Noelle’s 2nd Birth (as told by her sister)

Second babies.  They don’t get a baby book.  They get hand-me down clothes.  Poor, overlooked lambs.  Well, this sweet nephew will get a birth story!

My sister was home from Cambodia and staying with my parents while awaiting her second son’s birth.  Their washing machine had just broken so she spent the day washing clothes at my house.  Oh, and we went roller skating!

I had a feeling.

She called at 11pm to let me know her waves were 3 minutes apart.  She was going to try to rest.  I came over at 1:45am after a phenomenal clothes crisis.  All my birthing clothes were wet in the washer (someone used my washer all day!).  Then I forgot my camera and had to go back home.  I was a hot mess.

When I arrived, I found Noelle and her husband, Zach enjoying some worship music in their bedroom.  She was hilarious.  She made up a game in which I should collect “pay it forward” quotes at one birth and share them at the next birth.

She also claimed she experienced a painful “tonsil cramp” which I’m certain is not a thing.

At 2am, I went downstairs to heat up a rice sock but I couldn’t find the microwave.  Can we please remember that I once lived in this house?  Ahem, hot mess.

At 3:30am, she gave me the “pay it forward” quote of the year:

Noelle:  “It’s nice to have a sis for a doula.”

Me:  “Yeah, I don’t get to use my professional skills often with the family.”

Noelle:  “Hmmm.  I get to use mine all the time.”

She’s a therapist.

Then she had laughing fit number 1.

Followed a little later by laughing fit numbers 2 & 3.  I have one on video if you want to witness the rare labor laughing fit.

During a birthing wave, Zach would murmur sweetly and sincerely, “Peace, peace, just rest in peace.”  That phrasing led to laughing fit number 4.

At 5am, I went downstairs and saw three large pots on the stove.  Noticing that the first was filled with water, I assumed they were all filled with water and I turned all the burners to high.  Cause, you know, we actually do boil water at homebirths.  And then I left.

At 6am, I went back downstairs to make coffee.  I immediately slipped and fell in a puddle of water from the boiled-over pots and smelled something horrible.  One pot had been filled with soaking beans which burned to a crisp.  I took them outside and plopped them on the deck.  But not before the terrible stench permanently came to reside in my hair.  Then I tried to make coffee and couldn’t figure out how so I did the only thing one can do in a crisis–I woke up my mother.  And as she took over in the kitchen, I changed into some of her clothes and tried to deal with my stinky hair.

At 6:30am,  Jen, the birth photographer and Carrie, the midwife arrived.

Laughing fit number…?…I lost count:


It was such a lovely morning.  My mom made ridiculous amounts of food (including veggie soup, er, minus the beans).  She also made gallons of coffee.

It was so beautiful.  Noelle was comfortable and happy.  There has never been a birth with so much laughter.  I cried during her last birth because she had to work so hard.  I cried during this one because the joy overwhelmed me.  Jen and Carrie cried with me.


At 12:50, her water broke and while Jen was feverishly snapping photos of Noelle and Zach laughing, the amniotic fluid was moving quickly toward her sock-clad feet.  There was another laughing fit because a worship song that was playing had the lyrics, “Drop that heavy load you hold…”

And then, 20 minutes later, there was a baby!  And Noelle was praying words of welcome over sweet Emmett.

Welcome EmmyJ–our child of laughter, who brings such joy to our lives.

(And to give her credit, Noelle thought she did write his birth story.  She’s busy saving the world and stuff)