Almost 2 years ago, I had the honor of filming Chai’s birth. On January 29th, 2013, on Sparrow’s daddy’s birthday, I got the call to go witness Chai become a big brother.
Rachel is such a beautiful person- inside and out- those of you who know her love to tell the story of how at her first birth, she graciously thanked those in the room for helping her through each surge. Her second birth was no different, and we felt drawn into her peaceful presence. She even had a breakfast spread for her birth team to enjoy during her labor. She labored beautifully and never had a moment when someone wasn’t holding or comforting her.
What I love about witnessing Rachel giving birth is admiring her strength and power. She knows who she is and what she wants and is passionately obsessed with loving her babies so completely. Listen- as Sparrow crowns, Rachel is exclaiming “Oh! I love her!!!”
Rachel, thank you, thank you, for showing the world your beautiful births.
Here is Rachel’s reflection on having her births filmed:
One of my favorite songs has a line that I think of often: “Mother, remember the blink of an eye when I breathed through your body?”*
I love and treasure my birth films so fiercely because in the end, my pregnancies and births, although in the moment seemingly interminable, were just that, the blink of an eye. In the blink of an eye my babies spilled out into the cold light and although I clutched them tightly they were already on their way to becoming their own selves, separate from me. In the blink of an eye the hours of pressure and intensity within my body fled and the room was glowing with the presence of a new person. In the blink of an eye my partner became not just my lover but my child’s father, and I was caught off guard by how I felt when I saw him tenderly greeting our baby. In a blink of an eye, the mystery was over and we could suddenly see and touch and hold this little creature of our softest dreams.
My birth films tell the story of how hard I worked, how I fought for my children on their birthdays, and they also hold for me the secrets I never saw or would surely have forgotten. All the many gentle hands and arms that helped me, soft kisses from my husband in a blurry break between surges, my doula twisting my hair into a bun so I wouldn’t get it wet, my sister’s kind eyes as she gently touched my face, the sound of my own voice crying, “I can feel his head—he’s real!” right before my son was born and “Oh, I love her!” when my daughter was crowning. While I was giving birth I couldn’t notice how my husband scrunched up his face in anxious sympathy every time I pushed, I couldn’t see my own face, raw with shock and wonder, as I looked down at my babies for the first time. I missed my friend saying “Thank you for having this baby, Rachel. ” We will never be the same. It’s ours, that day belongs to us, and as all the days in our lives are precious, how much more priceless is the first day of your child’s life, the first day they wake up to the new world. I’m so glad I have all the scenes from that blink of an eye caught on film so I can keep them forever.
*Iron and Wine, “Upward Over the Mountain”