Author: Rebecca Soffer

You Say Rachel, I Say Rebecca

“Pooooooosh, Rachel! You can do it!” The delivery nurse had a strong Brazilian accent. It was one of the things I’d noticed most about her while she repeatedly shouted my name in her role as coach in the final throes of my labor. She’d appeared halfway through the pushing phase, after the entire previous team ended their twelve-hour shift. I also noticed something else. “Rebecca!” I wheezed, between pushes. “My name is Rebecca!” There she stood, at my right side, her eyes fixated on the doula across the delivery table whom early on she’d deemed an unwelcome adversary on her turf. Whenever the doula would suggest something to the medical staff in an effort to be helpful, the nurse would exaggeratedly roll her eyes to the ceiling and whisper a little complaint in my ear. When the doula would give me verbal encouragement — “Rebecca, you’re being so strong!” — the nurse would toss in her two cents: “Almost there, Rachel!” As though, on principle, refusing to be on the same page whatsoever as anything …