This birth story is incredibly close to my heart, this is a story of my sister’s journey into motherhood…
When I met Rachel, she was 12 years old, I was dating her oldest brother and I was expecting his first child. When I had my Aurora, back in 2003, Rachel was all too eager to help me out, she was quite a natural “little mommy”. Rachel developed a very close bond to myself and both of my daughters over the years. Ten years later, Aurora is almost the age that Rachel was when we met. This birth made it feel like everything has come full circle. How exciting it will be when Aurora can hold and love on sweet baby Roman, just like Rachel did with her a decade ago!
When I heard she was expecting, I trusted that she would do her research and make educated birth choices, and I was elated to hear that she chose to seek care with the midwives at the Hollywood Birth Center! Their reputation is a great one, and I was confident that she would receive quality care with them. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there is anything wrong with choosing a hospital birth. I gave birth to both of my girls in a hospital. I just meant that I knew Rachel would research her options extensively.
The much anticipated call came around 2 a.m. and I rushed to her side. Her water had broken and she was quietly laboring in bed and trying to rest in between. She was also making the early calls to prep family to meet us at the center when the time came. I laid on Rachel’s bed, dozing off as we tried timing contractions on her phone. (Got to love those free apps!!) Federico, Rachel’s boyfriend, was busy gathering items to bring with us, and getting some energy drinks and smoothies, for a burst of energy.
Once Rachel settled into her birth suite, and was checked, she was given some time and peace to work through her contractions. I was amazed that she was already six centimeters and in such great spirits. As she sat on her birth ball, she would close her eyes with each sensation, gone to her special place to integrate those rushes and let her body do it’s great work. In between those sensations, she was smiling, and teasing “Daddy” Federico to relax and not look so serious. This made us all smile and laugh, just impressed with her awesome attitude!
The time finally arrived for Rachel to get in the tub for some pain relief. During this time, loads of family start trickling in. Federico’s parents (Victor and Hernanda) were both there, Rachel’s mother (Beth), her brother (Jered) with his wife (Rachel) and daughter (Abigail), all shared our space. For awhile, we would talk and distract Rachel in between her surges. She would check out and work through them and then return to keep hanging out. At some point, we could tell that Rachel was focusing her full attention on what was happening with her body. There was a very busy energy in the room, many conversations were going on at once, all while Rachel had made her way to “Labor Land”. Every once in a while, she would make her way back to tell us that she needed a fan, or to hush. (haha!) Don’t get me wrong, she still totally enjoyed the support, and there was SO much support! People handed her drinks, set up the fan, wiped her brow with a cold cloth, made her laugh, cheered, encouraged her…and so much more.
Rachel had the freedom to change positions often, and given the time to just listen to her body and let things happen as they needed to happen. Without any real complaint, she made her way through transition and was ready to push. After alternating between the water, the bed, the toilet and back to the water, everyone could feel the moment approaching quickly. We all called out encouragement as Rachel reached down to receive her son with her own two hands. There was not a dry eye in the house! We cried along with Rachel and Federico as they welcomed their brand new son to this world. Roman was born on April 2nd @ 9:49 a.m. and weighed in at an impressive 8lbs and 11oz! Rachel had work extra hard to push him out because Roman had his hand on his cheek. Bless her heart!!!! Some of my favorite moments in these photos are when she catches Roman, when Rachel is looking up to see Federico’s reaction, when she cried the first time Federico touches Roman, and when Federico is kissing Rachel and holding Roman’s hand. Also when she is smiling on that birth ball, a breathtaking sight. ❤
After Mimi, her awesome midwife, finished her post care with Rachel and Roman, I was allowed a quick session with Rachel, Federico, and Roman. Then we all left the new family alone to bond quietly. These pictures were shared with permission of my sister. I didn’t pose them at all, I just captured it all as it happened and I feel like there is just a simple beauty in them. Thank you Rachel and Federico for allowing me to share your most precious day. It was right up there with the births of my own children, and in some small way, even more beautiful because of how it all happened. I am in awe of Rachel’s strength and determination through this process. She did it with conviction and after watching her in action, I know she was born for this.
Not only was a child born that day, a mother, a family… all created in this one wondrous act!