Early labor and consistent contractions started on Saturday, March 11 around 11:00pm. They weren’t very strong, but were 5-8 minutes apart so we decided to call our midwife at 12:25pm, in case they sped up quickly. We all felt like it was best to be extra precautious because of the drive she had to get from her house to ours, and the fact that it was my second birth & Willa came quickly. When I was on the phone with the midwife, she told me to listen to my body, not my mind and to try to get some sleep. She stayed over that night & slept on our couch in our living room. Throughout the night, contractions stayed fairly consistent, but never got stronger. In the morning, around 6am, the midwife did a cervical exam and swept my membranes, she went home. The cervical exam told us that I was 2-3 cm dilated and that my cervix was quite thin (she never gave me a percentage from effacement).
Tanner and I went on a walk in the morning while my mom watched Willa. We had to stop often during our walk so I could breathe through my contractions. They weren’t super painful, but still consistent at about 5-8 minutes apart. They stayed like that for the duration of Sunday, March 12. There were a lot of special moments with Willa during this day. We think Willa had an inclination that things were about to change because for like 45 minutes, she just snuggled with Tanner and I while listening to my birth playlist. That was an emotional moment for me. Later that night, it was my turn to read books with Willa for bedtime. She fell asleep in her bed with me lying by her. The last thing I told her before our lives changed was, “I love you Willa Jean.” I didn’t know it at the time, but I was hopeful her sister would be here soon.
Watch NOA’S BIRTH VIDEO HERE:
Around 11:00pm that Sunday, and after Tanner & I had attempted to get some rest, we headed downstairs for me to labor in the living room. Contractions were strong enough that I couldn’t get any rest and I was noticeably uncomfortable. I had loose stools and started to see a few bright red blood drops in my pad. I started working through contractions on the medicine ball from then until 12:05am when my Mom came up to check on me. At this point, contractions were getting more painful, but were STILL 5-8 minutes apart so I told her I didn’t need any help. During the entirety of all my contractions, I always focused on keeping my mouth open and loose through each contraction. I purposefully let out vocal breaths to help my body remain open and soft. Throughout all of this, Tanner was taking a little catnap on the couch. Which, honestly, I was totally okay with because I knew I would need him & his power nap strength later on.
Things from here progressed quite quickly. I ended up waking Tanner up about 15 minutes later and at 12:31am we called our midwife. Contractions started coming every 3-6 minutes apart, and they were definitely stronger. Tanner and I actually waited about 15 minutes longer to call the midwife from when I first mentioned it. I guess the incident of calling her too early the night before got in our heads a little bit. Obviously looking back, we called our midwife too late, but at the time I was worried it was too early because contractions weren’t 2-3 minutes apart like they were with Willa when we went to the hospital. After calling the midwife, we called Julia, our birth photographer, and had her come our way! Luckily she only lived 30 minutes away so she was able to be present for the rest of the time laboring, during my transition time period, and for the delivery of baby Noa.
Soon after that, Tanner called my mom to come upstairs. She helped bring our birth boxes downstairs, as well as the red chair cushion. At this point, I was actually a bit skeptical that birth was so near. I didn’t have any cervical exams performed during active labor, and so I didn’t have that to “gauge” how close I was. I had mentally prepared myself to be in labor for a long time.
At 1:23am on Monday, March 13, I had Tanner call the midwife again because I am now aware that I am nearing the peak, and I knew my body was getting close to pushing. The intent was to see how close the midwife was and keep her on speaker phone in case there were any questions during the birth. Unfortunately she didn’t answer because we called on Whatsapp so she didn’t have wifi while driving. Tanner and I both kept calm and prepared to meet our little girl. This is what we had prepared for, this is the moment we had been waiting for.
In the next few minutes I started to feel the urge to push. Birth does not look any particular way. For me, during transition, my whole body and voice changed from taking deep breathes and focusing on opening up to slow, loud moans while grounding down to push. Tanner quickly took off clothes and laid the shower curtain down on the red cushion under me. I labored most of the time on my hands and knees, and that’s how I stayed while pushing.
Just like active labor, the pushing period was very fast. I didn’t need a textbook to tell me what to do, I heard my baby calling in my own language & together, we were able to find our way. In four powerful pushes, baby girl was here! The first push I dug my hands into the cushion & felt Noa descend low. Tanner couldn’t see her yet, but after he could see how wide I was inside. After a few moments to catch my breath, another urge to push came. On the second push, I could feel her crowning. Tanner could see her hair and told me she had more hair than Willa (something I thought she would have, but he and Willa didn’t). By this time, my body was a force. I was hot with sweat, but deep in a land full of love, peace, and determination. On the third push she came out further, but then retreated back in. It was a sensation I’ve never felt, but I wasn’t worried at all because I knew my body was doing it’s thing! On the last push, I harnessed the power of what it meant to be a woman, a mother, a force….Noa was out of me and into Daddy’s arms!! It was incredible to feel how strong my mind-body connection was. No one was coaching me how or when to push. It was strictly me listening to my body’s cues and desires.
After catching her, Tanner passed Noa to me through my legs where I moved the umbilical cord off her neck and placed her against my body. The chord was long enough for me to bring her to my chest. We were a bit concerned by her gurgling noises, but Noa got the fluid out herself and was totally fine! Daddy joined me by my side as we took in our precious little girl and marveled at what had just transpired. I had labored & birthed our little girl! Daddy caught her & took on the roles of as the doula, midwife, husband, and dad all in one during the process. 10 minutes after, Grandma woke Willa up to meet her baby sister. For the first time ever, all four of us were there, together, kneeling on the floor, soaking up this moment. Endorphins flowing, it was a rush of love we have never felt before.
Minutes later the midwife arrived and helped Tanner move me onto the couch with baby Noa in my arms still attached to the cord with the placenta inside me. We laid together doing skin to skin & nursing for around 40 minutes until Tanner cut the cord. After that, Noa and I spent about another hour and a half together on the couch nursing and cuddling. From the very beginning, Noa really liked my milk. Tanner and Willa sat right next to us soaking in the magical feeling, until eventually they held her and felt of her sacredness. Willa took pictures on her pink little camera and showed Noa her Elsa wand. Tanner did skin to skin & gave eskimo kisses. All medical care was completed in our living room here in Germany. After that we went into baby bliss mode & soaked in all the newborn cuddles. Our family has never felt more complete.