Noah’s Birth Story

Noah's Birth

{You may wish to read Aria’s birth story first. You can find it here.}

I was nervous waiting for Noah’s birth. I had done everything I could to prepare, and I knew I could handle whatever came. But I didn’t want to handle a birth like Aria’s. I wanted an easier birth. I mean, I wasn’t asking for anything crazy – just easier than Aria’s birth. That was not such a tall order. I was afraid I wouldn’t get it.

My pregnancy with Noah was easier than Aria’s. I stayed smaller, he seemed smaller. I didn’t swell like I did with her, and I didn’t have sugar issues. My blood pressure remained good the entire time. I was ready to be done with the pregnancy as my due date approached, but I was not impatient like I had been with Aria. My due date was July 10, 2013. At 3am the morning of July 9th I awoke to a feeling of a pop inside of me. As my eyes flew open the water began to gush. My water broke. I was not happy. I knew that part of the difficulty of my labor with Aria was due to my water breaking before labor. Determined to stay calm, I woke Andy and requested towels. I mopped up, made myself comfortable, and by the time I was drifting off again a little before 4am contractions had started. I felt peaceful. This was going to go differently. Contractions were consistent, and gaining strength. I dozed, not trying to track anything. I knew I had time and my body would let me know if I needed to get moving. At 6am I got up to use the restroom. By the time I laid back down I realized my contractions had lightened and moved further apart. Uh-oh. I awoke again at 8am with no contractions. None.

I got up, had breakfast, showered, did my Bible study…all the while worried that I was not laboring and the clock was ticking. I had an appointment around 11am, so I didn’t bother to call the midwife’s office to check in. Andy asked about going to work, because he had a project that needed to be completed. I told him to go ahead, because things weren’t moving at all. When I arrived at the appointment and told the nurse my water had broken at 3am but I wasn’t having contractions she was very upbeat about it. She didn’t seem concerned at all. I didn’t buy it. (I learned later I was right not to believe her – she was worried for me, too.) Stephanie checked me and found I was 3 cm dilated. That was good news, at least. With Aria I labored actively over 12 hours to get to that point. My water was definitely broken, and gushed again when she checked me. She, too, was nonchalant, calmly telling me that I knew what to do and to call her when I needed her. I left feeling a little reassured, because she hadn’t mentioned a clock. Aria and I made our way across town to grab some fast food for lunch. On the way I called Andy and filled him in, letting him know he could stay at work, but should probably plan to come home early and to be prepared that I might call him and tell him to come ASAP. I also called my mom, who was our sitter for Aria during labor, and filled her in. I got off the phone with my mom as I pulled up to the ordering window. By that point I had started to have some contractions – being checked had kickstarted them.

By the time I left the drive thru line, about 20 minutes after leaving the hospital, my contractions were strong. On my way home I called Andy and told him he’d better come home now. At the Waterloo exit I called my mom and asked her to drive down and help me get Aria in the house, because I didn’t think I could do it. My labor wasn’t painful, but it was definitely intense. I was contracting every 8 minutes, and contractions were strong. Aria and I ate lunch, and then I put her down for a nap. I did some chores around the house, and around 2pm I also laid down for a nap. By that time contractions were 4-5 minutes apart, but lasting only about 30 seconds. I tracked my contractions, dozing in between until around 4pm. Andy had arrived home, and laid down on the bed with me, but I didn’t need his help. I was completely internal at that point, and doing fine. I wasn’t in pain, I was just concentrated. At 4ish I looked at my contraction tracker app and realized I had been having contractions 3-4 minutes apart, lasting about a minute, for an hour. That was the marker I was supposed to look for to head to the birthing center. I wasn’t sure, though. This wasn’t painful. I didn’t want to go in and find out I was only halfway there and had to hang around the birthing center indefinitely. I waffled, talked to Andy about it, and within a few minutes contractions picked up some. I had him call Stephanie. She said she’d meet us at the birthing center at 5pm, if we could wait that long. We knew we couldn’t get there before that, so we said that was fine. Andy called my mom and she came down to stay with Aria.

My mom’s first birth was similar to mine, though not quite as traumatic. Mom had told me this time around I should go as soon as my contractions were timeable, because I likely wouldn’t find them painful after last time. With that in mind, I determined to head in even though I wasn’t certain. Andy got everything around while I went to the restroom and got dressed. When I stood up my contractions moved closer together but shortened to 30 seconds again. I wondered if I was making the right decision, but my contractions were coming 1-2 minutes apart, so I knew I had to go in now. Both my father-in-law and brother-in-law are first responders on the fire department in our town. I was determined they were not delivering my baby. 😉

This time I knew sitting was miserable, and I knew I was in charge, so I refused to sit. I rode to the birthing center on my knees backward in the front seat of the van. We arrived shortly after 5pm. By that point I’d been in labor since noon. When we walked in I was still feeling pretty good. Definitely serious, definitely deep in labor, but not in what I would describe as pain. We went in the room and I decided to lie on the bed. It was miserable. The midwife student, Sarah this time, checked me. I was 7-8 centimeters dilated! I was thrilled – in a very serious way. That was what I was hoping, but not allowing myself to believe could be possible. The bed, which had felt so wonderful at home, was suddenly horrific. I got in the tub and laid on my side. Andy started the playlist of music I love. I had put it together specifically for this stage of labor. I had some light back labor, but only for a few minutes. Within a few contractions I felt an overwhelming urge to push. I was now in extreme pain, but it hadn’t kicked in until after we got to the bedroom in the birthing center. I thought for sure Sarah would tell me not to push yet, but she said I should do what my body was telling me. I pushed 30 minutes or so, and progress was quick. It was obvious with every push. Before I knew it Noah was crowning. I felt every inch of it this time, and it was amazing.

Noah James was born, in the water, at 6:34pm on July 9th. He was 10 lbs, 7 oz, and 22 1/2 inches long. He turned out to be slightly heavier than Aria was at birth. He definitely fooled us on his size!

I had been in labor for 6 1/2 hours, and we had been at the birthing center fewer than 90 minutes. Noah arrived with one little fist up by his head. That position caused a tiny tear, but it was so minor it required no repair. Mom and Aria came soon after Noah was born. Aria was excited, and seemed to understand the situation immediately. My dad and sister arrived a short time later. Andy’s parents and his brother’s family also joined us quickly. Andy and I had dinner (and Aria mooched, even though she’d already eaten), and I nursed Noah. Noah got passed around in the living room while I got up and dressed in the bedroom. Then I went out and joined everyone in the living room. By 9pm everyone but my mom and Aria had gone home, and the birthing center nurse was finalizing paperwork so we could go home. We were back in our own home by 11pm. I had the strangest sensation looking back on the day. I got up and had breakfast, then went to my midwife appointment. Aria and I had lunch, I labored and delivered, we had dinner, and went home and went to bed. I just had a normal day, except I had a baby between lunch and dinner. Surreal.

The difference between Aria’s birth and Noah’s was, well, everything. Noah’s birth was peaceful. Except for the last hour, it was almost enjoyable, even, because I knew I would soon be holding him. Stephanie commented that if we took Aria’s birth and divided it by Noah’s birth, we’d almost have two normal labors.

I had energy immediately after Noah’s birth. I moved around better that same night than I did a week after Aria’s birth. Of course nursing was not stressful to the extent it was the first time, because this time I knew what I was doing. We picked up life again right away. Noah was born on Tuesday. On Saturday we went to a wedding, and on Sunday we went to church and family dinner. Things have kept on that way.

Researching and experiencing childbirth has made me passionate about unmedicated birth. When I got pregnant with Aria I *knew* I would have an epidural, because I had a low pain tolerance. Stephanie patiently and sweetly told me we had time to discuss options, and would do whatever I was most comfortable with. She gently maneuvered things so that by the time I had Aria I wanted an unmedicated birth, and was considering that I might someday want to teach Bradley Method classes. By the time I gave birth to Noah I had realized that I was now dreaming of someday being a doula. I am grateful for the two birth experiences I have been blessed with. The extremes give me a wide range of personal understanding from which to draw if I’m ever able to realize that dream.

Now, I wonder what a third birth will be like?

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