I had the privilege of meeting Rachel early in her first pregnancy when she decided a home birth was the direction her family wanted to take to bring their new first love into this world! Rachel’s pregnancy progressed wonderfully and as her due date approached, we all could feel the excitement building! Forty weeks passed as expected and 41 weeks arrived in earnest! After much discussion, Rachel decided she wanted to have her membranes swept to encourage labor, 48 hours later at 41 weeks 3 days, with prodromal laboring starting and stopping each night, we decided to try one more sweep to see if that would be just what she needed to kick her body over and 24 hours later, it became clear it was just what was needed!
I received a text from Rachel that she felt she may be in early labor! I encouraged her to distract herself and rest as she could and that was the last I heard from her. Around 10:30pm that night, I heard from Rachel’s doula Sarah who said Rachel’s labor seemed to be progressing beautifully and hopefully it would be soon for me to come! I went to bed later that night and was shocked when I woke up at 3am and hadn’t heard from Sarah yet. I decided to send off a text to check in. Sarah informed me Rachel’s labor slowed to every 6-minute apart contractions so we decided to try and allow Rachel to take this opportunity to rest. I agreed to come by and check in on her and baby in the AM if nothing changed. At 6AM I was awakened by a text from Sarah saying Rachel was getting discouraged and wanted me to come check her. I arrived shortly after and found Rachel attempting to rest in bed with contractions spaced to about every 8-10 minutes. At this point, she had been up for 24 hours and I knew everyone was tired. I found her to be an encouraging 5cm. We discussed Rachel taking a bath and some Benadryl to see if she could sleep through her contractions, unsure if we were dealing with prodromal (pre-labor) or a prolonged early labor, I wanted Rachel to rest as much as she could. A couple of hours later, it seemed to become clear that this was early labor as it continued to strengthen and Rachel was losing hope she could make it much longer. Sarah decided to go back to Rachel to see if some rebozo work could help loosen her body up and like magic, she was able to help Rachel to release her tension and her spirits were perked with the help. Shortly after, we all discussed the possibility of breaking Rachel’s water to speed things up. I normally am not a fan of such intervention but with another check 8 hours later, Rachel was 6-7cm’s and was in a good place for it even though she was continuing to contract 6-8 mins apart, I was amazed! An hour after breaking Rachel’s water, labor picked up dramatically! We were all so excited the time was finally arriving! Rachel labored so well and around 5:30pm, things were really starting to intensify! We decided to try getting her into the pool to see if that would ease things up. Rachel labored beautifully! For having been awake for well over 24 hours, she was rocking her long labor! By 7:30pm, she began pushing spontaneously and bringing her baby down with such strength! Nate (Rachel’s husband) was able to jump on board as baby began to come into this world! After a brief hour of pushing, Nate helped bring their sweet baby girl into the world and placing her on mama’s chest, Rachel was finally done!! After 38 hours and 34 minutes of labor, Rachel finally got to meet her sweet baby girl! Sweet Noelle came into this world weighing in at 7#2oz and as strong as ever!! What a wonderful gift to be present for such a tough but incredible labor. Rachel is a true testament to the strength of women!
Photography courtesy of Brea Unruh and Rachel Wright