In Her Own Words

McPeek Family Seeks Natural Childbirth Experience

Rachael McPeek

Rachael McPeek wanted a natural childbirth. With the help of the Women's Healthcare team at FHN, she received the education and support she needed to accomplish her goal, while facilitating a safe and memorable pregnancy, labor, and delivery experience.

She and her husband agreed on a natural approach right from the start. Pregnant with their first child, Rachael explained her intentions to FHN nurse practitioner Danielle Siedschlag, WHNP-BC, at their first appointment. Her plan? To focus on a birthing experience without interventions: no epidural, no pain meds, and no induction.

Listening is a strength

“I don’t think interventions are inherently bad,” explains Rachael, “but my personal inclination was just to avoid them. I really wanted a natural experience for us and for our baby. I met with all the FHN OB providers during my pregnancy – nurse practitioners Danielle and Sara, Dr. Martin, and Dr. Sesslar – and they were all supportive. We discussed our plan in detail, and there was total buy-in. They gave me quality prenatal care, were great communicators, and best of all, they were good listeners.”

In addition to the frequent counsel of her providers, FHN offered several support tools to help Rachael prepare for her baby’s arrival. “I used the FHN pregnancy book as a reference, browsed online resources, and benefitted from the FHN breastfeeding class taught by FHN lactation consultant Annette Geilenfeldt (IBCLC).That helped me prepare to nurse and gave me confidence that I could be successful.”

Following the plan

When her water broke, Rachael entered the FHN Family Birthing Center with her plan well known to the staff, who worked with her throughout her birthing experience. “I did end up needing Pitocin to stimulate labor after my water broke, and I knew I had to stay flexible depending on how my labor proceeded. But other than that, everything went just as we wanted. My labor and delivery nurses, Sam and Robin, talked to me about non-medical pain relieving methods and helped facilitate comfortable positions and activities such as the 'labor ball' – an exercise-type piece of equipment that minimizes discomfort.” This helpful tool also encourages cervical dilation and prepares the body for the baby’s journey.

At the nursing shift change, Sam made sure any new staff members were well informed of Rachael’s requests and the baby’s progress, making the transition smooth and uneventful. Happily, baby Jacob was born almost entirely according to plan, and the McPeeks are now enjoying all the “firsts” of their new little bundle of joy.