Isaac’s Birth Story

Two years ago today, I woke up in the wee hours of morning in labor. {With all three children, labour started between 1am and 3am – neat huh?.}. I was beyond excited. Chloe’s labour was 36 hours start to finish but John’s was less than 5! I was expecting Isaac to arrive soon so I jumped out of bed, prepped our room for the home birth and hopped into the tub.

DH sat in the bathroom with me during the wee hours while I lounged in our ensuite soaker tub and we talked and dreamed dreams for this little boy that we were soon to meet.

Contractions started picking up so about 6am  we called my parents to come pick up Chloe and John. We also called the midwives. After waving goodbye to the tots, assuring them that they would have a wonderful swim day at Granny’s house and would come home later to meet Isaac, we sat down to wait for the midwives. Well, there were so many women that went into labour that weekend that Angela, the midwife I had seen throughout pregnancy, was unable to come. On call for me was Katie, beloved Katie. {I had called the Hamilton Midwives the day I received a positive pregnancy test and tried to book Katie but she wasn’t available in May, which was initially when I was due.} Katie is the lovely midwife who helped me birth Chloe and John at home, so I was beyond excited to see her smiling face and bright red hair at my front door for baby #3 as well.

By the time Katie and her student arrived, the contractions slowed and the intensity had dropped.  DH made bacon, toast and delicious omlettes for the us and the midwives. We had tall glasses of orange juice and snacked on muffins and cookies I had baked the day before. The morning passed slowly and leisurely, with the laughter and sweetness of women preparing to welcome a new life into the world. I walked around the room, up the stairs, down the stairs, leaning on a chair to sway as the contractions started to become stronger. Still we chatted and laughed, sharing stories.

At noon, a third midwife arrived to help with the birth since Katie’s companion was a student. We decided to break my water and get things moving. I was anxious to meet my sweet baby. After we broke my water, I moved into the bathtub again, knowing these coming contractions would start to hurt as I began to labour in earnest. The student, I can not for the life of me remember her name, gave me back rubs and kept me laughing with her tales.

I moved from the tub back into my room to rock on the birth ball as a change of pace. As I felt the urge to push, the midwives allowed me to, knowing I had done this before. But for whatever reason, I had the urge prematurely as I still had a little ways to go. Baby’s heart rate dropped a bit. I moved to the bed, laying on my side – a good position for my sweet baby but a bad position to manage pain. Not being able to rock, sway, move – those minutes seemed like an eternity and one painful contraction flew into the next. DH lay beside me. Those moments, I can’t recall very clearly. It hurt, it was hard and I was just so focused on making it through…

And I did. It was about 3pm, almost 12 hours after the first contraction, and it was time to push – hard and fast to bring him out. And there he was, on my chest. Cold, blue and beautiful. I snuggled him and I cried. And he did too. Gradually his color appeared. Introducing Isaac George VanderPloeg weighing in at 8 pounds 5 oz and 22.5 inches long.  We called my parents to bring the tots home and grab pizza for dinner.

I had a small repair – same as always – so I ate chocolate snacks from my hospital bag while they took care of that. Then they helped me into the shower to clean up and I popped back into bed, nursing my sweet baby. Except that I kept passing clots and the bleeding wasn’t stopping. I got up to go to the washroom and once there, everything began to swirl. I was dizzy and it began to go dark. I called to Katie as I began to go down in slow motion. And she was there – always there, my Katie. I laid on the floor as she stuck a needle in my thigh and started an IV while another called 9-1-1.

By the time the ambulance arrived, the bleeding had stopped and I was feeling fine however they insisted on taking me in and carrying me down the stairs though I felt perfectly capable of walking. I kissed my baby and off I went. And my Katie came with me. Once at the hospital, they asked that I stay for 4 hours for monitoring and then could go home.

Meanwhile, back at the house, just as the ambulance pulled away, my tots pulled up with the pizza. Everyone had a pizza party and met Isaac and then Daddy, and Isaac came up to the hospital.

With a big hug, I said goodbye to Katie, who I am sure was hungry since she had missed the pizza party!

Isaac, daddy and I hung out at the hospital for the required amount of time and then headed home for a good night’s sleep.

Sunday morning Daddy went to church while mommy and Isaac slept in. Shortly afternoon, Chloe and John arrived home from Granny and Grandpa’s house, just in time for afternoon nap.

At 3pm, Helen, a midwife that had helped me birth John, came out for a little visit. We marveled at how sweet and alert Isaac was. He had been nursing well and while she noted that his head circumference was 5cm bigger than what was written down at birth, she otherwise was pleased with him. We chatted and snacked and then said our goodbyes.

But 3pm was the last time Isaac nursed. As the evening progressed, he grew more and more sleepy and lethargic. Then he wouldn’t wake up at all, even when I took him in the bath. I called Katie, who said she would have Tonya come out and have a peek at him. Once she saw him, she called our local hospital, spoke to the pediatrician on call and then we headed to the ER.

When we arrived, Isaac wasn’t responding to anything. They checked his blood sugar levels and they were 0.1. So many doctors and nurses were racing around and I stood back in the corner watching my limp little baby be poked and prodded as they tried with no success to get an IV into him. Finally they put an NG tube in and gave him some sugar and some formula to get his sugars up.

Eventually they got an IV in on his little head and had that running. Even to this day Isaac has tricky, wiggly veins and is hard to do bloodwork on or run IV’s into.

Hospital 1

Anyway, we spent a few days at the local hospital then were transferred to a neighboring hospital where they had a neonatal unit. Isaac’s hospital stay lasted over 5 weeks. Day by Day became our song. I sung it to Isaac, I sung it to the Lord in prayer and I tried to live it. I still do.

Isaac’s First Birthday was a day of celebration. A celebration of his life and his accomplishments. He has developmental delays and it was so exciting for him to be able to roll and lift up his head.

Today is Isaac’s second birthday. I’m going to post about that on Thursday as that’s his party day. But I thought I would write out his birth story in honour of his birthday.

Isaac’s last MRI was several months back. I thank everyone for the emails and for your prayers. We did meet with neurology on May 6th regarding the results, which were not at all what I expected to hear. We are {im}patiently waiting for some further tests and then we’ll wait on those results. “Wait and see”is the norm with him.


Please continue to pray for my sweet little boy, that God will be glorified in his life.

One comment

  1. Beautiful story, as all birth stories are. Thank goodness you were in good care with your midwives and they got Isaac to the hospital when they did. He is such a cute little boy and I hope that I eventually get to meet him. Can you believe that I haven’t met him?

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