Isabella’s Birth Story: Baby #10

As I’m preparing for my second c-section in less than a week (I don’t mean 2 c-sections in less than a week, I mean that my second c-section is scheduled for less than a week from today 🙂 ), I figured it was time to tell Isabella’s (pronounced eesabella with a long ‘e’ sound) birth story.

The decision

Isabella Promise is our 10th baby and this was my first c-section. Mark and I made the decision to have a c-section because with 6 of our 9 other births we had faced shoulder dystocia, an often serious complication. Of our first 9 children, 4 suffered broken bones and one (Nick) suffered a brachial plexus injury.

As we learned more about  Nick’s injury and spoke with doctors who are specialists in the surgeries and therapies necessary to help these children regain use of their arm, we learned that shoulder dystocia comes with more than a risk of broken or paralyzed arms. Shoulder dystocia can also result in brain damage and/or death for the infant. As a matter of fact, the hospital tested 3 of our newborns for oxygen deprivation because of the complications associated with their births.

I will never forget the brachial plexus specialist we visited up in Pennsylvania. He leaned over, looked me right in the eye, held my hand and said me,

You have been very lucky. Generally, when I hear a story like the story of your first child’s birth it’s because the family has brought me their second born who is  severely injured and frequently suffering from brain damage. The fact that you’ve had 6 dystocias in 9 births and only one permanent injury is miraculous. But you should never again risk a vaginal birth.

Even after this, I struggled with the idea of choosing a c-section.

The struggle

My heart is in natural, home birth. (Our 8th and 9th were both born at home.) I believe that God created a woman’s body to safely give birth and that staying as close to this design as possible is best for both mother and baby. I also realize that we live in a fallen world and because of man’s sin we experience sickness and death and bodies that do not work according to the perfect way God designed them.

So after much prayer and many reassurances from my husband that this was the best decision for us, the c-section was scheduled.

Something that you should know about me, I struggle with a lack of faith that demonstrates itself in fear and anxiety. My internal dialogue goes something like this,

You’ve been blessed with healthy children. You were raised in a Christian home. You have a wonderful marriage. You are a wicked sinner and deserve none of this, so _______(something bad) is going to happen.

Rather than believing God when He says that He loves to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11), rather than believing that ALL things work together for my good and His glory (Romans 8:28), and rather than obeying Him when He tells me to be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:4-7) I often struggle with fear and anxiety.

The story

So on Monday evening, the night before the c-section, I sit in tears in my bedroom and wrestle with what I know in my heart to be true and what my mind is telling me.

My parents arrive later that evening and after a quick ‘hello’, I want to be alone. That night I sleep some, pray lots and enjoy the quiet of the house and the beauty of the moon as it shines in at our living room window.

At 3:30am I decide that it is ‘late’ enough to get up and get ready in order to be at the hospital at 5:30. I take my time and continue to pray for calmness and peace. It’s nice to finally be able to do something other than wait.

While Mark gets ready, I make certain that this post is live , read/respond to comments and say hello to the children as they straggle out of their bedrooms, unable to sleep on this BIG day.

At 5, Mark and I hug the kids and head to the hospital.

We need to stop at a drug store for something or another and I am thankful for Mark’s steady hand in my shaky one.

After a little confusion about where we’re supposed to park, we enter the hospital right on schedule, register and make our way to the floor.

The first order of business is an IV. The nurse tries to get one into my usually very easy to get veins and fails. Another unsuccessful try and two huge bruises on my arms, the internal dialogue starts.

“I’m here for major surgery and we’re having problems with a simple IV.”, says my brain. “It’s only going to get worse.”

“Lord I believe, please, I beg, help my unbelief.” says my heart.

Mark and I are left alone and he holds me and prays for me and the baby. God is so good!

Dr. V (my OB) enters the room and asks how I’m doing. “I’m nervous.”, I say, and begin to cry. Dr. V gives thanks to God for this new blessing and asks for safety. God is good.

Since the baby had been transverse, they do a quick ultrasound to check her position and she is a simple breech, much better for the c-section. God is good.

At 7:18 we leave the room. It’s surreal to walk down the hall and realize that in a few short minutes Dr. V will be cutting into my abdomen. When we get to the OR and find out that Mark has to wait in the hall while the anesthesiologist puts in the spinal. I’m not prepared for this and begin to shake as I walk into the OR alone.

“Dear God, please give me your peace that passes understanding.”

I sit on the edge of the table and shake uncontrollably. The nurse stands in front of me saying things I’m sure are meant to be reassuring. I continue to shake and pray.

And then I remember, I remember that there are hundreds of people praying for me. I KNOW that God is in control and I feel God’s peace sweep down over me like a curtain. I stop shaking immediately and am calm and able to smile at the nurse.

Within minutes  I’m lying on the table and Mark is holding my hand. We share a secret smile at the empty bassinet at the side of the room.

After seven hospital births the bassinet has come to mean that labor is almost over. I don’t think that Mark has ever failed to point out when they bring it in and remind me (in between contractions) “Look honey, it’s getting close. They’re getting ready for the baby. You’re doing a great job and are almost finished.”

Dr. V is in the room. He sits down and begins to hum. Mark and I hold hands and pray as “Amazing Grace” comes to our ears. Dr. V continues to hum.

At 7:43 we catch our first glimpse of Bella and Mark leaves me to greet his daughter at the bassinet. Minutes later he’s holding her beside my head. The anesthesiologist says to me, “Don’t you want to hold her?”

I can hold her? Of course I want to.

Me holding Isabella while Dr. V finishes the c-section

And the next thing I know I’m falling in love with a beautiful new life in my arms as Dr. V continues to hum “Amazing Grace” while sewing up the passage that God graciously provided to bring our sweet Bella safely into our arms.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T’was Grace that taught…
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear…
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares…
we have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far…
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me…
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be…
as long as life endures.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years…
bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise…
then when we’ve first begun.

Isabella Promise, 8 lbs. 9 oz. and 21 inches long.

At 8:17, exactly one hour after I’d walked down the hall toward that formidable OR, Bella and I are wheeled back into the room.

My recovery from this c-section was amazing. (At least that’s what the nurses said.) As for me, it was certainly an easier recovery than several of our natural births.

I never had any nausea (since I’m allergic, I wasn’t given any Morphine which can cause nausea), itching or other side-effects from the spinal or other pain medications. I was up and walking within 3 or 4 hours of surgery (another benefit of not having the longer lasting Morphine). Thank you, Tisha, for the advice to move as much as possible as soon as possible.

I felt terrific as long as I took my pain medication every 4 hours.

Within 72 hours of surgery, I was off of all the prescription pain medication and was just using over-the-counter Motrin (or was it Tylenol?).

My parents brought the children over mid-morning to meet their sister and we celebrated with birthday brownie.

Bella and I came home from the hospital on Thursday morning.

 and were enthusiastically greeted by our houseful of children.

 As we look forward to another C-Section six days from now, I’m grateful to remember God’s goodness to us in our first and praying to rejoice and trust in His perfect plan for our second.

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24 Responses to Isabella’s Birth Story: Baby #10
  1. Heather
    August 15, 2012 | 9:33 am

    Great story! I just had my 2nd C-section 1 month ago, and if I ever have to do it again, I would definately not have morphine! That stuff is nasty and really did a number on me, resulting in me not being able to hold or nurse my baby for several hours.
    May God be with you during your surgery and bless your new little one!


  2. Natalie
    August 15, 2012 | 9:40 am

    What a wonderful story! I also go through the same struggle with fear and anxiety, especially through my last baby–and God is SO good! I’ve been reading Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer in addition to reading the Bible every day. It’s important we think and repeat in our heads those wonderful Words of God telling us How Much He Loves US and how He is ALWAYS near and He promises to always take care of us. God LOVES us! He is our Father and loves us even more than we love our children….He is our Abba–our “Daddy” and loves us more than any daddy can. You’re in my prayers…God loves you so much!


  3. Elizabeth
    August 15, 2012 | 10:10 am

    I often read, but never comment. But today, I knew I needed to (even though the Internet is out and I’m on my iPhone lol)

    I, like you, always wanted a home birth. I looked forward to my God-given maternal instincts taking over and, by grace, working to bring another life into the world. My mom loved her 3 very easy birth experiences. I knew the same fate would await me.

    But our plans are not always his, are they.

    All 5 of my children have been in various forms of breech and transverse. I have had ALL FIVE of them via c-section. I have wrestled with every emotion you described. I have felt guilt, failure, depression, fear to the point of vomiting, anger, and more.

    In contrast to your story, however, I never knew why my kids were never head-down. Logic and peace would say, “There is a reason. You just don’t have this many malpresentations without cause.” I don’t want to bog down in details (which are on my blog under ‘Josiah’s Birth Story'”), but during my 4th section, the cause was discovered and I was able to let go of the anger and guilt.

    Unfortunately, the fear still follows me beginning at the 2nd trimester. But God is always so gracious. He knows what is best for us, even when the path ahead is clouded. Praise Him! He is so worthy!


  4. Jamie Z
    August 15, 2012 | 10:38 am

    Thank you for sharing. I’m in my 2nd trimester of my 4th pregnancy, 3 c-sections and preparing for my 4th. I’m still terrified of the surgery, even more so about the spinal. I really wish my husband could be with me during the spinal. This last c-section (in Dec) was the best experience yet. I had asked lots of friends to please pray for me & baby, most of all for my nerves. I know these prayers made the difference.


  5. RG
    August 15, 2012 | 11:12 am

    Well, I am definitely tired this morning. I read your first sentence and thought, “2 c-sections in a week, how is that possible?” Operator error.


  6. Jama
    August 15, 2012 | 11:13 am

    Shedding tears over God’s goodness to you and your precious Bella.


  7. Lori Lynn
    August 15, 2012 | 11:36 am

    What a beautiful birth story! <3


  8. Amy @ Finer Things
    August 15, 2012 | 11:59 am

    God is good. Yes, indeed! I love how he “hand picked” your doctor for you, too. What a blessing. 🙂


  9. MomStarr
    August 15, 2012 | 12:17 pm

    Kimberly, I am thinking of you these days as you wait for another thrilling time of welcoming a new baby into your family. Tears came to my eyes at your confession of how Great our God is!!!! I am glad you are remembering His faithfulness during the last c-section so they will be fresh on your mind for this one. He is always with us and will never leave us or forsake us. Hallelujah! Praise Jehovah!!


  10. Heather
    August 15, 2012 | 1:09 pm

    What a great post! It made me tear up! We will be praying for your next birth! 🙂


  11. Homeschool on the Croft
    August 15, 2012 | 1:18 pm

    Yes, birth stories do that to me anyway, but how good is God…. – giving you a doctor humming that precious hymn. Humbling. He cares for us so much – I wish I *believed* more, but sadly, my unbelief comes to the fore again and again. I *loved* this post. I too have your thoughts:
    “You’ve been blessed with healthy children. You were raised in a Christian home. You have a wonderful marriage. You are a wicked sinner and deserve none of this, so _______(something bad) is going to happen.”

    The day our last baby was born, and I almost died, but was alive and in ICU, God gave baby C a Godly Christian woman as the midwife to look after him. He was being covered in prayer. That was so amazing to me!



  12. Diana
    August 15, 2012 | 1:39 pm

    Kimberly, I am in absolute tears reading your story. Thank you so much for sharing your experience candidly. Our first son was delivered via emergency C-Section, it was such a disheartening experience that I am still struggling with. I have been keeping up with your current decisions to use C-section to deliver your most recent baby and am so encouraged by your reports about the surgeon you are using. I know this is forward but is there any chance you can ask him if he knows another surgeon like himself in the Louisville or Cincinnati area? I am so excited about accepting more babies into the world but concerned about their mode of delivery. We are hoping to have a successful VBAC, but in case that is not an option I would really like a surgeon who is open to more than the usual number of C-sections since we are praying for the Lord to bless us with a large family. Thank you and we are so excited for your family with welcoming your newest son soon!


  13. Melody, blogger
    August 15, 2012 | 2:04 pm

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being so honest and sharing your story. I read your posts all the time and you always seem near perfect. When you started talking about your faith and how you stress, EVERYTHING you said. EVERYTHING you felt. That is EXACTLY how I am. Glad to know there are other Christians like this. God has never let me down but I often react this way.
    God bless!


  14. Michele
    August 15, 2012 | 7:58 pm

    Getting excited for you and praying for a wonderful and safe delivery! God has GOT it, rest in Him! Big hugs from VA!


  15. Tisha @ Delectable Home
    August 15, 2012 | 8:31 pm

    We are anxiously awaiting this newest blessing, and I’ll be praying especially for your anxiety. I know you’ll do great!


  16. Christie Schroeder
    August 15, 2012 | 8:58 pm

    Okay, so I totally cried this morning reading your beautiful birth story. What a testimony to God’s goodness!! Thank you so much for sharing. It greatly encouraged me as I, like you, head ever closer to delivering this baby and fear starts to creep in. I praise God that we have been able to share this time of pregnancy together. You will never know how much God has blessed me through your Godly attitude and advice along the way!!


  17. Heidi
    August 15, 2012 | 11:10 pm

    Enjoyed reading your 10th child’s birth story. Just prayed for you with this one!


    August 16, 2012 | 12:51 am

    Excellent post !! Very touching … She is very cute !!


  19. Nicole
    August 17, 2012 | 11:00 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing… I will be praying for your family next week! We just delivered our 6th child last week…. In our car… I posted about the experience in my blog. I’m so glad to see you persevere and open your home to children despite complications. God has been faithful and blessed you for that. Again, you and baby #11 are in my prayers!


  20. deirdre
    August 19, 2012 | 10:21 pm

    Can’t wait to see him! Praying for you both!


    deirdre Reply:

    I figured out the answer to the question I had posted on your FB page.


  21. Courtney
    August 20, 2012 | 3:29 pm

    I felt so many similar emotions when my 2nd child was born. I had an emergency c-section with my 1st and was put under general anesthesia. Knowing I would be awake the second time while they cut into me was a scary thing. I’ll never forget the shaking inside and out of my body.

    The Lord has been good to me through each delivery. When I had baby 3, another c-section, I had so much peace and was able to really enjoy the experience of my son coming into this world. Number 4, the same thing. Hope that encourages you as you welcome baby #11 very soon!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    That is an encouragement to me!

    God has blessed me with peace today, it’s been lovely.

    Thank you!!


  22. Amy Clark
    August 23, 2012 | 9:02 am

    My first baby suffered from shoulder dystocia, which resulted in a permanent brachial plexus injury. Her arm is completely paralyzed, and after three surgeries there is no improvement. She also suffered some lung damage, resulting in frequent pneumonia, and at ten is already suffering from overuse injuries to her left arm and back. Needless to say, we decided that c-sections were the way to go with following babies. In fact, my next OB told me no doctor in the state would assist me with a subsequent vaginal birth! Anyway, we had two more boys via c-section, with a miscarriage in between, followed by a pelvic surgery, then two more miscarriages, one ectopic. (The Lord took that child’s life – NOT US, but that’s a story for another day.) C-sections are very difficult for me, and the next one will be my fourth pelvic surgery, so I’m obviously a little concerned, but I know for sure it’s the right way to go! Congratulations on your new little one!


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