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  • Writer's pictureKirsten Freeman

Bringing Kennedy Earth Side

Updated: Dec 28, 2019

From the doula’s perspective…

March 14th, 2019

I had Alyse on my mind that day for some reason, and so I decided to text her and check in on her. and make sure she was doing her nightly exercises I recommended to help her stretch and prepare for the impending birth. She let me know they were going good, but couldn't remember a few, so as I was typing out a list for her, I get another message... “Soooo uh, my water just broke”. I was completely taken off guard and responded “No way… For real?”

I made a mad dash to get my kids together, and a makeshift overnight bag for each of them to take to their grandmothers. I assumed (silly me) that things would pick up very quickly just like her previous 2 births, but I couldn't have been more wrong!

She let me know not to be in a rush, that she wasn’t having any contractions, and after a while of that, she and her husband Matt decided to walk around Walmart and get some Taco Bell.

March 15th, 2019

The next morning when she still wasn’t experiencing any contractions I suggested getting a chiropractic adjustment or maybe even some acupuncture. She was already thinking about getting adjusted already, and so she went ahead and drove to her chiropractor and they said her pelvis was slightly off, so they corrected that and then she got some lunch and I met her at her house. When I arrived I brewed a double strength mug of red raspberry leaf tea and had her drink it, and she munched on some tacos, while we chatted about everything. After that, we went to her acupuncture appointment where she sat like a champ through the small needles, and even got some huge ones in her lower back. The acupuncturist we used is so kind and caring, I highly recommend him, his office is Community Natural Health in Anderson SC.

After acupuncture, we headed to Publix to pick up the ingredients for the Midwives Brew concoction, then back home to mix it up! Alyse chugged it down in record time and then the waiting game got more intense. Let’s just say it started taking effect pretty quickly and things started getting pretty consistent around 7:30.

We decided to take a walk down to her community gym so that we could walk, and do some stretching. On the way there we did a special type of walking that has you walk with one foot on the curb and one on the street, it helps to shift your pelvis, then you switch and do the other side on the way back. By the time we got there, we realized that we needed to just head back home, and we talked to the midwife, Carrie LaChapelle Craft who owns Hatched Midwifery on the way back. She was checking in to see how Alyse was feeling, and how the contractions were going.

By the time we were almost home, I could tell that the contractions were getting more intense because she was having to stop and breathe through them. We got inside and she wanted to hop in the shower and get her hair ready for Ashlie Moon of Mama Moon Upstate Birth Photography + Film, who was supposed to be there soon to start photographing the birth.

I waited in the living room while Alyse showered and Matt came home early from work and surprised us. I let them have some alone time and when she came back out things were on a totally different level. She was speaking more quietly, and slowly. I suggested letting the midwife know to start heading our way, and so she texted her. After that, me and Alyse got on the floor and started doing some opening and stretching exercises, and I started providing some counter pressure on her back. We moved to the couch and got comfortable working through the waves there, I was rubbing her back, and doing hip squeezes, and just providing soft touch, Matt was in front of her so she could hold onto him for strength.

Jen Conway, one of the assistant midwives and Ashlie the photographer showed up around 10:20 p.m. Jen quickly zipped around, and within about 10 minutes she had all of the supplies set up. Right after that Alyse said she needed to use the restroom, so she went and we all sat in the living room and talked about what had happened so far. After about 5 minutes, I noticed that she had been gone a while, so Jen went and checked on her. I heard Alyse make a single moaning sound and I knew it, “She’s going to have that baby in the bathroom!”.

Ashlie was already snapping a few pics through the cracked bathroom door, and I peeked in and realized Jen was already holding a towel between Alyse’s legs, so she was crowning. I stepped in and kneeled down next to Jen to talk Alyse through what was happening, but as soon as I sat down I saw something I had never seen before… A FOOT!

Me and Jen shared a quick glance at each other before she very calmly said “I need someone to text Carrie and tell her the baby is coming, and she is you-know-what” She was trying not to alert Alyse, and freak her out, but right at that moment Alyse looked down from her standing position and saw feet. She very calmly announced, “Oh, she’s breech, OK.”

Just to be on the safe side Jen requested we call 911, so her husband made the call. After a few hard pushes, Alyse lifted one foot up onto to toilet, and Kennedy Elese Neal was brought earth-side. Carrie and the other assistant midwives, Victoria and Sarah arrived just at the same time and took over. Alyse and Kennedy were both in perfect condition so we canceled the ambulance.

Carrie wrapped up Kennedy and handed her to Matt, and I went with him to go sit on the couch while they got Alyse cleaned up. We sat in awe for a few minutes thinking “Holy crap… did that just really happen??” I asked Matt “You know your wife is a complete badass right?” and he responded, “Tell me something I don’t know!”

Within a few minutes, they had Alyse in the bed and were ready for Matt to bring Kennedy in. We talked for a few minutes about what had just happened, and then we all left Matt and Alyse alone with Kennedy for some uninterrupted snuggles. By the time I left their room, the midwife team had already cleaned up the bathroom like nothing had ever happened, and were working on all of the paperwork. We pieced together the timeline, the very short timeline, and tried to catch our breath.

Soon, it was time to weigh and measure Kennedy, so we all placed our bets. Most of us were guessing that she was around 4 or 5 lbs because she was just SO tiny! She surprised us all with a whopping 6.0 lb weight reading, but it all made sense when we learned she was 21.5 in. long. Tall like her Mama! Then Carrie was ready to do her footprints and Alyse chose to use the rainbow ink pad to celebrate her rainbow baby.

Kennedy was ready to nurse at this point and she didn’t need any help figuring that out! She was eating like a champ from the get-go! Alyse was finally ready to have a snack, and some Nxinga to replenish lost fluids.

After she was all settled in, I took my leave, still in shock at what had happened. Witnessing a breech birth has always been on my bucket list, and so now I can successfully mark that one-off, thanks, Alyse!

As I got home, I tried to calm my mind, but it was so hard to fall asleep. Once I did I crashed for a few hours, and even when I woke up, the birth was the first thing on my mind!

I am in absolute awe of Alyse’s power, composure, and overall bad-ass-ness. I am honored to have been asked to be a part of her birth space, and I will always remember the birth of Kennedy Elese Neal.

-March 15th, 2019

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