Welcome David

 Posted by on November 17, 2014
Nov 172014

Alexandra birthed David at home in mid-October and she just sent her birth story to be shared on our blog.  She had a very triumphant vaginal birth after cesarean!

Alexandra and David

Alexandra and David

Alexandra and Zach

Alexandra and Zach right after David was born

My HBAC birth story.

Friday October 17th I was 40+3 and exhausted of being pregnant. So, I bought a nice standing rib roast for dinner and made an amazing meal as a special treat. I tried going to bed at about 9pm. I started having mild contractions by 11pm and started timing them about 1-1:30. At 3:30 I called my doula to let her know I was definitely in labor. 5am came around and my water broke. I was sitting on the toilet and then grabbed the walls and whoa. My water broke. I called to my husband and told him. He then worried he’d be delivering the baby before we even called anybody. He then called the midwives. They told him to call back when the contractions got closer together. I got in the shower which felt amazing. Things escalated quickly after that point. I had him call the doula who then called the birth photographer. We called the midwives back to come at about 6am. Everybody was at our house by 7am. I mostly labored laying on my side as that was the most comfortable position. We did the

Big Brother Luke looking on

Big Brother Luke looking on

stairs and walked around some. I used the birth ball. I tried just about everything. I had intense pressure and pain in my lower back, sacrum area. During late active labor I got into my bathtub, and the pain just melted away. The water just felt amazing. I stayed in the tub as long as I could before it got cold and stopped relieving the pain. Then when I hit transition labor I didn’t wanna do it anymore. I was ready to give up, but there was no way you’d have gotten me in a car unless it was necessary. There was no relief between contractions. I didn’t wanna do what anyone was suggesting. I just hurt. Eventually my body just started pushing. I was in the shower and I couldn’t stop my body from pushing. I tried the bath and we tries to not push through the contractions. I wasn’t quite fully dilated. Shortly though I was ready to push. I pushed hard for about an hour and at 1:43pm on October 18th, my perfect boy was born. 9lbs 4oz. 22in long. I did it! I pushed my baby out. I wound up with a necessary episiotomy and tearing externally. The internal tearing put me in the hospital for about 6hrs. I had to get a spinal block for the stitches. I got home about midnight and I’ve been enjoying snuggles with my angel ever since. There were times I just didn’t want to do it. I was ready to give up, but I did it. I had to constantly remind myself that my body isn’t broken. I’m the proud momma of two perfect boys. One born by cesarean, and one born all natural vbac at home.

I did it!

I did it!


Sarah’s Story

 Posted by on July 16, 2014
Jul 162014

While this includes the birth stories of the four miracles God blessed Jarad and I with, this is more about my personal journey for a natural birth.

 Hunter Lynn


My husband and I found out we were expecting our first child just a few months after marriage; so much for our plan to wait 5 years! I was completely uneducated about childbirth but knew I wanted an all natural birth because my mother and grandmother had natural births. I have a high pain tolerance and it is just something I had always wanted to do. I found the best OB in town. At my first appointment I met with the nurse. She started going over what I should expect during pregnancy and asked me some questions that she filed in my chart. One of the questions was if I planned on having an epidural. As she was asking me she was shaking her head yes and answering the question for me. I said to her that I wasn’t planning on having an epidural and that I wanted an all-natural birth. She tried convincing me I needed an epidural and put me down as a maybe.

As the pregnancy progressed, it was clear that I would be having a larger than average baby. It was a very hands-on pregnancy. I had a total of 5 sonograms and was checked several times from 30 weeks on. I kept being told that my baby was huge and was expected to be 11 pounds. The OB had told me I needed an epidural in case my baby was too big to fit through the birth canal and I needed an emergency c-section.  She told me I just had to get the needle inserted but never had to use the medicine. I agreed. At about 32 weeks, I was already dilated to a 3 and 50% effaced. The OB told me she was going to cancel my appointment at the hospital. I had no idea at the time what she was talking about but I later learned that each patient is scheduled to check into the hospital the day before their due date and is administered a cervix softener and then induced on their due date if they don’t go into labor on their own. A few weeks went by and at every appointment I was told my baby was huge and I really needed to schedule a c-section. I was told his head would get stuck or he could have shoulder dystocia if I tried having him vaginally. I gave in and scheduled the c-section. I hated penciling in a baby on our calendar. I still hoped to go into labor on my own and just show up at the hospital and have him vaginally. But at 36 weeks, on a Friday night, I was in triage having contractions one minute apart. I was eventually sent home, as I was not making progress and the contractions were dying down.

The following Monday at my doctors appointment, I was told the baby had not dropped and was starting to stress. I was sent to get an ultrasound where they told me he was pushing 11 pounds and his head was 16 inches in diameter and he couldn’t drop because his head was too big to fit in my pelvis. The OB told me I would most likely kill my baby if I tried to have him. I was sent to the hospital immediately for what I was told was an emergency c-section. Once at the hospital, I waited an hour or so before going back to the OR. My son, Hunter, was born at 36 weeks and 4 days, weighing in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces. He was 21 ¾” long and his head was 14”. I remember saying, “That’s it? I could have had him.” The OB replied that 8 pounds was big and my pelvis was small on the inside and there is no way he would have fit. Hunter was rushed to the nursery because he needed oxygen. It was 14 hours before I saw him or held him. He couldn’t keep his temperature up, he needed constant oxygen, and he had fluid on his lungs. He was given sugar water and formula in a tube and bottle in the nursery and once I finally was able to nurse him, I was engorged and he wouldn’t latch. I attended several breastfeeding groups and saw specialist at the hospital and we never could establish a good nursing relationship. After one month of stress and crying and supplementing formula, we finally gave up on nursing.

Hayden Elizabeth


Jarad and I found out we were expecting our second child. We had moved to Austin so I saw a new doctor. I started out going to a doctor in San Marcos. She told me she didn’t understand why I had a c-section in the first place and she thought I was an excellent candidate for a VBAC. I didn’t know much about VBACs but started doing my research. My doctor informed me that the hospital wouldn’t allow VBACs because it was under construction and they didn’t have a NICU in case there was an emergency. She was unable to find a facility that would allow her to perform a VBAC so I switched doctors at 30 weeks. I made a 45 minute commute to a hospital that had a state of the art women’s center. The doctor I saw there agreed I was an excellent candidate for a VBAC and that is what we had planned. At 38 weeks, he told me my c-section was scheduled for the following week. I was shocked. I told him I was planning a VBAC. He told me that he didn’t realize how big my baby was going to be and that the hospital did not allow VBACs on babies projected to be over 6 ½ to 7 pounds. I had never been told that before and my first was over 8 pounds so I would have thought this would have been discussed. He then told me that a VBAC is more risk to the baby and a c-section is more risk to the mother and he doesn’t know any mother in her right mind who would put that risk on her baby instead of herself. Then he tapped me on the knee with my chart and walked out the door with a smile. My daughter, Hayden, was born [via c/section] at 39 weeks, weighing in at 9 pounds 1 oz. Nursing was rough again and we made it 3 months this time, again supplementing from very early on.

Harper Anne


The same week we found out I was pregnant with our third, I got a letter in the mail that my current OB was relocating and I would need to find a new provider. I started looking for a VBAC friendly provider. I found an awesome OB who was pretty much anti c-section and was VBAC friendly but the hospital would not allow a VBA2C. The OB thought my first two c-sections were completely unnecessary but said we couldn’t change the past and we can’t find a facility that would allow a VBA2C, so we will just have to make the best out of this c-section. The pregnancy was great until 37 weeks. I developed high blood pressure. At 38 weeks, I still had it. I got tested for preeclampsia but it was negative. I had an appointment at 38 weeks and 5 days. I was sent to the lab for more testing but before that was complete, I got a phone call from my OB. She had consulted with a high-risk specialist who diagnosed me with gestational hypertension and said I needed to have my baby as soon as possible. I was scheduled to go in for a c-section that evening.

When I got to the hospital, my blood pressure was normal. I was taken back to the OR and given the spinal. Immediately my blood pressure skyrocketed and the baby’s heart rate dropped dangerously low. All I remember at this point was the OB yelling at the nurses to get wedges under me, and all kinds of other scary stuff. I was in a daze and remember hearing a lot of beeping noises. I remember thinking it was like one of those medical shows where the patient is looking around, dazed and confused, wondering if they are dying, and the doctor is yelling and machines are beeping and everyone is on high alert. I really wanted my husband but in the midst of all that was going on, they forgot to bring him in. He eventually was brought in and was by my side. We did not find out the gender ahead of time with this baby so my husband got to announce to me that we had a healthy baby girl. She weighed in at 8 pounds 1 oz. She was our smallest baby. She was whisked away to the nursery while I spent over 2 hours in the OR getting keloid scarring cut out and steroid shots injected. But for the first time ever, I got to see my baby while I was in recovery so I got to nurse her sooner than all my other babies. We were off to a pretty good start as far as nursing goes. Harper had some medical issues and we had to start supplementing around 3 weeks but we were able to nurse for about 8 months.

Hudson James


When I found out I was pregnant with our fourth, I called my OB only to find out that she wasn’t delivering babies anymore. I got a referral from several friends to an excellent OB in my area. I made an appointment. One night at my first MOPS meeting at our church, I met a girl named Annabell. We were sitting at a table with seven moms. Annabell was pregnant and was planning a VBAC at a birthing center. She was also a nurse. She made a comment that out of all 7 of us moms, only one had had a vaginal birth. The rest had had all c-sections. I asked her if she had had 3 c-sections, would she go for a VBA3C or was that just too risky? She said she would. She suggested I watch “More Business of Being Born” so that night, I went home and watched it on Netflix. I loved how honest the film was. I heard both sides of the VBAC argument. They talked about why hospitals didn’t allow VBACs, the insurance companies’ role, how VBACs got a bad reputation, the risks involved with VBACs and repeat c-sections, and so much more. It wasn’t filled with scare tactics, nor was it sugar coated. After watching the film, I started googling VBA3C.

I came across a blog from a midwife in Austin who had performed VBAMCs. I read the birth stories on her website and bawled the entire time. I knew I had to contact her and just inquire about a VBA3C. I met with Christy from Motherbloom Midwifery. I can’t even describe our meeting. It was just awesome. She was kind, compassionate, understanding and so much more. She thought I was a good candidate for a VBA3C and agreed to take me on as a patient. I cancelled my appointment I had scheduled with the OB because I already knew they would say no to a VBA3C. I still had to convince my husband, and to be honest, myself, that this was a good idea. I mean, not only was I going for a VBA3C, it was a homebirth too. I had never thought about a homebirth. It sounded crazy especially since I was supposedly high risk after having 3 c-sections, right? I prayed and prayed and prayed about it. I finally felt at peace about it. One thing Christy had told me, which I told my husband, was that I could change my mind at anytime. He agreed I could go for it but I knew he wasn’t on board and thought I wouldn’t really follow through with it.

Each appointment with Christy made me feel more and more comfortable with my decision. I knew I was doing the right thing for our family. I didn’t tell many people what I was doing because I knew the controversy surrounding it and I didn’t want to hear all the negativity, especially from people who were not very educated on the subject. Jarad and I didn’t talk about it either. Every time we did, it ended in an argument. If I heard him say “There’s a reason hospitals don’t allow VBA3Cs,” one more time, I was going to punch him in the face. So we just didn’t go there.

My pregnancy went well. I worked out. I also ran my first marathon at 5 months pregnant. I received chiropractic care weekly starting at 32 weeks. I did have some random things happen towards the end that ended up not being a big deal. I had some severe itching and swelling, and developed high blood pressure again. I went on bed rest at 37 weeks and it all cleared up except the itching, but even that got better. This pregnancy my stomach was huge. Christy had said I had plenty of fluid, but wasn’t concerned. We knew I was going to have a larger than average baby, meaning over 8 pounds or so, but that was to be expected as all my babies were over 8 pounds. I loved the hands off approach of this pregnancy. I had an ultrasound at 9 weeks to determine my EDD, I had another at 25 weeks, at my request, to make sure the placenta wasn’t embedded in the incision or anything crazy like that, and I was never checked vaginally. Starting around 32-34 weeks, I was having Braxton Hicks. Totally random and annoying but that was it. I had no idea if I was making any progress. I was mentally prepared to go to 42 weeks and to have a long pushing stage as this was my first vaginal birth and I had never labored. I had no birth plan. I didn’t want one because I didn’t want to think about it. I trusted Christy and her partner, Jenni, and knew they would take care of me. If they said I needed a c-section, I knew I needed one. We had a back up plan and the nearest hospital was 2 miles away so I wasn’t worried about that. I had a birthing pool that I planned on using to labor in. I didn’t know if I wanted a water birth. I figured I would just see how things went.

I had been taking a bath almost every night before bed just to help with the itching and to relax a little. Friday, April 25, I didn’t take a bath before bed. I was tired. But at 3 am Saturday morning, my two year old came in our room and woke me up. I couldn’t go back to sleep so I started watching Netfilx on the iPad. I could tell I was bothering my husband and I had started itching again so I went to take a bath and watch the movie while I was in the tub. I started having those annoying Braxton Hicks again. I got out of the tub after a while and lie back down. It was probably around 6 am and I still couldn’t sleep. Around 7 am the contractions started back and were getting closer together. I couldn’t tell if they were getting stronger and longer, but they would stop for a while and then start back again. I assumed this was the prodromal labor I had heard about where it starts and stops. I knew this could go on for days. I got back in the tub to try and relax a bit. For an hour, the contractions were about 6-7 minutes apart but then they stopped again. I then had a little bit of a bloody show. It was 8 am and I texted Christy to tell her what had been going on. I told her I was surprised how bad the contractions hurt this early on. Not that the they hurt that bad but I thought if it is this uncomfortable now, I can’t imagine how bad they will hurt when I am actually in labor. Christy told me to get some rest, stay hydrated, and go for a brisk walk. At 10:45 I texted Christy to tell her I couldn’t rest, I lost a bunch more of the mucous plug and for the past 20 minutes, contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart, and I never went for that walk. At this point, the contractions were starting to hurt some. She called to check on me and said they would head over in a couple hours. I assured her I was fine and there was no need to rush over. She called back about an hour later and said they were going to go ahead and come over. The kids had a t-ball game at noon. Jarad was loading them in car and when he came back in to tell me bye and I leaned over and grabbed the dresser during a contraction. He immediately got the kids out of the car and said he wasn’t leaving. I told him everything was fine, Christy and Jenni would be there soon, my parents were on their way, this will last a long time, just take the kids to their game. He refused to leave me. Instead, he aired up the birthing tub. Christy and Jenni arrived a little after 1 PM. She said she wanted to check me. I expected her to say I was at a 2 or something. I was prepared for this to last all day. When she said I was a 10 and ready to push, I was shocked! No wonder the contractions were hurting worse than I expected. I was in active labor. I wasn’t ready for this. The birthing tub hadn’t been filled up, the birth photographer wasn’t here, I couldn’t have this baby yet.

Christy told me to sit on the toilet for a couple contractions to see if the pressure would build in my pelvis. I had a few contractions standing up then I lay down to start pushing. It get’s a little blurry here but I remember screaming and grunting. Not really because it hurt super bad but because it was more of a way to release energy from the push. Christy told me to put all of that energy into the push. She also advised me to tuck my chin when pushing. It was then that I thought maybe I should have taken a birthing class. The baby had never dropped so I pushed him from pretty high up. My water broke during a push. As baby was coming the contractions were on top of each other and I couldn’t catch my breath. This is where it got painful. I think I was holding my breath and I thought I was going to pass out. I started saying I couldn’t do this but Christy, Jenni, and Jarad were all telling me I could. Actually I think they said I had to because the baby’s head was coming out. There was so much pressure. Then I felt an intense burning sensation and I remember thinking this must be what the ring of fire feels like. Then I started wondering how long it was supposed to last. The baby came out the next push. If I understand correctly, the entire baby pretty much came out during one push. Christy laid the baby on my chest. I have never had a messy baby laying on me. I didn’t know what to do. We checked the gender and it was boy. I was in complete awe. We had hoped for a boy. I remember just moaning and saying really weird things at this point. I’m pretty sure I was in shock. I was just trying to comprehend everything that had just happened. It had all happened so fast. I believe the entire labor was less than 3 hours. I did get a 2nd degree tear so I lay there a while getting stitched up. I think Christy was trying to slow me down so she could stretch me but I was pushing really hard and he slid out so fast, there wasn’t really much she could do.

Now for the fun part, we got to find out what the baby weighed. We all told each other our guesses but I think we were all completely shocked when Christy announced he was 11 pounds, 2 ounces. I for sure did not expect that at all. His head was 15 ¾ inches and he was 21 ¾ inches long. I asked Christy why his head wasn’t cone shaped. She said because there was plenty of room for him to come out. (Remember my first baby who was 8 pounds 4 ounces with a 14 inch head was too big to fit through the birth canal.) Christy and Jenni helped the baby and I take a herb bath. They helped with nursing which led to Hudson and I having a great nursing relationship from the beginning; something I wasn’t able to have with the other babies. They stayed until everything was cleaned up and baby and I were snuggled in bed. Additionally, Christy and Jenni called and texted me to check on me several times, and all postpartum and baby visits over the next few weeks were done at my home which was so much easier on us than having to load the baby up and go to appointments.

I am still amazed that after having three c-sections and being told I would never be able to have a vaginal birth, I pushed an 11 pound, 2 ounce baby out of my vagina, at home in my bed, all natural with no pain medications. We give all the glory to God who protected us while we brought this precious life into this world. I can’t thank Christy and Jenni enough for their belief in me. Although, my husband wasn’t really on board with all this, he was perfect during the delivery. He was supportive when I needed him to be and has reminded me several times how awesome I am for doing what I did.

I don’t regret my first three c-sections but I do wish I was educated enough to avoid a c-section in the first place. I never felt broken but I felt like there was a void. After becoming more educated I felt confident that my first three c-sections were completely unnecessary. I still had a very strong desire for a natural birth but I struggled finding support. It wasn’t an easy process to get the birth I wanted but it was well worth the journey. My HBA3C was very empowering. It was my biggest feat, both physically and emotionally. I hope my story encourages others to become more educated, think for themselves, have a voice, and be empowered. Our bodies are amazing and when given the chance, they will work just like God made them to work.



Micah Tells Her VBAMC Story

 Posted by on March 31, 2013
Mar 312013

In Micah’s own words:

Hello to all my family and friends who’ve been wondering what the heck has been going on surrounding the birth of Nixon Adele Lively! Well I’m ready to tell!! Its a long story so you might want to pop some popcorn or something if you plan on reading all of it!:) For those of you who don’t know, I’ve had four previous cesareans and after careful consideration, education, and research, my husband and I decided that we wanted to have a trial of labor and attempt a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) for this fifth baby. At first I had a hard time finding anyone in Louisiana who would even see me, but then someone mentioned a doctor at Woman’s Hospital who is very pro VBAC and I decided to meet with him. I didn’t tell him on the phone any of my history…just that I was pregnant and was wanting to switch from my current doctor at Woman’s, because I knew he would shut me down before I’d even been able to present my case. I met with him and was just very honest and told him my heart. I told him how much I had deliberated this with my husband, that we were very aware of the risks involved, and that if given the opportunity to have a trial of labor in a controlled environment where there are medical staff who are ready and trained to handle any and every situation should something arise and at any point if he felt that I wouldn’t be successful or that there was a problem I would willingly let him give me another section. I told him that there was no reason why I shouldn’t be allowed a trial of labor given the fact that I have had zero health problems in my past, no high blood pressure, no complications during my pregnancies, no diabetes, I’m not overweight or underweight, no heart or blood problems, or any other type of sickness, disease, or health concern. I don’t eat gluten, wheat, corn, soy, or dairy and very little sugar. I told him, “I’m a perfectly healthy 31 year old woman and I feel it is my right to have a trial of labor.” He couldn’t argue with me and said okay! He couldn’t promise me a successful VBAC, he couldn’t tell me that everything would work out as planned, and he couldn’t guarantee my uterus wouldn’t rupture, but that he would walk this thing out with me as best he could and that he agreed he felt it was my right as a woman to choose how I wanted to birth. I was PUMPED needless to say! I finally had support! So, for the rest of my pregnancy I saw him and we discussed many possibilitiesand many concerns and he monitored me very carefully and was incredibly supportive of me. Every test was aced and every ultrasound was great. Weight gain was normal. No problems. I saw him for my 35 week check up and all was well. Had an ultrasound to triple check a few things and again, all was right on target. I saw him on a Wed. and received a phone call from him on a Fri. That Fri. made 36 weeks. I was having my toes done in preparation for my new arrival…I figured my baby should get to see something sparkly and pretty as she was coming out:)…and I get a phone call from my doctor saying that he was SO sorry but that he would have to let me go as his patient from Woman’s Hospital. That he hadn’t told any of his colleagues about me because he knew they wouldn’t be supportive of his decision to take me as a patient and that they would basically freak out, but that he had recently confided in one of his co-workers and she had in short, indeed freaked out! She told him she was going to report him b/c he was crazy and was a terrible doctor to have taken me on. She said that if something went wrong then I could sue all of them thereby raising their malpractice insurance and making them all pay MORE!! She yelled in his face calling him a quack and telling him she had no respect for him. Not only was he shocked at her response, but he was deeply hurt at her onslaught of words and her anger toward him. He said that they were friends and it was really hurtful to hear that things she had to say to him. Furthermore…he had met with the CEO of Woman’s and she told him that “if that woman thinks she’s going to come to this hospital and have a VBAC, she’s got another thing coming!” He said, “Well if she comes here in labor you can’t deny her help!” She said, “No we can’t. But she’s going to leave with a section!” To which he replied, “Well what are you going to do? Hold her down and section her?? You can’t do that! That’s assault!” And she says, “No we can’t do that but we’ll have her sign every waiver we can think of before she even steps foot through our doors and we can make it very difficult for her!!”

PART TWO…had to take a break…should’ve packed a snack!
The CEO also told him that if he didn’t drop me as a patient that she would make sure he was stripped of his medical license. So here I am getting my toes all sparkly and pink and all happy and I get this terrible news and I’m sitting there telling myself…don’t cry! Don’t cry! I’m a few weeks out from delivery with no one to deliver my baby, but surely something will work out!! My doctor ends our convo with, “So what are you going to do??” And I’m thinking…um…you were it! There’s no plan B!! He then says, “Well look. I’m going to make some phone calls…call doctors I know and midwives and see if I can help find anyone to take you as a patient, and if you go into labor and you have no other options then just come to the hospital and I’ll deliver your baby and I’ll just have to deal with it. But I just want you to know that I have a wife, three kids, and a mortgage.” For the record…I LOVE this doctor and think he’s amazing and a truly great doctor and none of these events have changed my view of him. Still love him!! Well there was no way I was going to have him losing his medical license over me on my conscience. So I told him that I would walk away from it. We spoke several more times over the next few days and it was becoming more and more clear that he had truly been my only option. NO ONE would touch me at this point. My story was spreading like wild fire throughout the birthing community and fear along with it. I can’t tell you how many doctors, nurses, midwives, and doulas I spoke with ALL OVER LOUISIANA over the next few weeks and the majority of them had already heard about me and most of them wouldn’t even speak to me. Those that would speak to me just told me how sorry they were for my situation and how unfair it was and how sad it was that there was no one that would step up to the plate and just help me…but they surely couldn’t! Everyone had too much to lose! So I prayed and cried and waited. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to be bullied into having another section when I shouldn’t have had the first four to begin with!! I began to feel that my rights were being violated. My rights as a mother. My rights as an American Citizen. My rights as a woman. I got angry. I began to wonder why it was legal for me to choose to abort my fetus b/c…afterall…its my body and my fetus, therefore it is myright as a woman to choose whether of not I want my baby, but it wasn’t my right to choose how I wanted to birth??!! I couldn’t choose to have a trial of labor in a controlled and safe environment with medical professionals and trained staff and an OR at my disposal if need be?? But if I wanted to end the life of my baby then I could definitely have all of those options available to me! NOT OKAY!!! My story began to spread farther and I was contacted by a lawyer who worked for the Advocates of Pregnant Woman’s Rights. After explaining my story in detail to her she told me that she’d seen this type of thing get really ugly before and that the hospital had gone so far as to accuse the parents of trying to harm the infant and they had social services keep their baby from them for three weeks!!! ALL FOR STANDING UP FOR THEIR RIGHT TO HAVE A TRIAL OF LABOR IN A HOSPITAL AND HAVE A VBAC!!!!
PART THREE…I told you it was a long story…
Is this America??!! How has it come to this? Where doctors and “experts” are telling us how we are going to do things?? WE PAY THEM!!!
Well to make a long story short…just kidding…I had a friend find a website of a midwife in Austin, TX who had just delivered a woman in my exact same position a few months earlier. She had posted it and the entire story on her website and my friend suggested I contact this midwife. I did and after hearing all the facts about my situation she offered to deliver my baby if i could come to her in Texas. I really didn’t think it would be possible, but I have two very loving parents who were worried out of their skulls over this and they offered to keep our FOUR kids so that my husband and I could travel to Austin and deliver our baby girl! So at 38 weeks we packed our bags and drove to Austin, TX. It was really fun and relaxing for the first five days, but then the homesickness began to set in. We missed our babies terribly. We missed our home and our normalcy! It was a lot for a woman at the end of her pregnancy! Thankfully we had some SUPER AMAZING friends who allowed us to live in their three year olds room while we were there!! What a HUGE blessing!! We really couldn’t have afforded to do it otherwise. I thought for sure I would go into labor early b/c with the others I’d been early, but NOPE! Ms. Nixon was not interested in exiting her comfy womb until she literally had no more room to move! After being in Austin for THREE WEEKS (and soooooo thankful to the awesome guys my husband works with that covered for him so that he could stay the ENTIRE three weeks and be there for this birth) she finally came out…at 40 weeks and 5 days! I labored for 13 hours and pushed for 45 min…which felt like 5 hours…and had a NATURAL VBAC and delivered a 9 POUND 3 OUNCE BABY!!! Everything was PERFECT!! There was nothing heroic about it either! I wailed and cried and moaned and begged Jesus to come back and deliver me and screamed until I was hoarse until she was OUT! I even begged my husband to take me to the hospital for a section as the baby was crowning! LOL! I really didn’t want to finish it. I really didn’t think I could! It was agonizingly painful! LOL! But I did it! She’s here and healthy and I’m healthy and I didn’t have to endure anothersection and have my rights violated by a bunch of money makers who are telling me that they know what’s best for my body! I would go into all of the deets about the labor and the water breaking and the “mess” of it all but those of you interested in that can give me a call!:) I wanted you ALL to know my story and feel free to pass it along! We have to know our rights and we need to stand up for whats right and fair. I was really sad to have to drive 8 hours…which turned into 10 b/c of all the bathroom breaks…away to have the birth I wanted. I’m asking you to share, repost, or retell my story to as many moms as you can b/c we ALL need to know our rights. I plan on fighting this thing as soon as I can walk again!!!! Thanks to everyone who stuck with this entire thing and read it all the way!!!:)

Another VBAMC! Welcome Nixon Adele

 Posted by on March 23, 2013
Mar 232013
Vaginal birth after multiple c/sections | VBAMC

Nixon Adele

On Wednesday, March 20th, at 40 1/2 weeks gestation, Micah gave birth vaginally to this not so little cherub baby after her previous four children had been born by c/section.  It was another amazing birth to witness as Micah worked so hard pushing through the many doubts that followed her here from Louisiana.  Micah and her husband Brad could not find anyone to help them have a VBAC in their state, so they traveled to Austin in order to find support for their natural, vaginal birth plan.  Nixon was the largest of Micah’s babies, weighing in a 9 pounds 3 ounces.  Big sister and brothers, Madison, Lincoln, Hayes, and Monroe waited at home with their grandma.  More to pictures and birth story to come from Micah!


New data on C/section and VBAC rates in Texas

 Posted by on February 5, 2013
Feb 052013

Check out these reports:



Interesting points: St. David’s Hospital in Austin has a much higher c/section rate than I anticipated- wowza!; the c/section rate in the Texas valley is extremely high-way over the national average ….I can’t help but think racial/economic discrimination is at play; and you’ll notice that the birth center study I posted about a few days ago had a VBAC success rate that far surpasses the rate of any of the hospitals listed here.


Feb 012013

A new study was released today from the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC), Outcomes of Care in Birth Centers: Demonstration of a Durable Model.

The outcomes for mothers and babies are excellent and comparable to other out-of-hospital birth settings in other countries.  The only disappointment is that because of exclusion protocols at most birth centers in the US, there were only 56 cases of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) attempts in the study of 15, 574 births.  70% of the women did successfully VBAC, but unfortunately this is not a large enough VBAC cohort to give us new information to further validate the safety of VBAC in home or birth center settings.

Dec 212012

In my years as a midwife, being with women as they give birth, I have had the honor of helping women birth their babies vaginally after having cesarean sections – one, two, three, and four times before “being allowed” to push their babies out!  This fall, 2012, has been a particularly inspiring VBAC season in my midwifery practice.  I have had the good fortune to meet, talk with, listen to, worry about, ponder over, and believe in some very inspiring women who would not take no for an answer when they talked about birthing their babies vaginally after having c/sections.

Having transported from an intended home birth with my first pregnancy, which then disappointingly “ended” in a c/section, I have very much empathy for women who have had c/sections and just want to do it another way.  I did have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) at home with my second baby, and passionate as I was then about it, my convictions and fight for VBAC seem to be 10 fold now.  I think this is partly due to the fact that my memories of my emotional states during my early parenting years are fading as time passes, but mostly I think it is because I see women who are being outright emotionally abused and disempowered during their prenatal care and physically harmed over and over by repeat c/sections without getting to make fully informed choices about their bodies or their births. The stories I hear sometimes make me want to shout, “what were they thinking?” not about the women, but about the so-called care providers.

Because of these stories I hear, I am so happy to be writing about two women in particular, well, three actually, as it was Stephanie who paved the way for my desire to help women have vaginal births after many cesareans (VBAMC).  It is very hard to find information —anecdotal stories, let alone research articles — about women who have had vaginal births after 2, 3, 4, or more c/sections.  Stephanie came to visit with me about 2 ½ years ago, I still remember sitting with her on the swing in my front yard while her boys jumped on the trampoline.  She really wanted to have a vaginal birth but she had already had three c/sections.  We talked, she knew the risks of uterine rupture and placenta accreta and hemorrhage etc, but she also knew the risks of continuing to have major abdominal surgery, the pain and recovery time involved, and the separation of her babies from her after the birth as she was being stitched up.  She considered her options until nearly 20 weeks when she fully decided to have me help her have a vaginal birth at home.  Twenty-one weeks later, Stephanie had a beautiful, fast, vaginal waterbirth – catching her baby herself.  I will be forever grateful to Stephanie for showing me I do not need to be fearful when women come to me and say I’ve had ____ number c/sections, will you help me have my baby a different way?

Now I am the first to admit that not all c/sections are bad or unnecessary or physically and emotionally harmful and that not all women are a perfect fit for VBAC at home or even in the hospital.  But I do strongly believe that all birth situations require and deserve the respect of at least having a conversation about the options.  I do not see the harm in, and most definitely see the benefit of, women talking about “what if I could have my next baby vaginally?”

That’s the beauty of what is at the core of midwifery care and what should be a foundation of maternity care and ALL health care, for that matter.   The conversation between a woman and a midwife (or health care provider) about what best fits each birth situation is essential for clear and personal decision making.  I have had some VBAC clients who really wanted to have their babies at home, but during labor it became clear that going to the hospital was the best birth option in the moment.  Even though a hospital birth and another c/section were not what these women wanted, they fully knew the options and made their own decisions about transporting, which is what ultimately made their experience more empowering than their first births.  They were not told what to do, but respectfully asked what their choice was.

Some women having VBACs choose homebirth because that is truly what they desire and think is right for them, but many women choose it because they have no other choice.  In this country, it is very hard to find an OB or hospital-based midwife practice that will help women have a VBAC with no strings attached.  Often there are many rules around a “trial of labor” and if things are not going just so and staying within certain parameters, they suggest or insist that the mom needs another c/section.  Choice of birth location definitely needs some well- intentioned attention in Austin and around the country.  Some women don’t have the legal choice to birth at home depending on the state they live in, and others, including women wanting VBACs, don’t have the choice of hospital birth.

I will always be happy to accompany women on the path of intended vaginal home birth, whether it’s their first birth, or second or sixth, as birth is one of the most common daily miracles. However, there is a sweet sense of deserved accomplishment in watching a woman who has either been told directly or disempowered to believe that she cannot birth vaginally, push a baby through her pelvis and out of her vagina! In late November and early December 2012, just a few weeks apart, I attended two more such births.  Their stories can be found here:

Melek’s story of Evren Abel’s birth: http://blog.ican-online.org/2012/12/12/meleks-hba2c-of-evren-abel/

Jacqueline’s birth of Travis: http://www.motherbloommidwifery.com/vbac-homebirth-after-4-csections/

I am hopeful that if women keep insisting that they CAN push babies out and if they keep telling their stories, then more and more women will feel the power and accomplishment and awe of vaginal birth and the c/section rate will start declining in this country. I have already seen how these two women have inspired others in my community and around the country to believe in themselves and to have the courage to begin conversations about birth options.    Please use your voice and share your stories.


VBAC homebirth after 4 c/sections

 Posted by on November 25, 2012
Nov 252012

Mama Jacqueline, Big Sister Tory holding baby Travis, and Daddy Travis at postpartum home visit

VBAC as Women’s rights issue

 Jacqueline called me about 3 months ago looking for someone to help her birth her baby without having to have another c/section.  She did not seem to be a particularly strong homebirth advocate, but she was scared to have another surgery and she knew she could get her baby out vaginally.  This was her 5th pregnancy, her first baby was born via “emergency” c/section when late in her pregnancy it was discovered that he had spina bifida.  Jacqueline asked about a VBAC with her second pregnancy, but was told very firmly, NO, absolutely not.  When she showed up at the hospital thinking she was in early labor, her cervix was checked.  Even though she was 6cm, she was whisked quickly away for a repeat c/section.  She went into labor between 37and 39 weeks with her second, third, and fourth births, and each baby weighed less than 7 pounds.

When Jacqueline called me with this pregnancy, she was about 30 weeks along.  She had been seeing an OB who did not seem to be hearing her concerns about having another repeat c/section.  She had called many OBs and several midwives and no one felt comfortable helping her.  She told me recently that she had only found four cases of VBAC after 4 cesareans when she googled it.  When she first called me, I told her I would be happy to talk to her, hear her story and see how it “felt”.  I can’t say I wasn’t nervous, but I feel very strongly that women should have the right and choice to birth how they want.  I also thought if I don’t help her, no one else will.  Having had a home VBAC myself, I know how powerful and life changing the experience can be.

Jacqueline and I met several times over the few months until she was due.  I asked her to get the surgery reports from each of her previous c/sections.  The first one, from her son’s birth, 11 years ago, was not available.  Each of the other reports stated they were repeat low transverse c/sections.  We also knew that her placenta was not near the incision based on several ultrasounds she had early in this pregnancy.

As Jacqueline’s due date approached, I had mixed feelings.  I was not worried about her ability to get her baby out or that her uterus would rupture. I know uterine rupture is extremely unlikely, even though there is very little research about vaginal birth after 2 or 3 c/sections, much less four.  What I was worried about was what it would look like to my peer group, other midwives and birth professionals, both from Austin and around the US.  What if something happened? What if??

Still, my desire to support this woman’s well-researched and informed choice to have a vaginal birth out-weighed my fear of what others would think.

Jacqueline had many days of warm-up labor starting around 38 weeks.  I was encouraged by these contractions and kept reassuring her that this practice labor was important for the uterus to get strong for the actual birth.  Her baby continued to move well, she was not in pain, and she was determined.  She called me the day before her due date with regular contractions that she was not sure was labor, but she was having some bleeding.  It was not much, it was red, it was not dripping, but it was not mucusy.  I wanted to go check out what was going on.

When I arrived at their home, Jacqueline was happy and walking about, and the bleeding really was minimal and looked like regular bloody show from the cervix opening.  She was about 4 cm dilated, 90% effaced, and the baby’s little round head was low.  Jacqueline did not like sitting still, or sitting at all, for that matter.  I said, well, don’t sit.  At some point she realized she had to take an online school exam before midnight.  That’s when labor really got going….she would answer a question, have a contraction, leak fluid, answer a question, have a contraction, leak fluid….this went on for about 45 min, she finished the test and we discovered her cervix was 8cm, very stretchy.  With this exam, there was more bloody show.  More than usual, but not more than I would have been worried about in a non-VBAC birth, about ½ cup total, on the chux pad.  I suggested she get up and sit on the toilet for a few contractions.  The baby’s heart tones continued to be stable, decreasing a bit with the contractions, increasing again after.  The bleeding that I as concerned about did not continue on the toilet.  She started bearing down some and then pushing more.  I suddenly got a glimpse of her vulva and there was shiny black head just inside.  We moved back to the bed and she pushed the baby out all in one contraction, from seeing little peep of baby’s head to toes out in a millisecond.  All of us were a little stunned I think.  She was so happy she had done it.  Travis, her husband, was thrilled and surprised.  The placenta came out easily, with very little bleeding from the uterus.  Six-ish hours of labor, 10 minutes of pushing, 10 minute wait for the placenta, routine postpartum time, leaves me wondering why?  Why did Jacqueline have to go through all of those other surgeries when they were so unnecessary???

I don’t know the full answer to this, nor will we ever.  What path each person’s life takes can be changed at any given moment, but had this one women’s choice been honored long ago, it would have saved her a lot of pain, money and heartache.  It raises so many questions for me, questions about birth and beyond:

Why is there so much fear around VBAC?

Why are more people not scared about c/sections?

Why do other people think they know what is best for everyone else?

Why is choice not honored more in our culture?

Why do women’s rights consistently get pushed aside?

Why do we think we can control birth?

I am grateful to Jacqueline for trusting me to hold the space for her to have her baby, and for allowing me to write about it so that others will know and be encouraged.  Stories are the best educators. My hope is that more and more stories of women who dare, will overcome the stories of women who fear.

This one story of VBAC homebirth seems so small compared with all of the other women’s rights issues around the world, but for one woman, her family and a midwife it feels like a grand accomplishment.

Thank you to Brielle, Paula and Jenni for helping me be there for Jacqueline.

Little big sister Texie helping change one of baby Travis’ first wet diapers


Jan 142011

I am so happy for all of my mamas, but this birth was especially delightful as Stephanie quickly pushed out her fourth baby for the first time! If you can’t wrap your head around that, you are not alone. I still shake my head and smile when I think about how beautifully, confidently, and efficiently Stephanie birthed her fourth baby, vaginally after having her other three children born by cesarean section. She and her husband kept saying over and over after the birth…”we just had a baby, right in our bathtub!” and “we are laying in our own bed with our baby who was just born here, in our house!” Little Samuel decided to come just over a week late, on December 23rd, weighing 8 pounds and 8 ounces. I’m still waiting for Stephanie to send me her birth story in her own words, which she tells me fills several pages in her journal. She wants to share her story so other women know what is possible. What a powerful and encouraging mother she is!

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