Isaac’s Birth Story

I had to walk all the way to the water to find the right spot to begin this blog… I needed to center myself to convey all that needs to be conveyed with the dignity, the admiration, the respect and the rawness that this requires.

First I guess I should give you the background information to this amazing woman in my life, she is a gentle and kind spirit, who is 100% servant hearted and absolutely power packed with a mother’s heart that is full of every soul she’s ever gleaned her inspiration from.  She is as gentle as the sunset breeze and she is as powerful as a tornado’s gust when it comes to her family and friends and assisting in ANY way she can, all while being an awesome supportive military wife!

Amanda is simply amazing in my eyes, and as a military wife and mother, she has packed and moved more times than what any one person should bear.  She has fought for her children for medical needs and adheres to a super regimented diet due to serious and deadly food allergies.  She is as natural and dressed down and raw to the soul as it comes, and by her own admission, she is as “nutty- crunchy granola and Birkenstocks” as it gets! LOL, but the way I see it, she is simply an amazing woman of God, of faith, of family, and of friends! She has willingly and eagerly served so many others, so when she asked if I would shoot her 4th and final birth, I was thrilled and of course jumped at the chance!!

See Amanda and I go way back.  I was a 24-year-old single mother to 2 young children when we met in the college age ministry at our church, and it was evident even then, that she was a TRUE SERVANT HEARTED woman!!! She would help watch my children, when a team of us wild and crazy youth set out to share the gospel with others on Clearwater Beach.  We had an awesome outreach ministry for over 3 years and Amanda was there most EVERY Sunday night, singing, helping, but mostly serving, and watching the little ones so we could minister to the homeless population and others.

I was also privileged to shoot her and Jakes wedding. It was so long ago, I was still shooting film then!! Wow!  Time does fly!!!

So when she asked me to shoot the birth story, I was thrilled, because even though we hadn’t been able to see each other very often throughout these years, she is one of my mommy Heroes, a woman I highly admire and respect and it was like time had never passed when we were able to see each other again prior to baby Isaac being born.

This SUPERWOMAN momma, who had endured so much throughout this pregnancy, Kidney stones, lower extremity swelling, extreme abdominal and back pain, and bouts of being in and out of the hospital, was still thinking of me when I had my oral surgery, and she brought ME a prepared meal!!  I told her how crazy she was to do such a thing, because of all she had been going through, she shouldn’t be thinking about me! But that is just who Amanda is, she is an astonishing woman and I love her to pieces!

This pregnancy had taken its toll on her! Amanda was REALLY REALY ready for Isaac to be born! She begged and pleaded… “PLEASE ISAAC, Mommy is tired, mommy is ready, and mommy has life to tackle with you in my baby wrap.. so let get this show on the road kid” …  but as week 36 came and went.. week 37, 38, 39… Nothing.. NO SIGN.. no indicators that he was coming.. just more days and more discomfort with each passing day.. Week 40, 41.. Finally the midwives decided.. we will do all we can to prompt this Natural Birth Process along..

She had a plan, an All NATURAL- birthplan, full of clary sage aromatherapy and a water birth. She wanted nothing more than an easy breezy 4th delivery…. But that would not be the case… OH NO.. that would certainly not be the case!!

I was at my son’s basketball playoff game when the text came through, it read “at the birth Center, my water broke, should go quickly now!” so I turned to my mom and said, “take the kids with you, It’s her 4th, so I should be home by 9, or 10 tonight.”  LOOOOOLLLL SO WE THOUGHT ISAAC!!! You had us fooled kiddo!

I head off to the Beautiful Breath of Life Birth Center. I arrived around 1pm, I was astonished at how casual and cool she was.  The air smelled of sweet clary sage and her own amazing cooking that she had packaged up and prepared!  YES! YOU HEARD ME RIGHT!!! SHE COOKED AND PACKED UP A MEAL FOR EVERYONE BEFORE SHE LEFT TO DELIVER A CHILD!!  Go ahead and give this girl a hand, because that is impressive!!!

She was eating, the family was gathering, it was nearing the Kentucky Derby time and Amanda’s pain began to increase. Labor was coming and going in waves, sometimes it would appear that she was ready to head into some more intense and regular contractions and sometimes it would stall out altogether.  Kat, the midwife, began to do all she could to make sure that baby Isaac was in proper position, However the more she tried, the more the labor began to stall.  Jake hilariously express his disdain for the clary sage, but he certainly wanted to do all he could to help too and was a great support.

But now Amanda was fighting against the clock!  She had until Midnight to be in ACTIVE regular and increasing labor, and if not, the decision to admit her to the hospital was looming.  However, Amanda’s Birth plan did NOT include a hospital, nor a doctor, nor an IV or an epidural, or anything of the such! Amanda really wanted a natural, and preferably a water birth. She had envisioned it, she had laid out her desired birth plan, with as little medical intervention as possible and as natural a birth experience as someone could have, in the birthing center with midwives and family gathered around.  However, that was not the case for this particular baby and this particular labor!

And it has now been decided that Isaac is the strong willed child out of the bunch and I have officially donned him with his Native American Name, Ituha…Strong and Mighty Oak, one who does not budge.. LOL!

He was simply NOT budging, and as the labor intensified and the contractions became more regular, Amanda tried everything in the most natural form that would ease and relax her through the pain.  She would get in the hot shower, the labor intensified. She would get into the tub, and the labor would stall. She would sit on the ball and rotate to move him into position and still nothing. The labor would stall but her pains seemed to increase, yet he was not moving down!  She begged, pleaded and cried out for baby Isaac to cooperate, but as the hours increased, it became more evident that they would have to make decisions about going to the hospital.  The second midwife tried every skill in her amazing repertoire to help Isaac move down. She did a few amazing but very uncomfortable tricks and it seemed to speed things up a bit. Amanda’s labor intensified and she had now gone through MANY HOURS of intense labor and pain, only to find out that in the last 4 hours of excruciating pain and uncomfortable contortions, she had only dilated 1 cm larger.   It was a defeating moment for Amanda, but the decision to go to the hospital and help decrease her pain level seemed like it would be the best decision to make, as she was in agonizing pain.  Vickie, the midwife did her best to explain that at this point, an Epidural was needed. Her body needed to relax to be able to work with her.  Jake and Amanda agreed and we began to pack up to make our way to the hospital. We arrived at Morton Plant Hospital and immediately it became a hospital environment and completely different situation than what Amanda had desired. The nurses swooped in, started taking her vitals, slapping monitors on her, and inserting the IV, which DID NOT go well. They made arrangements for the Epidural to be administered and I must say although it was not her Ideal situation, the physicians and the nursing staff of Morton Plant Hospital were incredibly accommodating, supportive, and attentive.  The epidural was given and Amanda was able to fall asleep til later in the morning when It was time to deliver!

And the delivery was not without its own complications! The delivery was difficult, as was the labor, as was this entire pregnancy, it had been a long road to get through to these final pushes.

Amanda was so tired! So mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted, she didn’t think she had the strength or energy to push, she was really worn down.  It was hard for her husband, mother in law, and me to see her suffer and struggle so much throughout this labor and delivery. The doctor, in his attempts to help, used the suction cup AND forceps, as he could tell Isaac was having a difficult time making his grand appearance!  And when Isaac FINALLY did make his Earth entrance.. it was apparent to ALL, why this had been so difficult for the petite-framed Amanda.. Isaac was almost 10lbs, weighing 9lbs and 15 ozs. and he was 23 inches long!!!!! He was ENROMOUS!!!! He made his debut at 9:51 a.m. almost 24 hours later after labor began.

Amanda was RELIEVED!!  Amanda was completely drained and Amanda was glad it was finally over!  I myself, have had 4 children … ALL NATURAL… and I just witnessed my dear friend go through one of the most painful childbirths I had ever w

itnessed.. yet when they finally put Isaac in Amanda’s arms, and even while the pain was still ever present, she was every bit of the natural momma that she is… doing skin to skin contact and breastfeeding as quickly as she could. My Sweet Dear Amanda, in the face of such a difficult painful labor.. your effortless grace still shined right through!

I know that was ALOT to read.. but now let the pictures recount the story you just read! The pictures say it better than these 1777 word you just read!


Nothing like your sweet babies to bring you some cheer and encouragement!  Back to the business of laboring.  Time to transition to the hospital.  World… meet Isaac

Dr Jamison was AMAZING!!!!

a family of 6 now!  a picture with the photographer. I looooove babies! and Isaac.. you were a lot of work, but we are so glad you are here! Your Mommy is amazing! 

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