My pregnancy & Isaac’s Birth Story
(WARNING- THIS STORY IS VERY DETAILED AND LONG)
For as long as I remember, Joshua and I have been fascinated with homebirths. I had always secretly wanted one, but discussing the reality of it wouldn’t happen until we found out we were pregnant with our first. My cycle was never on track, so it wasn’t unusual for me to be late by a couple days or even weeks. Although this time was different. Only about 20% of women can feel their mittelschmerz, when it occurs, and I happen to be included in that number. Off and on for almost 2 weeks, I had felt like I was about to start, but absolutely nothing! It was SO frustrating. Joshua and I had been trying to get pregnant for about 5 months, and every month that came and went with no signs or confirmation of being pregnant, left me depressed. For awhile, we actually thought something might have been medically wrong with either of us, because well, we weren’t getting pregnant. I understand that it has taken some couples’ years to finally have a blessing, but for us, Isaac couldn’t have come fast enough!
So that fateful Sunday morning came when I could FINALLY take a pregnancy test that could give an accurate reading…I had taken about 5 previous tests, that all said were negative, of course I couldn’t wait, so I just kept testing and testing. So after finally waiting a little longer on
August 16, 2009, we find out WE ARE PREGNANT! We called and texted everyone to share in our Heavenly bliss. We instantly started to day dream about what our little boy or girl would look like, what he or she would like to do and so on. I remember running out of the bathroom actually asking a girlfriend to double check the “+ -” symbols for me, because I think I was in shock and wanted to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. So for the 6th and final time, I came out of the bathroom, and went to our room where Joshua was waiting and almost immediately expecting another “negative”. To both of our surprises, I came in, sat down on the bed, and asked him if he wanted to know what the results were. He said sure kind of shrugging his shoulders as if there was little confidence to be found. I remember saying “we’re pregnant”, and over and over again he kept saying, “Really? We’re really pregnant?”. With every answer being the same, my smile kept growing bigger, and bigger and bigger until I felt my check bones sprain!
So with each passing day, turning into months, I didn’t know how I was going to hold out a whopping 9 months, or in my case 10! I believe God made it 9 months, because it really takes that long to prepare your heart, mind and spirit for motherhood.
Being my first pregnancy, I had pretty close to as perfect and healthy as it gets. Although the early months hit me pretty hard with nausea, and although I only vomited once…caused by the smell of the nori wrapped around my sushi. Something about the seaweed smell that just made me hack it up. Both my Doctor and Midwives were however concerned at how much weight I had been gaining. My appointments were bitter sweet because, I was nervous they were going to tell me I had gained another 3lbs since my last visit, but at the same time I couldn’t wait to see the life growing inside of me. I had gained a total of 50lbs, during the entire pregnancy. I secretly prayed that I wouldn’t tip the 200lbs mark, and by golly, I DIDN’T, by a whole 2lbs! Strangely enough I had my husband and even friends tell me it didn’t look like I had gained much of anything, which at the time was flattering, but now that I think about it post-pregnancy, do I freaking look like I’m 200lbs?!?! Not so much of a compliment now.
I had to cut out all spicy foods, which was a bummer, because I had lived off sriracha sauce for years, and even the slightest bit of salt could send me into hours of almost unbearable acid reflux, which would keep me up way past midnight.
So like I said before, I was very grateful that my pregnancy was completely normal and I was otherwise healthy. During my pregnancy, we had gone through some major transition, with moving a total of 2 times and being 2 weeks late to the day.
Throughout my pregnancy, not one practicing physician could get my EDD right. All the dates were about 8 days apart from one another, which becomes a big deal when you’re not giving birth at a hospital. Because we were in transition with our housing, we decided that our first birth would be done at our local Birthing Center,
in Best Start Birth Center . Now in a hospital setting, being late really is a relative term, because induction is always an available route to go. However, with a FREE STANDING Birth Center, there are absolutely no medical interventions or inductions on site. The down fall to a free standing birth center, is if, God forbid, an event occurred during labor or birthing, in which you or the baby needed medical attention, you would have to get transferred immediately to the “back up hospital”, to finish labor and delivery. San Diego
So back to Isaac’s EED being totally all over the place. Before I switched over to “finishing out” my pregnancy with Best Start, my original EDD was April 8, 2010. Apparently from the get go, this was conflicting with my last first day cycle. I didn’t care, I just wanted this baby out, but remember it is a big deal for those not wanting a hospital birth. If I was to go over within the 2 week “grace period” that is given to you they have special techniques of supposedly on setting the beginning stages of labor. Well, April 8 came and went, and no Isaac. I had gone on long, very long treks, finished 1 ½ bottles of castor oil, swimming pool moves and had lots and lots of marital bliss. Nothing seemed to work, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to let some new age chiropractor touch me to “align the magnetic energy” to start labor.
I had been having light contractions on and off for about a week before his birth, so I knew that right around the corner we’d have a happy, bouncing baby boy!
Because I was over due, my Midwives had me schedule with their “back up” birthing Doctor. I was pretty much freaked that there actually might be a possibility that I would have to give up my hopes of giving birth naturally and go with some Doc that I had never even heard of.
So with April 22 only being 2 hours old, I was woken up with pretty strong contractions. Now I would normally get up between to eat my much needed bowl of cereal and crawl back into bed as I held my tummy and had hoped this joyous time would be upon us. Joshua had just gotten back from hanging out with some friends, so he reeked of alcohol and cigars. He claims, it was only 30 minutes after he got home, that he laid hands on my tummy and prayed for little Isaac to come, and soon after I woke him up, saying, “My water just broke, we need to leave NOW”.
Side Note- Now I was 2 weeks to the day over due, and was scheduled for my back up birthing Doctor, who would routinely check my stuff out, run tests, blah blah blah. Then give the go ahead to induce the very next day on April 23. So you could imagine how overjoyed I was to know that I was about to give birth where I wanted to with all my heart.
So I call the on-call Midwife, and she goes through the shpeel of required questions, and I’m pretty much to the point of saying, ”LOOK, my water broke, my contractions are coming fast, and I AM GOING TO HAVE THIS BABY, so STOP with all the ****ing questions!” (I don’t curse often, but well, it’s true when they say labor does something to you!) Which by the way, is really what the Birthing Assistants are waiting to hear, to REALLY make sure your in labor…Go figure.
Since Spring was already here, April was pretty much full of well, showers, so the roads were still slick from the rainfall a few hours earlier. I REALLY wanted to be the sweet and understanding wife while delivering this baby, or I guess another way of saying it, I wanted to go through labor gracefully. I didn’t want to be one of those Bridezilla’s you see on WEtv, only I guess it could be called Momzilla. I really wanted to be filled with love during this new and wonderful season in my life that I was about to start.
Since we had just finished moving, for the 2 time during my pregnancy, from our newest location, it took roughly, without traffic about 45 minutes to get to Best Start. Because I was laboring on the drive there, it made it extremely difficult to call my Mother-In-Law, to let her know to come down to the Birthing Center, WITH FOOD. Now since the roads were still slick, Joshua was driving extra cautious, and by cautious I mean SLOW. Joshua was super tired from only getting 30 minutes sleep and being the good wife I was, wanting to be sympathetic, I told him, more like struggled to tell him that we could stop for coffee. HA didn’t actually happen, but it’s the thought that counts right? So probably an hour later we got there, felt like it anyhow, and we pull up and I stumbled out of the car thanking God that I no longer had to labor in a cramped, still position in our car.
So Brooke, our Midwife sets up a room downstairs to check me out, cervix and whatnot and she had the audacity to tell me that her little pee stick test came back negative, and that she didn’t think my water really broke. I wanted to seriously flip my lid. WHAT! You REALLY think I’m not aware of my water braking?? I think I would know water gushing out of my body thank you very much, although at this point in the beginning stages I was dilated at a 3. So as I was about to lose my “gracefulness”, my wonderful Husband steps in and pretty much tells her, that the test is wrong, and that he witnessed it and also, we weren’t going to drive all the way back to our house. So she let me pick whichever birthing room I wanted, and so I picked the Birthing Suite with the Jacuzzi! I had been eyeing it from day one, but with a free standing clinic, it’s first come, first serve. So I slowly waddled up the stairs and had Brooke run the water in the tub. I couldn’t wait to get in there. I remember only silence once we got up there. Joshua had actually fallen asleep in a chair that he had pulled up right next to me. He was so cold; he actually wrapped himself up in towels.
We had everything we could have needed-extra clothes for Joshua and I, our specially picked out baby outfit, crackers and juice, worship music to labor to and my bible.
It was probably around by the time Brooke made me get out of the water and wanted me to try another laboring position. Let me remind you that I wasn’t able to get my early morning snack, so I was literally starving and running on E. Most of my prayers that morning were for God to sustain me, because laboring and giving birth on an empty stomach is not wise. Debbie(MIL), still hadn’t shown up yet, and I was starting to tear up at the lack of energy and malnourishment I was feeling. A little after they pumped me with antibiotics- I was strep B Pos, she shows up with Jamba Juice and Starbucks. I was so happy but beyond hungry, that I could barely keep eat or drink anything. Whatever I was able to keep down took forever to chew and took my concentration off of my laboring.
Periodically, my cervix was checked and THAT was a whole other experience in of itself.
So I labored for a little bit in the bed, needing help turning every 10 minutes or so, and by this time it was around , and I oddly enough begged her to check my cervix. I SO badly wanted to be dilated at a 10, but alas I was at a 5, which is really fast progression for your first kid.
This entire time, my birthing aides where coming in and out of the room, and so right before she left again, she told me to let her know the moment I felt the need to push.
Well guess what happened the moment she walked away? I NEEDED TO PUSH! I told Joshua to get her and she came back to check my cervix yet again, but to my surprise I had progressed to a 7! She asked if I wanted to birth in the tub and I quickly answered Yes! The next thing I new my modesty flew out the window and there in front of my 2 Midwives, my MIL and my Husband, I was as naked as the day I was born. Apparently, lack of modesty is a signpost of the last stage of labor, which I didn’t really understand until it happened. I could have cared less who walked through that door; my only thoughts were GET THIS BABY OUT!
Ironically enough, I didn’t want any music, actually no noise at all, and I didn’t want to be touched, not massaged, poked or prodded. Joshua got of the hook with that one. So I’m in the tub running the last lap of my marathon, and I’ve got to say; I never thought giving birth would be the way I experienced it. Your Mother, Grandmother, and friends all tell you something different, but for me it wasn’t quite painful, yet intense is a little bit of an understatement. I really didn’t know what to expect, all I knew was that I do not take pain very well, and yet I’ve got tattoos and piercings so go figure.
I pushed a total of 2 hours in that tub and at 4 Isaac Maccabee Gielow was born. My big boy was a whopping 9lbs 4oz at 21 ½ in long. I labored for a total of 7 hours and pushed for 2. By the grace of God I did it all natural and had absolutely no complications. I was later told that the top 3 things that came out of my mouth were as followed- “Oh God No, SH*T and Oh God save me.” I laughed SO hard after hearing that, I could only imagine what I looked like.
After I delivered the placenta, I was helped out of the tub which by now was filled with freezing water but that of course didn’t bother me, I was sweating bullets all through pushing. I think that is the only time I ever wished I had my head shaved, I was so hot and my hair was getting everywhere.
After weighing Isaac, lactation consulting and all the other fun after birth stuff, we didn’t get out of there until . I did end up finally getting my treasured Peanutbutter Moo’d, minus the banana with extra peanutbutter from Jamba Juice.
My Husband would say that after everything that happened that day, I’m his hero, but I would say that I couldn’t do it without him. Even though giving birth was the craziest thing I’ve ever done, it was also the most amazing. It just lets me ponder and be in awe about the ways of God and knowing that He truly is sovereign. Birth is amazing!