Saturday, November 26, 2011

Birthstory: The Israel Story

 That rosy, content, face of a newly fed baby rests on my lap while I type. We welcomed little Israel, 6 lbs, 14 oz. this past November 18th, born in my bedroom at 2 minutes past noon. Surrounded by 2 dear midwives, my husband at my side, my 7 year old daughter and her "sibling support", 16 year old Amy. There is no comparable feeling of relief than when you've just birthed a baby. What an extreme emotional sensation I shared with the 100's of 1000's of other women who also birthed on this day across the world. Going from that intense war physically, mentally and emotionally to it being over...over...over, and this healthy baby resting on my abdomen, chord still pulsating, the midwife is giving him a massage seconds after he is born. I greet him, laughing, crying seconds before, now laughing, welcoming him, and minutes later he has his first breastfeed.

 He nurses like a pro. Like he's been practicing this for many months.  It's hard to believe that this little one, my smallest of my 4 babies, was my hardest homebirth so far. My waters, with my first 3 did not break without the help of a midwife just prior to baby being born or while I was pushing baby out. I had always wondered what it would have been like to start labour with the breaking of my membranes. Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. And now that I've experienced it, I don't recommend it.
It was my due date, Thursday November 17th, and my excited Selah, 7, had been saying all day, "I hope it's tonight, God, please let it be tonight". I gently reminded Selah, that I usually start labouring in the morning, and that that is more convenient than labouring all night. But as chance would have it, that evening,  it was between 7 and 8pm when I realized, with one hard contraction that my waters had broken. By 8:00 I texted my husband, who was at a church meeting.  My midwife had told me to give her a heads up, when contractions were 10 minutes apart, so I did. She'd come over when contractions got to 5 minutes apart.  Rene stayed for the meeting, because contractions were not close enough together for him to come rushing home.
My husband and Amy arrived about 10ish. The midwives both showed up somewhere around 11pm. And my contractions were all over the place, without consistency, yet more intense than I had ever felt before. By midnight I was sure I was in transition, and felt like pushing. I'm told that with posterior babies, that's how it is - you just feel some relief with pushing far earlier than it's time to push. Only one of my babies was actually born posterior, but the other 3, I am sure I also laboured with them in posterior position, because of the back labour. When my midwife checked to see if it was indeed time to push Israel, she said, Nope, that his head is not in the right place and I was far from fully dilated. I was shocked. I should know by now the sensation of transition - the "I can't do this anymore", "I'm done". This continued for another 10 hours. Exhausted by morning, my husband and midwives talked about the 18 hour antibiotics, 24 hr. mark induction at the hospital and choices as such.

 When I heard, I marched to my room, and said out loud to myself  "I'm having this baby by noon!" Not that I'm against hospitals, many women have wonderful experiences, but I knew I was a prime candidate for intervention, with the membranes rupturing before labour, dysfunctional labour, primed for induction, and I was hardly managing as it was. I had a little cry, called up 2 like minded Mama friends, who prayed with me over the phone. Following that, on my midwifes recommendation I took the lemon verbena cocktail at around 10am. The contractions picked up a little, especially in intensity, but not in consistency. My brilliant husband called our Chiropractor. We were desperate, and he would do a house call. If I've ever been on the fence about chiropractors - I am NOT anymore. What I experienced was amazing. I don't typically enjoy adjustments - I just know it's good for our immune system and that it is preventative.  Immediately after the adjustment to my sacroiliac, lower spine, neck and lower spine again, I felt a surge of fresh energy. My husband said, "let's use that, and don't sit down". So staying vertical, contractions immediately became back to back, and endorphins were finally kicking in to manage those contractions. Just 45 minutes after that adjustment, Israel was born.

 Is there any other time in a woman's life where she feels as savage and ungraceful as when she is pushing a baby out? It is not the time to worry about what you look like. As baby's head was crowning his heart rate plummeted and my midwife said loudly and firmly that I needed to push the baby out now (which I had never experienced with my previous 3 births). With my pushing history, this was going to be interesting. But I was on the home lap, sprinting to the finish line, and with all the power I could muster, he came out with the chord bunched up on his shoulder, causing the drop in heart rate. And he is beautiful, healthy and strong. His name is Israel Chets (pronounced Sh-ay). He has a 2 year old mother who dotes on him all the time, a 7 year old mother who truly is a great help to this mother, while his brother, is eager to show him his tribal fighting dance!


  1. Oh, Patty~Jean! You did it and with such conviction and strength! I am so proud of you. Looking forward to meeting Isreal! Love you!

  2. Welcome Israel! I've been waiting for this post. Sooooo glad he's here. And what a beautiful name! Oh my....his labor sounds intense! I'm sure you're glad you are done with it. Looking forward to seeing more pics of his beautiful new face! Congrats, congrats congrats!

  3. He is beautiful! Congratulations, and hope your recovery goes well.

    My 2nd son (this past Feb) was such an intense labour too. Although not near as long as yours. I agree that having our waters broken makes a huge difference! My first wasn't broken until I was pushing, and the 2nd was broken to get labour to pick up speed. And that it certainly did. :P

    Praise God for Israel's safe arrival!

  4. Hooray for you, your family, and wee Israel! I've been following your blog for a few months and LOVING it. Sending prayers for swift and complete healing for you, and continued fine adjustement to life on the outside for the wee lad. Blessings, Kate of NH

  5. How beautiful he is, Patty-Jean! Congratulations!

  6. Well, it certainly sounds like number four brought out a side of you that you didn't know you had. I've always known you were a strong woman but this birth seems to have increased your resolve to stand firm in God's goodness, thus revealing another aspect to the word strong.

    He is beautiful and so very well loved. A straight, healthy arrow in your little quiver.

  7. Congratulations on your newest little blessing! You have been such an encouragement to me since I was at Prov Arts Camp with Uncle Kevin all those years ago - inspiring me to look into things like slings and reducing chemicals. I went home after my last summer there and sewed myself a sling to use with my cousins and looked into all sorts of "green" things that I am continuing to use and pursue now at university. Reading your birth stories has encouraged me as I shape my views and opinions about how I want to live and how to best honour my creator through my life. I remember you writing that you wished you could have witnessed a birth before you had your own children, and since then I have been hoping to be able to experience this. My aunt is having a homebirth in January and I get to go, which I am excited about and your post has made me even more excited. So thank you for the encouragement, even though I doubt you knew you were doing it! Enjoy your new little guy :)
    ~ Melissa Dorazio

  8. Such a little Saint-Hilaire! What a beautiful face - and so alert! I love the pics of him with the girls. So proud of you, for making healthy decisions for his birth even though it was so hard. Thanks for posting this for all our enjoyment.

  9. Beautiful, beautiful! I love birth stories and this one was so refreshing to read!

  10. Wow! You did it again. Another beauty - looks so much like the others. Will look forward to hearing more about it when you're recovered. Way to go, girl!

  11. Beautiful post and images, Patty-jean! I agree, starting labour with the water breaking is NOT fun! I'm glad you made it through! He is beautiful!

  12. WOW! Patty, Thank you for sharing your incredible story of strength. I can only wish my births had been more natural. Beautiful, just beautiful :)

  13. I had my baby 11-18 also (2010) and she was also posterior (my first was too) so I don't know what its like to not labor and deliver a posterior baby! I hope to learn someday :) CONGRATS!



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