Isaac’s birth story (The “she said” version)

PLEASE NOTE: for those who are weak of stomach, or not real comfortable with the medical realities involved with giving birth, spare yourself and don’t read this blog post. Here is the abbreviated version for you. Our son, Isaac, was unexpectedly delivered by my husband in our home on Monday, April 16, around 6:12am. The end. :) For those of you who like details, and understand that the birthing process isn’t exactly glamorous, but is still amazingly beautiful in its own way, feel free to read on.

Sunday night, April 15th, our bedtime story with Jacob and Ashley was “No Foal Yet,” by Jos. A. Smith. It’s kind-of become my traditional story to read to the kiddos when it nears the time of the birth of the next addition to our family. And little did we know, that sooner than we thought, we’d have our baby.

During that night, around 2:45 am, Jacob came in and woke me up needing to go to the bathroom. I helped him with that, put him back in bed, and then went in to use the bathroom myself. Soon after laying down, I felt what I thought was just really painful gas radiating around my stomach and back. I got up, went to the bathroom, and then realized that I was starting to have some bloody show. After another “painful gas” feeling, I realized that I was actually having contractions. This was around 3:00am. After about 30 minutes of these contractions, which were measuring to be 4 minutes apart, Joe stirred a bit in bed. I wasn’t wanting to wake him unnecessarily early for fear of it being a very long day. But since he was starting to stir, I didn’t hesitate to tell him that I was in labor. We waited in bed through another contraction or so, and then decided that we ought to go ahead and get up and get some things ready and in place for the trip to the birthing center and for the day, since we were also having window contractors come that morning at 8am to install new windows in the house.

We both took our showers and got dressed. Joe went to the back to take care of a few work emails and then to pack up his computer to get it away from the windows so the contractors would not have to deal with moving it. I switched over a load of laundry and started another, swept the kitchen floor, and got the final things things together for the birth center bag. We moved the bed away from the windows and Joe got the vacuum out to vacuum some of those inevitable dust bunnies that collect under one’s bed. Joe got some breakfast ready, and asked me where the Bradley birthing book was, so he could BEGIN reading/preparing. Ha! I told him it was in the bag for the birthing center. He asked if I had highlighted or marked some areas he should focus on. I directed him to one area to start in.

Soon thereafter, as I was having a contraction in the kitchen, he was standing there with his bowl of cereal in hand, kind-of just watching me. I made a comment to the effect of, “it would be okay if you touch me or massage me or something, instead of just standing there staring at me like I’m a crazy person in pain.” He told me, “I wanted to, but what I just read in the book said not to start massaging you when you are starting a contraction.” I told him that sounded crazy and that I wanted him to be touching me or something to support me through these. We laughed at the situation and the dilemma he had faced in that moment and decided that me leaning forward on him through the contractions seemed to be the most helpful in getting through them.

Around 4:30, we discussed what our plan should be, in so far as waking the kids and taking them to the Cole’s house, or having Jon or Katie come over. We decided that having Jon and/or Katie here would be best, so we wouldn’t have to call off the window contractors and then Ashley could still go to school that day (after all, she is “snack helper” this week). Joe texted his brother at that time, but since we hadn’t heard back yet, we went ahead and called Jon and Katie just before 5am.

After timing, and actually writing down, contractions for about 15 minutes, I decided to go ahead and call Tina, our midwife. I called her at 5:21am and talked with her for a few minutes. The contractions were consistently 3 minutes apart, but only about 30 seconds long. Since I was still doing pretty well, and pretty chipper, she told me to go get some rest, and that “I’d know when I need to come in” for help with the pain management, etc. I told her we’d probably head to our friend’s house in Royce City and then we’d only be about 15 minutes away for when it came time to be getting to the birthing center for help. She confirmed that was probably a good plan for us.

After breathing, leaning forward on Joe,and stamping my feet through another contraction, I went ahead and laid down on the bed to rest between them. I had just laid down when Katie arrived at just after 5:30 am, so I didn’t get up to greet her. I felt bad, but I also felt the need to focus. Joe greeted her and let her know that she could go rest in one of the back rooms, since it was still so so early in the morning.

We needed to send off our tax payments still, and I felt better about them being placed in the mailbox at the post office, rather than just in our own mailbox at the road, so Joe went ahead and drove downtown to drop them off. I had told him that the contractions felt painful to the point that they made me feel like I wanted to vomit, so he brought the bathroom garbage out to put beside the bed, should I need to use it.

I rested really well between the contraction, but when the contraction actually came after laying down, I was up on my hands and knees in the bed, trying to work through the pain. It was not feeling fun! In fact, I remember thinking to myself, “Why did I sign up for this way of labor. Next time I’m just going to the hospital and having an epidural.  Then I can just go there, get the epidural, and sleep until they tell me to push.”

This contraction made me feel like I needed to go to the bathroom again, so when I thought it was finished, I got up to go to the bathroom. However, in sitting there trying to go to the bathroom, I realized that I must not be finished with the contraction, because it still hurt when I tried to go.

Though Joe was probably only gone for 10 minutes or so, the two contractions I had while he was gone made it feel like he was taking forever! He got back and came in to check on me. I had just gotten out of the bathroom and finished the contraction while leaning forward on him. I laid down again, and he took the camera bag out to the Highlander and went back into the kitchen to read more of the Bradley method book. I rested well again, but when I felt the next wave of contraction coming, I quickly called for him. He heard me on the second call, and came in quickly. I was up on hands and knees again on the bed, and then leaned forward on Joe’s shoulders. Within seconds of doing this, my water broke with a very unexpected gush, all over me, Joe, the bed and even the rug on the floor. Joe and I kind-of laughed because it was so unexpected and such a new experience. My water with the other two had broke in the hospital, while laying down in the bed. We both very heartily agreed it was time to head to the birthing center. I told him that I first needed to get my legs rinsed off and clothes changed and then we could head out the door.

He pulled the sheets and mattress cover back off the bed so the moisture wouldn’t absorb into the mattress while we were gone. He then changed out of his pants too. While I was in the shower, trying to get rinsed off, things seemed to intensify. I never could get rinsed off. As my level of pain increased so suddenly, Joe called Tina at 6:01am to let her know my water had broke. I knew she was going to tell him that sometimes it still takes a while, etc., etc. but I wasn’t in a position to stop his call (and I’m glad I didn’t). While they were talking for the next 3 minutes, the next wave of pain came, and she heard me hollering. When she realized that the noise in the background was me, she told Joe we needed to be in the vehicle on the way there. He said he was trying to get us in that direction. Joe hung up with her and tried to help me with managing the pain and getting out of the shower. He reminded me to stay calm and to breathe, but I was kind-of beyond those calming thoughts at that point.

I felt so badly like I needed to go to have a BM, but I didn’t know if this was just the pain of a hemorrhoid or what. It was so intense, I couldn’t ever get out of the shower to get into clothes to get to the vehicle. I leaned forward on Joe’s through that contraction, and bless his heart, I even bit his shoulder for a second before I realized I was actually biting him. I was just trying to have something in between my teeth as I gritted through the intense sensation. Next thing I knew, I felt very unmistakably that the head was there. I screamed this to Joe. When he first heard this, he didn’t think it was possible, but he squatted down and confirmed what I was feeling and, at this point, seeing. (Aside: This was my first time seeing a head at that position, and the way it looked really surprised me. It looked like a brain, with no skull. In my heart, for a little bit, I thought that perhaps we were delivering a baby that wasn’t viable. However, there wasn’t much time to ruminate on that thought, so I just had to get my mind back in there and stay focused, knowing we could deal with that, should it be the reality, after the baby was completely out.)

He said he was going to either call Tina or 911. He chose Tina. So, at 6:09 am, he called her to tell her that the head was right there and that we were not going to be making it to the birthing center. Since it was on speakerphone, nobody could hear well with the shower water still running in the background. Joe was able to get the shower water turned off for us, and that helped a lot. At first Tina told him that he needed to get me laying down on the bed. Joe tried, but I just couldn’t go anywhere. Tina then told him to get a dry towel and to be ready to catch that baby. With the next contraction, the head was out, and Tina was letting him know that with the very next contraction, the baby’s entire body would come out. And boy did it ever come out quickly! Joe said he nearly didn’t catch him. He was thankful he had the room between the height of where I was standing and the bottom of the tub to catch. And there he was, Isaac William Shipman, born at an estimated 6:12am on Monday, April 16, 2012. The pain was gone immediately, and we were filled with excitement and awe and SHOCK!

We continued on the phone with Tina, as she talked us through what to do next. Joe wrapped Isaac up in the towel and I held him, while I stood there still bleeding and in disbelief of all that had just happened. Tina kept insisting that I needed to get laying down to help the bleeding stop. I understood, but just had to get rinsed off before I could even comprehend moving anywhere. Joe had headed to the laundry room to get some dry towels to wrap Isaac in, since all we had in the bathroom at the point he was born were the damp towels we had just used for our showers that morning. I finally got about two steps out of the shower, holding Isaac, when I asked her about what we do about delivering the placenta. I started asking her if it was normal for it to feel like the placenta was about to fall out. And as I said that, I just stepped my way back to the shower, just in time for the placenta to land in the tub. I then let her know, nevermind, it had been delivered. At that point, she had Joe go get a bowl that about 2 pounds of meat could fit into. He came back with a stainless steel bowl and we put the placenta in there.

I had some chuck pads remaining from Jacob and Ashley’s births that I had in a bag near our things for the way to the birthing center, so I could put them down in the vehicle, should my water break there. I let Joe know where those were, so he could put those down on the bed, since we had already stripped the sheets back from the water breaking incident, and I didn’t really want to ruin the mattress with blood now. He was able to find those and get those all laid out.

Since Isaac and I were now detached, he took the swaddled Isaac and the placenta bowl to the bed and I was able to get rinsed off and headed in that direction as well. And then, we pretty much laid there and I nursed Isaac while we awaited the arrival of Ms. Tina. Aunt Katie came in and met him too, while we waited.

When Tina arrived, she checked us out, first making sure Isaac’s vitals and mine looked good. Then she clamped the cord and Joe, as is our tradition, cut it. Then she checked me out and took care of a little stitching that needed to be done.

Right after that, around 7:45am, the window crew arrived, so Joe directed them to begin their work at the back side of the house, in light of the recent birth.

She then moved on to doing the measurements of Isaac. She found him to be 21 ½ inches long with a head 13 inches in circumference. And just before she was going to weigh him, the kiddos came in with Joe and Aunt Katie. They got to meet Isaac for their first time, asking, “is this OUR baby?” It was so sweet. Jacob asked, “baby’s here, now Grammi comes?” They were both excited and curious, and definitely not expecting to wake up to our baby this morning at home. They got to see him be weighed, and we all learned of his whopping 8 pound, 6 ounce size. They kiddos got to hold him and love on him for a good little while.

Ashley headed off for school soon thereafter, Tina gave Isaac a bath, and then it was mommy’s turn to take a shower as well. Tina and Joe got the laundry cycling through, and sheets changed on the bed and everything in good working order (or as good as it can be when your room is all half moved around in being prepared for the window contractors to do their work). And, that was the very eventful start to an exciting day at the Shipman house.

Though the home birth was NEVER anything I had hoped for or envisioned, it was perfect in every way. God’s hands were in it-protecting us from what could have been a far less ideal situation-the baby coming while we were in transit to the birthing center. From the details of us having been at home, rather than still in the process of driving to the birthing center (45 minutes away), while was had this baby, to things like happening to have some chuck pads already there in our room to put down on the bed for us to lay down on after the birth, to the kiddos sleeping through my painful screams during the most intense part of the delivery, etc. What a blessing this experience was. And I am so thankful to be married to such a wonderful man, who could step up and both comfort and coach his wife, as well as successfully catch his own son. It was a great team effort, and it seems that experiences like these cannot help but to strengthen a marriage. And, I love that our little Isaac is already living up to his name-meaning laughter-as this story has certainly given us a LOT to laugh about. It was a wild adventure indeed.

10 Responses to “Isaac’s birth story (The “she said” version)”

  • Jen Brown:

    What a fantastic story!!! I laughed so hard about the placenta falling out. And Joe standing in the kitchen just watching you have a contraction. And then I started crying at the part where Ashley and Jacob got to wake up to there new baby brother being there. I’m kind of sad that this was not made into a reality tv show.

  • Jen:

    Beautiful!!! Love to all of you!

  • Ashleigh:

    Wow!! I wish I could see a picture of Joe’s face when trying to catch that baby! Well done both of you- and kind of nice that the birth took place in the tub instead of on the sheets!

  • JoAnna Miller:

    I laught I cryed….what a crazy beautiful story. God is good for he is the reason I can look back on labor as beautiful.

  • becky:

    That is so crazy. Congrats! I’m so happy the end result was good. Just goes to show that we are not in charge and our plans are not always His.

  • Leah:

    What a beautiful story to tell. I’m so glad God was watching and guiding you through this. Baby Isaac is beautiful and I know Ashley and Jacob must be so excited. Love to you all!

  • Jenny Guerrerio:

    Hi Emily, Joe, Ashley, Jacob and baby Isaac!
    Glad you guys are all doing well. What a terrific story, sounds like you were in good hands! The story made me so happy, I laughed, cried and smiled as I was reading your blog :) Thanks! Hugs and kisses to all. We love you Shipman family!
    xoxo, Jenny & Matthew

  • I loved reading Isaac’s story! It was so evident that God was there with you all. :)

  • Jess Gamez:

    This is really beautiful. I found myself crying and laughing at the same time. I can’t wait to meet baby Isaac.

  • Nichole Miller:

    Absolutely love it. Such a beautiful experience and wonderfully told! I love Joe’s following of the book instructions and the fact that you guys decided to get that tax payment mailed off :) I just love you guys!Congratulations again on healthy baby Isaac!

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