Meet Rachel Flores, the doula for the birth of my second child, Bonhomme. She’s based in north county San Diego, California as is also a midwife and offers a variety of services to help a pregnant mother’s needs. Learn more about Rachel through our personal birth story.
My first labor with The Bean was 26 hours long. I was five minutes away from being wheeled into the operating room for a cesarian. My husband, Mr J, was by my side the entire time and was stressed, exhausted, and worried. I, however, was in peace thanks to the hypnobirthing education I received, and I knew my delivery would be alright and that it was just a matter of time before I would meet my baby girl. Fortunately, the French midwives helped moved me around and the most senior midwife made it to the start of her shift just in time to help me position myself for a sucessful vagina delivery. We later discovered I had a blocked coccyx that slowed down my labor and kept the Bean from coming out without assistance. I was grateful to have the midwives there by my side. There presence left a lasting mark upon me.
Having midwives around during my first labor was calming and empowering and I wanted to replicate that experience for my second birth experience in the U.S. I knew I wanted a doula who could help attend my birth so that both myself and Mr J could feel supported. I looked around for doulas in San Diego and everyone was booked. I found Rachel Flores through Yelp and contacted her to see if she had room in her schedule for me. Fortunately, she did and Rachel fit me into her busy schedule as a mom, doula, and as she pursued her midwifery studies to become a certified midwife. When I saw that Rachel also offers hypnobirthing classes, I knew that she’d share the same principles of a peaceful and empowering birth.
Rachel came to us for a free consultation and answered all of our questions. She also offered a package that included placenta encapsulation and tinctures. We also took on that service. At no point did Rachel ever impose her beliefs upon us, but respected our personal philosophies and decisions. She was just there to support and empower our choices. That was what I love about Rachel as a professional.
As the months of my pregnancy progressed, Rachel kept in touch, followed up with my progress, and visited me to discuss my birthing vision and goals. I told her that I wanted an epidural and that I wanted her to help make me comfortable, help kept me in optimal positions, give Mr. J a break, and to guide and support me as I made my own decisions during my labor and delivery. She was down with all of that.
I had a couple of false alarms, but my baby boy, Bonhomme chose to arrive exactly ten moon cycles after conception. Rachel met us at the hospital at three in the morning and helped me labor in the shower and in my birthing suite, providing me physical and emotional support and guided visualization during my contractions, or waves as the hypnobirthing community likes to call them. After I finally chose to receive the epidural, Rachel helped me move around my bed to ensure I kept optimum positioning and helped keep me comfortable with massages and hydrated with soup and water. I was comfortable and relaxed the entire time.
When time came for my Obgyn to arrive and help me push 12 hours after I had arrived, Rachel stayed by my side and helped coach me in my breathing and pushing. At the end, she helped film Bonhomme arrive in total peace and joy. Afterwards, Rachel checked on me and the baby, arranged to take my placenta home, and assured that all was well. She left as peacefully as she came.
When I look back at my birth, I just remember a feeling of peace. Don’t get me wrong, laboring is not a fun process – it’s a marathon and it can be painful. Very painful. But here’s the thing about pain and suffering: Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Rachel is one of those people who helps dispel the myth that delivery is a curse through which women must suffer. I was so glad I made the choice to have Rachel Flores by my side, empowering me so that I could labor and bring in a new life onto this planet in total peace and confidence.
Thank you, Rachel.