Monday, November 29, 2010

Isaiah's Home Birth Story part 2

I always knew I was going to have a home birth. I never even thought of a hospital birth until my husband asked me to explain what it was going to be like at home. My mom had all 6 of her children at home, and I remember my little brother being born. I stood at the end of the bed as a 3 year old and watched it all happen. At the end I cut the cord.
One of the midwives she used, Yolanda, helped birth my two older brothers. I made an appointment with her, and loved her from the start.

Around 4 am on July 19, a Sunday morning, I awoke to a dull cramping in my abdomen. I knew right away that they were contractions. I got up and decided to time them for my own comfort and they were about 10 minutes apart. I went back to bed and decided to wait to call my Midwife, Yolanda, in the morning. Around 9am I called her and she said to just go about my day as usual, relax, eat some wholesome meals, and not to worry about timing my contractions. It was Sunday and I was spending the day at my mom’s house with my family. While they were all at church I went on a walk out in her large back yard. It was so peaceful to sit alone for the last time with my baby inside my womb. I was wrapped up in a blanket, sitting on a bench listening to the sounds of the early birds, and watching the sun rise over the trees.
My older brother, Seth, came out to join me for a while and distracted me from the nerves that were just beginning to creep up.
My family came home from church and we prepared lunch. We relaxed around the house and I decided that I was going to head home around dinner time, along with my mom who was going to be present at the birth as well. By the time we were ready to leave the contractions were becoming more distracting. We took a few pictures and left. We stopped at Meijer to pick up a few last minute groceries that I was craving. As I was paying at the checkout I overheard a man in line mention to my mom that I looked like I was due any time. She laughed and replied that I was having contractions and today was the day. He looked pretty surprised.
We arrived to my house around 7 and Dan showed up shortly after. I could tell he was nervous and kept himself distracted by taking pictures. My mom on the other hand, like I said, has been through this with 6 of her kids and has helped out with many other home births. She is pretty much a pro. She stayed calm through it all, and I am so thankful that she was able to be there for me.
We all pulled out the couch bed, which is where I wanted to have our baby. I took a hot shower to help relax a little before attempting to sleep for the night. Afterwards, around 10pm, I called Yolanda to update her that I was about 5 minutes apart. She said to get a good nights rest and call her early in the morning. Dan layed down on the couch, my mom on our long lazy chair and I on the Pull Out.
I went off into a deep sleep…. Yea right! LOL
Dan was out in a minute, like usual. I tried so hard to fall asleep, but I was woken up every 5 minutes. I am a very light sleeper. Between Dan’s snoring, the contractions, and the awkwardness of my big belly on the couch bed…. It just wasn’t working for me. As the night went on and the contractions became stronger i found walking around the house more comfortable. In between I would sit down on the end of the lazy chair and shut my eyes for a little rest. Squatting was what worked best for me, and it gave me a pretty good leg workout for the night. We were all up once the sun came up that beautiful July Monday. Dan made coffee for them and I just sat quietly and kept breathing every 3 to 4 minutes.
Then my water broke. I have to say that is one of the strangest feelings. It surprised me so much, and I quickly announced what had happened. Shortly after that experience my contractions became more intense. So intense that they were overlapping, and I was having 3 or 4 at a time without any breaks. I just kept squatting, and breathing, and walking, and breathing. My mom called Yolanda and told her that my water had broken and that my contractions weren’t letting up. Yolanda said that it was my adrenaline kicking in and that I needed to really work on letting the contractions go at the end. I’m glad she said that, because it really helped, and I was able to really focus and relax. She said she was on her way and that I should try to go the bathroom to leave as much room as possible for the baby. That, I remember clearly, was painful. To me, it seemed more painful then the actual birth.
I was still sitting on the “loo” and Dan and I were hugging. I had a sudden urge to push the baby, and for the first time I got a little panicky. I remember thinking “This is not how I envisioned it. Yes, it is peaceful, but I don’t want to have my baby in the bathroom, and without my midwife!” Thankfully I still had more than an hour to continue pushing.

My mom was still on the phone with Yolanda in the other room. She said I should lay down on the bed on my left side and just go with everything. As I was laying there she finally arrived and sat down next to me and started stroking my leg and asking me how I was doing and feeling. I remember I immediately felt sooo calm and ready to handle birthing my baby.  Yolanda definitely has a way about her.
With Dan on my right and my mom on my left I continued to push. In between my contractions I would shut my eyes, breath and pray. It was definitely hard work, but I knew I could do it. I have never had so much confidence as I did that day. I never once doubted myself. It was so empowering.
After I had pushed his head out I felt and saw him kick inside of me for the last time, it made me laugh, it was such a bittersweet feeling.
Next came the great big push and Dan helped “catch” our baby. He was placed right into my arms and I was the first to hold our child. Those first few moments are so precious and unforgettable to me. I couldn’t believe I was holding my very own gift from God. I held a baby that had been inside me for only 9 months, yet I loved him so much. He was beautiful, perfect in every way. I remember hearing Yolanda say “you have a very healthy baby”, and instantly I felt myself relax and I began to cry. I didn’t realize how much of a burden it had been to me. I prayed constantly for a healthy baby, and a smooth birth and that is what I had! I am so blessed, God has been too good to me!

Finally Yolanda asked “So is it a boy or girl?” We had totally forgotten to check! We uncovered the blanket, and there it was! We named him Isaiah Paul. (Paul is after my Uncle who gave me away at our wedding, he’s a pretty cool guy ;-p) It was exciting not knowing the sex of our baby. Gender neutral baby items aren’t always the most fun, but they will last us through future children as well.

To say the least, it was the most AWE-some day of my life. I wouldn’t change a thing about it, not even the pain and hard work. I know some people who think I was nuts to have my baby at home instead of the hospital but to me it only made sense. He was conceived at home, and will be raised at home, so why not be born into the comfort, sounds and smells of our home. It was so intimate, so personal and such a uniting experience for Dan and I.
Isaiah has brought an abundance of joy to our lives. He has taught us about a love that runs so deep in a parent’s heart. It has brought us to another level of knowledge of what Christ has done for us, and what God gave up for us. I hope and pray that Isaiah will learn this truth at an early age.

For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.

Before leaving my moms house

With my Mom and Sister, Heather, who was 7 months pregnant as well.

At Home ♥

Talking with Yolanda

Listening to his heart beat

I fell in love all over again...


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Isaiah's Home Birth Story part 1

This is about 16 months over due, but I’m finally getting too it. I realized that I was hesitant to write about it, because I feel like my words wont do that day justice. Words can’t describe how beautiful his birth day was to me… but I will try.

The day I found out I was pregnant was full of surprise. For a couple weeks I had been pretty exhausted and not feeling too well. One night I mentioned to my mom that I never felt good after I ate. She replied, “Are you pregnant?”. “No, no… I’m not pregnant.”  I responded.
I had recently taken a pregnancy test and it was (a false) negative. I decided that I would just check again, to be sure. At that time Dan was working with a company that traveled out of state. It was a Monday, and he wouldn’t be home until Friday. That morning I braved the 3 minute wait alone, and couldn’t believe my eyes when it was positive! I just starred at it for a couple minutes in disbelief. I have always wanted a family, preferably a large one. To get married and have children have always been some of my greatest goals in life, but we had plans to wait a couple years. God knew better, much better as He always does! In His perfect timing gave us, as I like to refer to, as an “angel baby”.

That evening I went over to my mom’s house to hang out for a while and the moment I walked in the door she gave me one look and just knew. We went into her bedroom and I began to cry. My emotions were all over the place… excitement, nervousness, disbelief, and definitely hormones! She just gave me a big hug, started to laugh, and said “I knew you guys wouldn’t be able to wait that long.”
For the next week I thought about how I wanted to tell Dan the big news, because I wanted to wait until he got home, instead of over the phone. At the time I was working at a coffee shop and saw people I knew constantly. It was so hard to keep it a secret, especially because I just couldn’t stop smiling!
I went to pick Dan up the night he came into town, and before we left I asked him what he wanted to do that night. He said he just wanted to go home and relax. I said that was fine, but that I had a present to give him before we left. He opened it up to this. He hesitantly gave me a sheepish thank you… as it isn’t usually a guy-ish kind of gift. After a second look at it he realized what I meant by it, and he said “Are you?” I smiled and nodded. He was so excited! He gave me a huge hug and kiss and jumped out of the car as his friend was walking over and started jumping up and down and yelling “I’m gonna be a dad!” over and over! After he settled down, we went over to his moms house and shared the big news! They were all so excited. His mom responded a lot like he did, it was so cute! Isaiah is their first grandchild, so they were definitely ready for it happen!
Afterwards we went over to my moms house and shared the news with the rest of my family, and 2 of my friends.

The next 8 months were a little crazy. We never intended to get pregnant while living at our current house, and bought it with the intentions of fixing it up and selling it. Life had gotten in the way, and our spare room was still pretty much a mess. Many other things needed to be done, but that was my main project.

I LOVED being pregnant. Every minute of it, even the 18 weeks of evening sickness. Dan would follow me to the bathroom and hold my hair, what a sweet guy! I was always sick in the evening, which was actually a great thing because I worked the Opening shift at the coffee shop, usually alone as well. From 5am to 1pm… so being sick all morning would not have been good.
Oh being pregnant… I loved my belly, my midwifery appointments, and nesting. I felt beautiful, healthy and happy. Ya know when you put on those favorite pair of jeans you own, and they just seem to fit perfectly and it doesn’t matter if your wearing the ugliest shirt in town you’ve got those jeans on! That’s how I felt… like it just fit.

15 Weeks

Monday, November 8, 2010


About 4 years ago Dan and I were both given t-shirts that had this logo across the front…
“I ♥ BOOBS”.

On the back it said, “If you love them, then get them checked”. It obviously was to promote breast cancer awareness. I think that it is wonderful that individuals, families, companies and media have all stepped up to raise money, and awareness for the second highest cause of death in women.

One thing I wish there was more awareness about is breastfeeding.
There are many contributing factors, but studies have shown that women who breastfeed have lower risks of developing breast cancer.
Breastfeeding could account for almost two-thirds of the reduction of breast cancer incidents. That's huge! Women who were formula-fed as infants have higher rates of breast cancer as adults, but women who were breastfed as children, even if only for a short time, had a 25% lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who were bottle-fed as infants.

If you exclusively breast-feed, you suppress the menstrual period, which is what lowers your risk of developing Breast Cancer....very few women exclusively breastfeed.
Breast Cancer is one of the many cancers that breastfeeding can reduce you AND your childs chances of fighting later in life. Others include: Ovarian Cancer, Endometrial cancer, Crohn's disease, Leukemia, Hodgkins Disease, as well as developing diabetes, asthma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Osteoporosis. 
There are hundreds of reasons to breastfeed your child, boy or girl. I could go on and on about them.... but on to my main point.

The World Health Organization recommends nursing your child for at LEAST 2 years. The immunities that you will pass into your child are priceless.
 It makes me so sad when I hear of a mother who chooses not to breastfeed because of how complicated they think it might be. They question how it might interfere with their schooling, work, or social lives. There are mothers who chose to give it a try but felt pressure from the nurses in the hospital to just give their baby a bottle of formula. They are also given a “care package” filled with formula samples, and bottles, but then are told that “breast is best”….. how confusing for a new mom! There are options that we aren’t even told of by our pediatricians, such as Milk Banks and Wet Nurses. Yes, they do still exist!

Beside all that I just said, there is something more that infuriates me than a mother who chooses not to give their baby human milk.
I hate it when i hear of a mother who DOES choose to feed her baby the way that God intended and others look down upon her, shun her or tell her to stop.
I recently heard of a women that was visiting a church and needed to breast feed her child. She began and draped a blanket over her. Her baby began to fuss and so she moved out to the lobby. A man approached and asked her to go to a separate room. I honestly do not know the exact words that were used, but the women ended up leaving the church as soon as her husband came out and was very upset.
If she had simply been sitting there with a bottle in her hands not one person would have had a second thought about it. Yet it is an exposed nipple. To me, this is not only un-christian, it is un-human! God created a women’s body PERFECTLY, and He was pleased with it. He gave us breasts to feed our children. We should not only be tolerable of a nursing mother, but encouraging and accepting. If a man feels uncomfortable with it, and has a hard time controlling his own eyes and thoughts then I believe HE should be the one to leave the room.

I have been breastfeeding our son for almost 16 months now, I have no plans of stopping anytime soon. I am of a small percentage of women (IN THE USA) who has continued on longer than 6 months. Close to about 10%. Extended breastfeeding is not popular, but I don’t care.
In almost every other country, women breastfeed their children for years, and it is simply just what they do. Their breasts make milk, their children need that milk. In even in some countries women are treated with such respect when they are nursing that they are offered special chairs or something to drink. Those are the people who know how important health is. They know that they and their baby are given one body and that they need to do what is natural to care for that body.
Please, when you see a nursing mother, give her the respect she deserves!