To fully understand Noah’s Birth Story we have to start on July 5th 2021.
After a long Fourth of July - we started having contractions around 10 am. They were spontaneous. They were uncomfortable. Around 3pm they started getting closer together and were lasting 40 -60 seconds long. I called our Doula and expressed to her that I was pretty sure I was in labor but if I wasn’t I didn’t want everyone to feel the need to rush over. She suggested calling our Midwife just to let her know. Our midwife said she was happy to head over - I told her I would time contractions and call her in an hour with an update!
Roughly an hour later I called our midwife back and she was already on her way. I called our Doula back she was already on her way. To understand you have to know that we literally gave birth to our daughter roughly 25 minutes after showing up to our Birth place (my last child) - so while everyone wanted to respect my space they also wanted to be sure they made it. (Ironic ).
My husband started setting up the birth tub - and then went to drop off Junior and Penelope. By the time he got back our midwife and doula were there helping me Finish set everything up through the contractions. We sat around a- joked and laughed. Because we’ve always thought of our Birth Team as more of family than a group of medical professionals. (Though they are some of the best).
We went out for a walk around the block - as I breathed through contractions that were starting to get MORE intense. Zachary telling everyone some of the best stories - he always keeps everyone on their toes.
We finally made it back to our home - and while sitting there I had the urge to throw up. I felt like I was going to puke. Our Midwife looked at Me and said “are you okay?” And I just remember saying “I think I’m going to puke” and literally simultaneously there was a bowl in front of my face and thank God because everything I didn’t eat that day came up. Shortly after this our midwife urged me to get into the birthing pool. Where I worked through more contractions - while our Doula and midwife took turns applying counter pressure while Zachary sat at my head reminding me - I was safe.
I felt nauseous. I felt pressure. Lots of pressure. This was it everyone thought. I had all the signs. Text book signs.
Nothing. No baby. No progression. My previous births have always been relatively quick. My midwife helped me out of the tub where I willingly consented to have my cervix checked. 2 centimeters and my cervix was titled. Contractions started to slow down - they began getting less intense.
I felt discouraged. What was going on?! I’ve Given birth two times before this! Did I not know my own body? I know what contractions feel like. I know what PRESSURE feels like. I know that if you start having contractions you need to drink some water, take a shower, change positions etc to see if they change / stop. I had drank almost a gallon of water! I had showered! I had gone from sitting, walking, the birth pool. On my back, on my side, sitting up. What was going on. My midwife checked to make sure my water hadn’t broke. Our doula and midwife tucked me in and made sure I was comfortable heading home to rest themselves. They both assured me - I did know my body. My contractions were real. My labor was real. The next morning - my midwife came back to check in - contractions had nearly fully stopped. Water still intact. I was exhausted. Still feeling discouraged- but I knew I needed to trust my baby and body do it’s THING and our son would come soon enough.
Prodromal labor is labor that starts and stops before fully active labor begins. It's often called “false labor,” but this is a poor description. Medical professionals recognize that the contractions are real, but they come and go and labor may not progress.
July 15th - we had what would be our last prenatal appointment with our midwife. Due to high blood pressure among other things we discussed possibly looking at naturally inducing the following Thursday if my blood pressure continued to increase. Our estimated due date was Monday, July 19 so it would put us past 40 weeks. I texted our Doula after this appointment to let her know what was discussed. She simply asked “how do you feel”. I felt confident. I knew and trusted my birth team. I trusted my body. I trusted my baby. I had faith he would come before the following Thursday! And if not , I was completely comfortable with the induction methods we discussed.
July 17th - who plans a double birthday party for their 9 and 10 year old 2 days prior to their EDD? Me and Zachary! I baked 3 cakes, went to the store, helped clean up the house. I entertained multiple guests. Around 2:30 tiredness hit me like a freight train. I picked up Penelope and told my husband we were going to take a nap - he was in charge of the party now! I was woken up about two hours later from awful back pain. (4:30). I was able to drift back to sleep for a bit and when I awoke again it was by a pretty intense contraction (5:15). Almost everyone had left by this point - only a few people were left over from the party.
(6:20) The last few guests left - I felt another STRONG contraction that took my breath away. (6:31) I called my mom to let her know To keep her phone on her - her phone was already off.
Contractions continued. They were roughly 8-10 minutes apart - but manageable.
(7:00) with contractions becoming consistent I decided it was a GREAT time to drive our niece home before things started picking up more. Right after I dropped her off - I had another contraction. This one. This one made me stop to breathe. I took my foot off the gas of the van and let the van slow to stop on it’s own (in the trailer court). After the contraction passed - I knew I had 8-10 minutes to get home before the next one. (7:23) My mom called back. I expressed how I was feeling and what was going on. She told me to keep her informed.
When we got back home I took Penelope and we got into the bath. My husband was sleeping with our other niece. And the big kids were playing in the living room.
Every contraction that came Penelope was on TOP of me - in the bath making contractions hard to breathe through. She asked to get out - pooped on the floor. Climbed back into the bath with her poopy butt. It was beyond time to drain the tub and get out.
This is why July 5th is such a key part of our birth story. I was afraid to call our birth team again. I was so nervous that if I called them and had them all head to us - labor would stop again. Silly me. I told my husband we were having a baby tonight and he just kept asking if I was sure. I had been in contact with our midwife and Doula. They both assured me - they would come when I was ready for them to! They were ready to come.
(9:00) I sent our midwife an updated timing of contractions 5-7 minutes apart. Lasting 40ish seconds. I advised her that I could talk through about 50% of them. Looking back - this is because I HAD to talk through them. My big kids wouldn’t stop asking questions - I had to comfort Penelope. I had to talk through them.
(9:01) I simply could not parent anymore. The waves were coming and they were intense. I wanted back in the bath. Alone.
I let my sister in law know - that she could come anytime. She walked in our home maybe 10 minutes later and said “how can I help? What do you need?” I handed her Penelope and went back to the bath - and this where I would stay.
Bethany came in to check on me multiple times while also managing our other children. She reassured me that I was doing great. She urged me to make the call. She brought me water to drink every time she checked in.
(9:46) I called my mom requesting she come over to help get everything set up. There was NO way this wasn’t it. She showed up in record time - I swear she was parked around the block or something.
(9:51) I called our midwife asking if she could just come over to check things out before going to bed. I was still in denial. My husband was still in denial. While on the phone with her - my whole body was taken over by a wave of contractions. I ended up hanging up on her so I wouldn’t drop my phone in the bath - but not before she told me she was on her way.
Minutes after this - I reached down to check my self. I felt my baby. He was almost THERE. He was COMING. Alone in the bathtub. I yelled for my husband - he came Running in. I exclaimed “I feel him! I feel him. Look I feel him” while grabbing his hand so that he could feel too.
The look in his eyes.
(10:03) Zachary called the midwife back. Making sure she was “really on her way”. She assured him - she was coming! She advised him to fill up the birthing pool and to try to have me in it - by the time she got there.
The next 20 minutes are kind of a blur. I remember Zachary coming in to set up the hose from the shower - to start filling up the tub. I remember telling everyone multiple
Times I was NOT getting out of the bathtub.
I could not imagine getting out of the bathtub.
And then the midwife walked in, and the first thing I said was “I am so sorry”. I felt so bad even right then - for waiting so long to call her. For not trusting myself. She was so calm. She was so sincere when she told me “it’s okay, you’re doing a great job”.
My body began to push. I felt the “fire”.
I looked at my midwife “I am trying to go slow, but my body will not stop!” She said “it’s okay, I got you. You’re doing great”.
The moment I mentally took back control of my birth.
My water broke - and his head came out! My midwife looked at me and said “okay next contraction I want you to push, so we can get his shoulders out!”
“I’m not ready.” I expressed. My midwife simply said “Okay. Baby looks fine. You have time” and I breathed. For the first time - I felt in charge. I felt heard. I felt powerful. And with the following contraction - our son was born. (10:23). Our midwife slipped his umbilical cord from around his neck and placed him on my chest. I did it.
(10:29) “Jessica Don’t be mad” “what!” “I had the baby.”
I called our doula/photographer moments after our son was born. She asked if I still wanted to her to come, and of course I did. So she was on her way (she was actually putting her shoes on when I called her.)
Noah and I remained in the bathtub for about 45 minutes. We did continuous skin to skin. He even had his first latch. The big kids came to the stairs and listened to his cries. Zachary allowed my mother to cut the babies and Umbilical chord . We allowed it to completely stop pulsating. Finally it was time to move, and while Zachary helped tend to our other children my mother did skin to skin with Noah. My midwife helped me to my bed where she made sure I was comfortable and assisted me in giving birth to the placenta. Just a sidenote I had never experienced naturally birthed my placenta, it was peaceful.
We didn’t weigh Noah until two hours after he was born. He had pooped multiple times prior to being weighed. He weighed in at 9 pounds and 11 ounces meaning he was more than likely over 10 pounds at birth. Zachary finished out the evening with skin to skin. He was perfect. Our big kids and niece were fast asleep upstairs. Penelope went home with Bethany. Zachary and I laid on either side of Noah - and life began as a family of 6.