she was born, that I cried when I looked at her. I marvel that Heavenly Father loves me with and even more perfect and eternal love than what I feel for my sweet Ruby....
This is my favorite part of each and every day. How blessed I am to be her mom.

The light outside is white. Noor walks in. A kiss for me. A kiss for Ruby. A farewell until later. All is quiet and the house is still.

I close my eyes.... and I breathe.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ruby: Month #1


Ruby Kate Sabbah
Month #1

  • I sleep 5-6 hour stretches stretches most nights, starting pretty consistently at about day 7.. Mom LOVES this.
  • I coo a lot...especially in the mornings. I found this talent at around 2 weeks.
  • I have become a pretty good grinner. If you give me a big smile and talk to me, I can usually muster up a grin or two and some coos for you. I'm still figuring out how to use those muscles exactly when I want them, but I've been practicing since 14 days old!
  • I don't mind tummy time as long as its on Mom or Dads chest or lap.
  • Pacifier? Still not sure how I feel about that one...sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't. It helps me stay sleepy at night though.
  • I don't like to be swaddled but I like t be cuddled nice and close.
  • I am starting to like baths..but not really..and DEFINITELY not all that hair washing stuff.
  • I have pooped and peed on my awesome mom already in my 4.5 short weeks of life. She still loves me.
  • I still sleep in Mom & Dad's room. 
  • I am wearing 0-3 month clothes...I grew out of the newborn around 3 weeks!
  • I am a great eater an I hardly ever spit up.
  • I am a super happy girl and my mommy and daddy just cannot get enough!
 Now here is a photo dump of my first 30 ish days of life.
Enjoy.








                                          

                         







Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Birth Story


As I write this birth story...let me start by saying something redundant.

This is a birth story.

Birth is an absolutely amazing process..one that is truly beautifully moving and completely awe-inspiring. It also walks frequently along the lines of TMI to anyone that chooses to read about said process. It just does. So consider yourself informed of that fact and continue at your own discretion. Mostly this refers to any men reading this...as I am pretty sure that any woman reading this has had girl talk....which nearly always visits a similar land of TMI at some point. Let's be real. All are welcome to read this..obviously...it's on the internet for goodness sake...and I have kept it G...but I just thought I'd forewarn you of what may proceed in the words to come.

Another thing you should know in order to understand some of the things I write, is that my goal was to have a natural birth, free of pain medication and other medical interventions unless the necessity arose. I chose to prepare myself for this using a type of self hypnosis taught through a course called Hypnobabies. It is a method of creating a natural anesthesia within the body by training your mind to put it where you need it and when. In this program, they referred to contractions as "pressure waves"..so I will likely be using those terms interchangeably...Don't be confused. They are the same thing.

How are you doing? Still here? Good. Now that business is set aside, we can get started on why you are really here.

Well...40 weeks came and went...and was quickly growing to be a distant memory. I didn’t expect much to happen on or before that date..but I expected to expect SOMETHING to start happening at 40 weeks plus 1 day. A cramp, a contraction, or one of the many too-much-information kind of "Hey! Labor is coming!" signals. Baby Girl had the green light...so anything could happen at anytime. She had my permission. 

I spent a lot of time on my birthing ball...annnnnd a lot of time in stillness, focusing on my stomach...wondering....

..was that a cramp?

 But alas, nothing was happening. Noor and I began to “celebrate” each day that I went past my due date. Not because we were excited she wasn’t here yet..but because we knew life would be drastically different once she arrived. Doing fun things helped me to keep away from too much extreme frustration of her over-comfortability inside of my womb. 

She was obviously VERY comfortable in there because 41 weeks came and went too. I had an appointment with my midwife, Laura, at 41 weeks to discuss our plans. 

Now, let me say, I had been planning and preparing for a natural birth with Hypnobabies and was trying my best to avoid induction. I don’t have a problem with inducing...but it can sometimes make the labor harder on mom and baby and I knew that my best shot for the labor/birth that I had practiced for was for my body to go into labor on it’s own. We chose to use a midwife for our experience, and because of that, we were allotted a few more options and a bit more patience on the timing of Baby Girl’s birth. Still, because we were delivering in a hospital, red flags are raised and our options would dwindle quickly once we hit that 42 week mark. 

Anyways, at our 41 week appointment I was 3cm and 80% effaced. “Things will likely change over the next couple of days,” said Laura, one of my super awesome midwives. She offered us an appointment to kind of encourage labor to begin if it didn’t within the next couple of days. What the appointment was for was for prostaglandin gels...they help your cervix soften, which helps it dilate. The hope being that if it gets soft enough and dilates far enough, then your body will jump in to start the contractions and you are on your merry way. We would have to stay the night in the hospital for it..but if it didn’t work, we could just head home and wait a while longer before proceeding. We made the appointment..and I was a little nervous about it.. but it was 3 days away and with the words of my midwife in my head, I knew a lot could happen in just those few days. I was hoping to not need the appointment at all.

As Friday, the day of our “labor encouragement”, approached, I felt more nervous about the idea. I spent a lot of time on my knees and asked more many priesthood blessings trying to know what was right to do for our baby. I cannot say I felt an overwhelming peace that the “encouragement” was supposed to work, but I knew that the Lord was in control. I prayed over and over again that she would be born when she was meant to be born and that I would feel peace in my heart with confidence in that fact. 

Friday August 30th came. I was at 41 weeks 2 days. Noor went to work in the morning and I stayed home and finished up the packing and making sure everything at home was as in order as it could be. The laundry was caught up, the dishes done, the bed made, the floors clean. By the time Noor got home we were ready to have this baby. We soon got a call from the hospital asking us to not come in at our scheduled appointment time. The floor was really busy that afternoon and they said they would call when they were ready for us..which could even be in the middle of the night. So, our 3pm appointment turned into a lunch/mall date. We then returned home to take a nap and watch a movie. We decided to go to Raising Cane’s for dinner because we hadn’t been in such a long time. It was a bit of a drive, but we were trying to kill time anyways. Upon our return, pretty much as soon as we pulled into the gate of our apartment complex, the hospital called us and said they were ready for us!! I went from calm, cool, and collected...to...totally nervous! My heart was racing! It was 10:30 at this point, so by the time we grabbed all of our stuff, had a quick family scripture study&prayer, recieved a priesthood blessing, and got out the door, it was after 11. 


I felt very nervous on the drive there...trying to remember that the Lord was in control and that He would take care of me and Baby Girl. I had a continuous prayer in my heart that I might not forget that. 

We weren’t checked in and settled into our room until after midnight. It was a little bit strange being there...it being so late...knowing that the rest of the floor was settling in to sleep for the night...or at least trying to...and I would be just starting out my journey at this strange hour. I got dressed in my more-exposing-than-concealing gown and sat in the bed while they started my Hep Lock and hooked up the fetal monitor. (For those who don't know..a hep lock is basically an IV without anything hooked up to it. They put it there so that if the situation were to arise, they could quickly and easily administer fluids to me. The Hep Lock was inevitable for me because I was Strep B positive, which meant I would need antibiotics every 4 hours during labor until she was born. Maybe you all knew what a HepLock was...but I didn't know until I was pregnant...so ya.)  These were both things I didn’t want to have during my birthing, but were required for this method of labor “encouragement”..and luckily, once the encouragement was over, the monitoring would be over/intermittent. 




I was scheduled to have prostaglandin gels, but because I was bumped from my original time slot and it was so late in the night, Laura thought it wiser to give me a different method of cervical ripening, Cervadil. It does essentially the same thing as the gels. The prostaglandin gels require reapplication every 2 hours and intermittent monitoring as well as a period of walking in between doses. This would mean little to no restful sleep for me through the night...which would be problematic if my body decided it was time to have this baby. I would be going into a day of long labor after a day and night of no sleep. The Cervadil is just one dose. I would have to be monitored all night and I couldn’t get up to walk around until it was done, but at least it would allow me to get some sleep. We love our midwife and trust her completely, so we agreed to the change, even though it was last minute.


I tried to sleep...but seriously...trying to go to sleep knowing that your body is gearing up to have a baby in the next 24 hours is impossible. 
I tried using Netflix to help me get sleepy. 
Nothing. 
Hypnobabies, music, silence. 
Nothing. 

I don't know how women can labor with that monitor stuck to their bellies! My heavens it was impossible to get comfortable..and I was only trying to SLEEP! 

I remember laying awake in the dimly lit hospital room, looking over at Noor who was sleeping soundly.(It was beautiful room, by the way. Very cozy..wood floors, dim lighting, purple walls and nice wood cabinetry..it did not feel like abnormal white walled , laminate tiled hospital room. It felt very comfortable, for which we were very grateful. We loved delivering at Mercy Gilbert. We would definitely do it again and we definitely recommend it.) I just wished I could have been laying next to him in our own bed. Sleep did find me for periods throughout the night, but it never stayed long. When I awoke in the morning, I didn’t feel much different except for a few minor cramps. Laura, told me that while there was still 6 hours left of the dose, most women start to feel real changes by this point. I didn’t want to believe her. I wanted to believe that my body just needed the last 6 hours. It didn’t though. She came to check me when the dose was complete and I was at 3 1/2cm, 80% effaced. Almost no change.

We could've tried another encouragement method on top of the one we'd just done, but once you start stacking interventions they can sometimes cause more harm than good and can snowball out of control. Noor and I believed this fully and we were glad that our midwife did too...even though we were both a little sad and frustrated that we spent 16 hours in the hospital for nothing but a poor night’s sleep. 

Before we left, we had an ultrasound/biophysical profile of the baby to make sure all was well. It was a timed scan in which Baby had to move a certain number of times and in certain ways in order to pass. She fell asleep before the test so it took some prodding to get her to move, but she ended up passing with plenty of time to spare. We were finally able to go home. We grabbed some chic-fil-a, took a nap, and got in the swimming pool. I was still having minor cramps/contractions and Noor had a feeling that the water may help. I thought it would slow things down..but at that point I was just ready to try anything. So we got in the water and I had a few stronger contractions before I got tired and was ready to get out. We then spent the evening in our family room watching Netflix while I sat on my birthing ball and watched my cramps fade away.

I was feeling pretty discouraged. I went from feeling patient to feeling sad and a little bit “broken” because it seemed that my body wasn’t going to do what it needed to on its own. It was a struggle for me...it made me shift how I thought about my birthing experience and it made me put a lot more faith in the Lord and His timing. It was not an easy shift. 

There were a lot of tears in our home that weekend. Tears of fear, elation, frustration, sadness, defeat....it was a path of peaks and valleys of emotion for me. Noor was wonderful...he always knew what to say...and when to not say anything. His arms were weary with hugs and wet with tears over those few days. I married the right man for me...that is all I can say.

After our first attempt that didn’t work...we rescheduled to try the first method (the prostaglandin gel) on Monday morning...Labor Day...how appropriate. So, bright and early, at 4am...(yes, they have one of those in the morning...who knew?)..we headed out the door for the last time..again.. as just the two of us. I was calmer on the drive this time. Maybe it was because it was my second time driving to the hospital to have my first kid....maybe it was because the Lord was giving me peace in my heart that today would finally be the day. We parked, grabbed our bags, checked in...again...and went upstairs to Labor and Delivery...again. We were greeted by an AWESOME nurses staff at the front desk. They were hilarious. The staff has such an amazing vibe..they instantly put you at ease...the whole labor and delivery floor just felt like it was a bunch of friends and family around all the time. Really and truly. They were great.

I...again...got changed into my more- revealing-than-concealing gown and got all set up on the monitors...again...for the initial 20 minutes of monitoring they require upon arrival. My sweet midwife, Laura, came in and we reviewed the process of the gels. 1 dose while monitored for and hour, walk for 40 minutes, monitored for 20 again before the next dose is given. Repeat for 3 doses. 

(By the way..how amazing is it that Laura happened to be on call both times that we came into the hospital? I'll tell you. It was very awesome. It was just nice to have the same midwife carry us through each step of the process. It was comforting and we loved her. So..it was amazing.)

So it began...and so it went. 

When we got up to walk, we just made rounds around the L&D floor..stopping every so often when I would get a cramp/contraction. They weren’t too intense during these times...but by the 3rd round of walking, I definitely needed to pause and focus on my hypnobabies to get through them.  My favorite place to be was at the end of the hallway..there was a little lobby-like sitting room with a wall of windows and being on the 3rd floor, the view was beautiful. There was even a lightning storm coming in which was fun and relaxing to watch.

There was a shift change, so Laura went home and Janice came on. Janice and Laura were the two midwives (of the 5) that I felt most connected to so I considered myself INCREDIBLY blessed that I had both of them during my birth experience. I trusted all of the midwives in their group..but I had been praying that the right midwife(s) would be there to deliver our baby and this was a time when I felt so sure the Lord was watching out for me. If I was supposed to wait for this day to give birth just so Janice and Laura would be the ones attending me, the waiting was, in every way, completely worth it. I am so grateful for them.

Like I said, it took 3 doses before things got real...Janice came in after the last/3rd round of walking and told us to walk and bounce an boogie for the next 2 hours to try and get some real stuff going. So we did..and things were getting real..I thought.

.....Until about 3:30pm. 

I was sitting on the birthing ball, pretty uncomfortable with each pressure wave..definitely using my practiced hypnobabies techniques to help me through...eating lifesavers and watching Sherlock Holmes 2 with the Husband. Right as the 2 hours were ending, I had a wave that took me by complete surprise. It scared me how different it was and it brought me to tears. Now..I’m not sure that it brought me to tears because of pain. It did hurt more than the others..but really only for a second...I think I was in a strange emotional state to begin with...being nervous that maybe the gels wouldn’t work either and I’d be sent home baby-less again..or that I’d be advised to go another route of induction that I wasn’t comfortable with..or maybe I had finally felt a real contraction and the fact that I was going to be a mom within a few hours was scary..I don’t know why..but this particular contraction brought tears to my eyes. 

Janice walked in just as it was ending, took one look at my eyes, and a big, elated smile spread across her face. 

“You just had your first contraction!!!! Yay!" 

I wasn’t about to tell her I think the tears were half due to hormones....I was happy to have had what she considered to be a “real” contraction. I was checked at this point...I was at a 6 and completely effaced! I then asked if they could fill up the birthing tub, which they quickly did. The big inflatable pool had been waiting for me in my room, but I wasn’t allowed to use it until I was in active enough labor that there wasn’t a worry of the water slowing me down..so I was SOOO excited to finally be able to get into the water. I am such a bath person when don’t feel well...so I knew that the warm water would help me relax.

And it did. It felt so good. I was in the tub from about 4 ish until 9pm. I felt every pressure wave...and was using my hypnosis to get through each one. They were definitely intense by this point and it took all of my concentration to get me through each one...but I could do it. In between each wave, I could talk and move and I really felt normal. Then, as each wave came, I would “turn off”, focus on my hypnosis techniques though the rise and fall of the wave, and then come back “on”. I could definitely feel the difference in comfort during the waves in which I focused, vs the waves I didn’t focus as much. 

Noor was a wonderful support..rubbing my back, trying to keep me hydrated, talking me though the hard waves...He was a true rock for me. I asked him at one point, after a particularly hard set of waves, if he really thought I could do this.. and he responded, “Oh...I know you can do this. I KNOW you can.” I chose to believe him. I chose to believe in me. I chose to keep going. 

The hardest part about the tub was having to get out of the water enough to be monitored every so often. The water doppler broke that night...so they had to use a non-waterproof one. Th difference between the contractions I had in the water vs outside was pretty stark. I dreaded getting out of the tub.

My waves lasted about 90 seconds most of the time...and there would only be about a minute of rest in between the end of one and the start of another. However, they would kind of come in sets. There would be 2-3 close together...but then I would get 3-5 minutes of rest before the next set. It worked out pretty well for me.

There were 2 of us on the floor giving birth at the same time that needed Janice's attention. So, Laura was called back in to help. She would be attending our birth! We loved that she was there every step of the way..through each step of "labor encouragement" and now through the birth! We were thrilled.

Around 9 ish, my water broke while in the tub. It was a strange feeling...a gush of cool fluid...cool because the water around me was so warm. At that point I had to get out, per hospital policy, to be monitored for 20 minutes. I am pretty sure I would have been allowed to get back in after the monitoring...but things picked up and my body told me it needed other things. 

I labored in different positions...looking for that elusive urge to push.

I
cannot see how women labor in a bed hooked up to a monitor..I just cannot. It is downright uncomfortable and very restricting. The times I was monitored were the roughest times of my labor. I feel so blessed that I was able to move around and do what I felt was comfortable for my body. 

It was, however, at this point that I really started to lose focus in my hypnobabies...I won’t lie. The pressure waves were so intense, it was all I could do to keep breathing. I felt like I was failing...but Laura and my nurse kept saying how truly calm I was compared to a typical natural birth. They both said that being able to talk and laugh in between contractions was not a normal thing.

I chose to believe them too. And I again chose to believe in me...and to believe that I was NOT failing...even if I lost focus during 10 contractions in a row. 

I chose to keep going. 

I still wan’t really feeling that urge to push that so many people say is undeniable.. Laura, suggested that I just give a push a try...just to see how it feels. She said, some women don’t have that undeniable urge to push..sometimes you just have to try to see if it feels right. So I did..and it didn’t feel right...I wasn’t even sure if I was pushing “right”. You wouldn’t think it would be that difficult to figure out...but it’s very strange to not know if all this energy you are exerting is going to the right place. I moved around some more...just trying to get though each wave. I could not believe how strong they were. There is one I can remember so vividly. I literally felt like my back was breaking into pieces. Now...I know that I have never felt what that is like...but I am pretty darn sure that I know now what it WOULD feel like. I had an AMAZING nurse as well. She, along with my midwife, Laura, were excellent coaches that helped me to bring my focus back after I’d lost it....starting with that one vividly remembered wave. I lost it...she brought me back. Her words were encouraging and firm. She may have had wings and a shiny halo. I can't remember. 

A little later, I tried pushing again. This time it felt right. I found the way to push that made my contractions disappear. I could feel one coming on, I’d start pushing, and the pain of the wave would be gone while I pushed. I started to push with every wave because it just felt...better! I was sooo exhausted though by this point...that even convincing myself to push..even to just ease the pressure...was quite the feat. I just wanted a nap! Haha..I remember I kept saying that over and over.

...you may be surprised to know, I didn’t get the nap...

Now, they had noticed when my water broke, that she had passed meconium in the water. For those of you that don’t know what this means, it basically means she pooped. This happens often..and it really isn’t a problem unless she were to inhale it. However, when they had mentioned it, I began to panic a little..and I got really sad..I worried that she would come out and be sick. My midwife, nurse, and the nursery nurse all told me she would be fine...I was still worried. They did monitor me often, and Baby was handling the contractions extremely well. She never had a decel in her heart rate or gave us any reason for us to worry that she wasn’t doing wonderfully. I rested a little easier knowing that. I trusted my midwife thoroughly and completely..and the only thing I could do to ease my worry completely was to get this baby out. 

I continued pushing in lots of different positions. The squat bar felt really nice.. but my body was too tired..I couldn’t hardly push and be on the bar...it actually scared me to push like that for some reason. I held back from pushing fully when I was in that position...even though I feel like it would have helped me push more effectively if I could have let it. I found myself most comfortable lying on my right side, at least most of the time and definitely at the very end of the pushing. It was a little discouraging to see baby’s head peek out and then recede over and over...it’s definitely a normal part of the process..but when you are so exhausted, it is hard to focus on anything except for the fact that she isn’t coming out! It was pretty amazing to be able to touch her head and feel her hair once she started to actually stay visible.

I was doing it! I couldn’t believe it! 

A few good solid waves/ pushes later, her head crowned. That was another sensation that took me by complete surprise. I lost focus again..and my awesome nurse Jen, again with the wings and the halo, brought me back...reminding me to take a deep breath for myself and no one else...reminding me what I am doing and why I am here. The only way out was to keep going...this was no time to lose focus. I gave one more push and her head was out..what a relief!! 

I was somehow under the impression that after her head was out, a small push would just bring the rest of her right out. And..while that may be true for some people..or maybe it’s not true for anyone.. it was not true for me...at least it didn’t feel like it. I gave one more hard, long push...and let me tell you..it felt like way longer than it should have...and she was out!! I was so tired I could hardly see straight, but I remember seeing her back/torso coming out in the hands of my midwife Laura. The next thing I remember is baby laying on my chest, screaming...she definitely had lungs that worked. That smell is one I won’t forget. The sweetness of it in her dark, wet, curled hair. Her water-logged hands that were pale and wrinkled...but smooth. Her very pink lips. I had her, her skin on mine, for almost an hour and a half. I just cuddled her and kissed her...listened to her tell me her story...nursed her for the first time. 

Our first family photo with Ruby Kate Sabbah.
9lb 7oz, 20 1/2''
Born at Sept 3, 2013 12:24am
She continued to poop ALLLL over me...multiple times. And newborn poop...is very sticky...and black. I really didn’t notice it happened until I went to use my other hand. Whoa..that hand it out of commission for a while. Ha! They wiped me up pretty good and got new blankets under her bum...but she continued to poop and poop and poop...we finally put a diaper on her half way ish..we could'nt easily get it on her because we were waiting for the cord to stop pulsing and for the placenta to be delivered. It takes about 15-20 minutes..so until then it was pretty much open fire. Noor cut the cord and we got to see the hefty placenta...it was truly huge! Very neat to see how our Ruby was being nurtured for the past 9 months. 

Nothing seemed to be happening down south..and I wondered what the wait was...why weren’t they stitching me up? I asked how bad it was...I mean, I definitely knew I had just delivered a larger than average baby...and my midwife had said, “There is nothing for me to repair! You look great!” I felt like I was in a dream. It would not have been the end of the world if I had torn..I definitely had been expecting too all along. It is a part of birth. No big deal. But after having listened to my body and having felt so empowered by birthing the way it was telling me to...and then... ending up without even a tear was incredible to me. I counted that blessing again and again. 

After that hour and a half/ 2 hours she was weighed in at 9lb 7oz 20 1/2 inches long...and was given her first bath by her dad and my mom. She was also perfectly healthy! She didn't inhale any meconium and she passed her APGAR scoring with flying colors!






During that time, my stomach was pushed on about a hundred times. Not pleasant after you’ve just birthed a baby....but they do it to make sure the uterus is contracting down the way it should...if it doesn’t, you bleed more than you should and it could be a sign of a bigger problem. Well... mine was doing well. Mostly. I passed a large clot after she’d pushed on my stomach for what should have been the last time. The bleeding had been slowing until that point so that was classified as mild misbehavior. It turns out, that having a full bladder hinders the uterine contraction process...AND... after you've just had a baby, your body temporarily loses its ability to tell you when your bladder is full ..SO..once they emptied my bladder via catheter (aka very not so much fun) and gave me a round of pitocin, things were back to behaving. I still had my stomach pushed on 80 million more times to make sure all was well. 

I did get a blessing from Noor during all of this because I was nervous about the clots and the fact that things weren’t going as smoothly as I’d imagined...My midwife, Janice (Because it was so late and Laura was no longer on call, Janice resumed my care) wasn’t nervous, and my nurse was reassuring..but I know that the Lord is always there for me whenever I need help...big thing or small thing..I needed help to not worry. It was a sweet moment...the room was quiet..all that were there was Noor and I, our sweet Ruby, and our awesome nurse Jen..who also happened to be a member of the church. I felt much better. I love the peace the Spirit brings..no matter where I am.

By the time this whole thing was resolved, it was after 3am. We were transferred to our post partum room at that point. And..once we were there, there was a bunch of settling in/ info to go over before any sleep could happen.

My goodness! The exhaustion felt after birth is just incredible!!!!

I could not believe how tired I was...and that I was still technically awake and functioning! Every cell of my body was just done...I swear it must have been angels moving my limbs for me because I barely had the strength to THINK about keeping my eyes open..let alone talk..and comprehend conversation. It was truly an incredible amount of fatigue that I can describe in no better terms than I have already attempted. Then...when we could finally get some sleep...Baby was ready to nurse...which I knew would take a while because it was her first “real” feeding and we were both still figuring eachother out. Noor slept though. I was jealous..but it was for the better. After baby ate and fell asleep, she could be in her bassinet by his bed so that when she fussed, he could take care of her while I slept. This arrangement finally happened after 5am. Yup...5am folks. I had been awake for over 24 hours AND had the most physically taxing day of my life. I got about 3 hours of sleep over the next 18 hours..and I just got really good at functioning on empty.

 I was in absolute heaven though. I loved my little girl. 




We had quite a few visitors that evening...Noor’s parents, my parents, and my 2 best friends came to see little Ruby..who was still “Baby Girl” at that point. But about halfway through the visit I started to miss my baby...she was being held only 10 feet away but my heart ached for her. It was hard to share her in that moment but everyone soon left and I had her back in my arms again. My friend Lydia took pictures at the hospital for us and they are exactly what we’d hoped for. I knew I would do her official newborn pictures at home, but I really wanted to have some pictures form the hospital taken by someone else so I wouldn’t worry about always being behind the camera when enjoying my sweet baby.





We were cleared to go home that next day...Wednesday..which meant.....discharge papers...which meant....Birth certificate registration...which meant...
WE HAD TO PICK A NAME! 

Yes...we technically have 30 days after her birth to pick one without any such extensive paperwork but we really wanted to leave with a name..we felt leaving without one would just make it harder to pick one...make us more indecisive at home. It was between quite a few names...but as I looked at her on Wednesday morning, she just looked like Ruby to me. We both have liked that name since we'd gotten married, but it came and went in our minds throughout the pregnancy. Noor thought her middle name should be Kate, after me. We had also discussed this but Noor wasn’t sold on it before and that was Ok with me. I knew we would find one we both liked...but when Noor said he thought the middle name should be Kate, I agreed...The spirit was there..and we knew we had picked the right name. Our daughter would be Ruby Kate Sabbah. 
 



We packed up and headed out. It was a little sad to leave. The feeling in that hospital was beautiful. The nurses were absolutely amazing and we felt very at home there. If it weren’t for the uncomfortable bed..I may have just stayed the extra day. We were ready to be home in our own bed though..so we said goodbye and took our sweet Ruby home.


The experience I had in my birthing was a truly amazing one. It was better than I even hoped it would be. 
Was it hard? Yes. 
Do I see why epidurals exist? Oh for SURE. 
Would I do it all again? A million times YES. 
Would I change a single thing? Absolutely not. 

My birth experience brought me right to the edge of what I thought I could do...then pushed me right off. I quickly realized I could do way more than I even imagined I could do!! It was very empowering. That last few hours were real...they were real and they were hard...but after she was out and on my chest...every bit of discomfort was gone. It was done and that was it. 

I didn’t tear. I didn't need stitches. And after that little issue with my bladder/ uterus was resolved, things got better very quickly. I was very comfortable with the exception of standing up. My tailbone ached for a couple of days but I didn’t need any pain killer aside from the ibuprofen after I got home. I was feeling pretty much myself after just a few days at home. 

The Lord was truly taking care of me every step of the way.

Choices are what made my birth experience what it was. Being able to make choices...and also being prepared to know what choices to make that were right for me and my baby. 

It was a CHOICE to continue using my hypnosis and it was a CHOICE to let it work in my body. It isn't a magic "cure all". You have to want it and you have to make it happen. That would be my advice to anyone considering a hypnosis birth. 

I KNOW that the choices I made along with my amazing and patient midwife, Laura, that waited for my body to do what it needed to (and knew that it would) are what kept me from tearing from delivering a 9lb 7oz first baby,...I needed not a single stitch. What in incredible blessing. And honestly...it was empowering to listen to my body while it told me it knew what to do! Our bodies are truly amazing...and we are stronger than we think we are. I am grateful that I have recovered so quickly...it has allowed me to enjoy taking care of my sweet Ruby feeling comfortably these past 4 weeks. I am grateful for a beautiful birth experience that I can look back on with love and fondness.

We CAN birth without fear.We just have to choose to do it. We have to choose to BELIEVE that we can do it. And we then have to choose to keep going!





“There is a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful, it’s that women are strong.”-Laura Stavoe Harm.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Today, I am 40 weeks pregnant.

Today, I am 40 weeks  40 weeks and 2 days pregnant.


So far through my pregnancy I have felt pretty patient. While I had a few weeks at around the 27 week mark that I felt maybe Baby Girl would come a few days earlier than expected...(and a couple days at around week 37 that I felt similarly...though I'm pretty sure I felt that way because I still had SO MUCH to finish..So Murphy's law would state that she would come when I wasn't ready) ...I mentally prepared myself to see my due date come and go without much of anything happening. "Due Dates" don't really mean anything anyways. They are a tool used to help healthcare professionals keep track of growth and development, etc...so in that way they are useful. But really..if you really think about it...growing a baby over the period of 9 months and then expecting him/her to make their debut within a specific 24 hour window is kind of silly. 

I am a believer that babies, at least 95% of the time, will come when they are ready...Barring of course any such complication or high risk situation. 

..and I believe it with an attitude of loving patience....at least up until the point of 41 weeks. I cannot guarantee patience to anyone after that point. I'm just being honest. 

I looked forward to the 21st of August, my due date...not because I expected her to be born..but because I made that my deadline to be ready. Meals frozen, laundry caught up, apartment cleaned, etc. That was my deadline...so that any time waiting for her after than point would be purely relaxing...soaking in my last few hours/days of non-parenthood. 

I met the deadline. Everything got completed. Even the things on the list of wishes-but-will-do-only-if-I-have-time.

And yet, after only 24 hours past my "due date" I found myself starting to lose my patience..feeling, in all seriousness, that I will never go into labor. I got a little ahead of myself for a second. My head jumped into next week without me. All of a sudden, because I hadn't felt labor coming for one, single day, it meant that I wouldn't have a baby until next week...or ever. Logically. 

I have a sweet husband. He is calm and patient, though also anxiously awaiting his baby girl, and he reminded me that I was only 24 hours past that silly "due date"... that it was only Thursday...and that Monday is still days away. My midwife also assured me of this. The words "the night is young" were used and it also reminded me that when baby is ready to come, she will. Whether my body has given me days of warning or no warning at all. I could take a deep breath and return to my happy land of patiently, and lovingly waiting...and let me tell you..it is a GOOD place to be.

Today I had a date with my mom. We got pedicures and had lunch. It was so great to have a day to be pampered a little and enjoy the company of one of my best friends. I am also glad to have pretty toes to help me feel something human/put together when I am on my 3rd day of no-shower-yes-I-wore-these-sweats-yesterday-I-call-this-hairstyle-"No, I didn't brush my teeth either".  

I realize that Baby Girl could be in there another week and a half...and that it really is normal...(though I shudder a little at the thought)...I am pretty sure I'll be able to hold my patience for at least a few more days...and maybe until I hit 41 weeks...at that point, the jurry is out. Proceed with caution.

For now though, I am patient.

Noor took this on our way to church last Sunday...at 39.5 weeks.
I am of course sporting the basketball belly...
and the flip flops.
About that...I have never been one to wear flip flops to church. I wear heels..or flats more recently.
Pregnancy doesn't exactly make you graceful. Let's be real.
However, the last few weeks my feet have swollen. Not ridiculous amounts...but enough to make any other shoes really uncomfortable. So, I've been sporting those beauties pretty much everywhere. Even church.







Nursery Reveal

Being in an apartment, I wasn't going to do much of a nursery. However, as time went by, I discovered that I really wanted to! Obviously, the baby inside of me, as sweet and brilliant as she will surely be, will surely not notice, nor care if her sheets match or if the dresser is blue. Babies just don't care. I however, wanted to make her a "space". I'm sure it had something to do with nesting..but it was a fun project that kept me busy with a lot of DIY. Sewing, painting, creating, the whole thing. I didn't want to spend a ton of money to create the space..so most everything in there I made myself with materials I already had. I sit in there for a few minutes every day...I am so excited to spend time in that glider in her room with the soft glow of the hanging lights..rocking a sleepy..or not so sleepy baby. It is one of my favorite places to relax.






There are a few things that I will add after she arrives (at least that is the plan). A monogram letter of some kind will hang/stick on the wall above her crib (you know...once we actually PICK a name for her), the frames above her dresser will be filled with pictures of her..instead of our engagement/wedding pictures, and hopefully a wooden sign for the empty wall that is visible from the rocking chair. I also have a basket for the dresser top that will hold diapers, etc...but it is currently holding other things ;) Hooray for repurposing!


Showered

We have been showered with such immense shows of love and support throughout my pregnancy. It has truly filled our hearts with gratitude.  Between showers, unexpected gifts from coworkers,  hand-me-downs, and offers of service, we have been so richly blessed!

I took most of the pictures after the fact...which was a real bummer because it was a really cute shower! I learned my lesson though...when a friend offers to take pictures at your shower for you...just say yes.

We served curry chicken salad on croissants, a summer strawberry salad, various desserts, and watermelon slushy. One of my favorite parts was having everyone drink from mason jars with the cute striped straws! It was such a great morning to enjoy the company of close friends and family.




The favors were cinnamon rolls...I thought they were pretty clever. ;)

I don't currently have pictures in my possession from my other shower that a couple sweet and generous sisters in my ward threw for me...but it was wonderful. Being fairly new to the ward, it was so great to be able to put names with faces a little better and to get to know some sisters in the ward on a more personal level! I could not believe how sweet and so generous these women were to come to my shower to celebrate with me. This act of service filled my heart with joy and gratitude for such a wonderful ward family and such an amazing group of sisters I can call my friends.

The kindness and love that has been shown to us will not soon be forgotten.