After each of our children’s births, I’ve written their story of entering the world, partially for my memory, and mostly for them to read as they grow up. Each one has been so different and unique. Ruth’s story is beautiful!!
The Birth of Ruth Gianna Costello
September 23, 2016
Thursday September 22, 2016 was my due date, 40 weeks pregnant. Given the fact that my midwife was concerned with preterm labor and that I had never made it to my due date before, I was more than surprised that I was still pregnant at this point. At my midwife appointment earlier in the week, I was 3cm dilated, 0 station, 90% effaced and had a ‘bulging bag of waters’. She had swept my membranes on Tuesday, and I STILL had not went into labor. My midwife, Kim, put me down for the following Monday morning to come and and have her break my water, because she was confident that was all that needed to happen for me to have a baby. I did NOT want to be induced.
I woke up at 4am on that Thursday, couldn’t sleep. I was SO uncomfortable. Couldn’t sleep, could hardly walk, and was in a lot of pain whenever I was up and about. I had been off work since the last Thursday, and I was tired of waiting to go into labor. I finally got out of bed at 6am and went for a walk. I walked in the dark around our small town. I was in tears and hurting a lot, but I kept walking. If I wasn’t in labor yet, I was going to make myself get there soon. I got everyone to school after that and posted in one of my mom groups a question on the best way to induce labor. Someone suggested labor stimulating massage. I immediately set up an appointment for later in the afternoon. Amelia and I went to the grocery store. The kind checkout lady asked when I was due, and when I answered ‘today’, replied with ‘Oh bless your heart’. I may have unconsciously scowled. I was so DONE being pregnant, and done with carrying around the almost 40 extra pounds. I didn’t feel that beautiful glow anymore, and I was pretty sure that my belly could not possibly stretch any bigger. I went to the massage appointment later in the day, where the therapist worked 3 accupressure points in my bilateral ankles, feet and lower legs. I stopped on the way home and got a smoothie with pineapple in it. I also massaged the heck out of another accupressure point on my hand that the therapist had told me about. Still no contractions greater than they had been. I picked up Amelia from my mom and dad’s house, and my mom assured me that I would not be pregnant forever. I wasn’t so sure. That night I made tacos for dinner, for the second time that week, because I was too exhausted to think of or attempt anything else. I was cranky, moody, and overall unpleasant to everyone in my house. We got the kids to bed and I announced to Jeremiah that I was going for another walk. It was lightly raining and lightning outside, but I didn’t care. I had a major pity party for myself as I walked a 2 block circle around our house, over and over and over. I cried and felt sorry for myself, was mad and frustrated at my body for not going into labor yet, and overall mad at God and the world. I was miserable. I came home after an hour with a severely sore pelvis and still NO LABOR. I took a shower and went to bed at 9:30pm.
3am I woke up. It was still lightning outside, and I noticed I was having contractions. I thought no big deal, I was confident I was not going to go into labor on my own, so I tried to go back to sleep. After a few more contractions, I pulled out my trusty contraction timer on my phone and timed for the next 30 mins. Contractions were 4 min apart, but not overly painful, just noticeable. I woke up Jeremiah at 3:30am and told him that he needed to call my parents. It took him a minute to figure it out, but then I told him I thought maybe we should go to the hospital. Kim had told me to come in when the contractions were 7 mins apart, because I had fast labors. Well, we were already at 4 mins. He called my dad, whom sounded very very awake for 3:30am. He said give them 30 mins to get here. 17 mins later, my mom and dad were pounding on the back door. We got dressed, I wrote down school drop off and pickup times, said goodbye to my parents and got into our Expedition in the pouring rain. I told my mom and dad that maybe by this afternoon they’d be able to come and see their new grandchild, if they didn’t send me home. I thought this was probably going to take awhile, seeing how things seemed to be going quite SLOW, and I wasn’t even confident that I was in labor. Contractions were ranging from 2 to 4 minutes apart, and still just uncomfortable, not painful.
As we drove to the hospital, I told Jeremiah we needed to seriously decide on a boy’s name. Up until this point, we had each had a favorite boy’s name, but had not come to a conclusion on what name to use. We STILL didn’t come to an agreement during the drive, so good thing it was a girl. We did agree that the drive to the hospital was eerily similar to when we had Gabriel, with the rain and lightning, in the very early morning. I was praying that I wouldn’t be in labor as long as I was with Gabriel. I texted Kim, my co-workers, and my sister to give them all a heads up.
We got to the hospital and the contractions were a bit stronger. I had to stop and breathe through the contractions, but they still were not bad. We went into the ER entrance of the hospital, and when they asked me how they could help me, I answered ‘Uhh, labor?’ That’s all I could come up with! The receptionist called ‘Many blessings to you!’ as the nurse wheeled me away in a wheelchair. I told them I could walk, but they made me sit in it anyways.
We went upstairs to labor and delivery and they put me in a different room than I had ever delivered in. Apparently there are 3 delivery rooms, and now I can say I’ve delivered in all 3! The nurse asked me what was going on, and I explained the contractions. She suggested we put on the fetal monitor and check my cervix to see if anything was happening. ‘Well, you’re a good 6 centimeters’. Wow!!! I was pumped! I was actually in labor and my body was doing SOMETHING! The ER nurse came back to start my IV (she was really good!), and I told her I wanted a saline lock, so she did it. The nurse asked me what kind of pain medication I had planned. I told her this was my 4th baby and I didn’t want any pain meds, I had never used them before. She nodded and said ok.
Jeremiah and I started walking the halls. It was 5:30am. The nurse told us she called Kim and she would be here in about 45 minutes. I felt kind of silly being at the hospital, as I was not in pain and the contractions were still about 4 mins apart. I thought maybe we should have stayed home awhile longer. I asked the nurse how long she thought it would be before I was 10cm, and she replied ‘several hours, because you seem so comfortable!’ I didn’t care for her answer.
Kim arrived at the hospital around 6:30 am. I told her I felt like I was wasting people’s time and I was sorry the nurse had woken her up. We talked and joked and she suggested that she check me again to see if anything had changed. I doubted it had.
‘Ummm, you’re 8 centimeters, why don’t you look like it?!’ Kim said. HALLELUJAH! Progress! I felt like skipping! I wasn’t going to have to be induced after all! I was +1 station which means baby had moved down even further. I told her I still was just uncomfortable, not really painful. My water still hadn’t broke. Kim said she could break my water and take probably 90 mins off labor, or we could leave it alone. I’m very natural minded when it comes to birthing, but I saw no reason why she couldn’t help me out here. She said I would not go backwards from 8cm and would most likely be quick once she broke the water. We talked evidence based birth a little longer, told her our girl’s name (we still didn’t have a boy’s name decided) and then she broke my water with that crazy crochet-hook looking thing. It was 7:05am.
I immediately felt pressure and much heavier contractions in my pelvis. I had to concentrate and really breathe through each contraction. The fetal monitor was on for 15 mins or so while I laid in bed. The one place I DON’T want to be in labor is laying flat on my back, so as soon as Kim suggested I try hands and knees position to put further pressure on my cervix, I flipped right over. A new nurse arrived and she recognized us right away. ‘I remember you guys! You’re pros!’ That made me feel good! She had attended Lucy and Amelia’s births as well.
Contractions remained about 3-4 mins apart, getting stronger and stronger. I labored on hands and knees and would push back into Kim and Jeremiah’s hands with each contraction. The contractions were painful now, and I was all about getting this baby out. My eyes welled up with tears on a few contractions, and I declared I was going to be sick. As I was throwing up I realized that meant this was transition labor, and that meant it was almost pushing time, but that couldn’t possibly be as she had literally just broke my water, and 30 mins ago I wasn’t in pain.
With the next few contractions I felt an urge to push. Kim told Jeremiah to get his gloves on if he was going to catch. He said he didn’t need gloves, as he wouldn’t wear gloves to hold his baby after birth, and she said ok, but I chimed in to make darn sure his hands were clean! Kim asked if I wanted to push and I said yes. She said ‘Let me put my coffee down and we’ll have a baby soon’. Immediately after she said that I had a big urge to push. She ran back over to the bed to brace me and I heard someone say to get a nursery nurse in the room. I looked over after the contraction was over and saw the baby warmer was on and the sterile cart was in the room and soon the nursery nurse was messing with my IV, hooking up the post-delivery pitocin. I remember thinking, ‘What the heck? I cannot possibly be having a baby already!’
Kim told me one more push and we’d have a baby. I looked over my shoulder and said ‘Do you PROMISE!?!?’ She kind of laughed and said yes. I had a big lull between contractions and Kim said that usually is a good sign. We probably went 4 or 5 minutes without a contraction and then it came. And I was pushing out a baby! I made terrible low animal noises, moaned into the pillows on the bed in front of me, but I couldn’t care less. I felt the baby’s head emerge, and then felt a big relief. Kim and Jeremiah told me to keep pushing!!! So I did, and I felt the shoulders come out, along with the rest of the baby. I HAD A BABY!!!! It was 8:03 am, less than 1 hr from when Kim broke my water. Jeremiah had completely delivered the baby on his own, with Kim coaching him what to do. Kim joked that he had missed his calling as a midwife, because he did it so naturally.
Jeremiah put the baby between my knees, since I was still on my hands and knees. I grabbed her and shrieked with delight and relief. I HAD A BABY!!!! We checked and it was a girl! I couldn’t believe it! It was barely light outside and still lightning. My kids hadn’t even started school yet and I had delivered a baby! I was overjoyed!!!
I held Ruth until the cord stopped pulsing, and then Kim clamped it and Jeremiah cut it. I hugged Jeremiah and Kim and my new baby girl. Jeremiah held Ruth while I carefully flipped over to sit in the bed. Kim delivered my placenta and showed it to us. That thing is absolutely amazing. She said I was ‘intact’, meaning I had no tears! Hooray! 4 babies and no stitches EVER! I was thrilled again!
Kim told me that was an amazing birth, and I completely agreed. She said she wished she had it on video to show people how delivering on hands and knees is done. That kind of made me feel like a rock star! I asked her what time she had patients that morning, and she said 8:15. It was 8:17am and she left to go to the clinic. I think I was still in shock that I had a baby already!
The pitocin finished, the nurse locked off the IV, and Ruth nursed pretty quickly after delivery. She was hungry! Aunt Mel was in the doorway by about 8:30am and got to hold Ruth after Jeremiah. She was an instant Facebook star. We finally weighed Ruth at 9am and I was absolutely floored by her weight…. 8 lbs 9 oz!!! My last 2 babies were in the 6lb range, and Gabriel was 7lb 8oz. Ruth is my biggest baby by over 1 lb, and she was by far the easiest delivery. Jeremiah called the school to tell Gabriel and Lucy that they had a new baby sister over speakerphone in their classrooms. It was so sweet!
Bart and Julie arrived and they let me get out of bed around 10:30 am. I felt kind of light headed, so this time I gladly took a seat in the wheelchair to go to the postpartum room. Soon my mom and dad arrived, with Amelia in tow, Gabriel and Lucy were in school. Amelia was very concerned about what the IV was and why it was in my hand.
I requested to leave the hospital at 12 hrs, but the nurses told me we at least had to stay 24 hrs, even though we were all doing well. We got to go home at noon on Saturday, about 28 hrs after Ruth’s amazing birth.
Today Ruth is 10 days old. I’ve had my share of emotions following her birth, but the biggest emotions I’ve felt are happiness and gratitude. All those days and nights I waited and pleaded with God to go into labor were all for a reason. My labor was fast, productive, and ‘easy’. I have such fond memories of her birth. It took me awhile to write this birth story because I think for me it signifies the closing of the pregnancy chapter. Although I was absolutely miserable at the end of the pregnancy, I already kind of miss it, as crazy as that seems.
Ruth is a great baby, and a wonderful addition to our family. Babies and birth are an amazing gift from God!