Updated: Apr 29
Our own Nikki Reeves, happened to be teaching a childbirth class at Emory- Decatur hospital when she found herself giving a live demo on PROM, commonly known as, premature rupture of membranes. It seems as so many babies love to do, her plans for Easter Sunday would be crashed. But, before we move forward and exchange the Stork with the Easter Bunny, let's go backward to what led up to this special day.
Nikki was selected as a YBH candidate to train in our elite Doula Apprenticeship Program. In her initial application essay, she expressed she formerly experienced two traumatic epidural births, followed by postpartum depression. She was hoping to explore options and be better informed for her third birth. We simply say it this way, plan for "Your Birth - Your Way." She expressed a strong desire to then share the knowledge she obtains to help others have happier "birth" days!
And, that is exactly what Nikki did. She began training with me over a year ago. She completed her course in The Bradley Method®. She became a YBH Certified Childbirth Educator. She holds certificates with ICEA, as well. She completed training in KOPA BIRTH prep and is eager to share how preparation is key to success with others.
On Nikki's first trip to Charlotte with me, she was able to experience the excitement of the many couples who attended, how they valued the extensive information and desired more. You see sometimes, we have to expose couples to little nuggets of information so they can see the value in what we share. Once those couples have seeds of childbirth knowledge, they then long to have their seeds watered and then before we know it, that little seed has transformed into a "strong power team" plant ready to thrive and hold up to the elements of labor and birth. Education makes all the difference. Nikki and her husband know this first hand. Todd is a school teacher and formerly Nikki was also. They both know quality education matters! The above photo alone represents three epidural free births: one all natural surprise caught by dad at home(Bradley Method students), a 3 day medical induction for pre-eclampsia/ use of nitrous during transition (trained in YBH workshops) and a second spontaneous drug free labor. Nikki had lots of exposure to women who with education were acquiring their target birth experiences and she was very encouraged.
Then the couple began training together. Todd attended a Your Birth Helper labor workshop where he learned how to assist his wife in managing contractions. Nothing like getting your learning on in the country @ M2b Family Farm. It was a fun filled two hours of coaching techniques, positioning and labor tips. Nikki was also able to attend her YBH weekend Doula Training in the north Ga mountains. She enjoyed all the practice / demonstrations.
Nikki had formerly accepted a position at Emory Decatur hospital teaching childbirth classes. With four weeks out from her own due date, the last thing she was anticipating during her last class, was have her own water break. But, crazier things happen and what better way for the class to learn. Shown below, minus her wet matching leggings... lol.
Nikki phoned me from the restroom, (poor thing). I reminded her of early water break precautions: possibility of cord compression unless head engaged, smaller baby, NICU help, taking temperature once an hour, wiping front to back, unknown group b strep, etc. many reasons to excuse herself from class and make her way back toward her house. They would welcome their surprise gender in Athens using St. Mary's hospital as their choice of birth location. A few hours later in triage Nikki learned she was 5cm dilated, 80% effaced, confirmed water break and she would be admitted.
The birth was attended by Hillary Midler, CNM of Women's Healthcare Associates and the Your Birth Helper Athens Doula Team. I also had planned a very special honorary doula of the day, Alisha Berkland.
Alisha was the first mom in labor that Nikki attended bedside as Doula! How special to have Alisha pay it forward and not only be there for her, but be empowered bedside, as well. It wasn’t long after that with walking and key positions labor started progressing. Her husband Todd was a very attentive labor coach and reminded her to sink down with each contraction. We dimmed the lights, put some relaxing music on and focused on finishing the job and getting Nikki a baby in her arms.
Pitocin was utilized to help lengthen and strengthen her contractions.
As the labor progressed, Todd encouraged and supported his wife physically, emotionally and mentally. They had created life together and together they would bring forth life.
We finished off her cervix in the tub and attempted labor down, until suddenly Nikki proclaimed, “pressure -pressure- it’s coming!”
We had just enough time to transition Nikki back from tub to the bed before involuntary uterine urges began taking over and pushing for her.
Literally, with the first contraction in which I corrected her pushing technique, out emerged her baby like a rocket in it’s own astronaut capsule.
Midwife Hillary and Dad had just enough time to help catch. Born “en caul“ her midwife attempted to peel the membranes off baby‘s head, but ended up needing scissors to cut and remove baby from its own Easter Egg shell.
We just love a surprise gender birth... Nikki announced the gender, “It’s a BOY!” to the room and the cheers erupted! Skin to skin she speaks directly to him and encourages him to breathe and talk to her. Dad does the same.
Shown below, (left to right), Doula Appentice Amanda Allen, Alisha Berkland, Doula Candidate, the proud mama and Your Birth Helper. We were so excited to be part of Nikki’s #SymbioticBirth journey and no doubt, her training and practice paid off, as she experienced her first epidural free birth.
Baby weighed in 4lbs 5 oz and NICU worked their magic. Todd gives mom a congratulations kiss and accompanied the baby upstairs.
Having achieved a natural birth, Nikki was thrilled about how good she felt afterwards. And, just a short time later, she was able to head upstairs to feed her baby.
Congratulations, Reeves family party of Five! Something tells me your Resurrection Sunday, April 20, 2019 will forever bring special memories for us all. Welcome to the #BirthFamily Stryker! With your sudden appearance into the world, I just bet you will live up to your name!