Ruby Mae Reese {Birth Story}

29 Jun

Last we spoke, I had just updated on my 38 week appointment, which proved to be much more eventful than I had hoped. I had a follow up appointment on Thursday, June 23rd to go over my test results (from the lovely orange jug of pee) with my Doctor. Michael was able to switch his schedule around to take me to my appointment at 11am and Jude went to play at Papa’s house.

I felt extremely anxious to hear what my Doctor would have to say about the next steps to be taken, but I still held onto the hope that I would be fine and be able to keep baby in until she was ready to come on her own. As I’ve spoken about many times, I was really hoping for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). It seemed like forever until the Doctor actually came into the room to speak with us. She finally came in and spoke with us about her concerns. I still had a small amount of protein in my urine, I was still extremely swollen, the headaches and pain in my right side were persistent and I was still having blurred vision. She wanted us to go back to the hospital for more testing. Then she told us, “You are going to be having this baby very soon. I don’t know if you will be able to VBAC or if you will need a repeat CS, but this baby needs to come out.” My heart fluttered and sunk at the same time. Michael’s face was a mixture of surprised and excited. We finished up and headed home to pick up our bags and call family and let them know what we had been told.

Part of me was still thinking, “Maybe they will send me home still”. We arrived at Labor & Delivery about 2pm. My nurse who began my testing was very chipper and excited about everything. Her excitement kind of freaked me out, to be honest. Plus, she kept telling me horror stories about things that can potentially happen in L&D. I kid you not, when I told her about Jude having his cord around his neck twice, she started telling me about how she had had 2 babies die from having the same issue, just this year. Umm, ya…not comforting or appropriate at all. I tried to focus on remaining calm while she monitored me and the lab came to draw blood. I had an IV put in and somehow the nurse got it in on the first try, I was very impressed.

Before my lab work had even come back (less than an hour into our visit) Doctor Lerner came in to see us. This is pretty much how it went, “Hi. Ya. I’m Doctor Lerner. There isn’t a snowballs chance in heaven that I am going to allow you to be induced.” Followed by him telling me every reason I would be an absolute moron to try to VBAC with this child due to all the side effects I was already experiencing. His biggest concerns were that my blood platelet count was low, which helps your blood to clot. Oh, and that the ultrasound was showing that the baby could be as big as eleven pounds. Even though he acknowledged that ultrasounds were almost always wrong this late in pregnancy it still has to be taken seriously. I think he was preparing for me to argue with him, because he was talking to me very seriously and specifically about how bad the VBAC could potentially be. I nodded my head and listened silently to everything he had to say. When he was finished, he and 3 hospital staff members stared at me waiting for my response. “Ok” I said, “I trust you”.

And I did trust him. Because honestly, I had no choice but to trust him. I had to force myself to believe that this was for the best for Ruby. I tried to take deep breaths and not start crying from the disappointment. I felt I had done every thing in my power to try to set myself up for success this pregnancy. I ate better and I exercised 3+ times a week. In that moment it all felt like a waste.

To make the process even more shocking, they wanted to get the C-Section started by 4:15-4:30, so we only had an hour to adjust to the idea, call family, etc. Oh, did I mention that Jude had been awake the night before from 1-7:30AM? Ya. Michael and I both had about 2 hours worth of sleep. So, my reaction timing was a little off at this point. Also, I had been told not to eat anything all day, so I was more than a little “spacey”.

So our (crazy, but nice) Nurse began prepping me for surgery and filling out lots of paper work with me while we waited. Michael ran around making phone calls acting super panicked. I stared at the giant black and white clock in front of my hospital bed counting the minutes as they flew over my head. I texted a few friends and tried to keep myself busy. I kept thinking about Jude and what he was doing and if he was mad at me. Stupid, irrational thoughts.

Somehow, within a matter of minutes, it was time to go into the surgical room. Family had arrived and gathered in the hallway outside. I was able to give a few hugs to my Mom and Ana (Michael’s Mom). I actually thought for a second, “In case I die, I should probably tell Michael I love him again”. So i told him about 50 times. I didn’t really think I was going to die, but I like to be thorough.

The Anesthesiologist had met with me before going into surgery to talk about what my reactions to drugs were, etc. There was a few minutes where it was being discussed whether or not I would have to be put all the way under (due to my platelet count) but thankfully I was given the okay to be given the spinal.

So they took me into the same room I had my C-Section with Jude, leaving Michael to wait until they were ready to “start cutting” (their words). I climbed onto the surgical table with the help of my nurse and the Anesthesiologist began going over the spinal process with me, even though I’d had one before. It took him THREE horribly painful attempts before finally getting the last one to work. Hands down, the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I’ve never been stabbed, but I now feel like I could somewhat imagine what it might feel like. My Nurse kept patting me on my head and squeezed my hand during all the attempts. She kept telling me how good my makeup looked and how she thought I looked like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. I told her that maybe that was a good sign since we were naming our daughter Ruby and she laughed really hard at that. Long, nervous laughter. It somehow made me feel comforted that she was oddly uncomfortable.

After the back stabbing had finished, I was laid onto the table. It was very different from my spinal with Jude because I still had feeling in my body for at least another 5 minutes. With Jude, it was instant. I didn’t like that I could feel my lungs tingling and I felt like I had to vomit the entire length of the surgery. I kept hoping that if I did barf it wouldn’t mess up my makeup. For the sake of  pictures.

Michael was brought in, a giant blue sheet was put up and a start time was announced. In the room was Dr Lerner, crazy nurse, baby nurse, Anesthesiologist, some other surgeon guy, 2 med students and a few other people who were in scrubs, waiting by the baby warmers. Michael sat by the right side of my face and held my hand. He tried to comfort me, but as soon as I saw him, I couldn’t help but cry. I was scared and already slightly traumatized from the spinal attempts. He asked if I was okay and even though I knew the right answer should be yes, I was honest and whined “Noooo.” He continued trying to comfort me by stroking my hair.

At this point I knew surgery had begun, because although I couldn’t feel any pain, I could feel everything else. It made me feel even more barfy. To make matters worse (and more dramatic) the Doctors were explaining everything they were doing in detail for the med students in the room. So picture me, freaking the eff out, poor Michael trying to comfort his crazy ass wife and in the background you hear, “Okay gang, so right now we are cutting what? What is that? That’s right, this is her uterine lining.” and things like “IF I was to accidentally cut this area, we would need to do a hysterectomy on the patient”. I could feel when they placed my “parts” on my stomach and I could feel that my upper torso was being used as a tool bench. I almost wanted to laugh, but I was physically incapable, so I simply stared at Michael’s equally shocked face and whispered, “Really? I don’t want to hear any of this!!” He just nodded and looked around nervously. Shortly after, I heard the Doctor say, “Woah! Look at this hair!!” and the Anesthesiologist motioned for Michael to look over the blue sheet. I heard a precious baby cry and saw Ruby lifted above the sheet and taken to the warmer. “Pictures!!!” I yelled at Michael and he ran to meet our daughter. I was trying to squint and see her but all I could see was this adorable head of black hair. Hair?! BLACK hair??!! I was so excited. I tried to hear what the nurses were all saying as they cleaned her off. Ruby had taken in a big gulp of fluid on her way out so they were having some trouble clearing her lungs. Of course I was concerned and kept asking Michael if she was okay. He kept saying she was fine, perfect! The staff weighed her and at first all I heard was “Eleven!” I started freaking out and asking the person to my right, “ELEVEN POUNDS? SHE’S ELEVEN POUNDS???” and they laughed and said, “No, she is 7lbs and 11oz”. I thought to myself, “So much for a minimum of 8lbs, science.”

Finally she was done with her testing and Michael was able to bring her over to me. I still couldn’t see very well, but I saw enough to make my heart melt. She was so much more beautiful than I ever could have dreamed. Oh and her hair, I just couldn’t get over it.

Quickly after, Michael was told to take Ruby into the hallway and I was going to be moved. For some reason they wheeled me through the hallway to get to the recovery room instead of a private hallway they had  taken me in through and I was pissed because I didn’t want Jude to see me like that. I closed my eyes as they wheeled me past our family. Michael later told me that when he carried the baby out into the hallway and brought Ruby over to Jude he said, “SIS!” and everyone laughed and “Aww-ed”. Michael then tried to bring the baby closer to Jude, to which he responded by trying to swat her out of his hands. I’m assuming this ended the “aww-ing”.

I was taken to recovery and monitored. I was still in shock. Did that really just happen? Our baby is already here? Michael brought Ruby to me and I was able to put her skin to skin on my chest. The nurse asked me if I wanted to breastfeed and my heart sunk a little. I wanted to breastfeed SO desperately, but was never able to get Jude to latch. “Please” I thought to myself. “Please let THIS workout how I want it to”. I told the nurse yes and she helped me get Ruby near my breast. I had to be laying pretty flat still so I had a hard time seeing her still. The nurse was so encouraging and helpful with trying to get her to latch. Eventually, after about 10 minutes, I felt a little tickle and I looked down, she was trying to eat! Oh, I wanted to sob with joy. I never thought it would be possible to breastfeed any of my children after my first experience and I was so happy that Ruby was able to. Before this moment I had felt like a complete failure. A failure who wasn’t able to do what so many other women can do naturally. I slightly hated my body and myself for having to have another C-Section. So in that moment where my daughter (my daughter!!) and I were able to do something together like nature had intended meant everything in the world to me. I was finally able to breathe and actually enjoy the experience. Everyone else faded away for a few minutes. A few tears of happiness fell onto her beautiful (hairy) little head. Michael kissed me and said, “Good job, Babe!!” which made me feel so good.

Some of our family and friends were able to come back and meet her shortly before we were moved into the recovery room. I was so proud to show off Jude’s gorgeous little sister. Although I was still in total disbelief how the day had turned out, it ended in the best way possible, with our new baby.

Ruby Mae Reese

June 23rd 2011 5:13pm

7lbs 11oz, 20 & 3/4 inches long


6 Responses to “Ruby Mae Reese {Birth Story}”

  1. Krystal June 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    Oh Tiff I am absolutely SOBBING. So beautiful and amazing. You did so well, I am so proud of you! Ruby is stunning with her DARK(!!!) hair and Jude is going to be an amazing big bro. Congrats to you and michael.

  2. ourbusybee June 30, 2011 at 5:54 am #

    i love her 🙂

  3. Ashley June 30, 2011 at 7:14 am #

    Tiff your birth story makes the reader feel like they were there! I’m so proud of you and am so happy to hear about your breastfeeding success!

  4. lelebelle June 30, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    What a beautifully, perfectly written birth story. 🙂 I totally teared up — out of joy, out of hearing about your frustration and feeling like a failure, your stabbings and weird nurse, and the sweet pictures of Ruby. You, my friend, are so far from a failure — you delivered your baby girl in the safest way for her, all while crazy doctors were saying everything that happened! (Wtf is up with that, anyway?) You are amazing and beautiful, and I’m so happy for you. Thank you for sharing your story!


  1. I swear I’m alive. Kinda. « - July 9, 2011

    […] has been quite a couple of weeks here in the Reese household! The amazing excitement of the birth of Ruby Mae, adjusting to life with two under 2…. and another trip to the ER. Yea, good times!! […]

  2. Ruby Mae’s Birth Video « - August 5, 2011

    […] If you missed it, here is Ruby’s Birth Story. […]

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