Hello email list! My name is Rachel and I am honored to be the featured mom this month! I am a certifying doula, future midwife, and currently a La Leche League leader for our area, so my life kind of revolves around birth, breasts and helping moms. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I am lucky to have given birth to both my children through Brookhaven. My first, Gabriel Lowell, was born at the birth center on Sunday April 15, 2012 after a quick and intense labor. I dilated from 5-10 in about a half an hour! That was a surprise to everyone and most of the birth team didn’t make it in time. Heather arrived 3 minutes before he was born to assist Misty. One of the main things I remember during that labor is how I thought I was being hilarious and witty. I was coming up with these great zingers and couldn’t for the life of me understand why my husband, doula and Misty weren’t finding me delightful and entertaining. Turns out, I was so far in labor land, I wasn’t actually speaking. I made the decision that my next labor would be different. Liam Michael was born at 8:23pm Sunday May 25, 2014. His birth story starts on Friday the 23rd. I woke up around 3 am with regular, strong contractions and a little bit of fluid leaking. I got up and labored alone for a bit to make sure they weren’t going away. My husband was off of work that day, so when he woke up around 6, I let him know what was going on. We went about our morning with contractions getting closer together. I let my birth team know things seemed to be happening, since we know my track record of flying through labor. Around 9 am contractions started to taper off. I texted the birth team to keep them updated and decided to get a massage. One of my friends is a massage therapist, who gave me an induction massage the night before I went into labor with Gabe. He came over late morning , then one of my doulas, Mia, came around lunch time to hang out and be supportive. We spent the rest of the day Friday going on walks, taking Gabe to the playground and just hanging out waiting for something to happen. Mia went home late afternoon and we spent the evening with my parents and sister making s’mores and having a grand time. Saturday, we spent the day as a family, taking Gabe to a children’s day in Broadway park, grilling, going on walks and enjoying our time as a family of 3. I had regular contractions, but they were so far apart that I decided not to pay any attention to them. Sunday morning, I woke up after midnight with what felt like more fluid. I had gotten some tests to check and see if that’s what it was. It was fluid, but such a small amount that it was decided I had a high leak. So nothing to be concerned about. Dan got up with me and we decided to have my sister come get Gabe in case things really got intense, so he didn’t wake up to it. I tried laying back down to sleep, and was able to cat nap between contractions. They continued getting closer and stronger for the next few hours, then tapered off again. At this point I am getting grouchy. I am tired of my body playing games with me and I am starting to get concerned because I had a little bit of spotting. Mia came over again mid morning and we just hung out at my parents house for awhile. Early afternoon, I asked Maya if she would come check on us to make sure Liam was doing ok and to make sure I was doing alright with the bleeding. When she got to our house, she checked me and said I was dilated to a 4, but she could easily stretch me to a 5. The bleeding was probably from my cervix dilating and Liam was doing great. That was all I needed to hear and was fine with things going slowly. I sent Mia home with the promise to call if anything changed and texted the rest of the birth team to keep them all updated. After the cervical check, contractions started coming back and Dan asked if he should fill the birth tub. I kept telling him not to since I didn’t want to jinx real labor coming. Around 3pm, contractions were feeling much more productive and a little more intense, but no where near what I had with Gabe’s labor, so I kept thinking that we weren’t close to the real deal yet. I started slow dancing with Dan through them and making quiet moans during, but between contractions felt completely fine. I texted Maya to let her know what was happening and decided to lay down again and try to nap. I was able to cat nap between contractions again and started thinking that things were slowing down when I felt a small pop and a gush of fluid. I jumped up and knew that things were for real this time. I texted Maya around 5:30 to let her know, then texted again a little after 6 letting her know things were picking up. I let my birth team know that it was time to head to my house, for real. I started vocalizing through contractions, but in between felt completely fine. I wanted to wait until Maya got there and checked be before getting in the tub, but was REALLY ready to get into it. Maya arrived around 6:30, checked me and I was at a 5. The birth team started trickling in shortly after. My mom and my sister, who was my photographer were there and helping , my doulas Meredith and Megan arrived while I was in the tub and we were all laughing and joking about my awesome birth tutu that I sadly never got to wear. I felt so strong and so in control of this labor. Contractions were intense, but not painful, and I had great breaks between them where I could talk, and laugh and joke. This time people could hear me and I was delightful. I kept saying that I was having so much fun! The energy in the room was amazing and my husband was an outstanding support. I could look into his eyes during contractions and focus on bringing my baby down. Never did it get painful and that surprised me. We listened to classic rock and a German punk song. I strongly suggest listening to Du Hast by Rammstein during labor, it matches tone perfectly. Suddenly, I felt sick and threw up. I was so confused since I did that in transition with Gabe, and I felt nowhere near transition with this labor. I continued to talk and laugh with everyone, but during contractions I got really vocal and Maya told me I would have to let her know when I was pushing since I sounded like I already was. I check myself and couldn’t feel cervix anymore, and thought I could feel Liam’s head! I asked Maya to check and sure enough, I had a tiny lip of cervix and my body had already started pushing. I was so surprised since I felt so awesome. The next contraction I really felt pushy, but said NO very loudly since I didn’t want to push against that lip of cervix. The contraction after that, I pushed to see what it would feel like and boom, Liam descended fully and we had the ring of fire. I was squatting in the tub and was able to apply counter pressure to my perineum when the next contraction hit I pushed again and out came his head. I told everyone that his head was out, then the next contraction came and I pushed out my baby. I only consciously pushed 3 times! I was able to catch him myself and brought him up to my chest. I felt like a warrior goddess.Both of my birth experiences were amazing, but so different. I enjoyed both, but felt so much more in control of Liam’s and really was able to have an enjoyable time during labor. It felt so much like a party! I am so excited to see my boys grow up together and to use my experiences with doula clients in the future.
Family photography by J. Ellis Photography. www.j-ellisphotography.com/