by Rachel Kaufman
It was early on a Friday morning and the baby wasn’t kicking like he usually did when I was resting. Normally, the calmer I was, the more kicks he got in (feisty little guy). The kicks were usually to the groin area since he was in breech position (a very weird feeling!). I was starting week 29 of my pregnancy and had read about some tricks you could try if you don’t feel your baby kicking in the 3rd trimester and want to stimulate them. So, I got out of bed and tried the cat and cow yoga move. Nope. Hmm, I thought. I drank a bit of orange juice to see if the sugar would stimulate some movement. Still nothing—silence from within.
Growing up as a dancer, I have always been what is called embodied—aware of my body and its movements, inside and out. In addition, I trust my intuition and have been working to strengthen it over the years. So, in this situation, I immediately felt that something was off and decided to call my OB/GYN to see what he thought. I had just switched to him two weeks before since he was supposedly okay with my preference to have a natural birth, which my previous doctor had not been keen on. Going to her office felt as personal as being on a conveyer belt in a factory. I didn’t want an epidural or any other invasive techniques to bring my kiddo into the world, no thank you!
The doctor answered his emergency number and I told him that my baby wasn’t kicking. He asked me how many weeks pregnant I was, and I responded, “29 weeks, 2 days.” There was a pause, and then he replied something along the lines of, “I think it would be good to go to the hospital so I can do a checkup and see how baby is doing. I’ll meet you there.”
I quickly went back to our bedroom and woke up my groggy and confused husband (it was 7:45 a.m. and we are not morning people), telling him why we needed to go to the hospital. We didn’t feel a huge sense of urgency, but made our way there quickly nonetheless, hoping to clear up whatever issue it was and carry on doing whatever we needed to do. I remember how beautiful the weather was that Friday, with blue skies and daffodils in full bloom—an unusually beautiful day in Washington D.C. for mid-March. As I entered the doors of the hospital, little did I know that it would be several days before I’d breathe fresh air again, and many months until I would be able to enjoy nature, or really anything at all.
We all have so many layers that make up who we are, some visible (physical) and most invisible to the passerby (mental, emotional, spiritual, etc.). I’m figuring out as I write this chapter what some of the traits, skills, support systems, and other more intangible things were that helped guide me through the trauma of giving birth and caring for a premature baby. Although, I realize now that it’s not just about what traits (acquired via nature or nurture) we possess, but also about how we CHOOSE to react to a given situation, no matter what life has given us. As a newly minted life coach, I am learning about the many ingredients that go into the mixture we call actions and results, which can sometimes produce a yummy recipe, and sometimes not so much. How we react to a specific situation is subconscious on many levels, however, we can choose how we want to be, even in an uncontrollable situation.
Just as we have many layers that create the fabric of who we are, we also have many emotions that influence who we are and how we act in a given situation, including a traumatic one. Sometimes when we don’t share our stories, we internalize these emotions, which can be toxic on many levels. Even though I am a storyteller and talkative by nature, not everyone in my life knows what I experienced or how I felt during this traumatic chapter of my life. I know my husband and other family members have their own stories, but here is mine, and I am glad to finally share it with a broader audience. I hope that some of you might recognize parts of yourself in my story and know that you are not alone, even if you feel like it sometimes.
About the Author: As a certified Reflexologist, Reiki Master, Life Coach, and former international public health professional, Rachel has supported hundreds of people over the past 15+ years to find more balance, grounding, and calm in their daily lives. As a Life Coach, Rachel often works with parents who struggle to find the right equilibrium in their lives around relationships and health. Many of her clients feel overwhelmed and anxious, operating in fight or flight mode, which can take its toll. As a mother of a preemie herself, she knows how important, yet how hard it can be to stay true to oneself and also be a supportive partner and mother.
Rachel founded Integrated Healing Vibes to fulfill her goal of working full-time as a healer, life coach, teacher and mentor. Her unique blend of skills and experience allows her to access many tools from her “toolbox”. Her unique program offers energy healing and life coaching techniques to help parents feel more grounded, calm, empowered, uplifted and at ease in their daily lives.
This is part 1 in a 3 part series which was featured in the book; Her Badass Story 2 : Stories of Courageous Women Who Unapologetically Became the Badasses in Their Own Lives