Preparations for a Redemptive VBAC

Cooper’s Unplanned Cesarean Birth

Caitlin’s birth experience with Cooper was not what she had hoped for; but, looking back she wouldn’t change a thing as it’s really impacted her passions and mindset. Caitlin made the common choice of going into the hospital too early, and the doctor on call starting intervening before it made sense. Though Caitlin was at 3 cm and healthy, the doctor decided it was time to break her water and start pitocin. This intervention propelled her into a day that wasn’t at all what she had envisioned. Her progress slowed and her son was no longer handling labor well; and, after about 24 hours, Caitlin had a c-section. Thankfully, all went well with the c-section and Cooper Andrew was born a healthy 8 lbs. 2 oz. She knew for her next experience that she wanted something different. She craved a birth experience that was empowering and what she had envisioned birth to be.

Charlie’s VBAC Birth

Given Caitlin’s birth experience the first time, she knew she wanted to do whatever she could to have an unmedicated VBAC. She spent her pregnancy doing research and exploring her options, and chose care providers that would set her up for success. She went into labor in her own home on New Year’s Day and continued to labor there for about 12 hours with the support of her husband. Once she could no longer manage at home, she left for the hospital with her husband and mom. Her doula and birth photographer met her at the hospital where she continued to labor for about 5 hours. She experienced an amazingly progressive and supportive hospital environment, which really let her doula lead the way. And after an hour-and-a-half of pushing, her 9 lb. 3 oz VBAC baby, Charlie Maxwell, was here!

Caitlin Shrum Bio

Caitlin lives in the Bay Area with her husband, Andrew. They have their hands full with two boys, Cooper (2.5) and newborn Charlie. Caitlin works in human resources for Netflix, but on the side finds herself immersed in all things birth. She is excited to return to The Birth Hour after sharing her unplanned/unwanted c-section story, and to provide support and information to any moms looking for a different birth experience.

The Shrums are frequent farmer’s market visitors and playground enthusiasts, always with coffee in tow. Caitlin would love to connect with other moms via Instagram @caitshrum or Facebook.


ICAN Facebook Page
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
The Birth Partner

Aeroflow Breastpumps

Today’s sponsor, Aeroflow Breastpumps, helps new and expecting moms qualify for a free, top-brand breast pump through insurance. They offer all major pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Lansinoh and more. Visit Aeroflow’s website today to get started on receiving your free breast pump through insurance! From dealing with insurance, getting a prescription and handling all paperwork – your dedicated Breastpump Specialist will take care of everything for you. Go to and they will know I sent you!

Cesarean Birth, Two VBACS and Emergency Cesarean Hysterectomy

 Three Birth Stories

Tonya’s first pregnancy ended in a misscarriage at 10 weeks, which lead to a D&C, continuous bleeding, and a hysteroscopy.

After her miscarriage, Tonya had a rough second pregnancy, fighting with all-day and all-night (morning) sickness all the way until the 3rd trimester. Also, the baby continued to be on the smaller side which lead to many ultrasounds. After having a miscarriage, Tonya was relieved to be able to see her baby so often, but she was always in the breech position. Every ultrasound, from 20 weeks on, she was in the same position. Baby was monitored for fluid levels, growth, and head size. Because she continued to be breech, Tonya reluctantly started planning a scheduled c-section. Tonya had always hoped for a vaginal birth, but she quick;y realized things don’t always go as planned. The day they went to the c-section, they did an ultrasound to make sure she still hadn’t turned and, sure enough, she was still in the same position; so, they continued on with the c-section. Everything went smoothly and they met their firstborn, Teal.

Second Birth Story – VBAC with Epidural

With Tonya’s next birth, she was determined to have a VBAC, but at the same time, she just wanted her baby here safely, whatever way that was going to be. Tonya didn’t want to put so much pressure on herself that she would be disappointed in how her baby was birthed. She was very nervous about what was going to happen.

Tonya tried everything in the books to have the baby on time because her care providers encouraged having the baby around 40 weeks or shortly after for a VBAC. Tonya was walking, even running, trying to get the baby out after 39 weeks. It felt to her like it was never going to happen and she started feeling defeated at the end of 39 weeks. On the night of 39 weeks 4 days, she got a phone call that her grandmother had fallen and was life-flighted to the hospital. By 3 a.m., she got the call that she should drive down to Denver (about an hour away), to say her goodbyes. Tonya’s mother-in-law came to watch Teal as Tonya, her husband, and her brother headed down to Denver at 4 a.m., arriving at 5.

As soon as they pulled into the hospital, Tonya started having diarrhea with contractions beginning shortly after. They were spaced out 10-15 minutes, but throughout the rest of the morning the contractions grew closer and closer. By around 1 p.m., Tonya’s mother and husband told her it was time to get going to the hospital. Tonya was afraid it wasn’t really happening (she wasn’t in as much pain as she was expecting; she just felt uncomfortable), so she hesitated to go in. Finally, they headed to the hospital at about 2:30pm to get checked. She was dilated to 5 cm with contractions coming about every 5 minutes so was admitted.

She was asked about an epidural, and the nurse on hand highly recommended it, especially being a VBAC patient, so she went ahead with it. Immediately, the epidural caused her to get sick, lose her hearing, and get dizzy, but the anesthesiologist eventually got it balanced out to where Tonya regained her hearing and started feeling better again. At about 7:30pm it was push time. Tonya felt like she was struggling to push, asked for a mirror, and eventually got the baby out at around 9:00pm. And they met their 2nd daughter, Layne. Within a half-hour of Layne being born, Tonya’s grandmother passed away. It truly felt like she was holding on until she heard Tonya’s baby’s name, who was named after her. A very bittersweet day.

vbac picture

Unmedicated VBAC & Emergency Hysterectomy

With her next baby, again, Tonya was determined to have a VBAC and felt much more confident this time. But, she really hated everything about the epidural so she really wanted to have an unmedicated birth this time. She watched many youtube videos and listened to the Birth Hour daily to help her prepare. At 39 weeks 4 days, Tonya woke up at midnight with her first contraction. She tried to sleep through them, but they progressively got more painful and closer together. At about 3am, she decided she better eat something in case she wasn’t going to be able to eat again for awhile.

At 4am, she showered and her husband started getting up and packing, thinking they should head to the hospital soon. Shortly after the shower, the contractions seemed to taper off, so Tonya laid back down and encouraged her husband to head to work. Once her older children woke up, the contractions were anywhere from around 7 to 12 minutes apart, so she fed them breakfast and decided to take them on a walk. The walk seemed to pick the contractions back up so when her husband called around 10am to check up on her, he decided it was time to head back home. They went to the hospital at 11:30am and were admitted because she was 6 cm dilated with contractions coming about every 3-5 minutes by then.

She had planned on walking, bouncing, and possibly sitting in the tub for labor, but the room they were admitted to did not have a tub. She also discussed with her doctor using the TENS unit and/or laughing gas for pain management before going to an epidural. Tonya tried the TENS unit, but within about 5 minutes of that, it was push time. She had about 5 big pushes and baby Eva was born. Tonya felt amazing after this birth! Like she could go run a marathon! She was in awe of her baby and the whole experience.

vbac birth stories

Then, the doctors started trying to get her placenta out. It was not coming out normally, so the doctors started kneading Tonya’s stomach. Still, it wasn’t coming, so they started pressing harder and harder. It got so painful, Tonya had to hand her baby off because she was in excruciating pain. Still, the placenta wouldn’t detach. Finally, after an hour of trying to manually extract the placenta, the doctor determined it was time for a D&C. Tonya was able to nurse her baby and introduce her to her sisters, mother, and mother-in-law and then they prepped her for what was supposed to be a 30 minute surgery. About 8 hours later, Tonya woke up on life support. Eventually she learned she had nearly bled to death and in order to stop the bleeding, the doctor had to perform a cesarean hysterectomy.

Tonya Trostel Bio

Tonya and her husband Evan have three beautiful daughters. Teal who is three, Layne who just turned 2, and Eva is her 4 month old. They reside in a small town in Colorado. Tonya is a former teacher and hair stylist but now is trying to keep up with her daughters as a stay at home mother. She has had three very different births, first was a c-section, second had an epidural VBAC and the last was a natural VBAC, followed by a cesarean hysterectomy due to placenta increta. Tonya is still recovering as she and her husband are adjusting to becoming a family of five.


The Birth Hour
Kelly Mom
Mama Natural


This episode was sponsored by Babylist. Babylist believes that you should be able to get exactly what you need for your unique and growing family. That’s why their baby registry lets you add any item from any store. Even add cool services and favors like prenatal yoga, doula support, home-cooked meals or dog walking. Start your registry today to be eligible for a free Hello Baby Box of goodies for baby worth up to $190 while boxes last.

Cesarean Birth & VBAC Birth Stories – Amy Morrison of Pregnant Chicken

Amy Morrison Bio

Amy Morrison is the founder of Pregnant Chicken, an online resource and blog for expectant and new parents featuring advice, information, and tips to keep your pregnancy fun.

In her former life she was a creative director at an ad agency but decided to quit and go freelance as an art director/graphic designer in 2004. She and her husband have two little boys (born in 2006 and 2008) and live in Toronto. She shares both birth stories in this episode—a cesarean birth and an Induction VBAC birth. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram or


Pregnant Chicken Pregnancy Calendar
Pregnant Chicken Resource Guide
Pregnant Chicken Newsletter full of great tips and info! Sign up!

QUIZ! Where Should You Give Birth Based on Your Personality Type?

Earth Mama Organics

At the end of this episode I talked to Westley about her favorite products from Earth Mama Organics, today’s sponsor. I’m a HUGE fan of their bottom spray and bottom balm!

Cesarean Birth Story & VBAC Homebirth Transfer

Jennifer Mason Bio

Jennifer documents births as a birth photographer and believes that birth stories are love stories. She is also the co-founder of Birth Becomes Her and mama to two feisty girls. Jennifer grew up in the Midwest, living on a lake and loves the water. She has birthed two babies and describes her labors as sensual, and brave.  She is a VBAC mama, and says she relate well to those who are working to achieve a VBAC. You can connect with her on her website and Facebook.

homebirth transfer vbac birth story

Photo credits: Monet Nicole Birthing Stories


Listen to me chat with Amanda about today’s sponsor, BabyList, at the end of today’s episode and check out my sample registry for some of my favorite items for pregnancy and postpartum!

January Harshe’s Birth Stories

In this episode January Harshe shares her first four birth stories: a cesarean, a homebirth transfer to cesarean, a hospital VBAC after being dropped from care by her homebirth midwife, and a very healing unassisted homebirth. You can hear her 5th and 6th birth stories on her podcast that she hosts with her husband, The Harshe Podcast.

January Harshe Bio

January owns Birth Without Fear where she blogs and runs its social media sites. She also blogs on and recently started The Harshe Podcast. She also organizes MeetUps and Conferences, speaking at those and other events across the country. January has formula fed, pumped, breastfed, tandem nursed, used a crib, co-slept, homeschooled, and sent them all to school. Basically, she does what she can with what she has, learns from it, then does her best. No matter what she’s doing to survive the craziness of motherhood, she loves her children and knows she’s a good mother.

january harshe birth stories

Quiz: Where Should You Give Birth?

Take this fun quiz and find out where you should give birth based on your daily preferences and personality type?

Earth Mama Angel Baby

At the end of this episode I talked to Jessey about her favorite products from Earth Mama Angel Baby, today’s sponsor.

Bottom Spray
Bottom Balm
Postpartum Herb Baths
Milkmaid Tea
Angel Baby Bottom Balm
Angel Baby Body Wash and Shampoo
Natural Nipple Butter

Cesarean, Hospital VBAC & Homebirth VBAC Birth Stories

Cesarean Birth, Hospital VBAC & Homebirth VBAC Stories

Being surprised by her first pregnancy, Jordan found a provider off the recommendation of co-workers. After a whirlwind pregnancy of sickness and weight loss, Jordan delivered her daughter by c-section at 40 weeks and 2 days. Her postpartum was foggy and she struggled to get a grip on being a mother.

In 2014 Jordan became pregnant and knew she wanted a different experience: she wanted a vaginal birth. With the support of her husband, they were able to find a midwife who delivered in a hospital. After 41 weeks and 4 days she delivered their son vaginally and with out medication. Her VBAC was a healing moment for her, and with her postpartum period being clear she still felt as if something was missing from her birthing experience. The hospital required a lot of monitoring and she labored long and hard, she forget to be present while birthing her son.

When she became pregnant for the third time she knew this baby was to be born at home. After consulting with her midwife and doula they were able to help her find a home birth midwife. Planning for birthing at home was a new experience, having had two hospital births she had no idea what to expect. She loved the prenatal visits at her home, they allowed her children to really be involved in the whole process. Then after 4 days of prodromal labor and 4 hours of active labor it was time at 41 weeks and 6 days (her longest pregnancy), she delivered a daughter in her home.

In the comfort of her own room, she pushed for 15 mins while her husband was able to support her mentally and physically. Her doula was by her side and again was an invaluable resource, just as with the birth of her son. Her third postpartum has been the most thoughtful of them all. Having planned for a lay in period was the best decision for her and her family. It did come with its own struggles, but with the help of family and friends they were able to give Jordan time to heal and bond with her new daughter. After her three different experiences she still holds every birth in her heart. Her births have helped her realize that your birth does not define you. Your feelings about your birth will help propel you down a path and that is the really important part.

Jordan York Bio

Jordan, a native Floridian, lives in Dallas with her Texan husband and three beautiful children. As a breastfeeding advocate and cloth diaper enthusiast, she spends her days working behind the scenes for her husband’s social media platform and loving on their children. Having experienced postpartum depression and perinatal depression she believes we must always remember to love ourselves and know our mothering journeys are unique our own, always be willing to ask for help. Connect with her via Facebook or Instagram.


Business of Being Born

that dat mat birth stories


Bamboobies makes mom-loved, eco-friendly breastfeeding support products. They were invented by a leaky breastfeeding mom who couldn’t find a nursing pad that didn’t leak or show through her shirt. So, she decided to make her own and bamboobies was born. Because breastfeeding is beautiful, but not always easy, bamboobies products address a variety of pregnancy and new mom breastfeeding needs and really work!

These top-rated products, including ultra-soft bamboobies Nursing Pads, boob-ease Organic Nipple Balm and the stylish Chic Nursing Shawl, are created with love from one mom to many others!  To learn more, visit and Get 20% off  through Sept. 10, 2017 when you use code BH20 on  At the end of today’s episode I spoke to Jordan York about why she loves bamboobies!