We all have our own journey as we become moms. Each journey is unique and special. Each journey is filled with its own hills and valleys in and through motherhood. This is my story, the story of the greatest gift Jesus has ever entrusted me with, my precious and dear Ruby James and the story of my transition into motherhood.
MAMA NAME: Kelly Jo @nourished.motherhood
BABY’S NAME: Ruby James
BIRTHDATE + LOCATION: February 26, 2018 | Anchorage, AK
SIZE: 7lb 8oz | 19.5"
Ruby is one of the most beautiful gifts Jesus has entrusted us with. It’s hard to believe that our baby girl is nearly 15 months old and I’m just writing her birth story... don’t you know that first year of parenthood is no joke and if ever grace was needed it’s during this period of life. I remember much of my pregnancy, labor, and delivery with such vivid details. It was some of the sleepless nights following her birth that is a bit fuzzy to recall.
Before I share about the wondrous night Ruby James took her first breath, I have to back up a little bit and share some history ...
The Beginning of Ruby’s Birth Story
Becoming a mom has been a dream come true. I played house and dreamed of being a mother for as long as I can remember. Yet, the idea of being pregnant seemed foreign to me. My parents adopted me and I grew up as the youngest by 11 years. I’d always reasoned I’d adopt like I was adopted (still a dream btw). Additionally, I’ve long struggled with hormonal imbalances and more than one health professional said I’d have problems getting pregnant.
Then I had one of my ovaries removed (that’s another tale of its own). Getting pregnant seemed out of reach. As I spent my early 20s abroad, I had the privilege to watch a lot of moms through pregnancy and raising young children. I learned a lot and my heart exploded with the desire to experience motherhood and to support women through the various stages of it. Then I met Caleb and the thought of creating a human with him swallowed up any fears I had about the process of getting pregnant. Before we ever considered trying to conceive, I plunged into the world of natural and preventative health. I transformed my daily eating habits and sought to heal my digestive system. This had a HUGE impact on my body as a whole and I believe it’s a lot of these lifestyle and dietary decisions that helped us get pregnant. Click here if you want to learn which foods I used to fuel my pregnancy.
We decided it was time to remove the goalie when I found out one of my dearest friends was pregnant (true story). I wanted a baby close in age with hers. I assumed it’d take us months to get pregnant with my health history track record. Three weeks later I announced to Caleb I was pregnant on Father’s Day at Fishcamp in remote Alaska. We were shocked in a good way.
My first trimester was riddled with funny “signs” of pregnancy... all normal but we were commercial fishing for wild sockeye salmon in remote Alaska and I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on with me. I was short of breath, cranky as all get out (our poor deckhands), seasick all the time or so I thought and I had the darnedest pain in my lower abdomen (I now know that was round ligament pain). When I discovered I was pregnant and googled early pregnancy symptoms it all made sense. We fished for about 2 months and I was sick most days but I got my fill of fresh salmon and salmon roe - superfoods for mama and baby! The emotional hormonal roller coaster was most challenging for me during this period of time.
Pregnancy glow is real! All my moodiness and morning sickness disappeared. Daily, I reveled in the joys of being pregnant. My dad often commented, “I’ve never seen a woman enjoy pregnancy so much.” But I truly did. It was magical. It was wonderful. And I’m thrilled to try it again. I sometimes feel funny for talking so positively about my pregnancy when so many others experience something else, but I loved reading pregnancy and birth stories. They gave me hope that it wasn’t all hard.
Up until this point, my pregnancy was super smooth and great with no complications. Then at 30 weeks, I went into early labor while driving home to our small town about 45 minutes away from the hospital. I called our midwife and still unaware it was fully early labor she gave me tips to slow contractions and we closely monitored whether or not we needed to head into town to the hospital. I did all the suggestions our midwife gave us, prayed to Jesus like crazy and after reading about all the interventions that would happen to our little one if she came out early I was determined not to have Ruby, at least not just yet. I had contractions through the night and by mid-morning they stopped. We sang “Hallelujah” and I continued to have an amazing pregnancy with few complications. I ended up having an ultrasound I hadn’t originally planned for but was so thankful to learn all was well. The only time I wrestled with pregnancy was those last few weeks while I was waddling around like a giant penguin…. Oh yeah, and every time Ruby wiggled her way up into my rib cage. I thought I’d have permanent bruising and pain… but alas it disappeared shortly after her delivery.
I was 41 weeks and 1 day when Ruby was born. The morning she was born I woke up in Anchorage at a friend's condo. We’d crashed there the night before Ruby was born hoping we’d go into labor and already be in town for the birth. I was devastated and so sad that she still hadn’t joined us yet… and time was ticking, I really wanted to have her at the birth center.
Wanting to wait in the comfort of our own cabin, we drove the 45 minutes back to Girdwood. It was a white-knuckled type of drive as we braved the blizzard. We got home and it took Caleb over an hour to shovel the foot of snow in our driveway. I started having some early labor signs… and quickly I was texting with our midwives and told Caleb we needed to drive back to Anchorage … in the blizzard… contractions were now 1 minute apart.
Fast and furious. Meanwhile, our midwives were driving in from the other direction and we made a 30-minute pit stop back at our friend's condo I had just left earlier that day…we were there just long enough for Caleb to sneakily take some funny candid shots of his wifey in labor.
We arrived at the birth center at 6:30 PM and I was 6 cm dilated. Caleb set the mood with Norah Jones, low-light and wild orange wafting out of our diffuser. I was in and out of the tub, rolling through contractions and hormonal shifts quick with hardly any time to rest. I remember looking over and Caleb was snacking on some jerky while laying in the bed.
Apparently, he was thinking we’d be there all night. I yelled out, “I feel alone. Where are you?” I just needed him to be next to me. To be my witness. He obliged. After a while, I asked our midwives if they’d check me, assuming I was the same dilation or maybe at 7… She said you're just about to 10. You can start pushing. I was shocked. I jumped back in the tub and within a few minutes, Ruby emerged from the water.
She was born at 9:13 PM on February 26, 2018. Sober-minded all I cared about was if Ruby was okay and was breathing. We all cozied up in bed together and there Ruby got some oxygen and I delivered my placenta. I bled a lot. I worried when I saw our midwives face but with an intense “abdominal massage,” a dose of Pitocin, herbal remedies, and some skin-skin with my baby girl the bleeding slowed. We stayed the night at the birth center as no one wanted to brave the storm. We journeyed home in the morning and began our life as over-joyed, sleepy-eyed parents.
Pregnancy, labor, and delivery, for the most part, were magical, wonderful and dare I say fun! We had some scary moments and are blessed that that’s all they were: brief moments.
I’d say the first year of motherhood is more trying than pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Riding on the roller-coaster of shifting hormones, sleep deprivation, colic, anxiety, breastfeeding and now a busy busy toddler has been incredibly challenging. This journey has grown me in more ways than I can fully comprehend. I can’t imagine life without Ruby and becoming a mom has really been a dream come true. There’s something special about that first baby and becoming a parent for the first time. It’s beautiful. It’s messy. It’s inspiring.
A few snapshots from the the way...
Want to share your child’s birth story? I loved reading birth stories while I was pregnant and I’d love to hear and share your story too.
Submit your birth story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
November 16, 2019