Our newest little bundle of joy was born on January 25th, but Isaac’s birth story starts way before that.
When Grace was born in 2009, I was induced because the amniotic fluid level was dangerously low. Her birth ended up being a natural and fast delivery. When Noah was born in 2012, we checked for low amniotic fluid a little early since Grace’s fluid level was so low. Noah ended up being born a few days earlier than his scheduled c-section (he was breech) because he also had low amniotic fluid.
Since I had a history of low amniotic fluid with both of my previous babies, we started monitoring Isaac’s fluid levels at 36 weeks. Thankfully, the levels were fine, but we continued to keep an eye on things by having some extra ultrasounds in January.
The danger of low amniotic fluid is real. When the levels get too low, there is less cushion around the baby, which increases the risk of the umbilical cord getting pinched. A pinched cord can be a life or death situation. I was at a higher risk of having a stillbirth. It took a lot of mental strength and prayer for me to get through those last weeks of pregnancy.
I wanted to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), and I was told that I was an excellent candidate. However, I was always a bit nervous about how low amniotic fluid could complicate having a VBAC. I was told that being induced was more complicated with a VBAC, and I feared that low fluid levels would require another induction.
As we continued to monitor my fluid levels, I prayed for labor to start spontaneously. I was hoping to have a natural and uncomplicated birth experience. The closer I got to my due date, the more anxious I felt. I was nervous that the amniotic fluid levels were going to drop too low before I would go into labor on my own.
On January 24th I headed into the hospital to have another non-stress test and ultrasound to check the fluid levels. The fluid levels had dropped since my last ultrasound on January 20th.
The doctor and midwife on call recommended that we should go ahead with an induction since the levels were dropping and I was already a week past my due date. I spent the night in the hospital for monitoring, and we started the induction the next morning.
We used a cook balloon to manually dilate my cervix and hopefully push me into labor. It caused a lot of cramping. I felt a lot of pressure, and I even had contractions. It was not a pleasant experience.
Ten hours later, I was not in labor. The doctor removed the balloon, and checked to see if I had dilated. I hadn’t made any progress at all. Zero progress.
The doctor recommended that we stop the induction attempt and have a c-section. It was a discouraging moment. During my entire pregnancy, I had hoped to avoid another c-section. I cried, but there was also a bit of relief.
Nate and I had mixed feelings about being induced as a VBAC because two weeks before my delivery, a woman’s uterus ruptured during an induced VBAC at my hospital. The entire department was on edge and nervous about inducing VBACs after that terrifying experience. The staff was very open and honest with us about their experience with the ruptured uterus and how that event was affecting their decisions with my pregnancy. Everyone was feeling very cautious and uneasy.
It is easy to hear the risks of your uterus rupturing and think, “Oh, that won’t happen to me. The odds are in my favor!” But when your midwives can look you in the eye and tell you first hand how horrible the experience was for everyone just two weeks earlier, it is a lot harder to feel confident with your odds.
As someone who leans towards the natural and crunchy side of life, I really wanted a VBAC. I wanted my birth experience to be as natural as possible. I am prone to think that doctors push women into unnecessary c-sections, and I didn’t want their fear to be my fear. Yet labor wasn’t starting. It was time to let go of my desire for a natural birth.
My doctor was incredibly kind and supportive. She asked me, “What can we do to make this experience better for you?” It was probably the kindest thing she could done for me.
With tears in my eyes, I went through all of the things from my previous c-section that I was unhappy with and expressed all of my hopes for how things could be better this time around. Each one of my concerns was addressed with kindness and respect.
Things really were different this time around. In the operating room, I felt more calm and comfortable. I knew what to expect, which made it much easier. Plus, the staff was more attentive to my needs and emotions than I experienced last time.
It is a boy!
We didn’t know the gender ahead of time, and I requested that Nate would be the one to tell me if it was a boy or a girl. He had announced the gender with our other children, and I wanted to hear it from him this time also. When our baby was born, Nate said, “Hi buddy!” and I knew that it was a boy. The delight and love in Nate’s voice was absolutely precious.
Our little boy was taken to the side to be cleaned, weighed, and measured. Then the nurses brought him over to me so I could hold skin-to-skin while the surgeon finished the surgery. I held him for awhile, but then I started to feel really nauseous. I was worried I would throw up, so Nate held him for the remainder of the surgery.
Naming our Baby
While Nate was holding our little boy, he looked at me and said, “Rebekah, I think his name is Isaac.” This was shocking to me because…
Nate and I had settled on two boy names and two girl names. A few days beforehand we made our final pick for each gender. Isaac was not one of the boy names we had settled on!
Right away when Isaac was born, we told the nurses the boy name we had previously decided on and we started calling our baby that name. For about 20 minutes, our little one was named something else! I was shocked when Nate suggested Isaac because it was a name I always loved, but he had shot it down ever since I was pregnant with Grace.
Nate said that when he looked at his little boy, he knew that the original name was wrong and he was meant to be called Isaac. It took me awhile to get over the shock. I needed some time to process it all. We didn’t officially name him until the next morning. (For now, Nate and I have decided not to share Isaac’s “original” name.)
Before I was taken to my recovery room, the surgeon told us that my uterus had been extremely thin. She described it like a window and said you could see right through it. She was tremendously glad we had gone ahead with the c-section because my uterus could have easily ruptured during labor.
It had felt like God was ignoring my prayers. I had prayed for labor to start spontaneously. It didn’t. I prayed that my birth would be uncomplicated and free of interventions. It wasn’t. However, God knew that my uterus was thin. A natural delivery, even without an induction, could have caused my uterus to rupture. Isaac’s birth was an excellent reminder to us that God’s ways are always best.
Isaac’s birth story isn’t the natural VBAC I had wanted, but it was the best c-section experience I could have hoped for. I was able to do skin-to-skin in the operating room and the entire time I was in recovery. Isaac never left my side. He was rooting from the moment he was born, and we were able to breastfeed right away. Isaac is healthy and adorable.
The entire family is completely in love.
Have you had a similar birth experience? I would love to hear about it!