The Birth of a Miracle Baby

The Story of Isaac's Birth

This is the birth story of my miracle baby. After eight pregnancies, we finally had our son, Isaac.

Being two weeks overdue wasn't much fun. It wasn't the actual being pregnant part, but the attitude of a lot of people around me. I would wake up in the morning capable of facing another day of pregnancy, and then the phone calls would start. At first they were pleasant inquiries as to my health, but in the end they became harsh criticisms for my path.

It never really occurred to me that I would go very far over, because I hadn't with my first two children. So I happily bought a small Halloween outfit considering my due date was 10 days prior to Halloween. Halloween came, and I went on a mad trick-or-treating evening trying to get the baby out. After the three miles of walking my son and husband had bailed out, along with my nephew and his dad. My sister, Hilary, our five year old, and Jenna, my four year old niece remained with me. We had a ton of candy, but no baby.

Sunday after picking Hilary up from religious school we went for a drive out in the country to look at the new houses, dream a bit and to ride on the bumpy roads. We also had dinner with Kevin's mother and nephews at a local restaurant. I came home for a nice bath and a nap. Around eleven o'clock I started feeling really sick to my stomach and had an episode of violent vomiting.

Everyone was excited, it must be labor! Not me, I knew it wasn't labor, but I think it was a nice case of food poisoning. I waited several hours and tried to drink a bit of water, that came up too. I started to worry about dehydration. I called Mary Ann, our midwife, around two in the morning. I asked her if I could take a Phenergan for the vomiting.

She said that was a great idea because dehydration could bring on labor which would not be fun with the vomiting.

Another bath and a bit of calm and I talked myself out of the medication. I figured that it would make me sleepy and then I would go into labor feeling rotten. So I just went to bed. I actually slept fairly well and for a whole five hours!

I got up and wanted out of the house. Normally, I'm a very outgoing person, but the last few months of pregnancy found me not enjoying being in public. The first mall was too loud and I had such a hard time walking we spent most of the time sitting on a bench watching everyone else walk by. Off to the next mall, where they had a baby hat that matched a new blanket Kevin had fallen in love with. We got into a conversation about birth with one of the clerks, and I told her that this baby would probably come in the next day or so. She laughed.

Kevin took me out for a nice lunch. I was really hungry after being sick the night before. I ate fried food!

Half way through the meal I really started to wonder if I would regret my choice later. I wasn't really aware that I was having contractions, just that I was "spacing out" every few minutes and watching the New York Marathon on TV. By the time lunch was over I really wanted the check and it seemed like forever before the waiter brought it. Everything seemed really strange and I just wanted to get home.

Once home, I went to my bath tub (See a pattern here?). Kevin laid down for a quick nap. I got on the computer, answered some email, and talked on IRC for a bit, and then I needed Kevin.

We had about an hour before the kids got home. I was in a panic about whether or not to declare this labor. After everything else that had happened what if it all stopped again? We called the midwife and said we were calling her apprentice because we didn't want to be alone. I told Mary Ann not to come yet, wait until after her appointment, which would put her at our house around eleven o'clock that night.

She wasn't so sure about that.

Emily got here, and I was sitting on my birth ball leaning over a stack of pillows on my bed, swaying back and forth while Kevin rubbed my back. He had put on the music we had done our relaxation by, and it was very comfortable, even though the contractions were difficult. They didn't seem to be lasting very long. This made me concerned that they would either stop or continue for a long time.

After a bit more time had passed I tried the bath again. It had felt so good to me earlier, and in my last labor had been a great source of pain relief. Kevin went with me pouring water over my belly since it stuck out of the water. However, this time it didn't help much at all.

Kevin helped me out of the tub, and I went back to my room and laid down on my side. He changed the CD to some classical music. Then he got the kids from the bus stop. Emily asked me if I had accepted that I was in labor, she had sensed before that I was leery of this being the real thing.

I told her yes. The kids came and went without me noticing them, and Kevin was back. Time was not quite registering, despite the fact that I was staring at a clock.

At some point Emily told Mary Ann to come anyway.

Hands and knees positions felt much better to me, and Emily and Kevin took turns doing the pressure.

Kevin actually did a better job at it, probably because of all the practicing he got in during pregnancy. This made him feel great. After awhile I was no longer aware of anyone but Kevin anyway. He was telling me I was doing a good job and rubbing my hair and my arms. He was very soothing to me. He wouldn't have been able to do that without Emily's support with the other things, however.

The contractions were really painful but still seemed very short to me. I would whisper to myself, "60 seconds, 60 seconds..." during a contraction to remind myself that I could do anything for 60 seconds. At that first sign of self doubt, a light went on inside my head, "TRANSITION!"

I quickly talked myself out of that thought because I hadn't been in labor that long, and I had these incredibly long labors. I started to panic. What was I going to do for the next 30 or so hours? I had had a natural birth before, what was I doing wrong now, why was this so hard and so different? Looking back, I really think that this made my contractions hurt more, and I was really fighting myself.

Suddenly I became very agitated. Mary Ann was there and had listened to the baby again, declaring the baby to be great. The music was really on my nerves, and I said to Kevin,"Enough with the damned violins already!" He changed the CDs again. Mary Ann said, "I can check you if you want me to."

This was really the turning point for me. I agreed to be checked. I figured that if I was still just a few centimeters dilated I would have to do something different, including the possibility of going to the hospital for drugs. I knew that Mary Ann and Emily would encourage me any way they knew how, and that Kevin would need help too.

I sat back on the floor for her to check me. She waited until I told her okay. Kevin held me as I leaned against him. She checked me, and it was dark in the room so I couldn't see her face. When I'm at a birth as a doula, I always watch the face as they check the woman, it gives a better indication of how well she's doing in their opinion. "Oh Robin, you're a good eight! It won't be much longer!"

All of a sudden I felt a huge weight being lifted from me. I looked at the clock: 7:33 P.M. "Kevin, you'd better call everyone, I guess this is it!"

Back to hands and knees, it still felt the best, but now my heart was into it, and I could accept comfort from those around me. I started moaning, and it felt so good. I could hear Mary Ann and Emily tell me that was perfect and that it wouldn't be long now. How many times have I uttered those words to other women? It was a very different experience being on this end of birth.

Kevin came back into the room, I had been loud enough that he had to leave to hear. I felt like I was screaming, but everyone said that wasn't the case. I even remembered a line from a video where a mom had said she tried to be louder than her contractions, so I tried it too. It worked, and the vibration felt great.

At some point I moved to the bed and still did hands and knees. My large tee shirt came off, so I was just in my jog bra.

Taking off that tee shirt was a big commitment for me, and I heard murmurs of approval and understanding in the room.

People were arriving, but I wasn't very aware of them, except as individuals. We had a ton of people, about eleven including me. However, I only noticed those who I needed, so the crowd wasn't an issue. We had three midwives, Mary Ann, Emily and Juliet. My mom and his Kevin's mom were there at the end.

I saw my sister come in with her baby, and I reached out my hand and started crying, "I'm so happy you're here!" Kevin was wiping my forehead with a cold rag, and I smiled at him and said, "I guess we're going to bed with our baby tonight."

My friend, and doula, Eve arrived. I didn't see her at first, but she came up and touched my leg. She has such a gentle touch, and I knew it was her. She had been away that evening so I was worried that she would miss the birth. I felt very relieved that she was there.

She really kept the lid on everything and remembered a lot of things that were important to me that others had forgotten. I have Eve to thank for a lot of wonderful memories that might not have happened.

The kids came in. Benjamin ran up to me at the foot of the bed, put a stool up and grabbed my leg, "Did you have the baby yet, momma?" I shook my head and told him to sit at the top of the bed with Hilary.

Later I found out he hit Eve up for some Halloween candy first. Hilary sat wide eyed, while Benjamin kept offering me toys, and asking if it hurt. Watching the video I was very calm, and I just responded with, "I love you, Benjamin." It was so great to have them there, especially now to watch them talk about it.

Mary Ann said that I could push if I wanted to, I didn't feel a great need, but I only had a lip of cervix left. I pushed a few times, and it neither made it better nor worse, so I just didn't do it. Eve brought me a hot rice sock for my back, and Kevin was sitting next to me almost holding me and rubbing my arms. A few minutes later, and I felt a large pop and my water had broken.

It was nice and clear. My family had been worried that because I was overdue there would be meconium (first bowel movement) in the water. Mary Ann listened to the baby to ensure that the change had been tolerated. Everything was perfect. She checked me again and said that I was really complete.

It seemed that I was still very far from the birth in my mind.

However, the next thing I know Mary Ann is asking Kevin to come down next to her. I couldn't see what was going on, and I wasn't feeling anything too intense, so I was sure I wasn't close to giving birth. Kevin's eyes told me a different story.

He touched his child for the first time, and his eyes just lit up. He looked so excited. I pushed again, and Mary Ann said, "The head is born." Kevin was staring in amazement. It seemed like a long time to me, but it was really a matter of a few seconds, and Kevin placed a warm, wiggly body on my belly. We were both crying. I felt so great!

I heard Hilary say, "It's Isaac!" Kevin came around to me with his hands still on the baby and was kissing my face all over. We were crying all over each other and didn't care. It was so special.

All said and done, I labored for about five hours. I've often told my clients that short labors are harder, now I will attest to it from a personal point of view.

Isaac weighed nearly nine pounds and was born with his arm up on his head. I had a few small skid marks, but nothing that required stitching. The placenta was huge and felt good to get that out. The kids loved on the baby and the others cooed over him as well. Then Kevin and I were left alone with him.

The baby cried until Kevin took off his shirt and held him skin to skin, and we had forgotten that the video camera was on so we have some special private moments on tape, including me taking off my jog bra to feed the little one!

However, what was really special was the sight of Kevin and I sitting there holding our precious miracle. We are crying and crying, happiness, joy, sorrow... too many emotions to count. It had been a long journey to this point, and many times along the way we weren't sure we'd ever make it. We fought ourselves, each other and everyone else. So, to have finally finished and to be holding our prize felt very good.

Isaac was named for the Biblical Isaac. Isaac's mother, Sarah had tried for years to get pregnant and couldn't, when she finally did she was 90 years old. And she is said to have laughed, so she named her son Isaac, which means to laugh. We have many days of laughter ahead of us.

You can read Kevin's version of the birth story.

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