Rachel was pregnant with her second child, and it had been a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy. It was about two weeks before her due date on a cold, snowy November morning when Rachel called to say that she had woken up very early with mild, irregular contractions. She went about her normal morning routine, getting her daughter up and ready for school, pausing occasionally as a contraction would slowly grab her attention. After her daughter left for school, the contractions began getting stronger and closer together. She called me to come, and I set out into the snow to head to her house.
I arrived to find Rachel walking around the dining room, perfectly calm and smiling. She was gently rubbing her belly in circles and breathing/humming with each contraction. The baby’s heart rate and Rachel’s vitals were stable. Rachel asked me to check her cervix to see how far along she was. We went up to her bedroom and were both happy to learn that she was about 8 centimeters dilated. When we came back down, Megan had arrived and we told her the good news. Rachel spent the next couple of hours mostly in her bedroom walking or on hands and knees as Megan and I sipped tea and chatted in the dining room. Rachel had told us earlier in the pregnancy that she appreciated privacy and alone time during labor so we held a space for her to feel cared for, but also left alone. Every half hour or so Megan or I would quietly go in the room where Rachel was and listen to the baby. Everything continued to be stable.
As we approached the noon hour, Rachel’s breathing and vocalizations changed and we felt that the time to push was getting closer. We slipped into the bedroom, along with Rachel’s husband, Krestia, and sat quietly with her as she rocked on hands and knees on the bed. Shortly after noon, Rachel’s water broke and she began to moan louder. Soon, she was saying that she had to push and felt lots of pressure. I told her to listen to her body and Megan and I scurried around making last minute preparations for the birth. After the first bearing down sensation that Rachel had, it was a mere eight minutes before the baby slipped out into my waiting hands. Rachel was on her hands and knees, so I passed the little one through her mother’s legs and into her arms. The room was quiet and calm as Rachel and her baby daughter gazed into one another’s eyes. Eve began nursing right away, which was such a lovely and happy surprise for Rachel as her first daughter had had some initial problems breastfeeding. The placenta came soon after and within a short time, Rachel and Eve were snuggled up in bed nursing and falling in love. The warm and happy feelings from this birth stayed with me for the next several days – one of the perks of this challenging, yet so rewarding, work that I do!
Welcome to the world Eve! Congratulations Rachel, Krestia, and big sister Miriam!
For more photos of Rachel and her family, check out the Photo Gallery of BirthRoot Families.
Rachel also wrote her own birth story on a blog that she writes with her sisters. You can read it here.