Rachel and Dan had committed to every part of the process the entire pregnancy. Taking hypno birthing classes and doing every bit of homework, exactly as it was assigned by their instructor.
They hired a doula at the suggestion of their midwife (and childhood friend of Rachel’s) Jillian of Starling midwives.
Attended every childbirth education class I offered to them and came with a list of questions to every prenatal.
When their baby was breech, Rachel essentially became a bat, in hopes to encourage her baby to change positions. She did every spinning babies assignment I gave. She saw one of my favorite Chiro’s Dr. V at Back to Balance. She went for acupuncture as well, including moxibustion.
It became apparent overtime that my role
would be helping them work toward acceptance. At our last prenatal as we planned for a scheduled cesarean due to a breech baby, I knew we were finally at place where she understood this was her fate (even if we all hated that no doctor would allow for a breech vaginal birth).
She cried and made a statement of mourning, “The most magical thing about labor and birth is not knowing when your baby will arrive and I don’t like that I’m picking her birthday.”
The universe heard that statement loud and clear, I do believe. We would be thrown for a loop or perhaps, given a gift….
A few days prior to her planned cesarean, Rachel sent me a text very early in the morning, on July 20th, that she thought her water broke.
After a brief conversation with me, it sounded like she may have been in labor for a few hours, her water was broken and a call to her practice was next.
They asked her to come in for a check. We chatted on the phone during our drives and met outside of the hospital. Rachel was calm, peaceful, laughing about the current scenario. We had a long hug and then she bent over and leaned into their backseat in the valet line. I helped her manage a contraction and Dan then asked, “this is labor, right?”
They gathered up their things and asked me if they had time, I replied yes, but honestly I thought she was well into active labor but was using all of her tools, tools she was sad she may never need. We went upstairs and checked in. Stopping a couple times for breathers.
I want to reiterate though that this couple never had an ounce of fear. Disbelief with a large side of excitement were driving their positive attitudes.
We were brought into triage, where a nurse confirmed Rachel’s water was broken.
Rachel was very calm. She asked for some counter pressure on her back, Dan was holding her hand telling her how proud he was of her, what a badass she was, he was telling her he never doubted her abilities, and that he was excited to meet their baby. I welled up listening to his words of encouragement.
Every time a surge came, you could see Rachel’s body relax deeply into it. She was the most relaxed I had seen someone during labor in years.
A staff midwife walked in, not one from Rachel’s practice, but one that I knew and trusted from prior experiences. Rachel agreed to a cervical check as her own providers were in another birth, but close to being done.
The midwife let Rachel guide the check. The check was taking longer than normal and then I watched the midwife’s eyes widen.
Dan asked if everything was ok, to which I replied, “I think Rachel is further along in dilation, than maybe what was expected.”
The midwife replied, “That’s exactly it. Let me get everyone.”
By the time everyone was assembled and ready to head down to the OR (took only minutes!) Rachel was 8cm dilated.
Still calm, in control, chatting with Dan and I in between surges, Rachel was capable of laying down and relaxing, conserving energy, which if you have been in labor while unmedicated, you know is not an easy feat!
She mentioned how thankful she was to have her and her baby experience the labor process, knowing there are benefits for everyone this way.
While a cesarean would still be the way their baby would come earthside, Rachel was fully prepared for each and every scenario.
If Rachel stopped practicing self hypnosis techniques, if she never took childbirth education classes and only planned to arrive for surgery, this birth wouldn’t have made her thankful and fully blissed out. It wouldn’t have had her husband proudly repeating that he “never doubted her” and that he knew “she was going to do this perfectly!”. It also means their baby might not have had fully connected parents, right at the time of their birth.
It would have been another traumatic birth story.
At a final cervical check in the OR, before her spinal was placed, Rachel was fully dilated.
Even if breech vaginal birth isn’t supported in our state, she still managed to get two things she desired: an unmedicated labor and a baby who got to pick her own birthday. 💞
This birth was pure magic.
I’m so thankful I got to be part of their experience and get to call them my friends.