I am a two-time VBAC Mama and supporter of ImprovingBirth.org.
Check out the pictures from the September 12th Improving Birth Rally in Topeka, KS
and read below why I am so passionate about this cause!
I was lucky that I didn’t have to fight for my first VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). The hospital of my choice in Berkeley, CA, had an extremely high VBAC success rate and the midwife of my choice would deliver my baby there. The doula of my choice lived less than 5 minutes from the hospital and so I was able to labor until the last minute before showing up at the hospital ready to push. That moment my daughter was placed on my chest was the happiest I’ve experienced. I felt victorious, strong, and clear-headed. I actually remember thinking that I couldn’t wait to do it again!
That birth instantly annihilated the trauma I’d been suffering from since my c-section 2.5 years earlier.
That experience and the subsequent recovery left emotional scars far deeper than the physical ones.
My daughter’s birth represented my right to research and choose the safest and most comfortable way for me to give birth.
I feel lucky that I was able to choose my birth team and absolutely love telling the story of that perfect day.
But, should being able to make these kinds of educated decisions be based on luck?
My second VBAC took a little more work. I was not comfortable with the hospital policies where I lived, but at least they allowed women to avoid an automatic c-section. Even though I’d had a textbook vaginal delivery with my second birth, most of the hospitals around here would have refused to allow me to attempt another VBAC. The commute wasn’t much fun (especially while in active labor), but I was so glad that I could have the birth I wanted by driving an hour to the Birth and Women’s Center in Topeka, KS. I was allowed to choose the attending midwife and would get a second midwife, nurse, my doula, my husband, and both of my kids all under the same roof. It was like having a homebirth in someone else’s house, with birth professionals by my side the entire time and two hospitals across the street if surgical interventions became necessary.
As with my first VBAC, everything was textbook. My labor was quite a bit longer than my 2nd (though still much quicker than my first), but it was truly beautiful. Though exhausted, I was at peace knowing my baby would get to choose the perfect time to be born.
As I walked the hospital parking lots, I was thankful that I was headed back to the warmth and comfortable surroundings of the birth center,
knowing full well that even if I’d only ever had vaginal births, most hospitals would be fighting me to speed things up.
I waved as I passed and enjoyed the final moments of magic before my last child would join us
Earth-side while surrounded by the birth team of my choosing.
My Little Leapling made a grand entrance just 36 minutes shy of March 1st and after hanging out for 4 hours while I was stuck laboring quietly at 7cm.
My only regret is that I did not know I could hire a birth photographer to capture the story that chilly Leap Day in 2012.
I had the privilege of bringing all three of my babies to the recent Improving Birth Rally in front of the
Birth and Women’s Center in Topeka, KS.
As a birth photographer, it is very important to me that I have a wonderful relationship with the doctors, nurses, and rest of the birth team for every one of my clients; however, I’m conflicted when some of the hospitals clearly do not support the family’s right to choose what has been proven a safe alternative to an automatic repeat c-section. My heart cries knowing that the Birth and Women’s Center has been stripped of their right to offer VBACs and I’m prepared to fight to bring that option back. I do not know what I would have done if I had not been given that choice.
I was proud to stand up with the other amazing men and women at the Improving Birth Rally and will continue looking for other ways to make a difference. Please head over to Facebook to check out the gallery of pictures!
Follow and support the Birth & Women’s Center in Topeka!
Here are some resources to learn more about VBACs:
Induction, C-Section, & VBAC Facts from ImprovingBirth.org
Making Informed Decisions About VBAC or Repeat Cesareans from VBAC.com
VBAC or Repeat C-Section from Childbirth Connection