Friday, October 1, 2010

Hello, Ruby Thursday!

Ruby Meg Walker White
Our beautiful girl, Ruby Meg Walker White, entered the world, yesterday, Thursday, 30 September 2010 at 11:57 pm. She weighed 3.42 kilos (for friends and family in the U.S. of A, that's about 7 and a half pounds) and measured 51 centimetres long (20.1 inches). All we know about her right now is that she's wide-eyed and alert, placid, feeding well and healthy—which makes us lucky as hell. Yeah, we know: she's only been with us for less than 24 hours, but first impressions are lasting impressions. For what it's worth, at this point she bears a strong resemblence to her older brother, Cal. When families are fractured, a lot of stock is put in things like this.

Over the past nine months Katie made a serious study of pregnancy, the birthing process, midwifery and all things related to getting a little one into the world. She took an eight-week course that focused on mindful birthing and managing the discomfort. A pile of books grew next to her side of the bed. Her obstetrician and midwife were made aware of her birth plan a couple of months ago, and Katie wanted to have as natural a birth as possible.

We were called into the obstetrician's office on Wednesday afternoon. Katie had seen him the Thursday before and, although she was four days late at that point, he was willing to let her go another week before any interventions would be taken—but in all likelihood he was expecting her to go into labor within a day or two after that last session. Wednesday morning was 10 days overdue and steps had to be taken.

 At 4 pm on Wednesday we were in the hospital and Katie had a gel applied to her cervix. The hope here was that it would coax things along and that she could labor and deliver naturally. Early contractions started almost immediately but progress was slow. At 9 am on Thursday a second application of the gel was made after the obstetrician examined her and found that things had not moved along as he hoped. The image that remains from that scene is a strand of gore hanging from the doctor's hand while he made his pronouncement; childbirth is not for the squeamish. Three hours later a midwife broke her waters with something that looked like a hooked knitting needle.

Serious labour kicked in immediately, and Katie used all sorts of yogic and meditative techniques to deal with the discomfort. We took walks around the hospital, she used exercise balls, yoga mats and window sills for support, all the while chatting with various professionals and staffers between contractions. By 8 pm yesterday she was only 2 cm dilated after 28 hours of various interventions (bear in mind that she was also a week and a half overdue and her body, at some level, was crying out to deliver Ruby), so a syntocinon drip and an epidural were administered. A couple of episodes of fetal distress later and the call was made to perform a Caesarean section.

Katie's efforts, plans and ideals were all in the right place and she put so much work into mapping things out in a way that most harmonized with her beliefs. Each intervention that went counter to those plans... well, in simplest terms, they saddened and disappointed her. When you get right down to it, though, she just wanted what was best for Ruby, and when a C-section (doctor's orders, ultimately) factored in along those lines she was fine with it. For as old school and gruff as the obstetrician was, he praised Katie's efforts as he sutured her incision at the procedure's end.


Nature and science had their own ideas the last couple of days, but there's no doubt in my mind that all of Katie's exercise (she did not miss one day during the pregnancy), her admirable dietary habits and other such conscientious lifestyle choices gave Ruby the best start possible. Now that I think about it, just about everything she did during the last nine months had Ruby in mind.

A wonderful woman produced a wonderful girl. It's genetic, I guess.

Magnificent work, Katie. Welcome to the world, Ruby... we'll all learn a few things and have some fun along the way.


  1. Wish I could blame the hormones but I can't - I'm completely misty simply at what Katie went through to get Ruby here. Congratulations to both of you. xoxo Theresa