Melissa sometimes hears that she leads a charmed life, and the fact that her baby arrived on his due date was no surprise. She was fortunate to have what they call a “textbook pregnancy”, in which she was swimming and running until the day before the baby came. She had some minor contractions on the day before her due date – which her husband recognized as contractions before she did. She woke up to strong contractions at 2 am, and spent a few hours at home before heading to the hospital. Her doula Nicole met her there shortly, which was a good thing because Melissa was clinging to the side of the hospital bed and didn’t want to move until Nicole coaxed her away. Melissa was aiming to have an unmedicated birth experience if it was possible, and she was successful in that goal. Having her doula and her husband by her side were immensely helpful, as well as the support from the hospital’s nurses in achieving a natural birth.
After only 4.5 hours at the hospital, it was time for the baby to enter the world – though labor took an unexpected turn just as she started pushing. The baby’s heart was decelerating with each push, and the doctor thought it might be necessary to do an emergency C-section. Melissa was wheeled to the operating room, where she was greeted by bright lights, a cold sterile table, and eight clinicians in the room. There she was given one more opportunity to push, and push she did. With the help of six nurses cheering for her, she was able to deliver the baby in only a few minutes. (Melissa was very glad that she had trained for a half Ironman prior to birth).
After almost two days in the hospital, she and her husband decided to name their son Emerson. The next few days were the absolute highest that Melissa has ever been on life, as she was so thrilled to have Emerson join their family. With the help of physical therapy and gradual recovery, Melissa is back to her regular active lifestyle. Emerson is now 16 months old and continues to be her greatest joy.
Melissa Noel Bio
Melissa lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband Mark, her son Emerson, and goldendoodle named Griffey. She works at the Mayo Clinic where she partners with clinicians to bring innovative care models and new clinical services to life. Melissa holds degrees in bioengineering, mechanical engineering, and business administration from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of St. Thomas. She enjoys competing in triathlons, spending time outdoors with her family, and traveling the globe. She can be contacted on Instagram at @melissa.m.noel.
- Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
- Expecting Better by Emily Oster
- Birth Hour podcast & Patreon Facebook group
- Erica Ziel Core Rehab Program for Postpartum
- New mom groups, such as Amma New Mama class based in Minneapolis
- Solid Starts for feeding tips
- Taking Cara Babies for baby sleeping tips
- Cribsheet by Emily Oster
- Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp
This episode was sponsored by Motif Medical. Motif designs insurance-eligible products for busy moms. With a focus on innovation and empowerment, Motif’s line of breast pumps and maternity compression garments are sophisticated, yet discreet, and made to support mothers as they navigate new motherhood. Discover why moms are reporting more milk in less time with the Luna breast pump, and see how you can get it covered through insurance at motifmedical.com/birthhour.