A Birth Story By Courtney Riddle
Photos By Carlee
My due date was January 7th 2015. I was now 1 week past my due date. My mother and grandmother flew out on the 7th in hopes the baby would be here any minute now. We spent the next seven days doing puzzles in between all of the attempts to induce labor. Those included bouncing on a yoga ball, hikes, eating spicy food, energy holds from my mother-in-law, and sessions of acupuncture. None of which worked. It is now January 14th, and i have my doctors appointment. He states it’s time to induce labor, but he is overly booked with inductions, so it will most likely won't be until next monday, which was 5 days from now. I began to get emotional and explain that my mom flew out for this and has already been here for a week. Also, my sister from the dominican republic was getting here today, and we are more than ready to get this party started. He could see i needed him to make it work. He stepped out to make a phone call. 5 minutes later he returned to state, “Ok, i will see you at the hospital tonight at 8:15pm.” I was more than grateful. I spent the rest of the day running errands with my family trying to stay distracted, while thinking all day, this is the last day of my life as i know it. I got home at 5:30pm to hang the bassinet, shower, eat dinner, and write some important letters and cards. My husband and i grabbed our bags at 8:00pm and headed to the hospital holding hands the entire way. We were filled with excitement, anxiety, and no clue what was about to happen. We just knew we were ready to take on whatever it was to meet our little girl. I had already pre-registered at the hospital online, so we made it up to the maternity ward pretty quick. I got a nurse who was called in just for my induction. She was a total hoot. I had made a “thank you” goodie gift package that i made sure the nurses got right away…to make sure we all got started off on the right foot, and we did. I changed into my gown, and the induction pill was delivered right away. Contractions started right away, but were very mild. Shortly after, my entire posse arrived. 3 sisters, 2 best friends, 1 mom, and 1 sister-in-law. We chatted for a bit, and most of them left to get rest, as we knew tomorrow was going be a big day.
My friend, Kimberly, and my sister-in-law, Kelly, hung around. My husband passed out to get his beauty rest while the 3 of us chatted…forever. Laughing and talking about god knows what. I slept for about 30 minutes. Kelly left and Kimberly and i walked the halls to get things really moving with this baby. I walked them in my awesome green elf slippers, that everyone commented on in the halls. That went on until the morning. God knows what we talked about all night long. We just walked, laughed, and stared at the contraction monitor as the contractions grew stronger and stronger. In the morning, Kimberly, my husband and i walked the halls again and had coffee as the contractions kept coming. The doctor checked in on me and we decided to break my water. WEIRDEST feeling ever. It’s literally like a large pot of warm water just got dumped out of your body. Very quickly after, contractions were getting uncomfortable to where i had to really work through them. My family had returned.
We started my “labor” music playlist i had made, and it instantly made me cry. Between the pain and reality of what was coming, i just had a hard time keeping myself together emotionally. It felt like everything that i had experienced during this pregnancy was coming to a head. The contractions grew stronger and stronger.
I finally stated that i needed to get into the birthing tub to take a break from this bed. The nurse checked me and i had progressed to 3cm dilated. I stayed in the tub for 1 hour. It was the hardest hour. The contractions felt unbearable. I began to lose control mentally and emotionally. The pain was so strong i could no longer focus. My husband and mom kept asking what i needed, and i didn’t even know. I had no answer for them. I had lost control of myself, i had lost control of the pain. I couldn’t see straight. My sister Carlee kept telling me i could do this, and i kept thinking, “i am going to fail you, because i am NOT doing this.” I got out of the tub, and began leaning towards getting pain medication. The nurse wheeled me back into my birthing room.
All my friends and family were staring at me in my miserable state. I felt awful and know i looked it. I was about to start puking in front of everyone from the pain. That is NOT how i wanted to look to everyone. That wasn't how i wanted my experience to be. I didn’t want to look back and think it was awful. My nurse kept telling me i was doing a great job…i felt like she was lying to me. I had her check me to see how i had progressed after the tub, hoping to be at 7-8cm. She checked and i was only at 4cm. I had planned on a non-medicated delivery….things change though. I asked for an epidural. The nurse tells me again that i am doing great, and this is a great time to get an epidural. She says i will have the baby by 5:30 tonight. It was then 3:30, and i once again think she is lying. My husband was very nervous about it, but i didn't care anymore. I wanted to be mentally and physically present for this experience, and i no longer was.
20 minutes after the epidural…Courtney was back. I could see clearly again. Hear my music playlist playing. Taking it all in. The girls ordered pizza, and i wanted to eat the whole thing, but the nurses wouldn’t let me have any so I decided to rest a bit while my mom left to go on a walk.
45 minutes later i was feeling the contractions again. Not horrible, but there. I asked my sister to push the epidural button, so she did. 15 minutes later i am back to moaning because the contractions are in full force. They are back to where they were when i got out of the tub. I am managing them better because i had gotten an hour break to rest, but i am struggling. The nurse states that we need to get the anesthesiologist back to fix the epidural. She is going to check me real quick though.
She does and states, “You’re done. You are fully dilated. It’s time to push.” I instantly start crying and shaking. I cannot believe in 1 hour i went from 4 to 10cm and that i need to push my baby out. My mind is racing, “i’m not ready. I am not going to be a good mom. I’m scared. This is my last few moments with just my husband and i as a family of two.”
I will never forget the feeling of seeing her come out of me. It took my breath away, and is taking my breath away and tear up right now talking about it. They dried her off, and Andrew opened my gown so that she could be right on my skin. I died a thousand deaths right there. I just kept crying and staring at her. I felt like i was given something so special. Something i felt i didn’t deserve because it was invaluable. Priceless. Something i could never give to anyone. An innocent life staring at me just wanting love and nurture. I looked at my husband and fell more in love with him because he helped give me this gift.
I saw all my family and friends with tears in their eyes. Tears of love. The room couldn’t have been filled with more love, and that made me cry more. I had the best support. I just held her on me for an hour. It felt like time stood still for that hour, and i had no idea what was going on around me, besides the anesthetic and stitches they had to give me from tearing. They then took her to weigh her and measure her. 6lbs. 14 oz. 21 inches long. They gave her to her daddy. He couldn’t stop smiling.
I had lots of blood on my side and they realized the clamp from the babies umbilical cord was gone, and she had been bleeding on me. They were really concerned, and i didn’t know why. It turns out she can get an infection, and lose to much blood. I didn’t know what happened or how it happened. Andrew stated that after i had been holding her for awhile he saw the silver pliers hanging from her umbilical cord and thought they didn’t belong there, as they could “poke or hurt me or the baby.” Oy vey. Poor guy was trying to protect us, but did something that could be very harmful. They stated they had to draw her blood to make sure she hadn’t lost too much, and would have to in the morning as well. The nurses were very concerned. Andrew was crying. I was crying. Talk about ANXIETY her first night. I would’ve stayed up all night staring at her anyways, but now i was up all night in fear that i may lose the best thing that has ever happened to me. I prayed all night long. I have not always made the best choices in my life in the past. I prayed to god asking for forgiveness again for things i already had long long ago. I just prayed so apologetic because even though i had made dumb choices in the past, i promised i would do my best from here forward with my little girl. I prayed thanking god for the birth miracle i just witnessed. I prayed that he would protect my little girl. I needed her. I prayed that if he did, i would promise to do the best to always protect her and love her and be the best parent i can. That i would raise her well, and that i would teach her all about god. I would be a better person. Seeing her and having her made me want to be the best person i could be. It was the worst feeling i have ever felt. The next morning they drew her blood again. An hour later we got the results that she was fine!
I love being a mom. For the good, the hard, the easy, and the challenging parts. I wish i would have become a mom sooner because it truly is the best, but i don’t know if i would’ve been capable to give her what she deserves earlier in my life. And, she deserves the best. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me. She is the best of me. She is what i live for. I feel like i go to bed every night and can’t wait to wake up, be it 2:00am or 6:00am, because i get a present to wake up to everyday. My little love. My little gem. My little Ruby.