Monday I told you about Judah’s birth story… about how it was much longer than expected, and about how my much-wanted home-birth didn’t end up happening.
Well, today, I’m sharing Isaiah’s birth story, and it’s quite different than Judah’s.
My husband and I always knew we wanted a big family. Just how big, we didn’t know (and still don’t), but we definitely wanted more than one.
Recovering from Judah’s birth was easy. He was an easy baby. He slept well. He ate well. He didn’t have any special needs at all. I wasn’t a frazzled new mom. So when Judah turned a year old, Dean and I started trying for another baby. We wanted them to be close in age, and to us, this was perfect.
Thankfully we got pregnant right away. We were so excited that we were going to have another baby in our family and that Judah was going to be a big brother.
I had a scare early on in this pregnancy. About two weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I started bleeding, and I honestly thought I was miscarrying. There was nothing I could do, so my mom went with me to see my OB. Thankfully, I wasn’t miscarrying. They said it was implantation bleeding, that I wasn’t as far along as I’d thought, and that this wasn’t uncommon.
With Judah, Dean and I very much wanted a boy. With our next baby, we were totally undecided. We didn’t have a preference one way or the other. Like I said, we knew we would most-likely have more kids so if this baby was a girl, great, and if not, that was okay too!
Turns out… we were having another boy, and we were so excited to tell everyone. We made Judah a shirt that said, “I’m gonna be a big brother” and that’s how we told everyone! It was funny how long it took some people to catch on… including grandparents.
Now if you knew Judah, you’d know that he likes to talk, and he likes to be the center of attention. He spoke early (this kid was talking by the time he was 12 months old… and he hasn’t stopped since!), and whenever he walked into a room, he would have everyone’s attention which is why it was so funny that it took a while for some people to pay attention to what his shirt said… even after they had been holding him and talking to him. But, once they realized that another baby was on the way, they were so happy for us!
Judah is named after Dean (whos first name is actually Scott), and I wanted our next child to be named after my dad, Anthony. But, we wanted to be one of those families who’s kids names all go together somehow so we wanted to stick with the meaningful Old Testament Hebrew names that ended in “-ah”. Anthony didn’t fit that bill so we looked and looked to find something that would work with it so we could honor my dad in this way.
After months of searching, we settled on Isaiah, and Anthony Isaiah Visser was to be our new little guys name.
Isaiah means “God is my Salvation” and “Steadfast”.
A Tough Decision
I thought making the decision about Judah’s birth was tough, but Isaiah was much more difficult… for me at least.
When I decided to have the homebirth with Judah, I was working as an RN in our local ER. After he was born I went on maternity leave for 12 weeks and changed my status to PRN (only to work as I was needed). That meant that a significant portion of our income was gone. It wasn’t a big shock to us because this was the plan all along. Both my and Dean’s desire was for me to be able to stay home and raise our kids the best way we saw fit, and for us, this was it.
Seeing as how we paid lots of money out of pocket last time for a home-birth that never happened, we were both hesitant to pay it again. I think both Dean and I didn’t know if I’d actually go through with it. I mean, I didn’t last time, although it was for a good reason, but we didn’t know if this labor and delivery would be similar to my last long, tiring one. I still very much wanted a home-birth, but I didn’t want to lose money again if I decided I couldn’t do it halfway through labor and head to the hospital again. So with those doubts in our mind and the cost influencing that decision, we decided to go with the hospital again, but this time we’d have Angie with us as our doula instead of our midwife.
I can honestly say that this pregnancy passed by much quicker than Judah’s. I mean, I was busy. I was occupied by my 18-month-old running around everywhere! I was healthy and happy!
Being pregnant during the summer made for time passing quickly. We’re already so busy then anyway, and with a little one to take out and do things with… time just passed. Following all the summer fun comes fall and winter holidays which also kept me busy. I felt like my pregnancy with Isaiah flew by.
Natural or Medical
As the time got closer for Isaiah to arrive I began thinking about labor and delivery again. What would I do this time? With Judah, I’d wanted to do it totally naturally at home. That wasn’t happening this time because I was going to the hospital, but I wondered if I could still do it naturally there. Would I be able to? Since I knew what having an epidural was like and wasn’t as scared of them anymore, I wondered if I could go without it this time or if I’d just opt for the easy way out, get it, and save myself the pain of childbirth.
But, something inside of me still wanted that natural birth. I knew of others who’d done it. Why couldn’t I? Maybe it was a challenge to myself. I certainly don’t look at it as something that “real women” do. I just knew it could be done, and I knew that by opting to not feel the whole process I was missing out on something. With Judah, I certainly felt it. Even through my epidural I felt a bit of it, but it wasn’t the same. I’d still missed out on something.
So I decided that although I may opt out at the end, I was still going to prepare for it.
The Secret To Natural Childbirth
One thing that I did wrong with Judah was that I didn’t prepare enough. I read books on childbirth, one in particular about how to deal with the pain, but it was pointless. It had you practice getting through the uncomfortableness of labor by holding ice cubes in your hand and thinking through the pain. Crap, crap, crap. If you tried that and it worked for you, awesome, but for me… it didn’t prepare me at all.
What ended up happening was that I dealt with early contractions well, but once they started getting more painful and stronger (and the more tired I became) the more I’d tense up and tried to resist them… which in turn slowed my labor down (since I was holding my body back from doing what it needed to do) and made me more tired.
So this time I needed something else. I emailed Shoshanna who owns Bulk Herb Store and asked her what she did when she had her son, Jeremiah. I trusted her opinion, and I knew she’d had experience in natural childbirth. She told me about the book Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradly Way and how it helped her learn to work with her body in order to get through the pain of labor. I ordered it immediately, and when it got here I devoured it!
It explains what’s happening to you during a contraction and the reasons behind everything. It goes into how to think through the pain… not get away from it. It also teaches you how to relax during contractions so they can do their job and push your baby down and out.
So I practiced, I practiced, and I practiced. I would rehearse relaxing every part of my body by myself, and then I’d practice with Dean telling me which parts to relax starting at the top of my head all the way down to my toes.
It was a bit weird at first, but the more I practiced the more I got used to it. The more I got used to it the more I was able to relax. Either way… when the time came for Isaiah to be born, I didn’t know if I would be ready or not.
So as with Judah, I was seeing the same OB practice this time around only this time the practice had added in a new doctor, Dr. Carrillo. She was nice. She was young, and in my opinion, not as seasoned as my other two OB’s. She seemed to want to do things by the book, and she’d never worked with Angie before so there was no good, trusting history there like there was with the other two OBs in the group.
I knew from the first time I met her that she would probably not give in to my requests as much as easy-going Dr. Pickler and Dr. Hinton did, and I was right. She knew I wanted a natural birth and the least amount of interventions as possible. She knew I was a nurse, and I think she respected that. She also told me that she’d do what she could for me and we’d see how it went if she was on call the day I went into labor. I just remember praying that it wasn’t her!
Despite my best efforts, I seemed to always end up with her at my appointments. Thankfully we got to know each other a bit, and it turned out she was friendlier than she first appeared. But… like I said, she went by the book.
When I was 39 weeks pregnant with no signs of labor, she told me that she wouldn’t let me go past 41 weeks. That it was unsafe for the baby not only because he would get bigger, but because the risk for meconium aspiration increases drastically after the 41-week mark. I didn’t remember the other two OB’s getting all worked up about that even when I was headed to 42 weeks. All they wanted was another ultrasound and a non-stress test… no big deal. Here, she was talking about giving me drugs to make me go into labor which would mean being strapped to the bed and having major contractions caused by strong drugs. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do a natural labor if I were induced.
I decided to look into it myself. I did find some studies showing the meconium aspiration increasing, but the findings varied across the different studies and articles I read. It also didn’t seem to be as big of a deal as she’d made it out to be. I talked to some of my natural mama friends who’d had late labors, some with meconium births, some without. None of them ended up having babies with major problems afterward. I decided that overall (and since Judah was 2 weeks late without meconium) that it was a chance I was willing to take. I saw more problems stemming from the induction than the risk for meconium and large birth weight.
Not Seeing Eye To Eye
I politely told her that I’d decline it, and she said that it was the practices rule. I explained that it wasn’t their rule 2 years ago, and she said in her very authoritative voice that it was now. I told her that I was totally against being induced, but I’d be happy to have another ultrasound and a non-stress test. She decided to go ahead and schedule them to see what they said. She also gave me all the normal tips for getting labor going… spicy food, lots of walking, sex, etc. to try. I have to give her some credit. She was trying to be helpful but in her mind… I was being induced.
I had the tests and went back to my 40-week checkup where she said everything looked great, but that the ultrasound estimated that Isaiah currently weighed 9+ pounds which meant he’d weight more if I wasn’t induced by 41 weeks. I told her I knew that ultrasound weights were not entirely accurate, that they could be off + or – a pound, and that I wasn’t worried about his weight. Unfortunately, she stuck to her guns.
She said she wanted to go ahead and schedule me for an induction in one week (at 41 weeks). I told her she could schedule it, but I didn’t know if I’d show up. I don’t think she liked that very much, but I think she got my point. What’s the worst that could happen? I could go into labor when I was ready, having no doctor, and end up having some random doctor deliver me, that’s what. Not that big of a deal in my mind. At least I wouldn’t be drugged into having my baby for a reason that didn’t seem that good of one to me, but that’s just me.
Alternative Labor Induction
I was determined not to be induced medically so I started looking into natural induction methods. I’d been taking Mountain Meadow Herbs – Gentle Birth formula this time around so I was hoping that would help to get things going. Angie came over one day, and we did all the herbal labor stimulating tinctures and the acupressure again. I continued to use the herbs as the days went on, and I also went and had acupuncture to get labor going. Normally acupuncture is very peaceful and relaxing, but not this time. It’s designed to irritate you and get your body going… so it was NOT comfortable. I think I’ll be sticking to other alternative methods of coaxing labor in the future.
Unfortunately, nothing seemed to work.
On my 41 week checkup at the OB office, I ended up with Dr. Carrillo again. I was nervous because I knew she was going to talk about the induction. She told me all the things I needed to know about what to do the following morning, when to get there, what they were gonna do, how long it would probably take… all that. Again, I told her that I probably wouldn’t be there with a nice smile and she laughed at me for being so hard headed. I wonder if she really thought I wasn’t coming. Who knows?
I told her about all the things I’d been doing to get labor going, and I asked her if there was anything else we could do. She said the only other thing she could think of was to strip my membranes so I said let’s do it!
This was not something that was new to me. Angie had done this when I was late with Judah, but something was different about this time. I thought she was going to KILL me. It hurt so bad… I was not at all expecting that. It was terrible.
As soon as I left the doctors office I headed home. My back was aching and throbbing the whole way home. I remember sitting at a traffic light around 7:30 PM and thinking, “Am I having contractions?” Sure enough, it felt like I was, but I certainly wasn’t going to get all excited about it. I was going home and going to bed early that night.
I told my husband that I was going to bed so he made Judah dinner, put him to bed, then headed back down to the shop to get some things done in case this was really it and he would miss work for a few days. I’d already had my bag packed for the hospital this time around since I knew I was going, and we had a babysitter lined up for Judah.
I went to bed and slept well, but at 11 PM I woke up with uncomfortable contractions. They were coming every 10 minutes, and my back was aching. “Great,” I thought. “Back labor again!” This time I knew that Isaiah was in the right position which meant that he may come faster, but I thought at least I’d be free of that terrible back labor I had with Judah. Not so. It was here again. I just kept thinking that this was off on a bad note already.
I called Dean and told him that I was definitely in labor and that he should head on home. I decided to go ahead and get in the shower so I’d be all ready to go when it was time to head to the hospital.
My plan was to stay home as long as possible before going to the hospital. I didn’t think I’d be able to relax as well there while being hooked up to so many monitors and having people in and out of the room constantly. So after getting ready to go, I called my mom at the hospital and told her it was time… to come as soon as she got off work which was 12 PM. I pulled out my exercise ball to sit on it and lay my head on my bed.
This is how I stayed until 1:30 AM when my mom finally got to my house to drive us to the hospital. You see, she thought she had plenty of time (like my last labor) so she got off work at 12 AM, went home, showered and changed, then came on down. Meanwhile, I’m at home on my little exercise ball relaxing through some pretty intense contractions and wondering WHERE THE MESS IS SHE!!!!
As soon as she got there I knew we had to go. I’d already told Dean that I didn’t know why on earth I wanted to have a baby naturally, that it was crazy, that I couldn’t do it, and that I was going to the hospital for drugs! What I didn’t realize was that I was in transition and that’s usually when you start seriously doubting yourself and talking out of your head.
I grabbed my pillow, headed to the car, stopping only to get through a contraction. I didn’t even say hi when I passed my brother-in-law who was coming over to stay at our house while Judah slept. I was going to the hospital to get my epidural, and that’s all I was thinking of!
I have never been in such a hurry to get to a hospital before in my life. Every red light… every stop sign irritated me. I kept telling my mom to forget about them and just drive. I almost had her pull over to let Dean drive, but changed my mind. We speed past I don’t know how many cops, but none of them came after us. Even if they did I think they’d of escorted us to the hospital once they got a good look at me. With every single contraction, I could feel Isaiah moving down. I was so afraid I was going to have him in the car. I ended up crossing my legs and sitting on them. It was SO uncomfortable, but I just kept thinking that we were getting closer.
We finally got to the hospital at 2:09 AM. It normally takes an hour to get there so I see that my mom actually did speed to get us there in 40 minutes! Thanks mom! When I got inside I told the nurses that I was having this baby… like now! I’m guessing that they hear that a lot because they did not get in a hurry, but after I was on the stretcher with monitors on and checked… they sure did. I was already at 10 cm and had been for some time because they could feel his head!
They unplugged everything, rushed me to a room, called the resident who was on call and called my OB who was on call that night (which happened to be Dr. Hinton), got me onto the bed and broke it down into the delivery position. They quickly got everything together. It’s like a blur. All I could think was, “relax… oh, don’t push, they said don’t push, they’re not ready… but I have to push I can’t help it.”
It was crazy. There were 3 residents in there. Just as one got her gown, gloves, and goggles on my water broke… all over her, just as she turned around! “Ooops! Sorry!” How embarrassing!
Finally, it was time. They were ready, Angie came running in at the last minute, Dr. Hinton was on his way, and push…. here comes Isaiah! At 2:17 AM weighing 8 pounds 4 ounces and 20 inches long. He was here, labor was over after a total of 4.5 hours, and I had done it naturally. I was on top of the world.
Angie made it just in time. She was very excited to see that I’d gotten all the way through, much quicker, this time around, and she was a tremendous help to us during the postpartum period!
Dr. Hinton finally made it… just in time to fill out my paperwork! He was great. He said he was speeding to get to the hospital too, but it just wasn’t fast enough.
Dr. Carrillo came in to visit me the following morning to say congratulations and, “You just weren’t going to have it any other way but your way, were you!” It gave us all a good laugh. She was happy I got to go into labor on my own, and that it was so different from last time.
Finally, Judah arrived with Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop (Dean’s parents) to meet his little brother. He wasn’t really sure what was going on, but he was fascinated by this new little something that mama was holding. He loved giving brother kisses!
As usual… surrounded and blessed by a big loving family! (And this is definitely not all of them!)
Looking back… I probably waited too long to go to the hospital in the first place. No two labors are alike, and you just never know how long they’re going to take. I assumed Isaiah would take as long as Judah, but it was quite the opposite.
Looking back… I’m glad I stood up for myself and what I wanted when it came to being induced. I’m glad I voiced my opinion of not wanting it. I’m glad I did my research and knew what I was talking about. I’m glad I stood my ground. No, I’m not against inductions. I’m sure there are times when it’s very necessary, but in my case I didn’t think it was called for.
Today Isaiah is a happy, fun, silly 3-year-old that loves his mama, his daddy, and his bros!
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the differences in my first and second births! Just because one birth is one way doesn’t mean it always has to be the same way. You can work to make each one what you want it to be! Be sure to come back Friday to hear about my latest birth… Uriah!
xo xo, Meagan