The radiant Rachel Carrales with her son Toby (2). Rachel says that like most women in her demographic she was very well educated approaching pregnancy and birth. She studied hypnobabies, read Ina May and planned for a homebirth. Her pregnancy was complicated by weight gain, which on her small frame felt cumbersome and uncomfortable and she was so exhausted that exercising just didn't happen. In hindsight, Rachel says that perhaps the difficulties of pregnancy should have led her to realize that her labor and deliver may be more difficult than the orgasmic birth she had imagined.
Labor began at home quite intensely due to Toby's posterior and asynclitic position. She was having what felt like one strong and continuous contraction. After she realized this was actually going to take a long time, all of her preparations went out the window. She progressed to 6 cms before stalling there for about 8 hours. After 13 hours of total labor she decided to transfer to the hospital for pain interventions. Once there she begged for an epidural, anything to numb the pain, however once it was placed things were so intense she was still quite uncomfortable. Rachel had become quite traumatized by the pain and after laboring for 24 hours of labor and learning that her cervix had dilated asymmetrically, she requested a cesarean. Rachel says the birth was horrible. She was alone, the staff was playing music loudly while not talking to her and he was taken out and whisked away before she got to see him. Thankfully, Toby was healthy and Rachel worked to establish breastfeeding before she realized she was not okay. She had developed PTSD from the pain she experienced during labor and has had to do a lot of work to consider ever having another. At about 6 months in, just as Rachel thought she had nothing to worry about, she learned that Toby lost nearly 3lbs in just 2 weeks. Her milk supply had vanished. She quit her job in order to relactate and work to get her sons weight up. Her doctor was able to prescribe Domperidone which worked wonders but as she recently weaned off to try to conceive again and her supply has dropped drastically again.
Rachel struggled with anorexia and constant dieting as a teen and twenty something and has worked to accept her body as it is. She says that even though she is raising a son she still wants him to have a positive example of body image and an understanding of focusing on health rather size or scale.