Noah’s birth story really begins with the birth of his sister, Samantha Jo. She was taken by c-section. After her birth, and being told that I would have to have all subsequent babies by c-section, I was devastated. When only 7 months later we found out we were expecting our 5th baby, I began to research the possibilities of having a v-bac (vaginal birth after cesarean). The more I researched, the more I realized this was a very real possibility for me. Finding a doctor to agree and take me on as a patient, however, was a different story. After much prayer and research, we decided that going with a midwife would yield the best possible situation for us to have a successful V-bac and natural birth. Since Dan, my husband, was not quite comfortable with a home birth, we decided we would go with a midwife at a free standing birthing center. This proved to be a challenge, however, as most of the CNM’s the birthing centers around Dallas would not take on a primary (first-time) v-bac. In fact, in all of Dallas we found only one – Dinah. We went in to interview with her and right away we were impressed. She made me feel so comfortable and at peace with our decision for a vbac. Dinah agreed to take me as a patient and all was set.
My pregnancy with Noah was a relatively easy one. I attribute much of this to a good diet and chiropractic visits. The only issue I dealt with was towards the end of my pregnancy. I had what is called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, which is basically a severe pelvic joint pain caused by too much separation of the pubic bone prior to delivery. This caused terrible pain when walking, lifting my legs or turning in bed. Thankfully my chiropractic visits did make it bearable on most days.
I began having Braxton Hicks very early on in my pregnancy, which is very common given this was my 5th pregnancy. About a week before the birth, I began having “real” contractions. Nothing painful and not very consistent but contractions, nonetheless. On Thursday, December 6th, I woke up feeling a lot of pressure and feeling and looking as though I had dropped. I went to my regular chiro visit and during the visit began having some contractions. That evening they became consistent at about 10 minutes apart. However, at about 10pm that evening, they petered out and stopped. I talked with Dinah, just to let her know what was going on and she assured me that she didn’t think we had many more days before this sweet little boy would make his appearance. Friday I went through the day with no contractions, just a ton of pressure. Saturday morning yielded the same results. At this point I began to think that my original due date of December 10th would probably come and go and it would be at least another week before the baby would come.
About 2 weeks prior to all of this, I was watching Good Morning America, and they had did a story about an Italian Restaurant in Georgia that has a wall of baby pictures who were born after their mommies ate the restaurants eggplant parmesan. To date, more than 300 of the pregnant women customers who ordered the eggplant have given birth within 48 hours. After sharing this story with my husband, he decided we would give it a go.
Well, I won’t say whether that did it or not, but I can say within 30 minutes of finishing my dinner, I started having contractions again, consistently about 7 minutes apart. Again, they were not painful at all, but I was feeling these in my back this time. They lasted until about 11pm that night and then pretty much stopped. However, I was up every hour with back pain and having to go to the bathroom. Finally at about 5:30 I was able to get some good hard sleep until about 8:30 Sunday morning.
At about 9am I started having contractions consistently 5 minutes apart. They were good contractions and I started to really feel them, though they were not uncomfortable and I used some meditation and prayer techniques to relax through them. We called my doula and let her know what was going on. Within about 30 minutes or so the contractions were at about 3 minutes apart. We called Dinah to see if we could go ahead and come in to the birthing center, and left a message. At 10am or so, my water broke and the contractions started coming on hard and fast. They were starting to get slightly uncomfortable at this point, but still manageable and I still felt under control. They were down to about 2 minutes apart by this time.
A friend of mine was headed over to the house to watch the children for us and my doula was on her way over. Just when we thought we were going to have this baby at home, my midwife called and said to head on over to the birthing center. We called my doula and had her reroute to meet us over there.
When my friend arrived to take care of the children, we headed out to the birthing center. On the way over there, I closed my eyes and went into deep meditation and relaxation. I don’t even remember the trip over there. I was able to get through the contractions, but by the time we got to the birthing center (which normally takes about 30 minutes and Dan said we made it there in a little over 20 minutes) I was starting to hear myself make some strange sounds (later I would find out these are the sounds you make when you are getting ready to push).
When we got to the birthing center around 11:30 or so, my midwife had me hop on the bed in whatever position was comfortable – I opted for my hands and knees. She checked me and I was already dilated to a nine and fast going for a ten. I could not believe I was already at a nine and still had a handle on my contractions! They were very different from the Pitocin induced contractions that I had previously been used to.
While she was checking me, my contractions were getting very intense and I could feel them very strong in my back, so my husband kept continued pressure on my back to help ease the pain a bit.
My midwife already had the water drawn in the tub for me and I decided to go ahead and get in to the tub to help ease the contractions, thinking I would just get in for a little bit and then get out when it came time to actually push. I did some hard labor in the tub for about 10 minutes or so and just when I thought about getting out of the tub, I heard myself say “this baby is coming, I’m pushin’ him out NOW!”
I had heard tell about the “ring of fire” right before the baby comes out, and now I completely understand why they call it that! That is indeed exactly how I would describe it! I pushed a few times and his head started to come out, but it took a few pushes and my midwife pulling a bit to get his shoulders out as they decided to both come out at the same time rather than one at a time which is the norm. But, out he finally did come and at 12:28pm, Noah Dennis Hall blessed us with his presence.
After the birth and Noah and myself were cleaned up, we relaxed and had a time of recovery on the big commfy bed. Dinah took care of some paperwork and cleanup, and then helped to make sure I was hydrated and fed I was truly pampered by everyone!
I could not have asked for a more perfect birth experience. It was exactly what I hoped for and more. God was so gracious during the whole pregnancy and the birth itself. I am still amazed at how fast it all went. I was in hard labor for no more than an hour. It was just incredible. I am so excited that I was able to go completely natural. And, the experience of birthing at a birthing center vs. a hospital was like no other. I was able to come home later that evening and recover in my own bed.
For me, this birth experience with Noah was almost a healing of sorts… a redemptive birth from my experience with Samantha’s birth. The medical community told me that my body could no longer birth a baby naturally and certainly not a big baby. Well, by the mighty grace of God, and with the incredible help of Dinah and my husband, Noah and I proved them wrong!