Parents Share Natural Labor Experience at TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center

This Valentine's Day, Melissa and David Shoaf, residents of Hendersonville, are celebrating by spending time with their newborn daughter.

Baby Leighton Ruth Shoaf was born Monday, February 6 and the experience was nothing less than heart-warming.

Dr. Brett Branson, OB/GYN physician at TriStar Medical Group - Bluegrass OB/GYN and chief medical officer at TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center, helped deliver 7 lb., 2 oz., Baby Leighton at 8:28 p.m.

Melissa was grateful for the opportunity to be surrounded by her family and her work family during her natural birth.

"I delivered my fourth child at TriStar Hendersonville in 2014 and that great experience is what actually made me decide to work at this hospital," said Melissa, RN at The Birth Center at TriStar Hendersonville. "The same team that helped me deliver almost three years ago was at my bedside again."

Melissa loves the family-centered approach at The Birth Center. Rooms are designed that labor, delivery, recovery and post-partum care happen all in the same birthing suite.

"After I delivered Leighton, I had a beautiful hour of skin-to-skin contact and really got to bond with my daughter," said Melissa. "When I help my patients, I know that a lot more than medical 'TLC' goes into a delivery, and my coworkers and husband were by my side to help me emotionally and spiritually through the process."

David Shoaf considers himself lucky to be given the Valentine's gift of a fifth child. The parents have a seven-year-old, six-year-old, four-year-old, two-year-old and now an eight-day-old newborn.

"I am proud of my wife," said David. "We are grateful for Dr. Branson respecting Melissa's decision to not have an epidural. I am glad she had no complications and was able to do a completely natural delivery."

As a father, David felt like just as much of a patient as Melissa.

"I can't say enough about the staff. They were so attentive and allowed for me to be an active participant," said David.

"Everyone was so accommodating," added Melissa. "They gave me support and embraced my birth plan to go completely natural."

"Watching Leighton be born was incredible. It was breathtaking," said David. "'How do I even describe how I feel?' As a dad, it was a tear-jerking moment."

Melissa and David felt the love from the entire Birth Center team and are excited to be home, spending time together with their entire family and newest addition - baby Leighton.

Pain is temporary - love is forever.

To schedule a tour of the Birth Center or for a free OB/GYN physician referral, please visit