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Take me to Lakeview Hospital: They let me lead in the natural birth of my rainbow baby (birth after loss)

Learn more about Crystalee empowering natural delivery at Lakeview Hospital.

May 02, 2022
Crystalee Beck smiling while holding her swaddled newborn baby boy.

A rainbow of balloons swayed behind Crystalee Beck as she cradled her pregnant belly and smiled for the camera. On the surface, this maternity shoot looked picture perfect, but inside Crystalee felt a mix of emotions. 

“At this point, I would have had a six-month-old girl, but instead I was six months pregnant with a baby boy. I had suffered a miscarriage and was in the midst of another pregnancy. Through those closely timed experiences, I learned grief and joy can be intertwined,” Crystalee said. “I still missed the little girl I wanted to be a part of our family, yet I was excited to meet this little boy. With the photo shoot, I wanted to honor and make space for her while simultaneously celebrating the new life coming to our family.” 

A “rainbow baby” is a child born after a pregnancy loss or stillborn.

Crystalee’s baby boy would join an older sister and two brothers in the Beck family. Crystalee delivered two of the three older kids at nearby MountainStar facilities, with the oldest sister arriving via C-section and the two boys delivered by VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and epidural. With this fourth birth, Crystalee had a new plan in mind. 

“At around 30 weeks I decided I might as well shoot for the birth I’ve always wanted: An unmedicated vaginal birth,” Crystalee said. “I wanted to know what my body was capable of. Plus, billions of women have done this since the beginning of time, and why not me?” 

Creating a personalized birth plan  

With the goal of a natural birth, Crystalee set out to find the best healthcare support for her birthing plan. That’s when she met the team at Lakeview OB/GYN Clinic, including Laura Zaugg, a certified nurse midwife and board-certified family nurse practitioner. 

“For my past births, I was still learning to advocate for what I wanted. This time, I was confident, experienced, and felt so much respect. They let me lead in my birth, and they supported me the entire way,” Crystalee said. 

For example, during the last month of her pregnancy, Crystalee’s body went into early labor. She experienced contractions and dilation yet her baby boy remained snuggly in her womb, even at 40 weeks of gestation. 

“My midwife, Laura, and Dr. Ryan Empey both said they didn’t know why I didn’t have a baby yet. I was just getting bigger and more uncomfortable and anxious for him to come,” said Crystalee. “Dr. Empey knew how much I wanted a natural birth, but did not recommend going past41 weeks, and asked that we set an induction time and date.”

The night before her scheduled induction, Crystalee said an earnest prayer. She expressed her desire to have a natural birth, but she also submitted to the will of God. A few hours later, in the comfort of her home, her water broke on its own – the sign her baby was ready to come on his own.

Lakeview Hospital: Providing emotional, mental and physical support during a natural birth

Crystalee had prepared for this natural birth, and it showed. Along her private birthing suite’s wall, her husband placed her giant posters with power statements, empowering quotes, diagrams and ideas to refer to during labor pains. Words like “I’m MADE for this!” and “Pain = Progress” made it clear that she meant business. She even dedicated a poster to the names of inspirational women in her life who had successfully delivered babies through unmedicated births. 

“The nurses could see how much this meant to me. They knew I was committed to this plan, and they showed me deep respect for that,” said Crystalee. “In fact, my nurse for my birth, Mary Ann West, added her name to my poster of women who had given birth naturally. Her support meant so much to me and was an answer to my prayers.  All the women on that poster – my late grandmother, my cousins, women I went to grad school with and my nurse – they were my cheer team.”

Crystalee’s cheer team and hospital team supported her throughout the draining and excruciating process of natural labor and delivery. 

“It was the most difficult and transformative experience,” said Crystalee. “There was a time near the end where I felt like I was literally dying – it hurt so bad, and I couldn’t imagine going on. Then Dr. Empey said, ‘You’re not dying, you’re really living right now.’ And he was right. The peak of being alive is giving life.” 

Crystalee gave life to a handsome and healthy baby boy who weighed 8 lbs. 14 oz. and measured 21 inches long. Crystalee and her husband named their son Colby. The thrills of holding and meeting her son combined with her swelling feelings of accomplishment for enduring a natural birth.

“It was wonderful! The experience helped me feel so strong and capable, both emotionally and physically,” Crystalee said. “My birth at Lakeview Hospital taught me to trust myself. It taught me to ask for what I want and accept help for what I need … and I don’t know I would have had that same experience anywhere else. I’m thankful my nurses, Dr. Empey, and my midwife Laura were so supportive and that they let me take the lead.” 

Since experiencing her own miscarriage, pregnancy, natural birth and mothering moments, Crystalee says she’ll forever cheer on women who strive to welcome and raise little ones.  

“I came away from this birth having so much respect for what women go through to get our babies here. I hope every mother knows that she’s doing something spectacular and tremendously important,” said Crystalee. “We make humans! It’s a big deal! It’s so common we might forget, but it’s a huge thing to give someone else a chance to be born and have a life. Motherhood is heroic.”

Precious baby Colby, swaddled with rainbow-colored hearts around the crown of his head.
Crystalee Beck turned to her side, smiling and holding her pregnant belly, with balloons beside her.
Crystalee Beck holding her pregnant belly outside surrounded by multiple colored balloons.
Crystalee Beck sitting up on her hospital bed, with her husband holding their newborn baby boy, and her nurse standing beside her.
Baby Colby.


May 02, 2022
Lakeview Hospital

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