Ruthie just had her 9 month doctor’s appointment on February 7th. Of course I’m posting this on February 25th because the night she had her 9 month appointment I got the stomach flu, then Dave did, then Gammy came to visit, then we were in Chicago, so life has been crazy. I died putting this 9 month sticker on her because WHY ARE THERE ONLY THREE STICKERS LEFT??
Weight: 16 lbs (15th percentile). She’s actually rising in percentiles for weight since her 6th month appointment.
Height: I actually don’t have her heigh measurements in front of me but she wasn’t even on the charts for height this month! The doctor said maybe close to the 1st percentile.
Eating: Ruthie is still on a schedule where she either nurses or has bottles 4ish times a day. When I got back from a weekend away a few weeks ago, she went on a nursing strike and refused to nurse except for her first feeding. It was really sad and hard for me. I think it was the perfect storm of me leaving for 4 days and her teething. She’s now back to nursing twice a day and having bottles twice a day. Sometime soon I might drop one of the bottles. She loves to feed herself and recently her favorite food has been blueberries. Ruthie got 2 teeth the week before she turned 9 months! They are so cute and it was so rough the days when she was cutting them. I kind of felt like she would never get teeth (maybe because I feel like she’s been teething for months). Her bottom ones came in first and I’ve heard the top ones come in next.
Sleeping: Ruthie will go through phases when her first nap of the day is only 45 minutes long. It seems like it happens every other week. I hope she’s not one of those babies who drops their first nap early. Besides that, her sleep is great.
Leaps: Ruthie finished her 6th leap and she is changing so fast. This month she: got two teeth, can wave, can stand while holding onto something (but can’t pull herself up into a standing position yet), and she tries to say these words — Dada, bye, hi, duck, “all done,” and cup. I don’t think she has any idea what she’s saying, she’s just trying to repeat the sounds she hears me make. There’s no meaning attached to the words and I’m the only one who can understand what she’s saying.
Diapers/Clothes: Ruthie wears size 3 diapers but size 4 at nighttime. She can fit into 9 month clothes pretty well, except footies which are always too long on her. The rest of her clothes really vary in size depending on what brand they are. I really love the Burt’s Bees clothing line and Old Navy always has great baby clothes. I’ve been trying to buy a lot of things for her off season because they’re on sale for next winter.
Highlights of this month:
We went to Disneyworld with Dave’s family the second weekend of January! It was such a blast and Ruthie did great and even went on a lot of (slow) rides!
Our house is in the finishing stages and our furniture is getting moved in next week.
We closed on our first rental property and we’re excited to start finding tenants to move in soon.
What we’re looking forward to this month: Moving into our house! We’re looking forward to having Dave’s mom visit us and help us move some things in.
I love how this sweet girl can stand up now. And I love her thighs 🙂
One of my goals of this blog this year is to be able to print out these stories and have them in a book for our family to look back on. I love the idea of scrapbooking, but I don’t like writing things out by hand so the idea of having a digital scrapbook that I can print out sounds great to me. I want to start documenting more of our trips on here so that I can have all the stories and pictures in one place, and what better trip to start with than Disney World?
I broke this up into three parts – one for the marathon weekend, one for Animal Kingdom, and one for Magic Kingdom. I can’t keep anything short when writing about Disney because I want to remember all the details!
Dave and I booked this trip back last July when Ruthie was only two months old. Dave and his sisters were going to run the marathon together and then we planned to go to the parks for a few days afterwards. We also booked our plane tickets in July, which was great because they were already done and paid for and we didn’t have to think about the travel part of the trip again until January.
Disney makes the marathon weekend really fun, even if you aren’t one of the runners. The marathon is on a Sunday (we arrived on the Friday before), but the kids races take place on Saturday. They were held at the ESPN World Wide Sports Center, which is on Disney Property. I hadn’t been there before but I think a lot of high school and college athletes do for different competitions.
Since Dave signed up for the marathon back in July, we didn’t know if Ruthie would be crawling yet at 8 months old (she wasn’t) but we signed her up for the baby diaper dash anyways. I’m so glad we did because it was SO adorable. Ruthie’s cousins ran earlier in the morning.
They put down big foam mats so that the babies could crawl across the finish line. Six babies crawled at a time and parents went to the “starting line” and Mickey was waiting for them across the finish line. Dave helped Ruthie crawl across. They gave every baby a shirt, bib with their name on it, and a kid’s race medal. So fun!
For the most part, Ruthie slept really well on this vacation. It was really nice to be on Eastern time still – a benefit of vacationing in Florida! I did a series on my Instagram stories of me waking her up from her first nap to get ready for the day.
Dave had to get up with his sisters at 3:45am to make the marathon start time of 5:30. The runners started and finished the race in Epcot. Disney allows family members to sign up for text updates for their runner so I would get texts when Dave started the race and then passed 5 miles, 10 miles, and 13 miles. The texts had an estimated finish time. We underestimate the traffic a little bit and we had to run to go watch them at the finish line. We made it just in time to see them.
I don’t feel a strong desire to run 26 miles, but I could possibly see myself doing the half marathon sometime – maybe after I’m done having babies!
We went to the hotel pool later in the day. It was Ruthie’s first time in a pool. She smiled and laughed for a few minutes and then got kind of quiet – I think she was exhausted from all the morning events. There’s nothing better than an outdoor pool in January! What a nice break from our Michigan winter.
Click here to move onto the next part of our weekend.
Ruthie had a doctor appointment around 7.5 months because she was sick with a cold! The weights/percentages are from that visit.
Weight: 14lbs8oz. Still in the 9th percentile for weight.
Height: 24.25″ – the 1st percentile. I notice that her feet finally *kind of* touch the floor when she’s in her jumper or exersaucer.
Head: They didn’t measure her head at this appointment. She still has a pretty large bald spot on the back of her head. I’m hoping that because she’s sleeping more on her stomach now it will start to grow back.
Eating: I feel so lucky that Ruthie loves solid foods and she’s still a good nurser. It does seem like her milk intake has dropped during the day but I think that’s to be expected because she eats solid foods 3 times a day. If I skip one of these three times, she’s hungry and cranky. I do a mix of baby food purees and “real” food by giving her whole slices of bananas, pears, toast with peanut butter, and anything else I’m eating in the kitchen. She loves cheese sticks and she’s OBSESSED with those baby rice teethers. Sometimes I bribe her with them…. bribery starts early, folks.
Sleeping: This month she can finally take a consistent two naps a day and I did drop her catnap shortly after she turned 7 months because she wasn’t always falling asleep for it and she was waking up early in the mornings. Her morning and afternoon naps really vary in length. Sometimes they last 45 minutes, which is the worst and sometimes they last two hours, which is the best. Usually, if one nap is longer than the other is shorter and vice versa. My sister-in-law gave me a really valuable tip that if I want her to nap longer in the afternoon, then I can wake her up early from her first nap. This does make for a really long morning though.
Leaps: Leap 6 starts in a few days, although we did go through that “gray” period in Wonder Weeks when they’re supposed to be needier. Ruthie was already needy though so I’m not sure much changed. She can sit up for a long time now by herself. Occasionally she loses balance and falls over and then screams. My mom bought her a playmat so a few times a day I’ll put some small toys in a basket for her and sit her on the playmat. This will either keep her entertained for 3 minutes or 30 minutes. Ruthie’s love of thumb sucking really reached a new level this month. I waver between thinking it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and also being extremely worried that she’s going to be thirteen-years-old and sucking her thumb in 8th grade. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. She is SO CUDDLY and it warms my mom heart so much. Sometimes when she’s fussy, I’ll sit her in my lap facing me and she will find her thumb and put her head on my chest. Those are the best moments right now.
Highlights of this month:
We visited Dave’s family in Colorado for Thanksgiving and it was the best trip. We stayed at Crooked Creek ranch in a huge lodge. It was so fun to watch Ruthie with her cousins, especially Lucy.
The Christmas season is the best with a baby. We got Ruthie’s first tree and she even got to open her first present early (a baby Cinderella costume from Dave’s mom!) I spend a lot of days trying to get her to pay attention to the Christmas books I’m reading her, but she just put the corners in her mouth. I’m feeling so grateful and blessed to be a family of three.
What we’re looking forward to this month:
Christmas in Hinsdale with my family. I can’t wait to walk downstairs with Ruthie on Christmas morning.
We are going to DISNEY!!!!! on January 5th. Dave and his sisters are running the marathon and we’re going to the parks for two days after that. I’m not really sure how that’s going to go with a baby and even though Ruthie will have no clue what is happening, just the thought of taking her to Disney makes me cry. We listen to the Moana soundtrack so much that now when I turn it on, she looks at me and starts smiling and laughing.
Our baby isn’t a newborn anymore! Ruthie is interacting with us so much – cooing, talking, and always wanting someone to “play” with. This is such a fun age! A few days ago I was holding her and just felt so overwhelmed that my dream was to be a mom, and here I am holding my baby. Thank you Jesus for giving us this sweet girl.
Weight: 11lbs2oz (taken last week on our friend’s scale, so this weight may not be exact)
Doctor’s Appointments: Our pediatrician doesn’t see us for a three month appointment so Ruthie won’t be back until 4 months (that’s why I dont know her height and head measurements). She has been super healthy this month. It seemed like she had another clogged tear duct a few weeks ago but it wasn’t as bad as the first time and I know what to do for it now. She is still spitting up all the time and unfortunately for us that hasn’t gotten any better, but I am so much more used to it and it could be worse. I’ve heard that when they start to eat solids that can help a lot so I’m considering starting solid foods earlier with her (maybe around 4-5 months). It seemed like she was in discomfort because of her reflux around 8 weeks but now she’s just a happy spitter and it doesn’t seem to bother her.
Eating: Ruthie is actually taking less bottles than she used to because she dropped her middle of the night feeding!!! Yay for us! We often give her a bottle at bedtime. We just switched her this week to Level 2 nipples on her bottle (Dr. Browns’) because it seemed like she was getting fussy halfway through her bottles and not wanting to take the whole thing. She still eats every 3 hours on the same schedule as before. I’m hoping she will be on this schedule until we introduce solids. Now she is taking 4-5 oz with her bottles, although this can vary a lot. I feel like one of my greatest life accomplishments is breastfeeding for three months now. I actually (gasp!) prefer breastfeeding to bottle feeding now.
Sleeping: Ruthie is still my champion sleeper. I want this blog to look back on this blog for my next baby so there’s a few details I want to note about getting her to sleep through the night: At 8-9 weeks she was waking between 4-5am and then it progressively got later and later. In Michigan, she was waking between 6-6:30am (which is still in the 4-5am time range mountain time since we kept her on mountain time when we were at the lake). Somewhere around 11 weeks she was starting to wake more around 6am at home. She was always breaking her hands out of her swaddle and trying to suck on them around 11 weeks, so I started leaving her arms out of the swaddle then. As soon as I left her hands out, she started sleeping through the night until 7am. At 12 weeks, we dropped the swaddle completely for nighttime and naps. She is sleeping 11-12 hours each night. What a dream baby! Naps are totally a different story. She loves loves loves to nap on me or in her baby carrier. I don’t mind one nap a day like this, but the other naps I really try to get in her crib. Her morning nap from 8:30-10:00am is usually the best one. I try to keep her awake for an hour and a half during the day now before she sleeps, but sometimes she gets really fussy and tired after an hour. I’m already worried that my next baby won’t be a good sleeper like Ruthie is, but God gives you what you can handle at a time!
Leaps: I added this section in here this month because I am following the Wonder Weeks app, which tracks developmental milestones in babies. Ruthie has been through 3 “leaps” so far and it’s crazy how much they really do correspond with her fussier weeks. Leap 1 I didn’t notice a huge change in her. Leap 2 was when we were at the lake and she was not napping at all. I’m not sure if this was because we were in a new place, new packnplay, etc but she literally would nap for like 15-20 minutes the whole week we were there. As soon as Leap 2 ended, she went back to her normal nap schedule. Leap 3 was only a week long and she was having a hard time napping again and only wanted to fall asleep on me. Leap 3 just ended today and I am DREADING Leap 4 which is supposed to be linked with the 4 month sleep regression and is 5 weeks long….
Clothes: Ruthie is still wearing 0-3 month clothes and size 1 diapers but I think she will outgrow that size soon. 3 month clothes fit her great right now. I feel sad whenever we have to retire her outfits because they’re too small! I always think about the clothes I want to save for her sisters one day, but I think I’m going to be able to save less clothes than I originally thought since a lot get stained.
Likes: the morning, when mom and dad play with and talk to her, eating, sleeping on mom, the Tula baby carrier, her hands, cooing and talking to mom and dad.
Dislikes: tummy time, getting her diaper changed, when Mom makes her nap in her crib ;), being in the car when she’s hungry, her fussy hour before bed at night.
Highlights of this month:
Ruthie had her first airplane trip to Michigan and did great. It was a little stressful for me but after flying with her once I know the next time will be easier.
We have had a lot of time with her cousins the last few weeks, trying to soak up all the cousin time before we move!
My Grandma and Grandmother met Ruthie for the first time in Michigan. They loved holding her and rocking her.
What we’re looking forward to: Ruthie’s third month will be full of a lot of changes because we’re moving to Michigan in two weeks. I’m so glad that we are all together as a family – I know I could never move with anyone else! Dave is looking forward to moving to a new place as a family and taking Ruthie to the beach (in Michigan). I am looking forward to having her as my travel buddy as we move and get to discover a new place with her.
How is our baby girl already two months old?? I try to enjoy every moment with her because time is going by so fast, but I’m also excited for her to get older and be able to reach more developmental milestones like holding her head up and sitting in a seat 🙂 I looked back on her one month blog and can’t believe how much she’s changed in just 4 weeks.
Weight: 10lbs1oz (25th percentile). She gained 14 ounces since last month. I was actually worried when this number came up on the scale because I assumed that since she gained two pounds in the first month she would quickly just gain two more the second month. But she is still growing perfectly on the growth curve for babies and my pediatrician explained that babies weight gain evens off and is not always as dramatic as in the beginning, which I guess makes since.
Height: 21.5 inches (15th percentile). She grew 1 inch in a month! She definitely looks longer to me and her feet are touching the end of her swaddle now.
Head: 15.5 inches (85th percentile). This is half an inch bigger than last month. Some days her hair looks red (!!!!! my dream) and other days it looks blonde. I think it’s thinning out a bit in the front and on top and I can’t wait to see what color it ends up being. It looks really straight and a lot like Dave’s hair when he was a baby so I bet she’s going to end up being a blondie.
Doctor’s Appointments: The only appointment we had this month was for her two month checkup, which was great minus her getting so many shots – so hard to watch! I made Dave hold her during her shots because I couldn’t stand to watch it. She still has baby acne which has spread to the back of her neck, ears, chest, and even some on her arms. It’s looking a little better on her face. I’m not sure if the heat makes it worse but I’m looking forward to the day when she doesn’t have it anymore. Ruthie still has a mild case of reflux and it’s hard for me that it seems like it’s not getting any better. I say it’s mild because she doesn’t need to be on medication for it but it just seems like she spits up/throws up SO much and I always wiping her mouth or changing her outfit. She’s also pretty fussy sometimes after eating. I’m worried that it’s going to take her more than 6 months to grow out of it because sometimes I feel like my days consist of feeding her, waiting for her to spit up, and then having to put all her of outfits, burp cloths, and even my clothes in the wash because there’s spit up all over them! 😦 The pediatrician says that this peaks for babies at 8 weeks so I’m hoping that it gets better from here! We don’t go back to the doctor again until she’s 4 months.
Eating: Ruthie is taking about 1-2 bottles a day and I am still nursing her the rest of the time. She still eats every 3 hours on a pretty tight schedule at 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, and 7pm. She will wake to eat sometime around 4am again. It seems like she is taking 3-4 oz. per feeding but at night she will drink around 5-5.5oz before bed. Dave takes at least one feeding a day, either the bedtime feeding or the one at 4am.
Sleeping: Ruthie is a CHAMP at sleeping at night!! Honestly, I have her on a pretty strict schedule most days when we are at home together and I think it’s working really well for her in terms of nighttime sleep. Ruthie naps three times a day and then takes a catnap in the evening before her bath. I like to do as many naps as I can in her crib but I’ll take whatever I can get for her catnap – in the swing, in the baby carrier, sometimes in my arms on the couch. We transitioned Ruthie to her crib at 5 weeks old. In my last update I talked about how it was hard to get her in her crib. That was true the first night – Dave and I totally gave up and put her back in the rocknplay in our room. The second day my mom was visiting and she offered to help Ruthie nap in her crib while I went to Target. When I came back from Target she was asleep in her crib! We’ve basically never looked back since then. Her naps are hit or miss, sometimes she naps for a full two hours in her crib and sometimes she wakes up after an hour (or twenty minutes!) and I go in and reinsert her paci. There’s usually one nap a day that’s not in her crib at all and will happen in her carseat if we’re out and about. Regardless of how well her naps are during the day, she is consistently going to bed at 7:30 each night and sleeping until 4-5am! This just starting happening at 8 weeks old, before that she would wake around 2-3am. It’s so great because Dave and I usually get in bed around 9:30 so we have two hours to ourselves at night. For all naps (that happen at home) and nighttime sleep we do the swaddle, white noise machine, and dark room. Our bedtime routine looks like a bath at 6:30pm, change into pajamas, and then a bottle in her room. Yes, my day is totally on a schedule and full of routines but honestly it keeps me sane! I love routines and I think that Ruthie is thriving off of it because her body is used to eating and sleeping at the same time every day. I think it’s also important to know when to throw the schedule out the window for the day and be flexible – something I’m really bad at doing but I’m trying to learn how to have grace for myself when things don’t go as planned.
Diapers: Ruthie is in size 1 diapers. She sometimes has a diaper rash but we do a few minutes without a diaper (always a disaster…) each morning and it helps her a lot. Still using Aquaphor Baby – love that stuff!
Clothes: Ruthie is wearing 0-3 month sizes in clothes and some 3 month sizes. Some of her onesies even look small on her right now! I think that Gerber runs small because those onesies are the ones that look tight. It’s so much fun dressing her for the summertime, but usually most days at home she’s just in a onesie and she wears one for sleeping at night too since we don’t have AC (but just got a window unit for her room!).
Likes: playing on the floor with mom or dad, smiling at mom and dad, her swing, her soothie pacifiers, baths, putting her hands in her mouth, patterns/contrasts on the wall, being held by her grandparents
Dislikes: tummy time, when her paci falls out (god help me on this one, I hate always reinserting it!), her fussy time in the afternoon/early evening, being in her carseat for too long
Highlights of this month:
Ruthie was at the surprise party we threw for Dave’s 30th birthday and did so well! She was wide awake the whole time and loved being held by her Aunt Lisa.
She had her first non-family babysitter and did great! She took almost a 4oz bottle from her and Mom was able to go to the doctors and Walgreens alone 🙂
We went in to visit my office twice and it’s so much fun having everyone hold her and love on her there. She also visited Dave’s office too!
Ruthie started smiling a lot for real and it is so much fun. She smiles so much for me and Dave and smiled a lot for her cousin Logan last week!
What we’re looking forward to: We’re both looking forward to being able to put Ruthie in kid’s ministry at church. We’ve been waiting until she gets her 2 month shots to do this and have either been in the cry room or the lobby and both places are pretty distracting. We’re also looking forward to taking Ruthie to my parent’s lakehouse in Michigan on July 7th. Dave is looking forward to more smiles and adventures in Ruthie’s second month. I’m looking forward to putting her in her 4th of July outfit and having lots of babysitters at the lakehouse so that Dave and I can have time to ourselves.
Ruthie turned a month old on June 4th and I felt like it was such a huge milestone – both for her and for us as parents! We survived a month with a newborn, a month of waking up multiple times a night, and I survived a month breastfeeding. I was waiting to post this until we went to her one month doctor’s appointment so I could get the right height and weight for her.
Weight: 9lbs3oz!! She’s gained almost 2 pounds since she was born. She’s in the 50th percentile for weight.
Height: 20.5 inches. This is interesting because at birth she was 21 inches so either they measured her wrong, she was measuring longer at birth because their heads can be longer from the birth process, or she shrunk 😉 She’s in the 5-10th percentile for height.
Head: 15 inches – 90th percentile! I think she got her Daddy’s big head.
Doctor’s Appointments: Ruthie did have to go to the doctor for an eye infection at about 3 weeks old – poor thing woke up with so much stuff in her eye and it just continued to get worse throughout the day. The doctor thought it was most likely a clogged tear duct but gave us some eye drops just in case. Ruthie is definitely a spitter and sometimes seems to spit up so much after feedings that I have wondered if it’s projectile vomiting. She may have a small case of reflux or her body just needs to develop a little more to hold all her food down. Apparently this gets worse before it gets better and reflux can peak at 8 weeks. She’s gaining weight pretty well though so her throwing up hasn’t been too concerning. The only other health thing she has going on is some baby acne on her face, which seems to get better and then get a little worse again. We try and keep it clean with a warm washcloth after she eats.
Eating: Ruthie eats about every 3 hours (from the start of the last feeding). We introduced a bottle at exactly 3 weeks – basically the soonest I could introduce one I wanted to! She took it like a champ on her first try. Dave gave her the bottle while I sat in a different room so that she wouldn’t be confused by me being there. I cried before we introduced a bottle because it was her first time eating without me, but it was the best decision to introduce at 3 weeks. Dave and I split up the nighttime feedings so I have been doing the doing from 1-2am and he takes the feeding at 5am. She usually takes 2-3 oz. with a bottle. Our lactation consultant found a tongue tie on Ruthie when she was a week old and I have continued to breastfeed her despite that. We haven’t looked into any options to get it fixed by a dentist.
Sleeping: Ruthie has never mixed up her days and nights, thank goodness! She usually goes to bed and gives us a long 4-5 hour stretch and then goes back to 3 hour stretches. During the first week Ruthie was at home, she would pretty much sleep anywhere (in her mamaRoo, in her packnplay, in her swing) but now I only nap her in the rocknplay in our bedroom where it’s dark and she has her white noise machine. Ruthie started off in her packnplay but because she was spitting up so much and was having some reflux/gas issues, we decided to have her sleep in her rocknplay so that her head was elevated. Now we are trying to slowly wean off the rocknplay. I tried to get her to nap in her room in her crib yesterday and it was terrible – she screamed the whole time. I might try it again this weekend and move her back into the packnplay first before her crib. Ruthie always naps and sleeps at night swaddled, sometimes in a muslin blanket that we swaddle her in or sometimes in her Halo Sleep Swaddle, which I love!
Diapers: Just in the past week, newborn diapers started to look really small on Ruthie so we moved her to size 1 diapers. They’re kind of big on her but hold everything in better than newborn diapers. My favorite diapers are still Pampers Swaddlers. She is getting her first diaper rash right now and I was using Burt’s Bees diaper rash cream on it, but it seemed like it wasn’t doing anything so I switched to using Aquaphor Baby, which I’ve heard great things about. The doctor told us to lay her on something that we don’t mind getting dirty and let her not wear a diaper for a while. This makes me nervous because of the mess it could cause but I think I’ll try it out soon.
Clothes: I am SO glad that I had a lot of newborn clothes because Ruthie is still mostly wearing them and can’t quite fit into the next size yet. She just started getting too big for some of her newborn onesies (because her big head can’t fit through some of them haha) and I moved her to size 0-3 months for a few clothes. Every brand is different though so it really depends. She screams when we try to put clothes over her head or try to get her arms through the sleeves. She spits up on her clothes a lot so we do a lot of outfit changes!
Likes: the ceiling fans, lights, taking walks in her stroller, car rides, when Mommy or Daddy talks to her, taking baths
Dislikes: getting her diaper changed or putting clothes on, her crib, when you leave her alone in a room by herself
Highlights of this month:
Both of my sisters and my parents all took trips to Colorado to spend time with Miss Ruthie.
Dave’s parents babysat for Ruthie last weekend and we went to get sushi BY OURSELVES.
Ruthie has started to smile for the first time at Dave and I. She has also smiled at my mom a few times when she has been visiting this week.
Our meal train was amazing and it was so great having friends come and bring over food every day.
What we’re looking forward to: I am looking forward to giving Ruthie more bottles this month and hopefully her sleeping more consistently longer at night, getting a babysitter to celebrate our second wedding anniversary, Dave’s 30th birthday!, and Father’s Day. Dave says that he’s looking forward to more smiles, taking her on more adventures, and watching her mom love on her 🙂
I love reading birth stories and when I was pregnant I always wondered what Ruthie’s would be like. I didn’t really spare any of the details for this blog, so if you don’t like reading about birth then this may not be the blog for you. Overall I really feel like I had a great birth experience with Ruthie and I think I owe a lot of this to the great hospital staff and my midwife. There were definitely some hard moments but it was not a traumatic birth and I would do it all over again for Ruthie in a heartbeat!
The Sunday night before Ruthie was born (she was born on a Thursday) I started to have some contractions. I had pretty regular Braxton Hicks contractions towards the end of my pregnancy, but these felt different because they were more painful and closer together. I wondered if I was going into labor and I even shaved my legs that night in preparation – haha! I was totally prepared to wake Dave up in the middle of the night and drive to the hospital.
However, the contractions were totally gone by morning. I was so disappointed because I was SO DONE being pregnant, but the next day (May 1st) was my last day at work so I was also kind of glad that I wasn’t in full on labor yet. I kept joking with people that I couldn’t go into labor yet because my nails weren’t done (I definitely did get them done after my last day of work and my labor nurse even complimented me on them!) The next few days passed by pretty uneventfully without any more signs of labor
On Wednesday night May 3rd, I started to have more painful contractions again but they were still pretty far apart and not getting any stronger. I assumed it would be like a few days before, kind of like a “false labor” which never progresses. I didn’t want to get my hopes up! I told Dave that I was still having contractions but he was in a pretty deep sleep and wasn’t a huge help – it’s ok, he was when it actually counted!
I continued to have the contractions for several hours, so at midnight I called my sister who is a labor and delivery nurse in Minnesota to ask for her advice. I told her I didn’t want to have my baby in my kitchen! It’s so hard to know for your first labor when to go into the hospital because you don’t want to get there too early and you also don’t want to leave your house too late. She told me to walk around for a while and if the contractions decreased, then it was probably not something to worry about. I got out of bed and walked around, doing laundry and cleaning all my drawers (the nice part about this was I got to come back from the hospital to a really clean house). I sat on the couch for a while and watched a few episodes of Friends – the ones where Rachel goes into labor! My contractions seemed to disappear so I got back in bed.
The next morning was my 39 week appointment with my midwife. I woke up and still noticed a few contractions here and there, but they didn’t seem strong. I was comparing all of them to the intense period cramps I used to have and honestly the cramps seemed a lot worse than what I was experiencing. I’m not sure if I have a high pain threshold or I just experienced pretty mild contractions, but I feel pretty lucky about this part of my labor.
Dave met me at the appointment with my midwife, Kim. During the appointment, I was explaining my contractions to her and she said it was probably pre-labor and my body just preparing itself since I didn’t seem to feel an increase in the length or severity of the contractions. She asked if I wanted to be checked (so she could tell me if I was dilated or not). My plan was always to wait to be checked until my 40 weeks appointment because I really don’t think that being checked means anything. I know some people who were at 3 centimeters for weeks before they actually delivered and I know other moms who were not dilated at all and then had their baby the next day! However, because of my contractions, I did ask her if she could check me. Also I’m just a super impatient person and I didn’t think I could wait any longer to know what was happening.
While she was checking to see if I was dilated or not, Kim looked at me in surprise and asked me if I was in pain. I said that I was kind of in pain, but more uncomfortable. She told me then that I was at a 5!! (5 centimeters dilated! That’s halfway where you need to be to start pushing). I definitely swore out loud when she told me that and everyone in the room was laughing! No one could believe I was at a 5 since I seemed so calm.
Kim told me that maybe we could still go home and go out to lunch before having to be admitted into labor and delivery. She wanted to make sure my contractions weren’t super regular first though so she hooked me up to the monitor. Twenty minutes later, she came back in and told me that my contractions were 4 minutes apart and she was going to call labor and delivery right away to admit me. I asked her if I had time to go to the café and get a snack (I am always ALL ABOUT FOOD) and she said that was ok as long as our next stop was labor & delivery. My women’s care practice is in the hospital that I was delivering in, so it was just an elevator ride up to the labor rooms.
While I was getting a snack, Dave ran back to work. He works just five minutes away from the hospital so it was really easy for him. He grabbed his computer and said goodbye to his work team since he was going to start his two weeks of paternity leave then. Earlier that morning, I had made Dave and myself pack our hospital bags in our car before the doctor’s appointment, just in case we needed them. Thank God!
As I was eating my snack, I first called my parents and told them that they were going to be grandparents today! They were so excited and were literally on a flight from Chicago to Denver in the next hour and a half. Then I called my sisters. THEN my contractions were finally getting stronger and Dave was still no where to be seen so I called him in a panic and told him to HURRY UP. Poor Dave was in such a rush carrying our hospital bags into the hospital that he dropped his phone in the parking lot and his screen shattered. He looked hilarious when he got in the hospital though because he was holding like seven bags and a giant 6-pack of Coke (when I told him to get everything from my trunk, he thought I meant e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g). We ended up leaving the Coke on a bench next to the hospital elevators because we were in such a hurry – hopefully someone found it and took it!
We were admitted into labor and delivery at about 11am, which was such a surreal experience because I had rehearsed it in my mind so many times. Our awesome nurse introduced herself to us. Luckily her shift had just started and she was working until 11pm that night so we never had to change nurses.
Kim came back in about an hour later on her lunch break and asked me if I wanted her to break my water. The other option was to let me progress naturally and see how I was doing by the end of her work day at 5:30 that night. I told her to just break my water now to get it over with so she did. This didn’t hurt at all, but felt so weird. There was some meconium in my water, which isn’t super concerning but it did mean that NICU had to be in the room during delivery and it meant that I always had to be hooked up to the portable monitor during labor.
After my water was broken, the real pain started! The contractions felt a thousand times stronger and more painful than what I had been experiencing before. Dave and I walked laps around the hallways, which were lined with rails. I leaned on the rails when I felt a contraction and also leaned on Dave (although I told him not to touch me… I hated being touched during contractions). After about an hour and a half of this, I asked the nurse if she thought it was a good time to get an epidural. She told me she could check me and if I was at a 9, maybe I didn’t even need an epidural (so Boulder! At my hospital they really love natural birth, which I think is great but I also think medicine is great too). My next contraction was so painful that I told my nurse to not even check me – just please call the anesthesiologist. It took about 45 minutes for him to come – the longest 45 minutes of my life! The contractions were so painful and I was dilated to an 8. To those mamas to go through the transition period without meds, you amaze me!!
At my hospital the give you the epidural while you are lying on your side curled into a ball. It was extremely painful to have a contraction while curled up into a ball and this was probably my lowest moment of the whole experience. I cried during this contraction and told my nurse that I couldn’t do it. But then about one minute after I got the epidural (which by the way doesn’t hurt at all – they numb that part of your back and you don’t even care since what you are feeling hurts way worse), I felt so much better. ALL HAIL THE EPIDURAL AND THANK JESUS FOR MEDICINE. I loved getting an epidural because I felt like before the epidural I was just trying to survive the next contraction, but after the epidural I was able to take a nap and really look forward to Ruthie coming soon.
After I got the epidural, my nurses did a good job of making sure I was rotating which side I was laying on. She put a beanbag (like a big one that you can sit on) in between my legs. After rotating to the other side once, I started to feel a lot more pressure. You can press this little button that gives you more epidural medicine, but I never pressed it and I think that was a great decision because by the time it came to push I could start to feel the contractions again. I paged my nurse on this little remote they have next to your hospital bed. Instead of my nurse, Kim came in! I was so happy to see her. It was around 5:45pm so she must have been done with her appointments for the day. I told her about the pressure I was feeling and she checked to see how far along I was. She told me it was time to push.
I didn’t feel nervous at all, I just felt relieved that this process was hopefully nearing an end. My nurse came back in and coached me through my first pushes. Dave and the nurse held my legs and I pushed with each contraction. (This is why I was glad the epidural was wearing off, because it’s more effective if you push during contractions and I could start to feel all of mine again). After a few minutes my nurse asked if I wanted to watch the baby’s head in a mirror and I said YES! I’m always so interested in stuff like that and I really wanted to be part of the process. She wheeled in a full length mirror and for the next hour while I pushed, I watched Ruthie’s head come out! Honestly this was the best part of the birth experience for me and it was so motivating. I could watch in the mirror and focus on pushing in a specific area. I kind of kicked it into overdrive and even though they tried to get me to push 3 times for every contraction, I always tried to do 4 times. Kim laughed and told me that I could teach a class on how to push! I was so ready to meet this baby. One of my favorite parts of this story is that around 6:30pm, our nurse told Dave that if we wanted dinner he should order some food from the café now since it closes at 7. I took a little break from pushing and he ordered a cheeseburger for himself and a baked potato with bacon for me. I have no idea why that sounded like the best post-labor meal but it sounded amazing. I kept referring to my baked potato all throughout pushing which made all the nurses laugh.
When I could see a good majority of Ruthie’s head in the mirror, I started crying. I had waited so long to see any part of her in real life that I couldn’t believe that I could see her head – her hair! The rest happened so fast. I could see in the mirror when her whole head was out and then Kim was telling me to reach down and grab my baby. Ruthie’s cord was wrapped around her neck once, but the nurse quickly unwrapped it. This scared Dave and I could see it in his face when she came out. The nurse helped me put Ruthie on me and I was so stunned finally getting to hold her. It was hard to even know what to say. I remember it being weird to finally say her name in front of other people since Dave and I had only said it to each other.
My hospital does delayed cord clamping by default (again, Boulder) and when it was finally time to cut the cord, Dave got to cut it. I was too mesmerized looking at Ruthie to realize what was happening in the next hour. They helped me deliver the placenta (ouch – so painful when they press down on your stomach) and then Kim spent a long time giving me stitches. I had a second degree tear and she seemed to be working down there for kind of a while. The epidural had pretty much worn off by this point so they gave me some numbing medication.
Ruthie did not come out crying, but I wasn’t worried since I could feel her breathing. The NICU nurses listened to Ruthie’s heartbeat a lot and then after about an hour and a half of skin to skin time with Ruthie, the NICU nurse took her to the warmer in our room to weigh her and measure her. 7lbs4oz and 21 inches long! Dave and I are both not very tall so I was surprised by how long she was. And I was only 5lbs14oz when I was born (but I was 3 weeks early) so it was so nice having a baby who was bigger than me! I thought she was the perfect size. Finally, they gave Ruthie to Dave so he could hold her. This moment was as amazing to watch as I thought it was would be.
Our food came and I ate my amazing baked potato and also some of Dave’s cheeseburger. I felt pretty nauseous for a while so my nurse gave me some saltines and ginger ale. After eating, a new nurse came in who got me ready to go into our new post-labor room in the Mother & Baby section of the hospital. I held Ruthie while I sat in a wheelchair and they wheeled me into our new room. I got wheeled past the waiting room where my parents were waiting and they got to see Ruthie!
My last favorite moment of this day was watching my parents and Dave’s parents meet their new granddaughter. I’m so glad my parent’s could time it out perfectly so that they were able to make it to Boulder early enough to meet Ruthie on her birthday and I’m so glad that Dave’s parents live close and were able to come to the hospital late that night.