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BABY ISAAC

Before:

I had a c-section with my first son in April 2008 in the Red Deer Regional Hospital. I had a really great
doctor with a “low section rate” but still ended up with a pointless surgery. After 3 hours of pushing
the doctors decided that I could push for 12 hours and not get anywhere so a c-section was the only
way this baby was going to come out. I asked my doctor the reason for the surgery and he hemmed
and hawed for a few minutes before he made up some excuse about my pelvis being too small. I never
actually had the urge to push and was not allowed to get off the bed or move into any position to move
the baby down into a position conducive to creating that urge.

I found out I was pregnant again the day of my son’s 2nd birthday. I knew that this time was going to be
different. I contacted a midwife right away and decided that travelling 1.5 hours to Edmonton to give
birth with a midwife was better than having a traditional doctor again.

I had been ready to have a baby since about 36 weeks. I kept thinking “maybe today is the day!” Alas,
the day just never came. [To keep the word count down. Hope that is ok?] My friend, who knew our
plans and who we invited to the birth, came over with her kids on Wednesday December 22nd and we
decided that it was going to be a Christmas baby after all. It would have been quite fun considering her
oldest son is a Christmas baby as well. That night I had a couple of interesting dreams and awoke at
about 3am to pee and noticed that what I though was a Braxton hicks contraction was pushing down on
my full bladder causing some pain. The same thing happened at 8:11am. I decided that since I was up I
might as well get some reading in.

As I sat on the couch reading my book I noticed that I was getting contractions every 5 minutes. I still
sort of thought they were Braxton hicks but they started to feel a little different. My husband Adam
came in from morning chores after I had been up for about 20 minutes and I told him “I think today
could be the day!” He basically said “that’s nice” and went to the office. He wasn’t being inconsiderate.
He just truly didn’t think it would progress into anything (it hadn’t the previous few times).

I told myself to wait until 9am to call my friend that I had invited to the birth. It got really difficult to wait
and I picked up my phone to call her after ever single contraction. Finally 9am rolled around with only
10-12 contractions by this point but I called her anyway. She asked me if I really thought this was it. I
told her I thought so, and that I was “kind of freaking out!” She said she’d be right over. While I waited, I
paced. I couldn’t sit still for the life of me.

Around 9:30am I started to call out for Adam to come help me cope with the contractions. He was still
on the computer and said he’d come when he was finished. Again, he wasn’t being inconsiderate, he
just truly didn’t know that I was actually in labour at that point. I needed him to a) hold me through
contractions, b) make some breakfast and c) clean the toilet. He laughs at how important it was to me

for him to clean the toilet. “How does that help you labour?” he asked. I told him, “it just does!” If I was
going to be labouring on the toilet it better be clean.

Then Adam got a phone call from my dad who needed him to help with something on the farm. I was
extremely reluctant to let him go as my contractions were less than 5 minutes apart. That’s when my
friend arrived! It was just before 10am and she came equipped with muffins, quiche, a birthing book (on
the Bradley Method), and a book of verses and inspirational quotes that several of my friends wrote in
at my “Mother’s Blessing.”

During:

At 10am I was forcing myself to eat some eggs and toast. Adam headed out after breakfast and my
friend ran the bath for me. My main concern at that point was that I didn’t want to waste all the hot
water because we planned to fill the birthing pool later. She assured me it would be fine. As I was in the
tub she set my son Caleb up with a movie. She sat with me while I laboured in the tub.

The contractions were starting to get intense now. I said at one point, “that was really tough.” My
friend replied, “You never have to deal with that contraction again. It’s gone.” I kept thinking “down and
crown, down and crown.” I had been chanting this motto for weeks. Maybe it’s because I knew talking
to my baby would help him move quickly and maybe because my first never moved into the birth canal
so I was preparing myself that this time would be different. I was so relieved when Adam came back
inside the house at about 11am. Apparently he walked in the front door and asked our friend, “So, this is
really it?” And she said this definitely was it.

I had to pee at this point so I got out of the tub and laboured on the toilet for a while. Somewhere in
there Adam managed to call Heidi. When Adam called her she asked if we were planning to come up to
Edmonton. At this point I was nearly pushing and he let her know that there was no way that we were
going to make it up. Heidi said they would start the drive down.

I got really nauseous and, right before I threw up a couple times, I told Adam that I was scared. I was
thinking, “Why do women do this?” My friend and I both realized that this was that infamous moment
of self doubt that women get to when they are nearly finished the labour marathon. I thought it was
wishful thinking considering I’d only really been labouring for a couple hours. My friend, on the other
hand, was smart enough to tell Adam that they needed to get me into the pool. Right after I threw up I
had a couple of pushing contractions on the toilet before they helped me get into the pool.

About 12:10pm Adam managed another phone call to Heidi. I heard him say, “Sure I’ll call you back
when she’s pushing.” I’m in the pool thinking, “I’m already pushing!” It’s amazing how clearly I
remember it all. I think part of it is that I was well rested from a good night’s sleep and the other part
was that I was labouring exactly how I had imagined it in my mind since I had my first son. Caleb, my
son, was giving me water to drink in between contractions. Adam was applying pressure to my back.
When Adam was on the phone (or changing out of his stinky farm clothes) then our friend stepped right

in and filled his spot.

I have to make a side-note about Caleb. He was 2 years and 8 months old at the birth and he is a very
empathetic little boy. He hates to see anyone, especially his mommy, hurt. We had talked about the
birth and read books and watched birth videos but I was still a little concerned about how he would
handle his mama being in pain He really surprised us as he took it all in stride. He knew exactly what was
happening and didn’t question anything.

It was 12:22pm when I felt my water break and mentioned it to my husband and friend. There was
another phone call to Heidi and she told Adam to try to get me out of the pool to lie on my side (and
perhaps slow things down for her to arrive). I told Adam there was no way that was happening because
the baby was already crowning. I remember my friend being in the kitchen and I asked if she was going
to come catch my baby and, the next thing I knew, she was right behind me ready to go.

Adam reached down to feel the baby’s head (something that he was very adamant about not wanting
to do, until the moment actually came). He said, “I feel its hair!” He later said that this was such an
extraordinary feeling and he’s so glad he did it. He got to be the very first one in this world to touch our
son. That’s a moment that will stay with him forever. So I pushed his head out and then came another
moment that Adam treasures: The baby was looking around under the water. I heard Caleb in the
background say, “It’s a baby! There’s a baby!” He was watching the whole thing and was so excited.

I asked, “What do I do now?” Our friend laughed at me and said, “You push the rest out.” So I did. He
came about half out and then I figured that I didn’t want to wait until the next contraction so I gave an
extra push and the rest of his body slipped right out. It was incredible to grab my baby and sit back down
into the pool and look at him for the first time. I had seen videos and slideshows and pictures of other
moms having this moment with their babies and now it was my turn.

I was the first one to hold my baby. I felt so safe, warm and loved. I knew that Isaac was safe. He was in
his mother’s arms. Exactly where he belonged. I didn’t have anyone pestering me to weigh him or check
his temperature. Nobody tried to give him a bottle of formula (Caleb was offered formula because the
nurses didn’t think he could wait for my milk.). My husband and son were there the whole time. No one
tried to shuffle them away. No one interfered. It was a picture perfect birth experience and I wouldn’t
change any of it for the world.

Isaac was born at 12:51pm after about 3 hours and 21 minutes of labour. We called Heidi 15 minutes
after the previous call to let her know that we had a beautiful baby boy. She said they were on their
way. The midwives came and did all the technical stuff like tying the cord (Adam and Caleb got to cut it),
weighing him (6lbs 10oz, only 5oz smaller than Caleb, you know, the baby I was told I physically couldn’t
birth), checking the placenta, and filling in all the paperwork.

My mom and dad (who live next door) came over when Isaac was about an hour old. It was so special
to share that with them. Had we gone up to Edmonton, they wouldn’t have been able to meet Isaac

until much later. Because we were at home, Adam was able to do chores the next morning. My mom
was able to bring over dinner(s). Most of our family was able to meet Isaac before he was a couple
days old. Caleb didn’t have to spend any time away from us. A homebirth was exactly what we wanted
and needed. I truly believe that the Lord paved the way for us to experience Isaac’s birth this way. Had
things not moved along so quickly and smoothly we would have had to look at our other options of
travelling 1 ½ hours (or more because of Christmas traffic) to a hospital or hotel.

The differences between midwifery care vs the care (though excellent) that I received from my doctor
were huge. I felt like my midwife really took the time to listen to my concerns. She got to know
me as more than just another mother walking through the clinic. She got to know my son and not
only supported my desire to have him involved but I have great memories of him using the Doppler
and measuring my belly. Midwifery care really was a full family experience. It was also much more
educational because Heidi made sure to explain all the procedures and tests very clearly so that we
could make educated decisions for our family. A healthy baby is only part of the picture. A healthy birth
experience matters too.