Getting to know Tracey throughout her pregnancy, starting with the initial consultation, I just knew this would be a special connection. This was her 4th pregnancy, her last, and she wanted to try for a TOLAC (trial of labor after cesarean). She was determined to meet her goals with research, family support, and had a self-awareness that drove her desire for a pregnancy and birth experience as natural as possible. Providing home visits helped develop confidence and trust between us as provider and client, as well as allowing her young children to be a part of the experience.
As the weeks got closer to delivery, we began talking about post-term pregnancy protocols if she went past her due date. Although committed to having a homebirth, she understood some potential risks and complications could affect that outcome. She was always ready to write anything down so she could research whatever we discussed. We spoke freely about any concerns she had as they arose. She continued reading, practicing meditation and breathing exercises, and was mindful to avoid any negativity that could affect her pregnancy and labor.
During the 41st week, we discussed a plan to have a Biophysical Profile (a special sonogram used to assess the current health and wellbeing of the baby) and begin natural induction methods to help stimulate labor. After receiving the results of the BPP and no change with the recommended herbs, we determined the best place for Tracey to deliver was at the hospital. She went in for a medical induction that night at Florida Hospital for Women. They treated her well from the beginning, assuring her they were supportive of her desire for a TOLAC resulting in a VBA2C and her birth plan requests for after the baby arrived. I arrived the next morning after the induction process began to offer my support and encouragement. Throughout the day, the staff was very respectful of her space, allowing her to move freely with a wireless monitor, and not pressuring her to receive pain management. Once active labor took over, Tracey was as silent as could be. The room was dark with the only audible sounds being meditation music, Tracey’s breathing during a contraction, and the baby’s heartbeat coming from the monitor. This moment of observation and appreciation, which went on for a few hours at least, will be cemented in my brain forever.
At the last cervical check before shift change, Tracey began to feel a bit discouraged, and the weight of exhaustion was apparent. On her terms, she chose to receive pain management. With that, she was able to rest, feel refreshed, and allow her body to reach full dilation without hesitation. Within the hour, and three pushes later, Prince made his grand entrance into the world and held by his mother’s hands. Gratitude washed over Tracey’s face as she marveled over her sweet little man. The joy of watching her have skin to skin time with Prince and anoint his head with sacred oils filled my expanding heart.
I am so grateful to have been able to support such a strong, dedicated woman in her power. She owned her experience regardless of expectations or outcome. It was an honor and a privilege to serve this family.