The Birth of Noah John
After three miscarriages in a row, the birth of our sixth child was something that didn’t seem like reality, until he actually came and we could hold him in our arms! Having been through so much loss in the previous year, after Noah’s birth I found myself whispering, “thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord!” daily when I at last held him in my arms. Noah’s name means “rest,” and the Lord also gave us a spirit of rest in Him that was palpable at Noah’s birth.
Contractions started around 12:30 AM on October 3rd, 2012, but they were very irregular. I purposed to go back to sleep, knowing I would need to work hard through labor. Early the next morning, we called Nanci since labor seemed to be picking up and becoming regular. Nanci came over, and labor seemed to slow down. Awash with hormones, I felt insecure and silly for asking Nanci to come. I wanted her there because I felt very vulnerable, but didn’t want to waste her time. Nanci reassured me, encouraging me that she wanted to be there. My friend Lauren showed up to serve as labor support, and Natalie also arrived to serve as a second midwife to Nanci.
After a couple of hours, Nanci, Natalie, Lauren and I went for a walk in the neighborhood. Several times I needed to stop and take a break for a contraction, but they still were not coming regularly. When we returned home, I encouraged Nanci and Natalie to go out and have some lunch. When they left, it’s as if my body got in gear. Labor picked up and I felt a desperate desire to get into the birth tub. My husband Mark worked to get it ready quickly. With preparations keeping Mark busy, and contractions coming regularly and with more force, I fought the feelings of being scared and alone. Nanci and Natalie arrived soon after Mark got things settled, and I was able to get into the birth tub. What relief! Once again, the birth pool was proving to be my favorite natural ‘medication’ for pain during labor!
Once labor became intense, I didn’t feel comfortable being touched in general, but it was helpful to have acupressure points pressed on my ears during contractions. This was something I’d found during research before the birth, and was thankful that it did help. Other things I did to prepare for the birth were to make a CD of worship songs that would support and encourage me, gather essential oils for use during the birth, and create a list for my husband Mark. Weeks before the birth, he asked how he could support me more during labor, so I had this list out on the table next to the birth tub:
Mark ~ Labor Help
1) Be right there as much as possible
2) Keep music going; lights dim
3) Apply different essential oils frequently (every 20 minutes) – focus only on relaxing/pain ones unless others needed
4) “You’re doing a good job.” “You can do this.” “This will be over soon.”
5) Offer sips of water, snacks, lip balm.
6) Apply pressure to lower back, hips, thighs if needed.
7) Offer support behind Rebecca in the birthing tub (holding head out of water through contractions)
Labor felt intense from noon until Noah was born at 3:14 PM. I was thankful to be so supported, with Nanci, Mark, Lauren and Natalie offering encouragement and staying nearby. The children came in and out of the room to check in on things, which was also uplifting. Through pushing, I often reached down with my hand to feel for Noah’s head, measuring with my finger so that I could see progress. When Noah was crowning, Nanci expertly handled the fact that he had his arm curled up at the side of his head (just as baby #5, Ezra, did, before Noah!). Nanci had me push slowly as he came through to ensure that I did not tear.
What incredible joy and relief to hold Noah when he was born! Mark and I were grateful for our incredibly supportive team in helping us to have a peaceful birth at home once again. Our journey from a hospital birth with a midwife, to a birthing center with a midwife, to a home birth with a midwife (four times over) has been one that has increased our appreciation for the benefits of laboring in a comfortable place and having birth treated with respect (instead of unnecessary intervention). We can highly recommend Houston Midwife, Nanci Stanley to anyone desiring to birth at home!