Advocating for a VBAC after Two Cesarean Births

Kara shares the story of her son’s vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) birth after the two cesarean births of her daughters. She ended up having to drive two hours to find a care provider who was supportive of her decision to VBAC. She also discusses the difference in postpartum recovery, both physically and mentally, between her three different births.

Kara Swanson Bio

Kara is a proud mom of three, a certified nutritionist, and the founder of Life Well Lived. She shows women how to get to the root of their health problems by overcoming inflammation in a lasting way. This allows them to go from stuck to thriving so they feel good now and ten years from now! Connect with Kara on IG at @karaswanson or her website:

kara swanson birth story



Today’s episode is sponsored by Needed. Needed is the leading women’s health supplement brand recommended by nutritionally-trained practitioners. While most perinatal supplements include the bare minimum of the nutrients needed during pregnancy, Needed’s products are based on the latest clinical research and in-practice experience of nearly 4000 practitioners. Needed has all your needs covered, from your prenatal vitamin to pregnancy-specific Pre/ and Probiotics, to egg quality support, sleep, stress, immune and hydration support, as well as your protein needs for blood sugar balance and postpartum healing. Needed’s Complete Plan delivers unparalleled nourishment for every phase — whether you’re trying to conceive, pregnant, or postpartum! Instead of having to pair 6 different products together to meet your needs, I love that Needed has simplified things by bundling together four core products you need, in an easy and flexible monthly plan. Save 20% off your first order of Needed’s Complete Plan or any of their other perinatal nutrition products at with code BIRTHHOUR.

Cesarean Birth Due to Baby Presenting Breech in Labor then Empowering VBAC Birth Story

Vanessa’s first pregnancy occurred in 2020 during the peak of COVID. She experienced neuromuscular symptoms very early on that lasted up until birth with no diagnosis. She had prodromal labor for a week before going into active labor at 39 and 1. She showed up to the hospital 6-7 cm dilated and with an unexpected breech baby. Her first daughter was delivered soon after by csec. Postpartum, she struggled with healing, having an oversupply, and a colicky baby with a soy/milk protein allergy and bottle refusal.

She got pregnant again in 2022. Her neuromuscular symptoms returned, but overall, she found her second pregnancy to be much less anxiety-ridden (probably thanks to her active 2-year-old and all of those Know Your Options Zoom calls). She experienced 3 weeks of prodromal labor before finally going into active labor and having a redemptive VBAC on her due date. She is currently 4 months postpartum and figuring out the new “normal” with two kids and working full-time.

breech baby during labor

Vanessa Thorn Bio

Vanessa is 30 years old and lives in North Central West Virginia with her husband and two daughters. She has a degree in chemical engineering from West Virginia University and has worked for a local polymer manufacturing company for the past six years. She enjoys eating out at locally-owned restaurants, mom talk, and playing video games. She can be found on Instagram at @lochnessv. 


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

Planned C-section for Breech and 3 VBACs, 1 Medicated and 2 Unmedicated

Kacey has experienced a wide range of births including a planned C-section for a Breech presentation and three VBACs, 1 medicated and 2 unmedicated. 

Kacey’s first pregnancy was smooth and uneventful up until the 32 week mark when they discovered that her son was in the breech position. The next 7 weeks were spent researching at-home ways to encourage a breech baby to flip as well as conversations with her husband and doctor to weigh their options on delivery. Her and her husband finally settled on a planned C-section as the best option forward for them with the expectation that any future births would be able to be born vaginally if in a better presentation. Her son was born safely into the world on March 15th, 2012 via C-Section. Everything was smoother than she could have imagined. She was able to hold her son in the delivery room while she was closed up, but she didn’t get a chance for skin to skin or an attempt to nurse until a few hours later after she spent some time in post-op recovery. Other than that, everything was very smooth and her recovery, although longer than her vaginal deliveries, was pretty straight forward and smooth.

Two years after her first son was born, Kacey got pregnant with her first daughter. She was hopeful that she would be able to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). Although she was hopeful, her and her husband did not do much preparation for the birth as they had taken a hospital birth course when pregnant with their son and felt like it hadn’t prepared them much more than they already knew in regard to birth. Kacey hoped for an unmedicated VBAC with her daughter. Her daughter was head down at their 32 week ultrasound, so the plan was to move forward with a VBAC. She went into labor 2 days before her due date, but due to a high incidence of Braxton’s Hicks contractions, it wasn’t until active labor that night that she was confident it was labor and her and her husband headed to the hospital. Her water broke in her husband’s truck on the way to the hospital and that is when contractions became closer together and more intense. She arrived at the hospital at 3 cm and labored for a few hours. The contractions alternated between manageable and unmanageable and after being checked again and told she was 4 cm, she opted for the epidural. Looking back on her labor afterward, she realized that although she knew what to expect regarding the stages of labor, she was not prepared on how to handle the pain of contractions. She was very much in fear of the pain and tensed up again the intensity of the contraction, rather than relaxing into them and letting her body use the contraction to help her body dilate. After her epidural, she was able to relax and dilated quickly to a 10 within an hour or two. Her daughter was born early in the morning on December 11, 2014. Her recovery was much smoother and shorter than her C-section delivery and she loved the fact that she was able to have the skin-to-skin time after delivery that she missed out on with her son.

Kacey became pregnant with surprise baby #3 (a girl!) when her daughter was just over a year old. After the shock wore off, she saw this birth as an opportunity to redeem her attempt at an unmedicated birth and conquer the fear she experienced during her last labor. Her and her husband took preparation for this birth more seriously and decided that the only way to successfully have an unmedicated birth was to bring their faith in God into every aspect of their life, including the delivery room. They took a faith-based childbirth course through First Birth Ministries and hired a Sister-in-Christ, Shelley Williams (The Salty Doula), as their doula. They not only learned more about how God perfectly created the female body to birth babies, but they were able to see how even in the pain, there was purpose to the pain and that due to this perfect design there was nothing to fear. Kacey went into labor at around 39 weeks pregnant, and once again was in early labor most of the day before realizing it was actual labor getting started. On the evening of January 10th, 2017, her in laws came over to help take care of her older two children (as contractions were becoming stronger), and it was while prepping lunches for the next day in the kitchen that her water broke. She knew she wanted to labor at home as long as possible, but after her husband rushed home from work she was convinced to head into the hospital as the contractions were quickly intensifying. Contractions picked up quickly in duration and intensity on the way to the hospital and she was confident she was pretty far along when she arrived at the hospital. After getting settled and getting checked for dilation she found out she was 3-4cm and was very discouraged based on the intensity level of the contractions. She started to doubt her ability to have the unmedicated birth she desired. Her husband turned on her worship music playlist and read Bible verses from their birth aloud to her between contractions. With his support and the steady presence of their doula, she was able to relax into the contractions and within 30-45 minutes felt her daughter descending the birth canal. Her nurse checked her and realized she was already at 10 cm. Her doctor was able to just get into the room and everything prepped just in time for her daughter to be born a few contractions later. She was able to have extended skin to skin time and her daughter caught onto nursing right away. It was such a change from her last delivery, and even though it was hectic at parts due to how fast everything progressed, she was so thankful she had the unmedicated birth she always wanted. 

Kacey’s final pregnancy came during 2020 after the COVID lockdowns allowed her and her husband to reflect and determine that maybe their family wasn’t complete. After getting pregnant with her final son, she knew what it was like to have a redeeming birth free of the fear of labor and knew that this time around she wanted the same. Knowing that it was going to be her last birth, she hoped and prayed that this birth would be a little slower than her fast and furious birth with her daughter so that she could truly soak in the entire experience. After a rough first half of her pregnancy with illness, the second half of her pregnancy was smooth sailing. The morning of March 5, 2021, she woke up in the early hours with what felt like Braxton Hicks contractions and the urge to use the restroom. She was able to fall back to sleep, and when she woke in the morning, she was having what felt like more steady Braxton Hicks contractions. She reached out to her doula and went for a walk, drank some raspberry leaf tea, and while her daughter settled down for her afternoon nap, she did the Miles Circuit (per her doula’s suggestion as she was having some back pain with contractions). On the third round of the circuit, while sitting on top of a birthing ball, she had a very intense contraction and felt her water begin to leak. She called her husband home, let her doula know the situation and jumped in the shower. By the time her mom arrived to watch their other kids, contractions were every 5 minutes and lasting around a minute long. This time around they headed straight into the hospital due to Kacey’s fast previous labor and the fact that this time around she was Strep B positive and wanted to give as much time as possible at the hospital for IV antibiotics. After getting set up at the hospital and informing the nurses that they would not be needing an epidural, Kacey and her husband labored together until their doula arrived an hour or two later. Labor was slower this time around (just as she prayed it would be!), and after alternating between riding the waves of contractions while standing and holding onto her husband, squatting at the foot of the bed, and leaning over the bed, she felt the familiar urge to push a few hours later. She got settled in the bed and continued to labor on all fours (she hates laboring on her back!) until her doctor was ready and her son was about to be born. He was born after a few contractions, and she can still vividly remember every moment. It was truly a dream birth and an answer to prayer. She had some retained placenta after birth that required her doctor to have to manually extract, but other than that, it was a smooth recovery. 

Kacey Ratcliff Bio

Kacey is a mom of 4, ages 2-11 years old. Her and her husband, Reagan, have been married for 14 years and raise their family together in their hometown south of Houston. Kacey is a stay at home mom while her husband owns his own Optometry business (Twenty20 Vision Center). 


Baby Tula

This episode is sponsored by Baby Tula. Baby Tula creates unique and expressive carriers that help parents keep doing what they love while connecting with their little ones. Baby carriers are so much more than a parenting tool! When you wear your baby, you support the emotional, social, and physical well-being of your baby as well as your own! With a variety of unique prints, small batch and handwoven fabrics, inclusive sizing, and carriers for older babies too, you can find a carrier that’s distinctly you! You can use the code BIRTHHOUR at and BabyTula.Co.UK.

Unmedicated VBA2C Birth Story with Gentle Induction + Postpartum Depression Discussion

After the birth of her first son ended in an unplanned C-section, Anna knew she would be trying for a VBAC with future babies, and found a team of doulas and providers to help support her in achieving her goals.  While her second labor was long and hard-fought, it ultimately ended in another C-section.  With more intentional birth preparation and support throughout pregnancy and labor, Anna eventually welcomed her third baby via a VBA2C the day before Thanksgiving, and found peace with all three of her births in the process.

Anna Buchholtz Bio

Anna is a healthcare consultant living in Virginia with her husband, Matt; their three sons, Elliott, Tristan, and Adrian; and their standard poodle, Sloopy.  In her spare time, Anna enjoys scouring Instagram for hand-dyed yarn (for knitting, crocheting, and more recently Tunisian crochet projects), and riding the Peloton, her most prized pandemic-induced purchase.  You can follow Anna on Instagram @anna.leigh.knits, on the Peloton leaderboard at AnnaBu015, or find her on Facebook (Anna Leigh Buchholtz).


Tubby Todd Bath Co.

Today’s episode was sponsored by Tubby Todd Bath Co. Created with sensitive skin in mind, Tubby Todd’s line of bodycare basics are gentle, effective and fun for the whole family. You might have heard of their eczema miracle worker All Over Ointment (fondly referred to as AOO), but this family-owned brand offers a full line of sensitive skincare solutions that you’ll love to reach for every single day. Start with The Regulars or Baby Bundle to get your little one set up with their very first skincare routine. Join the TT fam and get 15% off your first purchase with code BIRTHHOUR15 at

Postpartum Recovery Following Extensive Internal Tearing and Bladder Prolapse

Hannah shared her cesarean birth story on episode 524 and her VBAC story on episode 741. Hannah is a mom of two that also works as a nurse part time. She delivered her 10lb VBAC baby 6 months ago and is continuing to work through her postpartum recovery from internal tearing and bladder prolapse. She shares her thoughts on pelvic floor therapy and the role it has played in her recovery, as well as knowing when to switch providers or look for help through other avenues.

Connect with her via Instagram: Hannah_wildhaber, Facebook: Hannah Wildhaber, or Email:

hannah wildhaber



This episode is sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby has pioneered the gold standard for comfortable, ergonomic soft structured carriers. Their commitment to providing parents with the foundation to thrive has launched the company into creating a broad range of award-winning products that fit into families’ daily lives seamlessly, comfortably, and safely – where function and quality are not compromised. 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. Check out Ergobaby’s Embrace in Soft Air Mesh and new Evolve 3-in-1 Bouncer that we discussed on the podcast!

Pregnancy After 40: Cesarean & VBAC Birth Stories

Pat got pregnant with her first baby, Liam, a couple of months shy of her 40th birthday. Despite the anxiety that the statistics for her age made her feel, Pat had a healthy pregnancy. Due to an OP baby and lack of support, a difficult five-day labor lead to a cascade of interventions. After getting stuck at 6cm and having the baby suffer decels, the birth ended on a c-section–– something far from the unmedicated birth she so much had prepared for and dreamed of. During her labor and stay in the hospital, she felt unheard and mistreated by some of the residents, which added to the trauma she carried from the birth.

When she got pregnant with her second son Oliver, she made sure to hire a doula and surround herself with the support necessary to try to have a different experience this time. This was also an uncomplicated pregnancy, despite being 42 this time around. She also switched providers to a specialist in VBACs. When the labor began, Pat recognized some of the same patterns in this labor (baby was also OP) and triggered some of the trauma, but with the help of her doula and rockstar husband, Pat headed to the hospital after two days of labor and she was already at an 8, which made her feel so proud of herself. This time, no residents were allowed and she had an incredible midwife, Rachel, who was a blessing. Although the birth ended up with a VBAC, something she had dreamed of and makes her feel proud of herself, Pat once more has struggled with the treatment received, this time from the OB, and is trying to process the experience and coming to terms with it. 

Pat Santana Bio

Pat Santana was born in Barcelona and moved to LA in 2013 to pursue the love of her life, her now husband Jesse, who he met at film school. They both work in the film and tv industry and have two kids–– Liam (2 years old) and Oliver (5 months old)–– with her dog, Yuna. Connect with her via Instagram- @patsantanaf or on Facebook-


Kindred Bravely

This episode is brought to you by Kindred Bravely. From adorable maternity wear to comfortable nursing bras, this mom-owned company has you covered.  See all of their comfy clothing at! I especially love their Simply Sublime nursing tank, their high waisted leggings (for pregnancy AND postpartum). Listen to this episode for a special coupon code and to hear about my new favorites in their summer line of clothing and loungewear!

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