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Birth Story Series: Rachel Kuhel Home & En Caul

I had 2 natural intervention-free births.

1st was my daughter in 2010 :

I worked with an OB midwife at a birthing center in Ohio. I was a young mom but healthy and low risk. I labored for 20 hours in and out of the water, walked around, bounced on a labor ball, allowed to eat and drink- although I wasn't hungry. I remember a lot of back contractions.

After 20 hours I was exhausted and my contractions were intense. I was determined to have my first born drug-free and vaginally. I told my husband if I cave and ask for drugs do not let me take them. Lol

After 3 hours of pushing, I was getting exhausted and hopeless. At one point I screamed to just take the baby out of me with a vacuum- that I couldn't do it anymore. My husband and midwife told me I was a lioness and I could do it if I just bear down. They kept telling me this every 10 minutes and I was getting frustrated.

After an hour of telling me the baby was almost out- I could barely hold on any longer. I was about to pass out from exhaustion and no sleep for 48 hours, but something happened to me...

I went to a different place in my mind. I went from despair and pain to a spiritual vision of sorts. I closed my eyes -almost blacking out... But then I saw a ghost of my grandpa who I was very close with. He had passed away on the exact day I was delivering my first born and he coached me through it to the end. I couldn't remember much in that last 20 minutes but I knew I just had a spiritual experience I couldn't explain.

When my daughter was born and she was on my chest I came back to reality. We did delayed cord clamping and breastfeeding right away. I did not tear as My midwife massaged me with mineral oil while the baby was crowning.

We noticed my daughter holding her head up and looking all around 10 minutes after birth. She did not cry. She was just observing the room and me.

My midwife told us that our baby was the most alert newborn she's ever birthed. 10 hours later I was home and felt great.


2nd birth was at home in 2013.

I had worked with a doula and home birth midwife. My prenatal care was very relaxed. Ultrasound, no internal exams, lots of meditation and prepping for home birth.

I ordered a birthing tub and prepped out my family room. When my contractions started I took my dog for a walk and let them play out. After a few hours I hesitantly called my midwife.

Secretly, I just wanted to deliver my baby alone without anyone there. But I called her anyway. She was delivering another baby and told me she would be there in 2 hours, as I could hear another mom in the background. She assured me this usually doesn't happen. Perhaps my secret plan was working. Lol

I got into the tub and labored for a few hours, my husband and daughter were home with me. It was my happy place.

Then, my midwife showed up, she checked the baby's heart rate and everything sounded good. I began pushing in a squatted position (on all fours) in the water. After my son crowned- My midwife said I could pull him up , he was being born... So I lifted him up out of the water. He was born in his amniotic sac - also known as en caul birth. I did not tear with this birth either. Surprisingly because both my kids were over 8 pounds.

I wanted a lotus birth so I took my time pushing out the placenta. It took about an hour. And my baby was on my chest the whole time. I had both the baby and the placenta on the bed with me for a while. I took a nap while my midwife, doula, and husband cleaned the house and made food. After some time the blood stopped flowing so we cut the cord and I froze my placenta. (Later planting it in my garden)

I breastfed my son exclusively for a year and remember I had to give up dairy for 11 months as it was making him gassy- Otherwise he was completely healthy and never vaccinated or circumcised.

My kids are now 11 & 8 and they are extremely healthy and strong.

I believe birth affects a child's whole life. Welcoming our baby into the world is the first step of their journey.

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