Spoiler: This post is a Long Birth Story interspersed and ending with Unbelievably Cute Baby Pictures to help detract from the traumasticity of the contents herein – at least for my sake.


As I’m finally on a low enough dose of pain meds that I can type without the screen doing funky swirly things (and having the urge to write about white fuzzy rabbits), I’m going to make a weak attempt at this post, before I subconsciously block parts of the following memories from my mind.

At the beginning of last week, I was finally able to pinpoint exactly what I had been desiring birth-wise: it wasn’t that I necessarily wanted a VBAC and didn’t want a C-Section, I just wanted the experience of actually going INTO labor. I didn’t get that opportunity with Ali, and I really wanted it with Noah.

And so, on Thursday night when our Small Group prayed for us, they prayed that we would get to experience the excitement of naturally occurring labor.  And since our Small Group prayed both of our babies into my body (we got pregnant with Ali 3 months after they started praying for us after we had been trying for 2 years, and then got pregnant with Noah the next month after their prayers after having been trying for a year), we figured that surely they could pray a baby out of my body.

I’d been having fairly painful, regular contractions all week (nothing new there), and they got especially worse on Thursday night.  So I went into my OB’s office one last time Friday morning, just to see if anything had changed.  And, as had been the case for weeks, nothing had.

Despite the prayers from the night before, after my doctor’s appointment, I put aside all hopes of going into labor and focused on enjoying the last weekend of our pre-baby life.  I was ready for a C-Section on Monday, and accepted that in all likelihood, I was not going to be going into labor.

On Saturday night, every step I took was painful, but I wasn’t having contractions.  Everything just hurt. I didn’t think too much about it, except to thank God that this baby was coming OUT on Monday.

After Ali went to bed, we started wrapping her Christmas presents.  I got about three presents into the process and had to quit – it was too painful.  So I laid down while Chris kept wrapping, and I started having contractions – something that again I thought nothing of, since that’s all I’ve been doing for months.

But when we went to bed around midnight, they had gotten fairly painful.  THEN they started getting very rhythmic – something I hadn’t ever experienced in that way.  Then they started getting even more painful and more rhythmic.

I started giving myself a pep talk.  There was NO WAY I was going into the hospital for the second Saturday night in a row on false labor.  NO WAY.  So you just need to quit having contractions and GO TO SLEEP.

But I couldn’t sleep, and they continued to get worse.  Finally, at 2:30 am, I jumped out of bed, woke Chris up, and told him I couldn’t take it any more.

We made that thrilling middle-of-the-night phone call to my parents, and they headed over to stay with Ali.  When they arrived, I no longer had any doubts.  I told them I would never be fooled by fake labor again.

Chris, of course, despite the fact that I was NOWHERE near pushing, took his one and only opportunity to use his hazard lights and unnecessarily speed (“careen” might be a more appropriate word) to the hospital, running all red lights and stop signs, swerving maniacally, all while I was contracting quite painfully.

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to afford him such a gleeful experience.

We arrived and I was quickly declared in “real” labor, hooked up to the machines and IVs, and began the laboring process.  I was absolutely high from glee (and Demerol) that I actually DID manage to achieve labor on my own.

(Anyone need or want anything? Just come to our Small Group on Thursday nights.)

We got there just at the right time (due to Chris’ crazy driving, I’m sure), because I began progressing very quickly, and the contractions got much stronger.  I began questioning the sanity of all of my natural childbirth friends and relatives, and was overjoyed when it was time for my epidural.

After the agonizing process of getting an epidural, we settled in for a nice, relaxing, boring labor experience like we’d had with Ali.  It’s a wonderful thing to feel nothing.

But then, around the time I reached 5 centimeters, things began to hurt a little.

They said it was normal.  Even though I hadn’t experienced any pain with Ali, I said okay and kept laboring, a little less enthusiastically.

Then the pain got worse.  And worse.  And then unbearable.

They called the Anesthesiologist in, and he quickly determined that my epidural needed replacing.  When he took the bandages off, he realized that somehow it had come loose – all the medicine was puddled on my back.  This “never” happens, they all assured me quite puzzledly.  And I hadn’t moved hardly at all, so it certainly wasn’t caused by me.

But I was just relieved to get a new epidural, so even though getting the second one was ten times as painful during the now much worse contractions, it was a happy moment.

So we settled back in for a nice, boring rest-of-labor.

That lasted for an hour and a half.

I progressed quickly to 7.5 centimeters, and then started hurting a little bit again.

They said “it’s normal – that just means you’re getting close to pushing.”

Then the feeling began coming back into my legs.  And the pain – it was indescribable.  I know people choose to do this naturally and I’m totally cool with that, but usually,  natural choosers are more prepared than I was.  Natural childbirth had NEVER been even a potential in the plan for us, so I didn’t know how to breathe, how to cope, and how not to scream, and the pain was an absolute shock to my system.

The doctors rushed back in.  They quickly took out the epidural again, but this one hadn’t come loose.  They had absolutely no idea why it wasn’t working.  They said that very rarely, an epidural won’t work at all for someone, but never did one work for an hour and a half and then just quit.

In the meantime, I  began completely panicking.  Besides the pain, I was petrified of going through the entire labor process in unplanned, unprepared natural childbirth (especially after a prior C-Section), but even MORE scared of having to have a C-Section and the drugs failing there, too.

They gave me my third epidural.  This time the process was nearly unbearable, and I was scared out of my mind that it wouldn’t work again.  But they put it in, the numbness began to come back, and I started to (kind of) calm down.

Until an hour later.

I started having one spot that was hurting.  I thought it was my catheter, so I had the nurse remove it.  That didn’t help.  It started hurting more.  And I started freaking out.

The doctor came in and said that sometimes you can have a “hot spot” – a spot that the epidural doesn’t reach, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  But then, as he was talking, all of the feeling returned to my legs again, and I panicked.

Within seconds, more pain flooded my body than I’d ever experienced.

The nurses and doctors began trying to have a conversation about what could be happening to me without actually using the words – but I asked, and yes, they admitted that they were discussing the possibility of a Uterine Rupture.

Things got really chaotic really quickly.  My OB checked me, I was at 8 centimeters.  My uterus had not ruptured, thank goodness.  The Anesthesiologist rushed in, pumped more meds in, but nothing helped.  Although I usually get very quiet in pain, the pain had reached a level where I was no longer quiet.  I screamed that they needed to either numb me as if they were giving me a C-Section or they needed to give me a C-Section.

But my doctor had already determined that since they had absolutely no idea what was happening with my body AND that Noah was sideways, had been sideways for a while, and wasn’t looking like he was moving, that a C-Section, immediately, was the best solution.

My first scream question was how were they going to make sure the pain medicine worked while they were cutting me open?

My doctor assured me that they would do a spinal – not an epidural – and I wouldn’t feel a thing.  But then the Anesthesiologist said that he couldn’t do that – there had been WAY too much medicine pumped into my body, they didn’t know where it had gone or what was happening, and he couldn’t risk putting more in.  The only way to do a C-Section was to put me completely under for the procedure.

At which time my nurse told me, “But you need to be prepared that when you wake up, you WILL be in pain.  Because that is just putting you under, not treating the pain.”

Even though it was an emergency C-Section, it still felt like it took an eternity to get set up for.  I had at least 8 more contractions during the surgery prep, the trip to the operating room, the transfer from my bed to the OR table, more surgery prep, and finally to the point where they mercifully let me lose consciousness, screaming all the way.


It took me a long time to get myself to actually wake up after the surgery, but my first thought was that I was relieved that, although I was in pain, I now knew that an incision cutting me open from side to side was much less painful than the contractions I’d been having.  Who knew?

And from that moment on, it all got better.  Noah was a delightful baby from the second I first got to hold him.  He came into the world a professional eater (hopefully not Man-V.-Food-Adam-Richman-style), nursed wonderfully, immediately calmed down for me every time I held him, and captured my heart immediately.  And he loved me – I could sense it.


I have been able to enjoy so many things about the first few days of newbornness with him that I wasn’t able to with Ali because I was so overwhelmed with the shock of parenthood.  I immediately bonded with Noah and am completely in love with him, and have been able to cherish each and every moment.  And, thankfully, I have been so laid back about everything.  Almost nothing has worried me or made me nervous, and everything about newborn care has come back so naturally.


So, although Sunday could have qualified for one of the worst days of my life for a few hours, it most definitely and much more so qualifies for one of the best.  I am completely in baby heaven right now, and the early part of Sunday is a distant memory.

Back Camera

We’re still in the hospital right now – I’ve had a couple other complications (most likely too gory to blog about, but feel free to ask about them if you’re a glutton for the disgusting) that have slowed down our process.  They are much better now, so we should be going home tomorrow (Thursday), and jumping right into a magical Christmas with our family of four.


Thank you all SO much for your prayers, visits, emails, tweets, texts, facebooks, and phone calls.  They have meant SO much to us, and I have wanted to be able to respond to

each and every one of them, but I just can’t tear myself away from this precious, beautiful baby that’s asleep on my chest to do anything else but cuddle.







42 thoughts on “Noah’s Arrival

  1. I am so hapy things are better now. All the pictures make me just want to come right back up, but, also we know I cannot. The pictures are great and you are the best Mommy I know. Prayers still with you that all is smooth going now and you heal quickly. I love all of you so much.

  2. Wow! and I had a wiggins when the injection wore off a bit at the dentist!

    Very glad to hear that all is well now and you got to experience labour (odd desire, if you ask me, but it takes all kinds…). *Lovely* photos of you guys hugging the little one. :)

    Have a lovely restful Christmas!


  3. Wow. That’s a birth story like I’ve never heard! I’m just so glad worked out for you in the end. It’s funny how holding a baby can (almost) make you forget the pain of labor. Almost.

    I’m so excited for you and your family!!!

    P.S. What was Ali’s reaction to meeting Noah?

  4. I (unwillingly) did a natural birth. Most retched pain of my life. Also, only time I’ve screamed curse words. Natural birth junkies are insane.

    Lol, but anyways, great to hear that it all came out good in the end with a perfect little baby to snuggle :-)

  5. Bless. Your. Heart! I cannot imagine how scary it was to keep experiencing that pain! That was definitely *the* worst thing about labor! So glad everything went ok with the surgery & Noah is perfect! You are an amazing mama :)

    (and I’m gonna be the nosy glutton to ask about your complications – because I’ve been there 4x & chances are, I might’ve experienced them!)

  6. aw! I’m so happy everything turned out well, but I’m sorry about all of the crappy stuff…

    You’re a lucky lucky woman for having your baby just in time for Christmas!

    And the pictures are beautiful, just like your family!

  7. I had one birth in which the epidural worked great and two during which they wore off before the actual delivery and they couldn’t give me any more boosts. I had never known pain like that in my LIFE. Like you, I don’t understand how women do it (by choice)! I will never forget the feeling of sharp elbows and knees being pulled out of my body. That is hands down the strangest thing I have ever experienced.

    I am so happy that he’s here and you’re recovering well … all the best to you guys! He is GORGEOUS. What a sweetie. :)

  8. Oh my goodness. I am SO sorry! I think that is the worst labor story I’ve ever heard! I didn’t even know it was possible for the epidural to fall out! What a nightmare! And I so sympathize b/c I felt that level of horrible pain for about 8 minutes before my epidural with S. I literally felt like I was going to pass out or lose my mind it hurt so bad. Oh so sorry. I wish it could have gone better for you but I am so happy that you have your precious baby with you now to help you forget the pain. My goodness he is a cutie! I love those adorable plump lips. So sweet!

  9. Hi, Rachel, I could tell from your Tweets that things were not going well. So, you ended up with that C-section anyway. But, look at the rewards, that beautiful baby boy. So happy you’re good now! Congrats, he is gorgeous. hopefully we will all see him at the next lunch!

    Merry Christmas!

  10. That sounds traumatizing! I hope you are okay with things now. It’s good that you’re writing about it. He is so beautiful! ♥ I hope you got your magic smoothie!

  11. Congratulations Rachel!! I am so happy for you and Chris and so sorry you had such a traumatic birth, but at least he is healthy and you are slowly getting better. Stinks you had to be put out for your delivery, I was sort of for Connor and all I remember them saying is “it’s a boy” and then I was out :) Enjoy your beautiful boy and I hope you 4 have a very Merry Christmas!

  12. wow, Rachel! This painful/sweet story made me cry. I am so happy for y’all & that little boy is too adorable for words. Don’t you dare tear yourself away from him to reply to us =) Merry CHRISTMAS Callahan family!!!

  13. Wowzers!! First, thank goodness everyone is healthy and doing well. Noah is so stinkin’ adorable. Love his little face. That birth story sounds so scary. I had to stop reading in the middle as I was so nervous for you– and for me, since I am only one month behind you.

    Since your small group is so good with their prayers, they might want to add a prayer stipulation as to how the baby arrives (if there is a next time). ;)

    How did Ali react?

    I think I am a glutton and need to know those other complications…even with my slight freak out reading your birth story. I am sure that my imagination is much worse.

    Enjoy loving on Noah and celebrating Christmas as a family of four.

  14. I am reminded of several things …. One, babies are not here until they are literally here–safely delivered. And two, to pray without ceasing…we had been following the tweets and posts and continued to pray all day until we received the news he had arrived and we didnt even know all the details but the Great Physician did! Thanking God that Noah is safely here and that you are recovering. Merry Christmas!

  15. Wow! What an experience, Rachel. I can’t imagine what Chris was going through as his bride was in so much pain. You’ll have to write from his perspective when you are up to it. I’m so glad it’s done and you can snuggle with your precious baby boy. Have a Merry Christmas.

  16. Oh Rachel, I had no idea you were still in the hospital and of course I want to know the gory details!

    Little Noah is absolutely PRECIOUS!

  17. Yeah, Rachel! What a trooper you are, and sweet Noah is so handsome. I agree that those lips of puckered plumpness are perfectly precious.

    Now, as you consider your annual prayer request, remember to be very specific. You got that natural birthing experience just like you asked for… and then some from the sound of it. :)

  18. Wow Rachel ! I am sorry that you had such a bad experience with labor, my sister had a bad epidural when she went into premature labor and my niece was born too early to survive, so with my nephew (Alex) she did it without any drugs but didn’t say how painful it was. I might have to rethink my decision to try it without anything if it is that bad. I am glad that everything turned out ok.

    Like Leslie I am a little curious as to what the other complications were but don’t necessarly need to know if you don’t feel like talking about.

    Also if your small groups does prayer request I wouldn’t mind a few extra prayers that I meet the man God has chosen for me to marry this coming year, being 35 now the closer I get to 40 the more I feel like time is running out for me.

    Hope that y’all have an amazing Christmas with your beautiful family of 4 and the extended family.

  19. I’m so proud of you and so very glad that you and sweet Noah are OK. Due to a REALLY misleading birthing class nurse, I didn’t get my epidural for C until I was 8.5 cm. The nurse finally said that I had to get it if I was going to get one. The contractions at that point made me feel like I was literally being ripped in half. All that to say, I totally know that feeling of indescribable pain without the intent to give birth naturally. I’m so, so, so sorry that you had to go through that. I’m just praising God that you were able to experience going into labor though. I wanted that too, and I totally understand. What a gift and answer to prayer.

    I hope that you are recovering completely and fully able to enjoy your precious little boy. He is beautiful. I can’t wait to meet him and love on him. I’m so sorry that we weren’t able to come to the hospital. Boo on fevers. Love to each of you. We continue to pray for your complete recovery and for rest, peace, and joy for each member of your family.

    Merry Christmas!!!

  20. Thanks, everyone!

    To try and answer everyone’s questions…

    Ali is doing well! She’s a bit standoffish, but not too bad. It will be really interesting to see what she thinks tomorrow when we’re all at home together.

    I will email all of you who asked for more “complication details” – I don’t mind sharing all the gory details (y’all should know that by now!!).

    Oh – and somehow I forgot to mention that he was also sideways, so the doctor didn’t think he would have been able to come out VBAC regardless. Oh well – I can always say I tried.

  21. Congrats, Rachel. He’s beautiful. I look forward to hearing more about Ali’s reactions once you take Noah home. I too am interested in the gory details – it’s much too difficult to find an honest birth story out there. Either the oxytocin blast after the delivery kills the memories (likely), or we women just think no one would want to hear about that. Hope your recovery quickens.

  22. I would love to hear the rest of the story. I am going into labor and delivery, after all. :)

    He is so perfect and I’m so so happy for your precious family! Merry Christmas!!!

  23. aaaaah! congratulations on noah’s arrival! (ok, so truthfully? I’m commenting even before I’ve read the post – because I love reading and re-reading birth stories…I know, I’m weird like that. BUT I wanted to go ahead and get in my congrats since I’m already a few days overdue!)

    Ok, so I’m going to read the actual post now…

    **and congratulations again!** =)

  24. My first baby was backwards and the pain was WAY worse than when I had her sister who was two pounds heavier! That whole facing the wrong way thing really plays a number on you. Sorry that it was so hard and so glad you have your handsome boy. Merry Christmas!

  25. Oh, sweetie… I’m sorry it was so awful. (If you’re sending out a “complications” email, you can add me to the list.) I’m glad to hear you’re recovering well though, and he looks so lovely. And you’ll all be at home just in time for Christmas, so that’s pretty perfect. :)
    When Kee was born, I had every intention of getting an epidural (after planning to go natural with Beege and then finally getting an epidural after 16 hours of back labour, I figured why do that again?) She thwarted me by crowning just as the anesthesiologist came in. Nowhere near as bad as your story, because she was kind and came out pretty quickly…
    Luckily, the pain is much less memorable than that first look at your beautiful new baby. :)
    Beege wants me to say, “Have fun with your baby, I hope you like him. Hi Ali, I hope you like him too.”

  26. ooookaaay, next time I’ll read the post FIRST before posting my congratulations. What drama! I’m SO sorry for all the trouble and bizarre complications! But he looks precious…so very, very precious! He seems so alert and wide-eyed, and you look FAB!

    And I love how your hospital room is decked out with christmas lights!

  27. Oh my goodness! Praise God you are healing! That must have been so scary. He is a beautiful baby.
    Continuing to pray. And have a very Merry Christmas!! :)

    P.S. You look amazing for just having a baby!

  28. I’m so, so, so happy for you and your family. Your pictures are so beautiful and I can’t believe how GOOD you look after going through that experience! I’d probably look like a drowned rat!

    I have been reading your blog for almost 2 years now but I don’t comment often. The reason I really like your blog is you have a wonderful sense of humor and a clear love for your family. Your experience with Ali when she was a baby is eerily similar to mine with my son (now 2 years old) and your blog gave me hope through the trying times that things will get better, and they have gotten MUCH better. My husband and I have been debating over whether to have Baby #2, so I am very glad to know things are working out so well with Noah. That gives us hope.

    If you are sending out the “gory” email, please send it to me. I want to be prepared if we do try for #2 (my first was a C-Section baby too!)

    Merry Christmas!

  29. I am so glad I finally was able to read this – 1st – yes your prayer group is working miracles 2nd – OMIGOSH what in the world about the epidurals – mine never fully set in so it only numbed the contractions, I felt labor, but I can’t even imagine it fully wearing off and then facing a c-section not knowing if it would work – AGH 3rd – I had the exact same experiences between my 1st and 2nd, 1st was WAY overwhelming and omigosh what have I done to appreciate the baby the 2nd was such a different experience – I was way more laid back, not scared, etc… Congrats again – he is a doll!

  30. What a rough labor experience, I’d be freaking out to if my epidurals just suddenly stopped working!
    Glad that Noah’s cuteness & calmness has sort of made you forget about all the pain & craziness of his birth :)

  31. I read the entire ordeal.. and was too worried about you.. (yes, its in the past now.. but worry-by-instinct-on-hearing-about-labour kind of worry…..labour is one scary miracle)…

    But Noah’s baby pics are just so so so very beautiful!! Speechless. They kind of made me forget about all the previous crazy birthing exp you had.. Hope he did the same to you too!!
    Also, how did you manage to still look so good in that last pic??

    Big hugs and cuddles to little baby Noah!! .. I miss that part of baby-hood…
    He’s just sooo cute!!

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