It's not every day I have the pleasure of empowering a woman to VBAC but when I do, it looks like this: Everyone who knows me knows I believe in "a picture says a thousand words"... Here is my journal of their second labor marathon. Together, believing in the natural process and having to heal from the trauma of their first labor of which they felt so terribly bullied, as if they did not have a say in what happened to them. Then being led into every medical procedure often routinely performed, including a failed epidural, ended in her first birth via Caesarean section. Now, fast forward to my first meeting with them @ Nothing but Noodles several weeks back. Dialogue went something like this, "you mean I can say No to routine procedures?" .... Me, "yes if you do not consent it doesn't happen"... Rachel, "but they made us feel as if we didn't have a choice we had to do what they said"... Me, "you write the check & pay the bill, they work for you. If mom & baby ok YOU have the FINAL say." In the weeks that followed, I had the pleasure to witness a woman renewed by both her strength in the Lord, her faith leading her to believe in John 16:21 that God designed her body for this amazing work. Something changed in her, she found her voice again no longer a victim or her past now a woman fueled by knowledge and power coupled by the strength and full support of her amazing husband coach! Day by day Rachel Griffin Barker grew stronger careful to acquire solid nutrition, train her body physically & mentally prepare to continue to overcome fears, one by one until her amazing body would do this work for her as she stood simply present as the willing vessel. She increased her odds of VBAC by choosing a supportive practice the midwives of Piedmont OBGYN & a birthplace supportive of natural birth CMC Pineville. She refused internal exams before she was in labor & was comfortable knowing the information obtained in an internal exam matters not if we are not having signs of labor. They made a great decision to trust her body to not only carry full term but 10 days over her due date all while trying all the natural methods to bring about labor & boy was Larry a team player!! In addition, she listened to suggestions such as good Chiro care loosening that pelvis & hip muscles with Dr. Kelley Helmendach. She used acupuncture, she even played along and allowed me to walk her in the park by flashlight at night while we were wrapped up like snow bunnies. We were able to get Rachel into labor several times but unfortunately there were outside stressors which created adrenaline and sadly labor went away. We do have to be careful to surround ourselves with support and those who will not add to mental or emotional stress bc it matters too. We can be physically relaxed but the psychology of birthing requires moms to feel protected & safe for labor to progress. Days later, we had a relaxation session with pressure point work & Rachel allowed me to walk her up the hills again, fed her Lebanese foods @ Kabob-J , olive oil shots & it was game on time again. I surrounded her with birth family support and Allison TerMeer met us at the greenway & we walked baby down that pelvis & up Allison's steep driveway Then labor began once again and dad kept mom protected utilizing warm bath, music, etc. when I met them @ the hospital she was wearing her game face. She came prepared to work. I fed her homemade chicken salad bc she was starving. She fueled her body and continued working harder & harder as the contractions grew stronger. She assumed every position I ever suggested and then some. She was surrounded by supportive nurses Alexis & Nancy and her midwife, Jennifer Crumpler also cheered her on even when labor was really tough and she was ready to give up. Her husband lifted her even literally not just her spirits but her body when needed. Her daddy sat in waiting room patiently praying for her. I finally convinced him to go home & sleep as the cervix can take a long time to finish the job. Her mom tirelessly had been watching their 4 yr old daughter through it all. Rachel & Larry together overcame many challenges to have their Amazing VBAC and something tells me that just maybe she would do it all over again, even days of it.... Kudos to Larry & Rachel and I'm guessing but I think their photographer, Jamie Lu, who stood quietly through it all experienced some healing of her own. Even though it wasn't her own vaginal birth, God allows us to experience what I like to call "divine appointments" and Jamie was called that day, as well. It was my utmost pleasure to serve as their doula. I welcome the Barker Family into the best darn #BirthFamily in Charlotte. YourBirthHelper.com salutes your dedication to the natural process!
To view The Barker family VBAC journey as captured by Jamie Lu copy & paste the link below: