Two VBACs (One During Wildfire Evacuation) after Cesarean Birth

Tayla shares her three birth story summaries in her own words below:

My first birth was six years ago. I was very uneducated and unknowingly unprepared for the birthing process. My water broke on April Fool’s Day and I was induced after 12 hours. There was no informed consent practiced during my induction, no support, verbal abuse from my OB and ultimately an emergency C-section (due to fetal distress) where I was put out under general anesthesia and my poor husband was left waiting in the dust. It left me shocked and traumatized. My postpartum period was also Traumatic. I did not have any breast-feeding support and I struggled immensely!

My second labor was two years later. In the town I live in we do not have midwives as an option so I was forced to have an OB again. He was not supportive of my VBAC and always mocked me when I reminded him that was my plan. Two weeks before my due date our entire city was evacuated due to a wildfire that destroyed 1/3 of the city. It was extremely stressful as the closest city was five hours away and I had no family in the province I live in.

My husband and I are both firefighter EMTs with the city department and I was actually at work when I was sent home and told to get out of the city. My husband was torn whether he should stay and fight the fire or drive with me for five hours to the closest city. I made him come with me because I was scared that I would go into labor on the side of the road by myself. He drove me to the closest city dropped me and my toddler off at a friend’s house and left to come back up to fight the fire.

The very next morning a midwife contacted me and said she would be honored to take me on as her patient. It was a silver lining because she was so supportive of my VBAC goals! The next two weeks were very stressful as I had nowhere to live and I couldn’t stay in my friends guest room with a toddler and expecting a new baby. I finally found a rental house and as I was nesting trying to make it as comfortable as possible I went into labor naturally. My husband was actually on his way to leave to go back up to Fort McMurray to fight the fire and I told him he would need to stay because labor was starting!

I ended up having back labor because baby was posterior and I labored alone in my rental house for many hours. My husband had to drive across a strange city to drop off my son at a friend’s house during rush hour. Not being from the city we didn’t realize that huge mistake we made. So I was alone entering active labor! I called a friend who had also been evacuated and she drove me to the hospital where the midwife met us. I was not prepared to cope with the pain of labor because I think in my mind I wasn’t really convinced I was going to have a VBAC. I ended up getting an epidural and had a successful vaginal birth! My postpartum period this time was a lot less stressful and I had great support from my midwives. Breastfeeding went better and recovery was like night and day compared to my c section recovery.

firefighter paramedic pregnant

In 2018, I got pregnant again with my 3rd! I was determined to have a different birthing experience this time around. The crazy part of my story is that I didn’t slow down my doula business while I was pregnant. I even delivered a baby during a precipitous birth while I was eight months pregnant! I attended my last Doula birth two days before I went into labor.

My water broke on a stormy night 10 days before my due date. I had lined up midwifery care in the closest city which is five hours away. My plan was to have a water birth in the birthing center and I was scheduled to leave in two days when the baby had other plans. My husband was working nights when my water broke and when he got home he was shocked to see that I had my kids packed in the van and all of our stuff packed and ready to go to Edmonton five hours away. He thought I was crazy and perhaps I was! There was just no way that I was going to have my baby in our local hospital. I was invested and I was determined to have my water birth.

Contractions hadn’t started so I figured if we left right away we might make it. I labored at my Doula’s house and got to the birthing center only 45 minutes before my baby was born. If I could do it again tomorrow I would! It was the most empowering day of my life and I’m so glad that I got to experience an unmedicated birth. My postpartum recover was amazing as well aside from being in a city far away from my own home. I came home that night after having the baby to sleep on an air mattress in my doula’s living room!

You would think that being an IBCLC, breastfeeding would go swimmingly, but again I struggled with low milk supply. A lot of people are shocked by this because of my profession, but it just goes to show that sometimes even with the best support women can still struggle! I feel like women are told or made to feel that the only real goal of birth is to walk out of it alive and with a healthy baby. What women need to understand is that there is so much more to the process than that goal. It’s a journey and a life altering event. I feel this is the biggest moment in a women’s life and it deserves respect and support. How a woman views her birth will stay with her forever.

wildfire evacuation birth story

Tayla Malott Bio

Tayla is a 34 year old paramedic firefighter full-time and I have my own business called mamasaurus. I am a certified birth Doula, childbirth educator, IBCLC, one of Canada’s only spinning babies parent educators and a few other things! I live in Fort McMurray Alberta with my husband who is also a firefighter/paramedic and our 3 crazy and beautiful boys. Hoping to have one more!

Resources

Ergobaby

Today’s episode is sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby has pioneered the gold standard for comfortable, ergonomic soft structured carriers. Ergobaby is dedicated to helping families bond, grow, and thrive by creating premium baby products where function and quality are not compromised. Ergobaby has created a broad range of award-winning baby carriers, strollers, swaddlers, nursing pillows, and related products that fit into families’ daily lives seamlessly, comfortably and safely. In 2020, they launched Everlove by Ergobaby, a first of its kind baby carrier buy back and resale program, a sustainability effort to support families and the planet.

Disempowering Cesarean Followed by Twins VBAC

After a disempowering birth with her first son that nearly ended in tragedy, Erica vowed to have a different experience when she got pregnant again and planned to have an unmedicated VBAC with her twins. With the help of the Birth Hour, doulas, and a supportive practice after a switch of providers at 28 weeks, Erica successfully had the VBAC she worked so hard to get. As a black woman navigating the healthcare system, Erica is excited to share her story in the hopes that it may help some other mom or mommy-to-be.

Erica Beal Bio

Erica is an educational consultant located in Greenbelt, Maryland. She lives with her husband and three wonderful children, including an inquisitive (perhaps maniacally so) three-year-old and her 9-month-old twins that are starting to get into everything. Erica enjoys Rose, Netflix, reading, and cuddles on the couch with her hubby. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.

erica beal pregnancy

Resources

DC Birth Doulas (my doula group)
GW Obstetrics
La Vie Breast Massagers

8 Sheep Organics

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Second Unmedicated VBAC

Listener favorite, Caitlin Shrum, is back to share her second VBAC birth story. You can hear her first two birth stories (episodes 185 & 244) in our archives. Archives are accessible to listener supporters via Patreon!

Caitlin’s First Birth – Unwanted Cesarean

Cooper’s pregnancy was textbook, and like most eager first time parents, once labor started, Caitlin went to the hospital too quickly. Instead of being sent home, the doctor on-call told Caitlin she was too comfortable, and started unnecessarily intervening with her birth. After breaking her water and starting her on pitocin at 3 cm, it was clear her body and baby weren’t handling things well. After 24 hours of labor, Caitlin and her husband found themselves in the operating room having an unplanned cesarean birth and welcomed their first baby, Cooper Andrew, on August 10, 2015. He was 8 lbs 2 oz. Caitlin was over the moon in her new role as a mother, and knew that she wanted something different for her future birth(s).

Caitlin’s Second Birth – Unmedicated VBAC

vbac birth story

Before getting pregnant with her second baby, Caitlin had immersed herself in all things birth in order to prepare and educate herself for a different outcome. After about 4 months of trying, Caitlin and her husband, Andrew were expecting their second son. On New Year’s Day 2018, Caitlin was officially in labor. Having labored at home for 12 hours, Caitlin, her husband, and mother headed to the hospital. With the support of her family and doula, Caitlin managed through about 5 more hours of labor. After an hour and a half of pushing, Charlie Maxwell made his entrance on January 2, 2018! He weighed 9 lbs 3 oz and allowed Caitlin to have the healing experience she was hoping for.

Caitlin’s Third Birth – Second Unmedicated VBAC

While 10 months postpartum with her second, Charlie, Caitlin and her husband found themselves with a surprise pregnancy. It was a lot for Caitlin to wrap her head around as they were still adjusting to life as a family of four. All that said, Caitlin was thrilled and knew the kind of birth she wanted and hired the same doula. Thankfully she had an easy pregnancy, minus the aches and pains and after 2 weeks of prodromal labor, Caitlin finally went into labor on her own at exactly 41 weeks. She knew things would be relatively quick given how dilated she was at her previous doctor appointment. While in labor, Caitlin wrestled with the idea of pain medication after anxious thoughts about the pain of birth made her doubt herself. Thanks to a quick transitional phase and the support of her husband and doula, Caitlin and Andrew welcomed their third son, Liam Connor, in just two pushes weighing in at a whopping 10 lbs 3 oz.

vbac the birth hour

Caitlin Shrum Bio

Caitlin lives in the Bay Area, California with her husband Andrew and their three boys, Cooper (4), Charlie (2), and Liam (3 months). She has worked for Netflix for close to 9 years in their Talent organization, starting in recruiting and now human resources. Caitlin loves spending her time with her family, going to playgrounds, frequenting their local farmers market, and walking to get coffee for the adults and croissants for the boys (their favorite). You can connect with her on Instagram @caitshrum. 

Motif Medical

This episode was sponsored by Motif Medical. Motif designs insurance-eligible products for busy moms. With a focus on innovation and empowerment, Motif’s line of breast pumps and maternity compression garments are sophisticated, yet discreet, and made to support mothers as they navigate new motherhood. Discover why moms are reporting more milk in less time with the Luna breast pump, and see how you can get it covered through insurance at motifmedical.com/birthhour

Cesarean Birth and Accepting a 2nd Cesarean after planning for a VBAC

After a cesarean section with her first child, Danielle couldn’t shake the desire for a vaginal birth experience. When she became pregnant with her second child she sought out a provider who was supportive of her wish to VBAC. She incorporated every “trick” and potion in the book to help her odds of success, especially as she neared the end of her pregnancy. But she never dilated or effaced. Once her due date came she had made no progress and she scheduled her second cesarean.

She slept well the night before and checked into the hospital that morning with very little fear. But as if her body had muscle memory, when it came time to walk into the operating room, she was shaking uncontrollably with fear. At the beginning of the surgery, her OBGYN found Danielle had a large uterine window. This condition would have made a VBAC very dangerous. The first words out of her OBGYN’s mouth when she got inside were, “Your body was looking out for you.” Danielle believes this to be true. She didn’t get the experience she had hoped for, but with her OBGYN’s guidance, she got to have a “Gentle c-section” which included many things she didn’t know were options her first time around. She rejects the term “failed VBAC” and believes her birth experience is better described as a “Successful c-section”.

Danielle Estrada Bio

Danielle is an LA native and recent Austin, Texas transplant. She is the mother to two girls, Olivia and Elle, a wife, and successful tech executive who moonlights as a swimwear designer. Her uniquely inclusive swimwear brand, Olivia + Ocean, is on a mission is to empower and support every Mom who has struggled getting in a swimsuit post-baby. Born out of her own challenges resonating with the swimwear brands on the market after becoming a mother for the first time. She designs specifically for the needs of the postpartum mother who wants something functional that doesn’t sacrifice fashion. Her swimwear collection embraces the mother in search of her new sense of self that often accompanies the transition into motherhood. Connect with her on Instagram @oliviaandocean.

Motif Medical

This episode was sponsored by Motif Medical. Motif designs insurance-eligible products for busy moms. With a focus on innovation and empowerment, Motif’s line of breast pumps and maternity compression garments are sophisticated, yet discreet, and made to support mothers as they navigate new motherhood. Discover why moms are reporting more milk in less time with the Luna breast pump, and see how you can get it covered through insurance at motifmedical.com/birthhour

Cesarean Birth and VBAC Birth Stories

Before getting pregnant with her first child, Brittany had hoped and planned for an unmedicated birth. Due to an unnecessary induction and several interventions her first birth ended in a cesarean. Immediately following that birth, she began preparing for a VBAC.

3.5 years later she was able to have a successful, unmedicated, intervention free VBAC. Unfortunately, it was not the redemptive dream-birth she had envisioned due to the treatment she received from the on-call OB. She shares her journey of processing and healing from two very different traumatic births.

cesarean birth

Brittany DuValle Bio

Brittany is a nurse who lives in Northern California with her husband of 10 years and their two daughters, Josephine who is 4, and Wilhelmina who is 9 months. Connect with her on Instagram: @broseduvalle or Facebook: Brittany Rose DuValle.

Resources

  • ICAN
  • Birthinginsticts.com – Dr. Stu
  • Dr. Stu’s Podcast
  • VBACFACTS.org
  • Informed Pregnancy Podcast

Crane

This episode is sponsored by Crane Humidifiers. Crane’s colorful humidifiers are a nursery necessity to help relieve your baby’s tiny congested nose, which can make feeding and sleeping a struggle for both baby and mom. A happy baby is a healthy baby. Crane is generously offering $10 OFF and free shipping on all of their full-priced 1 gallon adorable animal shaped humidifiers and drop humidifiers with the code BIRTH19 at www.crane-usa.com.

Cesarean Birth for Fibroid Followed by VBAC Birth Story

When Mia found out that she was pregnant with her first child, her hope was to have a peaceful unmedicated birth. However, at an early ultrasound, she discovered that she had a fibroid above her cervix possibly obstructing her birth canal. After the fibroid continued to grow, her medical team told her that she would need to undergo a cesarean birth, or she and her baby would be in danger. After being told that she would likely not go into labor, Mia and her fiancé, James, scheduled a Monday morning surgery. So, naturally, Mia was shocked when she went into labor on the preceding Thursday night and had her daughter via peaceful, uncomplicated c-section early Friday morning. 

17 months later, Mia became pregnant with baby number two and, despite what her previous doctor’s told her, she decided to switch doctors and try for a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean). After being diagnosed with gestational diabetes and months of close monitoring, it seemed that her fibroid had grown to a hefty 8cm and under doctor’s advice, she scheduled a repeat c-section. When an ultrasound revealed that the baby’s head had moved below the fibroid, Mia and James decided to cancel the c-section and let nature take its course. With the support of her new obgyn, she went into labor at 40 weeks after a membrane sweep, and gave birth to her son via an amazing unexpected vbac at 40+1.

vbac after fibroids

Mia Burton Bio

Mia is a 29 year old government worker by day. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her fiancé, James and their 2 year old daughter, Jovie and their 3 month old son Marley. She aspires to become a birth doula and an advocate for Black women’s maternal health. 

Aeroflow Breastpumps

Aeroflow Breastpumps has helped thousands of new and expecting moms find the perfect pump for her lifestyle. They offer all major pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Motif, Lansinoh and more. And the best part, they take care of everything – including getting all required paperwork, dealing with your insurance company, and explaining your options in order to get your free pump shipped straight to your door. All you have to do is go to the Aeroflow Breastpumps website and fill out their free and easy Qualify Through Insurance form. Be sure to go to aeroflowbreastpumps.com/birthhour so they will know I sent you!