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Rachel Burroughs, BAI CD, CCE, Owner

My Story

I had my heart set on a natural birth when I was pregnant for the first time. I was born at a birth center in Wilmington, Delaware, so I decided I wanted to bring life full circle and birth my first daughter there. I envisioned a calm and peaceful experience, where everything would go according to plan. This was not the case. I ended up having 40 hours of back labor and being transferred to a hospital 10 hours after one of the midwives broke my bag of waters. The doctor on call came in from a holiday party and said the baby was OP (sunny side up) and 9 pounds, and that I never could have gotten her out "with my narrow hips." He then gave me an epidural, which didn't take, so I was given Dilaudid, which is an opioid pain medication derivative of morphine. I was majorly affected by the narcotics, and I fell asleep then for the first time in days. At that point the nurses administered IV Pitocin, which is a drug that makes contractions longer, stronger, and closer together. My cervix didn't dilate fast enough for the doctor, so he woke me up after 2 hours and told me that we could only get her out via C-section. He said my incision would be "sexy," so I shouldn't worry. Then when I was literally under the knife, he offered to tie my tubes! I was 23, had just gotten married, and it was my first baby. I could not believe he would ask to sterilize me! Needless to say, the whole thing was very traumatic and emotionally scarring. The pain during labor was incredible, and I didn't have a doula. If I had, things would have been different for me. I didn't even know about doulas at the time. Afterwards I experienced terrible postpartum depression, and I was unable to breastfeed due to many sad factors, one of which being my flat and slightly inverted nipples, the other being my lethargic and drugged baby who the nurses gave a bottle to in the hospital. I ended up pumping exclusively until I had nothing left (it lasted about 3.5 months), and then I made my own goat milk infant formula. Every time I thought of my daughter's birth, it ripped me apart emotionally, even after 3 and a half years.

     So with my second, I knew I needed a healing birth, and I was determined to breastfeed! The second time around I had a doula, listened to Hypnobirthing for VBAC, had a Blessingway, and read a TON to educate myself about birth. I ended up having a 39 hour beautiful VBAC home birth. It was very hard work, slow, and painful, but I did it! I then went on to breastfeed my daughter for 2 and a half years! The main reason I was able to get through my labor the second time around was that I had my doula and husband physically getting me through the pain of the contractions in my lower back. Not many know about this incredible pain-coping technique called "chunging," but I read about it in one of Ina May's books randomly, about 2 days before I went into labor. She described a laboring woman who was experiencing incredible pain in her back. She said the woman was built like a house, super strong muscles, couldn't relax, etc. I thought to myself while reading, "that's me!" She said the only thing that helped this lady get through the contractions was Chunging, or "shaking the apples," that is to say, grabbing the buttocks and shaking vigorously until the contraction ended. That was seriously the best thing I've ever read, and it helped me immensely in getting my baby out naturally!

My Philosophy

Women should feel empowered in labor and birth! We deserve to have our voices heard! We should not have to fit into a system that makes us feel weak and powerless due to a lack of knowledge and support. I want to be part of that support system for any family who needs it. I became a doula because I realized I never could have gotten through my VBAC without my doula. She was there for me in every way; she kept me focused, and she and my husband helped me get through the pain using natural methods. I simply couldn't have done it without my amazing birth team. As a doula, I believe in helping a woman and her partner to achieve their goals in labor and birth, whatever those goals may be. We cannot predict the outcome of labor, however, I will assist the family by supporting their choices should any decisions need to be made.  

“I would recommend Rachel as a doula to anyone. She was a significant and essential element in two of the most important, transforming days of my life.” - Katie G


I received my doula training through the Birth Arts International and ToLabor organizations. I am certified as both a doula and a childbirth educator through Birth Arts International. I have co-facilitated multiple doula workshops over the course of the last 6 years. Contact me about private and group childbirth classes!

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