Kacey has experienced a wide range of births including a planned C-section for a Breech presentation and three VBACs, 1 medicated and 2 unmedicated.
Kacey’s first pregnancy was smooth and uneventful up until the 32 week mark when they discovered that her son was in the breech position. The next 7 weeks were spent researching at-home ways to encourage a breech baby to flip as well as conversations with her husband and doctor to weigh their options on delivery. Her and her husband finally settled on a planned C-section as the best option forward for them with the expectation that any future births would be able to be born vaginally if in a better presentation. Her son was born safely into the world on March 15th, 2012 via C-Section. Everything was smoother than she could have imagined. She was able to hold her son in the delivery room while she was closed up, but she didn’t get a chance for skin to skin or an attempt to nurse until a few hours later after she spent some time in post-op recovery. Other than that, everything was very smooth and her recovery, although longer than her vaginal deliveries, was pretty straight forward and smooth.
Two years after her first son was born, Kacey got pregnant with her first daughter. She was hopeful that she would be able to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). Although she was hopeful, her and her husband did not do much preparation for the birth as they had taken a hospital birth course when pregnant with their son and felt like it hadn’t prepared them much more than they already knew in regard to birth. Kacey hoped for an unmedicated VBAC with her daughter. Her daughter was head down at their 32 week ultrasound, so the plan was to move forward with a VBAC. She went into labor 2 days before her due date, but due to a high incidence of Braxton’s Hicks contractions, it wasn’t until active labor that night that she was confident it was labor and her and her husband headed to the hospital. Her water broke in her husband’s truck on the way to the hospital and that is when contractions became closer together and more intense. She arrived at the hospital at 3 cm and labored for a few hours. The contractions alternated between manageable and unmanageable and after being checked again and told she was 4 cm, she opted for the epidural. Looking back on her labor afterward, she realized that although she knew what to expect regarding the stages of labor, she was not prepared on how to handle the pain of contractions. She was very much in fear of the pain and tensed up again the intensity of the contraction, rather than relaxing into them and letting her body use the contraction to help her body dilate. After her epidural, she was able to relax and dilated quickly to a 10 within an hour or two. Her daughter was born early in the morning on December 11, 2014. Her recovery was much smoother and shorter than her C-section delivery and she loved the fact that she was able to have the skin-to-skin time after delivery that she missed out on with her son.
Kacey became pregnant with surprise baby #3 (a girl!) when her daughter was just over a year old. After the shock wore off, she saw this birth as an opportunity to redeem her attempt at an unmedicated birth and conquer the fear she experienced during her last labor. Her and her husband took preparation for this birth more seriously and decided that the only way to successfully have an unmedicated birth was to bring their faith in God into every aspect of their life, including the delivery room. They took a faith-based childbirth course through First Birth Ministries and hired a Sister-in-Christ, Shelley Williams (The Salty Doula), as their doula. They not only learned more about how God perfectly created the female body to birth babies, but they were able to see how even in the pain, there was purpose to the pain and that due to this perfect design there was nothing to fear. Kacey went into labor at around 39 weeks pregnant, and once again was in early labor most of the day before realizing it was actual labor getting started. On the evening of January 10th, 2017, her in laws came over to help take care of her older two children (as contractions were becoming stronger), and it was while prepping lunches for the next day in the kitchen that her water broke. She knew she wanted to labor at home as long as possible, but after her husband rushed home from work she was convinced to head into the hospital as the contractions were quickly intensifying. Contractions picked up quickly in duration and intensity on the way to the hospital and she was confident she was pretty far along when she arrived at the hospital. After getting settled and getting checked for dilation she found out she was 3-4cm and was very discouraged based on the intensity level of the contractions. She started to doubt her ability to have the unmedicated birth she desired. Her husband turned on her worship music playlist and read Bible verses from their birth aloud to her between contractions. With his support and the steady presence of their doula, she was able to relax into the contractions and within 30-45 minutes felt her daughter descending the birth canal. Her nurse checked her and realized she was already at 10 cm. Her doctor was able to just get into the room and everything prepped just in time for her daughter to be born a few contractions later. She was able to have extended skin to skin time and her daughter caught onto nursing right away. It was such a change from her last delivery, and even though it was hectic at parts due to how fast everything progressed, she was so thankful she had the unmedicated birth she always wanted.
Kacey’s final pregnancy came during 2020 after the COVID lockdowns allowed her and her husband to reflect and determine that maybe their family wasn’t complete. After getting pregnant with her final son, she knew what it was like to have a redeeming birth free of the fear of labor and knew that this time around she wanted the same. Knowing that it was going to be her last birth, she hoped and prayed that this birth would be a little slower than her fast and furious birth with her daughter so that she could truly soak in the entire experience. After a rough first half of her pregnancy with illness, the second half of her pregnancy was smooth sailing. The morning of March 5, 2021, she woke up in the early hours with what felt like Braxton Hicks contractions and the urge to use the restroom. She was able to fall back to sleep, and when she woke in the morning, she was having what felt like more steady Braxton Hicks contractions. She reached out to her doula and went for a walk, drank some raspberry leaf tea, and while her daughter settled down for her afternoon nap, she did the Miles Circuit (per her doula’s suggestion as she was having some back pain with contractions). On the third round of the circuit, while sitting on top of a birthing ball, she had a very intense contraction and felt her water begin to leak. She called her husband home, let her doula know the situation and jumped in the shower. By the time her mom arrived to watch their other kids, contractions were every 5 minutes and lasting around a minute long. This time around they headed straight into the hospital due to Kacey’s fast previous labor and the fact that this time around she was Strep B positive and wanted to give as much time as possible at the hospital for IV antibiotics. After getting set up at the hospital and informing the nurses that they would not be needing an epidural, Kacey and her husband labored together until their doula arrived an hour or two later. Labor was slower this time around (just as she prayed it would be!), and after alternating between riding the waves of contractions while standing and holding onto her husband, squatting at the foot of the bed, and leaning over the bed, she felt the familiar urge to push a few hours later. She got settled in the bed and continued to labor on all fours (she hates laboring on her back!) until her doctor was ready and her son was about to be born. He was born after a few contractions, and she can still vividly remember every moment. It was truly a dream birth and an answer to prayer. She had some retained placenta after birth that required her doctor to have to manually extract, but other than that, it was a smooth recovery.
Kacey Ratcliff Bio
Kacey is a mom of 4, ages 2-11 years old. Her and her husband, Reagan, have been married for 14 years and raise their family together in their hometown south of Houston. Kacey is a stay at home mom while her husband owns his own Optometry business (Twenty20 Vision Center).
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