Birth Story: Ezrah - The Almost Perfect Birth | Growing Up Herbal | I'm sharing my birth story for my four child, Ezrah, including tough decisions, lessons learned, and happy memories!

My baby, Ezrah, is turning 3 in four days, and I haven’t even written his birth story yet. Bad mama… I know. 

Well, that’s all about to change. Today, I’m here to share Ezrah’s birth story with you and to get some memories down for the future.

If you haven’t read my previous birth stories you can find them here: Judah, Isaiah, and Uriah.

And… One More Baby

After Uriah was born, I had my hands full with three boys. I’d also started to get busier with my Etsy shop, and although Dean and I wanted another baby, we weren’t in a rush for one. Finally, when Uriah was around 18 months old, we decided to try for another baby. It only took one try, and voila! I found out I was pregnant 6 weeks or so later. We were excited about the idea of another baby… a little nervous about how it would change our lives as we were in the middle of fixing up our new (smaller) home, but ready for baby #4, nonetheless!

We went over to my parent’s house to tell them the good news, and of course, they were thrilled. (My dad is still trying to get me to have “a house full!”)

Next, we headed over to Dean’s parent’s house to give them the below photo to tell them the good news. His mom didn’t even recognize that there was a number on our photo at first, but when Dean’s dad told her to look again, more closely, she got it. And yes, they are always happy for more grandkids!! LOL!

Birth Story: Ezrah - The Almost Perfect Birth | Growing Up Herbal | I'm sharing my birth story for my four child, Ezrah, including tough decisions, lessons learned, and happy memories!

Please Be A Boy!

When the time came to have my 16-20 week ultrasound (I can’t remember how far along I was when I had it), I was feeling the exact opposite of when I had my ultrasound for baby #3. 

This time, I really wanted a boy. First off, I knew boys, and if I had a girl, it would completely change everything. A new room, new clothes and toys, new activities, and a new way of parenting. Seeing how I like to keep things as easy and stress-free as possible, I was really hoping to just stick with our current way of doing things, and a boy would. Seeing how I like to keep things as easy and stress-free as possible, I was really hoping to just stick with our current way of doing things, and a boy would help make that happen.

As soon as we found out what gender our baby was, I created this fun little graphic to post to my Facebook page to share our good news with our friends and family! 

Birth Story: Ezrah - The Almost Perfect Birth | Growing Up Herbal | I'm sharing my birth story for my four child, Ezrah, including tough decisions, lessons learned, and happy memories!

We were so excited! Brother #4 would be here soon, and we had big plans to create a fun boys room in our new house where all the brothers could spend some of their time together.

A Name

Like all of our boys, we were set on finding an Old Testament, Biblical name that had a good meaning and ended in -ah. Unfortunately, we didn’t like any of the ones that ended in -ah, but we really liked the name Ezra and who he was in the Bible. 

Ezra was a priest, and he lived and served God faithfully in a foreign land. Even though he was a foreigner, he held a high position and was trusted by several great kings. He led a large group of Israelites back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and wrote several books in the Bible. He had a heart for his people, he knew God’s word, and he served God and his king faithfully, even returning to the foreign king after he had completed his task.

So, we decided to go with Ezra for this baby’s first name, but we chose to add an “h” on to the end so it would match the spelling of all the brother’s names. We also chose the middle name “Daniel” after Dean’s best friend and best man in our wedding. Ezrah Daniel Visser would be this baby’s name, and Ezrah means, “helper” and “strong.”

A Great Pregnancy

Although each of my previous pregnancies had been very similar, they’d all had some slight differences, and this one was no different. The entire pregnancy, as a whole, was what I’d call a good one. I mean, I didn’t have any of the common pregnancy related issues that many women face. I was a bit tired, but that’s to be expected while pregnant with three little ones to look after. At least I made the time to crochet Ezrah his baby blanket. This has become a tradition for each baby we’ve had. I choose a specific set of colors and a special pattern, and I work on this blanket all through my pregnancy, infusing good wishes, thoughts, prayers, and love into every single stitch.

At least I made the time to crochet Ezrah his baby blanket. This has become a tradition for each baby we’ve had. I choose a specific set of colors and a special pattern, and I work on this blanket all through my pregnancy, infusing good wishes, thoughts, prayers, and love into every single stitch.

Birth Story: Ezrah - The Almost Perfect Birth | Growing Up Herbal | I'm sharing my birth story for my four child, Ezrah, including tough decisions, lessons learned, and happy memories!

Nonetheless, towards the end of the pregnancy, I was ready to be done. Gaining weight (even though it’s a good weight), feeling tired, and thinking more and more about the upcoming labor is not my favorite part of pregnancy!

The below photo was taken at the end of February so we had two more months to go! Ugh!

Birth Story: Ezrah - The Almost Perfect Birth | Growing Up Herbal | I'm sharing my birth story for my four child, Ezrah, including tough decisions, lessons learned, and happy memories!

A Hospital or A Last-Minute Homebirth

A couple weeks before my due date, my doula/midwife invited me to a fermentation workshop by Sandor Katz. On our ride there and back, we chatted about life, work, pregnancy, and my coming labor. I’d felt really great throughout my whole pregnancy, and I was very confident with the whole birthing process. After some talking about potentially switching from a hospital birth to a homebirth, she agreed that if that’s what I wanted to do, she’d be okay with it.

I thought long and hard about it, and Dean and I discussed it at length. I really wanted a homebirth, but I had little complaints with the hospital at the same time. My OB, along with my doula, family, and the flexible hospital staff had really made my previous hospital births as good as a hospital birth could be. 

Ultimately, I decided to not make the last minute change and just stick with my plan to birth at the hospital. 

Forcing Baby To Come

By the time my due date rolled around, I was done being pregnant. Ready or not, I wanted this baby out of my body. I know, I know. Not exactly a “natural” mindset, but it is what it is. 

And, like my previous two pregnancies, I opted for on of the OB doctors I was seeing to strip my membranes to try to induce labor. With my second pregnancy, we did it because I was late… again. With the third pregnancy, we did it because I didn’t want to be in the hospital over the holidays. With Ezrah’s pregnancy, I didn’t have a good reason for it other than wanting the pregnancy to be over.

So, on the 29th, I headed to the doctor’s office, had my check up, and asked one of my doctors to strip my membranes. She told me that she wasn’t on call that night, but she’d do it if I swore not to tell the doctor who was on call that she did. I guess her “technique” has a good track record for bringing labor on (I know it does with me), and they must give her a hard time about causing them more work when they are on call. 

Unfortunately, I wasn’t dilated enough to effectively strip my membranes, but she tried anyway and boy was it PAINFUL. It’s never a comfortable experience, but this time was different. It was excruciatingly painful. I remember holding it together until I got to the car and then I burst into tears! First, I was in pain and sort of felt assaulted, even though it was of my own doing. Secondly, I felt guilty about trying to force my body to do something it wasn’t showing signs of being ready to do. I remember calling Dean, trying to keep it together while I talked to him on the phone, and telling him that if we ever had another baby to remind me that I NEVER wanted to do that again. And I meant it!

It’s Time

After my traumatic day, I just wanted to go home and go to bed. My mom brought the boys to my house, and soon after that, Dean was home from work. I continued to rest and felt pretty achy for the remainder of the day.

10 PM

I must have slept a good bit because by the time I got up, Dean had put the boys to bed. I had been having some strong Braxton-Hicks contractions for weeks now, but what I was feeling now was different. These contractions were stronger and more painful. My lower backed had a constant dull ache, and that’s always the way I feel when going into labor. I timed the contractions and they were between 5-10 minutes each, all varying in strength. So, I decided to lay back down and try to sleep some more.

Unfortunately, I could not get comfortable. My back hurt so I got up to try to walk around the house a bit and heat up my rice pack for my back. After getting everything ready, I suddenly realized that my contractions were coming much closer together when I was up and moving than they were when I was laying in the bed. After timing them for a bit, they were coming every 5 minutes and lasting almost a minute each.

11 PM

I woke Dean and told him that I thought we should go ahead and call his sister to come stay with the kids. Our plan was to do like we had done with Uriah’s labor and head to the hotel next to the hospital birthing center and labor there. I couldn’t wait to soak in that nice, hot tub!

11:30 PM

Dean’s sister came quickly, and as soon as she got to our house, we left. Thankfully, on our hour-long drive to the hospital, I was managing contractions fairly well which is something I usually dread. Dean called my mom to let her know we were headed down and would call her when we were on our way to the hospital, and at the same time, I texted Angie (my doula/midwife) to let her know we were on our way to the hotel so she could meet us there. Suddenly, in mid-text, my water broke. My water had never broke on its own before so I was totally shocked. I quickly changed my text to tell her what had happened and asked if we should go on to the hotel or go to the hospital. She advised us to head to the hospital since this was my fourth baby and that she’d be there soon.

12:30 AM

As soon as I got there, I was checked to see how far along I was, I was only 5 cm. and about 50% effaced. I was hoping that labor would progress quickly seeing how my water had broken. My mom arrived soon after we got there, and having her and Angie there to get me things I needed was such a huge help. And of course, Dean stays right there beside me the whole time! I have a great labor support team!

6:30 AM

It ended up taking about six hours until I was finally dilated enough to push, but I can honestly say, it wasn’t a horrible labor. Like my previous labors, I chose to go about it naturally and with no medication. I followed the Bradly Method for childbirth and handled the contractions and transitions just fine. No screaming or yelling at everyone here! Well, I was a little annoyed with one of the nurses who kept asking me obnoxious questions about our home while I was trying to focus on the contractions, but other than that, it was totally fine. Once I was fully dilated, I pushed for a short 20 minutes, and baby Ezrah was here at 6:41 AM weighing 7 lb. 5 oz.!

Birth Story: Ezrah - The Almost Perfect Birth | Growing Up Herbal | I'm sharing my birth story for my four child, Ezrah, including tough decisions, lessons learned, and happy memories!

Seeing how it was now morning, we ate breakfast, slept a bit with our newest cuddle bug, and then got ready for our family to visit.

Birth Story: Ezrah - The Almost Perfect Birth | Growing Up Herbal | I'm sharing my birth story for my four child, Ezrah, including tough decisions, lessons learned, and happy memories!

Judah and Isaiah are super excited to have a new little brother.

Birth Story: Ezrah - The Almost Perfect Birth | Growing Up Herbal | I'm sharing my birth story for my four child, Ezrah, including tough decisions, lessons learned, and happy memories!

Uriah, on the other hand, took some time to warm up to baby Ezrah. I think he liked being the baby!

Birth Story: Ezrah - The Almost Perfect Birth | Growing Up Herbal | I'm sharing my birth story for my four child, Ezrah, including tough decisions, lessons learned, and happy memories!

All the cousins, on the other hand, love visiting new cousins when they’re born. The more, the merrier!

Looking Back

Looking back… I see that my body was not ready for labor, and I shouldn’t have pushed it to do so. Lesson learned, and never again… if there is an again. I’m not against stripping membranes at all, but I do think there’s a time and place for it. It just wasn’t the right time for me this time, and I should have recognized and accepted it.

Looking back… I also realize that I probably could have gone to the hotel after my water broke to labor there in a quieter, more peaceful environment, but I did just fine in the hospital so it was really no big deal.

Looking back… I’m so glad I took some extra time to recover. Most of my postpartum recoveries have been fairly short, but with four kids to keep up with, I chose to slow down and take things a bit slower this time around! I didn’t have any complications or anything. I simply chose to stick close to home for longer than normal… and take some extra naps with my new baby too!

Birth Story: Ezrah - The Almost Perfect Birth | Growing Up Herbal | I'm sharing my birth story for my four child, Ezrah, including tough decisions, lessons learned, and happy memories!

Today, Ezrah is an almost three-year-old! He’s healthy and happy, and definitely the most strong-willed of all the boys. He lights up our lives, makes us laugh, and loves us a lot. And we sure do love him!

Thanks again for letting me share this birth story with you (even if it is 3 years late!). I hope it (and all my birth stories) helps give you a better glimpse into how I’ve approached each of my four pregnancies, labors, and deliveries a bit differently. Maybe it will help you in some way!

xo xo, Meagan