We have both been so busy with moving, remodeling kitchens, parenting, soccer, gymnastics, being a good wife, (trying to do) self-care, record podcasts, keep up with business, and EVERYTHING that we haven't even been able to catch up with each other. So, we decided to have a fun episode about life and what's been going on with us and the different births we have attended. You will be sure to get to know us a little better and have fun while we shoot the breeze. 


Birth topics we discuss:

Our doula careers at @tinyblessingsdoulaservices and @juliefrancombirth

Overcoming emotions as birth approaches

How we feel as doulas when our clients don't get the birth they prepared for

Inappropriate things we have heard providers/staff say to parents in labor

Video content on our YouTube Channel

Clearing our minds as doulas and for parents as we enter the birth space

Releasing fears and emotions

Our signature course How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Episode Sponsor:

This episode is brought to you by our very own VBAC Doula Certification program! Find out more about how to support parents who have had a Cesarean in the most effective ways at thevbaclink.com.

Full Transcript

Julie: Good morning, women of strength. It is Julie and Meagan here today and we are just going to talk because we have both been so busy moving, remodeling kitchens, doulaing parenting, soccer, gymnastics, trying to be a good wife somewhere in there…


Meagan: And still trying to do self-care.


Julie: And podcasts. We really haven’t even had a chance to catch up with each other and find out what we’ve been doing birth-wise, doula-wise and things like that. So we wanted to have a fun episode where we talk about life, different things that are going on with us, some births we’ve attended and different things like that. Hang along the ride with us. You’ll get to know us a little bit better and brain dead Julie, man. That’s my life right now. But first, before we do that, Meagan has a review of the week.

Review of the week

Meagan: Yes I do. This is actually from Google, so I was excited to see this. We are on Apple Podcasts and that’s probably where we get the most reviews. But this one is from Google and it’s from Hannah Troyer, Doula. Her subject is “5 Million Stars”. She says, “If I could give the VBAC Link 5 million stars, I would. It’s just that good. I have been a doula for three and a half years now and have supported multiple VBAC mamas. The evidence-based information, positive attitude, professionalism, education, encouragement and JOY I have received from Julie and Meagan leave me at a loss for words. I have tried to listen and read other podcasts, blogs, and trainings done by other doulas and most of them have left me with a bad taste in my mouth. As soon as I stumbled into the VBAC Link podcast, I could hear the joy of the doulas who actually LOVE their jobs. This was the first step into grabbing my attention and eventually making me fall in love with you two. Your podcasts are so educational and it brings a smile to my face every time I hear your voices. I could listen to them over and over. I am grateful I found the incredible source of information on VBAC’s. I am sharing it with everyone I know. Thank you, thank you, thank you VBAC Link.”


Julie: Aw, that makes me so happy.


Meagan: Yes. We do love our jobs. We love our lives, even though they’re crazy. And we do love bringing this podcast to you guys. The stories, the people that we meet all over the world. It’s just been so much fun over the last couple of years.


Julie: Oh my gosh. It’s been two and a half years. I can’t even believe it.


Meagan: Crazy, right? We’ve come a long way. Thank you so much, Hannah. We’ll dive right into the episode.

Episode sponsor

Julie: Birth workers, listen up. Do you want to increase your knowledge of birth after a Cesarean? We created our advanced VBAC doula certification program just for you. It is the most comprehensive VBAC doula training in the world perfectly packaged in an online, self-paced video course. This course is designed for birth workers who want to take their VBAC education to the next level so you can support parents who have had a Cesarean in the most effective ways. We have created a complete system, a step-by-step road map, that shows exactly what you need to know in order to support parents birthing after a Cesarean. Head over to thevbaclink.com to find out more information and sign up today. That’s thevbaclink.com. See you there.

Doula careers

Julie: Alright. It’s been a little while since we’ve had chitter chatter.


Meagan: I know. This is going to be a really random episode for you guys, catching up with what we’re up to.


Julie: Why don’t you tell a little about yourself, Meagan? Then I will share a little about me and we’ll see where we go.


Meagan: A little bit about myself. Crazy, all the time. I for some reason, like to be an energizer bunny with a half-full battery. Even today, recording podcasts, I’ve had to bail four times because I’ve had the paint people here, the countertop people here and the appliance people coming. All the things. I’m always crazy and I love projects. I struggle when my life doesn’t have a project in it. 


I have three kids and they keep us pretty busy. They’re all in soccer right now, so Saturdays look like us being at the soccer field all day long, because they’re each an hour plus games and we’re going from back to back to back. Then my daughter’s in gymnastics, and my other daughter is in dance. It’s been so much fun. They’re all out of the house a couple days a week because they’re all in school. That’s been really different for me, but honestly really fun. I get to do self care, work, do podcasts, go do prenatal cares with my clients, things like that. It’s been super fun. That’s kind of what we’re up to. Always crazy and going. My husband has been quite the trooper for supporting me through all of it.


Julie: Don’t forget, Meagan the doula, supported her husband while he was in law school by being a doula. She’s awesome.


Meagan: Yes. Doula life was crazy there for a little bit. But it’s been awesome. It’s been nice to take a little step back. Last month, I only had one client due. It was really nice to be here and take care of the family.


Julie: I think taking breaks is so important as a doula.


Meagan: Yeah. It’s how you avoid burnout.


Julie: Totally. I’m Julie, mom of four. I had four kids in a little less than five years. Not on purpose. I mean, well, you kind of half to do certain things to get pregnant, obviously. But the timing of baby number three-- she wanted to come sooner than we were planning. So, we have them all squished, right together. Currently their ages are seven, five, four, and two and a half, which is much better than when they were four, two, one, and a newborn. That was nuts. That was really nuts. But it all works out. It’s fine. Sometimes you hear kids running around in the background when I’m recording podcasts. That’s just the way it has to be during the digital age of quarantine and coronavirus. 


I also have a dog and a husband. My kids do soccer, just my two boys. One of my daughters is enrolled in gymnastics. Then the two and a half year old destroys everything in the house. That’s her hobby. My kids are very creative and problem solvers. I get caught off guard a lot by them-- which is probably a good way to say it.


I am an Army veteran, computer geek, data junkie, very analytical, and I just moved. Same town, really exciting move. I am really excited, actually. We’re getting everything unpacked and unloaded still. I feel like lately my life copies Meagan’s. Whatever Meagan is doing, my life will naturally get there. She was remodeling her kitchen while I was looking at houses and then I kept coming back to this house with an ugly kitchen. An ugly, ugly kitchen. We even called it the “ugly kitchen house”. My seven year old was like, “We’re not moving to the ugly kitchen house, are we?” Then my four year old would say, “It’s a beautiful house!” Then Meagan got me in contact with her kitchen guy. Now we are moved in. We are remodeling the kitchen as well. Meagan’s my hero.


We each have our own doula businesses, too. Let’s do a plug-in. Tiny Blessings Doula Services is Meagan’s doula company and she has a partner that she runs her doula business with. My doula business is called Julie Francom Birth. You can find us both on Instagram and Facebook. We would love the “likes” if you want to “like” us.  

Overcoming emotions leading up to birth

Meagan: If you want to follow our personal doula careers, check us out. This month, I have a lot of VBAC’s coming up, actually. So it’s quite exciting. At Tiny Blessings, we do a lot of first time moms, fifth time moms, but it seems like we go in spurts where we’ll have no VBAC’s, then the whole month is VBAC. It’s so fun. But it also brings a busy month because, as a VBAC parent, there’s a lot of stress that comes in the very end. Do you find that, Julie, with your clients?


Julie: Yeah, a lot of emotion.


Meagan: It’s a lot of emotional stress at the end. It can be heavy, but it’s fun. It’s not fun to be stressed for them, but it’s fun to work through it with them because when it comes down to the birth, we’re that much closer with our clients because we’ve been able to work through the nitty-gritty with them.


Julie: I think that with VBAC parents, it’s definitely a little more natural to fall into that more intimate knowledge of them. But  I’ve had a really strong connection with a recent first time mom and I had a four-peat client, so a client that’s been with me four times. My last three births, which have actually been in the last four weeks, have been a four-peat client, so her fourth baby with me as her doula, a VBAC, then a VBAC attempt that ended in a repeat Cesarean. It’s really fun because I love connecting with these people. 


Even the repeat Cesarean mom, she entered into her Cesarean smiling. She was so happy, laughing and confident. We created a really great environment for her. Her midwife was very supportive. It was night and day difference, she had said, from her first Cesarean to her second-- how she felt more supported and she felt like she was the one making the decisions.


Meagan: Which is a powerful thing.


Julie: It really is. It’s really different to go from an experience where you feel completely out of control and that decisions are being made for you to being an active decision maker in your care and being the final one to say, “Okay, let’s do this.” Even if your provider is offering you all different types of suggestions and things like that, being able to be the one to say, “Okay, let’s do it,” instead of your doctor being the one to say, “Well, we need to do this now.” It’s great and I love it. 


That mama was wheeled into that Cesarean with a big smile on her face and wheeled out of it with a great, big smile on her face. It was a totally, completely different experience for her. That makes me happy. 

When clients don’t get the birth they prepared for

Julie: I’m always sad when somebody doesn’t get their VBAC. It always makes me sad, especially when I’m sitting alone in the empty birth room whenever I’m not allowed in the operating room. You sit there and reflect, “Did I do enough? What could I have done differently?” I put a lot of responsibility on myself. But I know that a lot of these things are not in my control and that I support the best that I can. I’m always sitting there questioning and trying to see what we could have done differently. It’s kind of a lonely time when you’re just waiting. But coming back and seeing them so happy-- baby was so happy, and dad was so happy. It makes my heart more full when I can see that.


Meagan: Any birth workers out there, you may be able to relate. If things don’t go exactly as planned or desired, we sit back there and we take it home. It’s hard not to take it home with us and question, “Could we have done something more?” It’s my absolute favorite when the client says, “Yeah, it didn’t turn out exactly how I wanted it to. However, that was the most healing experience for me and I wouldn’t have changed it.” You know? Because they were in control, or because they felt like they were advocated for, or they were given options and they were able to make the decisions. It’s a powerful thing to be as in control as you can in a birth situation.  


Julie: I agree with that. That’s actually a number one indicator about whether someone will have post-traumatic stress related to birth. It’s not necessarily the birth outcome as much as whether they felt like they were listened to, heard, and that they were a decision maker in their care. Even VBAC’s, you can have post-traumatic stress disorder if you feel like you weren’t in control of what was being done to you or what was happening to you, as much as you can be in control with birth. But I mean as far as the decisions go, your care team, and all of those things.

Inappropriate comments said during labor

Julie: I’m going off on a little bit of a tangent, but can we talk about inappropriate things that we have heard providers, nurses, or hospital staff say to parents while they are in labor? Do you want me to start?


Meagan: Yeah, go ahead.


Julie: I actually had a client tell me that somebody had said this to her before, two years ago or so. But this same birth that I was just talking about, the nurse was a little rough around the edges. I think she was just really nervous about VBAC. There were two things she said that didn’t really sit very well with me. I know that she had good intentions. I want to preface it with that. I don’t think that this nurse had any ill intent or anything at all. 


But when my client was in labor, before it had been decided that she was going to have a repeat Cesarean, the nurse came in and she was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. I come in here every time the baby falls off the monitor. I just get so nervous with TOLAC moms because I had one TOLAC mom, when her baby fell off the monitor, I came in to check on them and baby was outside of the abdomen and her uterus had ruptured. It was really scary and we had to do a repeat crash Cesarean.”


She said this to my client while my client was laboring with a VBAC. So every time that baby dropped off the monitor, that nurse rushed in there as fast as she could. And now we knew why. I feel like part of that created a subconsciously stressful environment for my client. Every time the nurse would rush in, we would change positions, baby would fall off the monitor, nurse would rush in, and then there was all of a sudden that fear of uterine rupture again coming in with that nurse.


The other thing she said-- I really had to bite my tongue, hard, during this speech she was making. Before my client was wheeled back for her Cesarean, they were getting everything prepped. The anesthesiologist was in there and everything. You know how they do. The nurse put her hand on my client. I really do think she was trying to be nice, kind and supportive. She said, “You know, sometimes things just have to go like this and we don’t know why. But we’re so grateful that we have these life saving measures like Cesarean birth. Because if this would have been 200 years ago, you and your baby would have died. You and your baby would have died if it was a couple hundred years ago. So we’re grateful that we have these Cesareans so that we can save your life and we can save your baby’s life.”


Well, I’m not going to analyze that birth to death because I’ve been analyzing that birth to death in my head. 200 years ago, things would have been very different. I had a client who said a nurse had said that to her before, but hearing it directly come out of her mouth, I was like, “No. Not the right time. Very inappropriate.” Even if it WAS true. EVEN IF it was true. And who knows? Maybe it is true. I don’t know. But not the right time. Bad timing. That was hard.


Meagan: I had a client, it was really hard. She had a different ethnicity. She was a VBAC. She was doing really well, actually. She just needed some more time and more support. They kept telling her that due to her ethnicity, the likelihood of her getting her baby out vaginally was extremely low, but the likelihood of her having rectal incontinence for the rest of her life was extremely high. They encouraged her to really think about if she was willing to poop her pants for the rest of her life for a vaginal birth.


Julie: Oh my gosh!


Meagan: Yeah. I was dying. I was sitting there cringing inside. “Due to her ethnicity.”


Julie: Can we talk about ethnicity and inappropriate comments? I had a client who was a TOLAC and oh, this nurse. I love labor and delivery nurses. I think that they are undervalued. But I think that some of them don’t understand the impact that they have on the overall birth process. The vibe, the energy, and everything like that. 


I had a nurse once who still gives me the creepy crawlies every time that I talk about it. My client was Mexican and her husband was Mexican. They were born in Mexico and they were here working in the United States legally-- work visas, and everything. My client was a VBAC. But every time I would say the word “VBAC”, the nurse would look at me. I think she just had a problem with doulas. She must have had a bad run-in with a doula or something. I don’t know. But she would look at me and be like, “It’s a TOLAC.” And I was like, “Okay, TOLAC. I need to remember to call this a TOLAC.” So I would start trying to remember to say TOLAC instead of VBAC just so that we could get that negative tone out of the room. 


My client was very fluent in English and she understood English very well. But that nurse would speak to her like she was a kindergartener, with slow sentences. She said, “You have this. Do you know what that means? Do you understand what that means?” and my skin was crawling. This was probably one of my most educated clients that I have ever had. She was speaking to her like she was completely ignorant just because she had a really heavy Mexican, Hispanic accent. It was really frustrating.


She was an older nurse. She had been around the block a time or two. She wouldn’t use the machine to administer the IV fluids. She preferred to let them drip instead of go through the machine. She thought it went better that way. They didn’t have the Monica Novii monitor, but when the next nurse came in, she said, “Oh, let’s get the Novii monitor out for you to use.” You could tell she was set in her ways, from an older generation. Especially in Utah, where we have a very, very, very high population of white people and not very much diversity, it was really hard to see her treat my client like that. It was hard.


Meagan: It’s hard as a doula to see stuff like that and hear things. But as a doula, we have to stay professional and we have to respect the entire birth room. It can be hard and it can be super easy. It just depends on the staff and everything.


Julie: I think it goes without saying that different personalities don’t vibe well together perfectly. As a doula, it’s very hard to change your personality to match the vibe of the staff’s personality and learn how to interact with them. Sometimes, you just can’t match your personality. But I do a pretty good job. I think that’s one of the only times that I have really not been able to be happy with a nurse. And not only be happy with, but I mean, be fun, and part as friends. You know what I mean? Leave feeling that everybody in the room was supportive and enjoyed the experience together and things like that. That one nurse was particularly hard. 

Clearing minds for the birth space

Meagan: I wanted to touch really quickly on a couple of questions. This last week on Instagram, it was my weekend and I asked to have people ask me questions, and one of the really frequent questions that came through was how to prepare mentally and let go of past experiences. I wanted to talk on Julie’s Youtube video up on our channel on YouTube about releasing fear, tension and past experiences and things like that. Because I think it is so valuable and it’s something that you may have to do multiple times, but it’s something that can be very powerful during your preparation. 


I encourage you to not even wait until you are pregnant. Do it now and process what is going through your mind now. As more things come up, do those. Same thing with birth workers. We see a lot. We hear a lot. We go through a lot. I think it’s important to notice that for birth workers, there are a lot of things that we need to release because just like providers, we’ve talked about this before, providers see a lot of stuff. They see things that are amazing and things that are so scary. Sometimes they can let those experiences come into other people’s births.


Julie: Yeah, like that nurse who kept coming in when the baby would drop off the monitor.


Meagan: Exactly, and it’s hard. That’s life. It’s human. It’s normal. I have a very relative personality and so I tend to relate from my own experience to relate to people. So it’s so important for us in the birth space to keep other situations and other stories separate from what’s happening then. Now you can take those experiences as learning experiences and use them as a tool to certain points, but it’s so important to not bring either negative feelings or negative situations and things like that that you’ve seen into a new birth that is completely different.


After I saw my friend who did rupture, I was nervous to go to my next VBAC because I was nervous that I was going to overanalyze things. Does that make sense? I didn’t want to make anything that was happening from my friend’s birth go into my mind and think, “Oh my gosh, maybe this client is rupturing too.” I feel very proud of myself. I would give myself a cookie for not carrying that in, but I was nervous that I would. Of course, my education and things like that have helped me not have that situation. Anyway, I just think it’s so important to go and do these fear clearing releases and things like that. So Julie, do you want to tell them where we can find those?


Julie: The fear releasing activity video?


Meagan: Yeah, on YouTube. It’s your video. You did it really well.

YouTube video content


Julie: Thanks. I love it. It’s a really fun fear release activity that you can do. It’s on our YouTube channel. You can go and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Our podcasts are also published to YouTube automatically, so if you subscribe to our YouTube channel, you’ll automatically get notified when a new podcast episode comes out there if that’s easier to watch than listen wherever you are listening right now. We also have it on our IGTV, videos on Instagram and I think it’s on Facebook somewhere, but probably the best place to find it would be on YouTube. It’s under the education playlist.


Meagan: I’m going to look right now. I want to figure out exactly what you can type on YouTube. Painless fear release. Actually, you can just search the VBAC Link and it’s on there. It’s number four. VBAC Without Fear: 5 Minute Fear Release. So get on there, check it out. You’ll see cute Julie’s face, pretty much everywhere, because let’s be honest. I have been terrible at making videos and she has been amazing at making them.

Releasing fears

Julie: Do you know what else, Meagan, that I have figured out for getting emotions out? The nervous system, our brain and our body, the neurological system and the sympathetic nervous system, is that what it’s called? I don’t know, I’m not a brain junkie. But there are feelings and emotions stored in our body. Sometimes you don’t even know what those feelings and emotions are, but they need to get out. 


One of the ways for them to get out is by crying. Sometimes, if I don’t have time to do a full fear release with my client, or they don’t quite know what’s bothering them or what they would even write down, I just tell them, “Go do something that will make you cry.” Watch the Notebook. The Seven Minutes movie with Will Smith in it is the only time I have ever left a movie theater sobbing. Or, I don’t know, slow dance with your partner, or watch your wedding song or your birth video or whatever. Do something that makes you cry. Your body will do the rest. It will turn into this huge cry fest and emotional release for you. You don’t even have to write it down or burn it or do anything because your body will process it once that release starts. Pretty, pretty cool. Just cry. All you’ve got to do is cry about it and then it will be better. 

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents


But yes. The smokeless fire fear release. We have a fear release activity in our course for parents at How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents and you can find that on our website thevbaclink.com. But this is in addition to that.


There is also a supplementary video in our course that you can find on our YouTube channel and it talks about a really cool, smokeless fire fear release. Basically you put Epsom salts and rubbing alcohol in a fire-proof bowl. I usually use a glass bowl. You light it on fire with a lighter. Obviously fire safety is encouraged. Then you shred up your paper that you have written down all of your thoughts on and burn it. It burns without smoke unless you have, like, eight people putting their papers in. Then there’s some smoke and you might set off a fire alarm when you’re doing an in-person class. Hypothetically. But it’s super fun and super easy. When you’re done you just flush it down the toilet. The Epsom salts dissolve in the water and it’s perfect.


Meagan: Awesome. Is there anything else that you want to add for this really quick, random, short episode?


Julie: This is something that is good for doulas and parents. Whenever you leave a birth, write it down on paper. Brain dump everything on your mind. It doesn’t have to be legible. Don’t go back and read it. Write it all out. Don’t proofread. Don’t worry about punctuation or capitalization or anything like that. Write it all down as fast as you can. Off load it from your brain and then destroy the paper. You can burn it using this five minute smokeless fire fear release. You can shred it up and throw it into the wind. You can flush it down the toilet, whatever you want. Just destroy it and then your brain creates this dopamine response. The brain dump, with the dopamine response by destroying it, actually causes your body and brain to process and heal the things that just happened. That would be my last tip.


Meagan: We are going to start doing more of these where we randomly chat with you. We want to answer questions or talk about topics. If you have a topic that you would like us to touch on, send us a message either on Instagram or Facebook. We’ve got some that have come in and we’re going to get them rolling out on episodes here soon, probably towards the end of the year or the beginning of 2021. Holy cow, hopefully by then it’ll be a lot better than 2020. We are excited to keep talking to you about things you want to hear about.


Julie: And as always, we love you and we believe in you. We are proud of you.


Meagan: Do you want to do me a really quick favor? We are needing more reviews to read on the podcast. If you could go over to Google, Facebook, or wherever, leave us a review and let us know what you think of The VBAC Link.


Julie: Do you know what else you could do? If you’ve taken our course, go to our course page on our website, thevbaclink.com and leave a review there. We should start reading some course reviews as a review of the week.


Meagan: Yeah, let’s do it.


Would you like to be a guest on the podcast? Head over to thevbaclink.com/share and submit your story. For all things VBAC, including online and in person VBAC classes, The VBAC Link blog, and Julie and Meagan’s bios, head over to thevbaclink.com. Congratulations on starting your journey of learning and discovery with The VBAC Link.

Jennifer says: "In 2015, after 41 hours of labor, I ended up having a C-section. I was sad that my birth plan hadn't ended the way I wanted it to but so happy to meet my baby boy finally! Fast forward 3.5 years, a miscarriage and secondary infertility- I was yet pregnant again! I found the most VBAC friendly doctor in town, went to a webster certified chiropractor every other week, hired a doula, listened to ALL the VBAC podcast, and I was ready! I had prepared myself and my body for birth. I was 100% confident that I would accomplish a VBAC- so was my entire birth team! Then I found out my doctor was going to be on vacation for 1.5 weeks- I was pretty sure he would not be attending my delivery, which made me so sad since he was so VBAC positive. Labor started just after midnight on my due date. I progressed slow and steady- at the 25 hrs mark, my water broke, I was 8 cm dilated. My husband and I were so excited; my body was doing what it was MADE to do!

"We were going to find out the gender of our baby soon!

"Within 10 minutes, everything changed. Nurses and doctors rushed in. The baby's heartbeat couldn't be detected. The fear was that my uterus had ruptured, which is a slight risk you take when attempting a VBAC. My team decided that a crash C-section was necessary; it wasn't going to be a "gentle" section. I was going to be put under general anesthesia. My husband would not be able to attend the birth. I was put under terrified thinking about how I would tell my four-year-old that his brother or sister wasn't going to be coming home. Bad things weren't supposed to happen to rainbow babies.

"My doctor acted swiftly, and he said he was able to remove my baby within 43 seconds of putting me under... 43 seconds! Thankfully, my uterus hadn't ruptured. The cord was wrapped twice around the baby's neck. When I saw my baby for the first time, I quickly noted the pink hat in her warmer and realized I was now a girl mom, which was so shocking because I thought it was another boy.

"Soon after, the tears of joy went back to tears of sadness. Thankfully I had a great support system and reached out to a counselor right away. I knew that I wanted to sort my feelings about my failed VBAC and traumatic birth before those thoughts consumed me. I saw a counselor who specializes in postpartum issues four days after delivering my baby girl. She has helped me work through the fears of almost losing our baby and has been a tremendous asset in keeping my mental health in the right place."

We go on to talk about the difference between a Crash Cesarean and an Emergency Cesarean, and why it is important to know the difference. 

You can find out more about How to Cope When You Don't Get Your VBAC on our blog. 

We want to thank this episode's sponsor, Betterhelp Counseling, whose mission is to make professional counseling accessible, affordable, convenient - so anyone who struggles with life’s challenges can get help, anytime, anywhere. Get 10% off your first month by going to betterhelp.com/vbac

Full transcript

Meagan: Hello, hello! You are with the VBAC Link with Meagan and Julie, and our friend Jennifer today. We’re excited to have her sharing her story. She is a CBAC. For anyone who doesn’t know what a CBAC is, it’s Cesarean birth after Cesarean. She was going for a VBAC, was getting so close, and had a turn in a completely different direction. We’re going to be talking with her today about her story and also splitting up the difference between an emergency C-section and a crash C-section. A lot of times, a non-emergent and emergent is jumbled into one. So we’re going to talk about the differences there. We’re really, really excited. Of course, Julie has our review of the week. I’m going to turn the time over to her to read that.


Julie: Yeah, I’m really excited about this story. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. We are not here to share just the sunshine and butterfly VBAC stories. If that’s what you want, and that’s okay if you want that, then this is probably not going to be one that you would want to listen to. But we encourage you, if you can, to take a minute to ground yourself and try and listen to the harder stories because VBAC, TOLAC, trying a vaginal birth, whatever you want to call it, doesn’t always go as planned. 


Sometimes a repeat Cesarean is necessary, sometimes it’s wanted, and sometimes it’s an emergency, like a true emergency. Knowing the difference, like Meagan said, is really important between an emergency Cesarean and a crash Cesarean. This is sure to be a really vulnerable and raw story. I am so grateful to Jennifer for being willing to share that story today.

Review of the week

Before I do that, I’m going to share a review from hellomissbliss, on Apple Podcasts. Doesn’t that take you back to your high school days, Meagan? Miss Bliss? Saved by the bell? Totally there. So hellomissbliss, I’m going to read your review. The title is “Invaluable”. She says, “As soon as I had my C-section, I knew I wanted to VBAC for my future births. I searched other birth podcasts for VBAC stories specifically, and then one day I found The VBAC Link. The information, honesty, support, and evidence-based advice that Julie, Meagan, and their guests provide are invaluable. I make my husband listen and feel so much more empowered and secure in my decision to VBAC. I’m eight weeks pregnant now and I can’t wait to share my VBAC story next year. Thank you so much for this amazing resource.”


Now we’ve got to do what we do. We calculate the dates. She was eight weeks pregnant on November 1st, so that’s two months. She probably just had her baby! In June. Hellomissbliss. If you had your VBAC, let us know. We would love to hear your story.


Meagan: We are so excited to get started. I do want to give you a fair warning before we turn the time over to Jennifer. If you’ve been following our stories and my Friday updates, you know that I am completely under construction. My entire top floor, which is what’s above me, is under construction. We had to rip up all of our tile and they are prepping the floor to re-lay it right now. So you may hear hammering, you may hear sawing, you may even hear a dog bark, and I’m sorry. Just a fair warning.


Julie: There’s always the chance of crazy kids. Meagan has one home and I have three at home. My two-year-old is currently resisting naptime, which should be coming up in about 45 minutes. So it’s just, you get what you get. Sometimes we’re good and sometimes we are a hot mess!

Meagan: I just wanted to give that fair warning. If you hear the knocking, I am guilty. It’s me. But Jennifer, we’re so excited to have you here and we can’t wait to dive into your story. We’d love to turn the time over to you.

Jennifer’s story

Jennifer: Thank y’all so much. I guess I’ll start with my son, with my first C-section. I went into labor at 40 weeks, 5 days. I had a really great pregnancy, no real issues. I labored at home for 21 hours with a doula. We finally went to the hospital and I was only 1 centimeter. That was very discouraging, but I walked around and they ended up keeping me because I was able to get to 3. Long story short, it was about 35 hours that I had been in labor. 

I was about 8 centimeters and my doctor said my cervix was swollen. She said that we’ll try some Pitocin, but my baby didn’t handle the Pitocin well, so they stopped. I wasn’t really progressing after that. At about the 43-hour mark, she said I had to have a section. There was no talking to her, letting me have any more time or anything like that. She said it was just too swollen. It wouldn’t have happened.

We had a C-section and it went very smoothly. My doula was able to be in the room with us. She took some great pictures. After delivery, he was perfect and we had a really good hospital stay. I knew after having him, though, that my first question was, “Okay, can I have a VBAC?” And of course, the doctor at the time was like, “We don’t even need to be talking about this right now. You just had a baby.”

Life went on and it was okay. I wasn’t too sad. I knew I would have kind of like a redemption. I’d be able to try for a VBAC in a few years when we decided to have another child and we were hoping for that.

A few years later, we were ready to have another baby. I had a miscarriage and then we had about 13 months of infertility. We finally were able to start an oral medicine to help us get pregnant. I got pregnant the first month, and I knew that I needed a VBAC friendly doctor. In my town, we really only have two, and one is much more VBAC friendly than the other, so I chose him. He was great. He said I had a really high chance of delivering the way I wanted to and that he didn’t see anything stopping us at the time. So I hired a doula again. I saw a Webster-certified chiropractor a few times a month-- pretty much throughout my whole pregnancy. It was a very textbook pregnancy. There were no signs that would indicate anything would happen.

Then, I found out towards the end of my pregnancy that my doctor was going on vacation. He was going to be gone from when I was 39 weeks to 41 weeks. I knew at that point that my chances of a VBAC-- it was very discouraging knowing he wasn’t going to be there. But my doula calmed me down because the doctor who was going to be on call for him was the other VBAC friendly doctor in our town. That kind of helped me out a little bit. So I knew that I would be delivering with the other doctor. I had met him before, when I had my miscarriage, so I did vaguely know him. I was just going to wait and see what would happen. I knew going in that I wasn’t going to be induced. My doctor was giving me until 42 weeks. We were planning on riding it out until I went into labor naturally.

At 40 weeks exactly, at 12:00 am, I went into labor. I guess early labor is what you’d say. My contractions started, but they were coming on really, really strong. They had always said, if you’re getting them less than five minutes apart, come in, because you are a VBAC candidate so we want to monitor you a little bit more. We went into the hospital after only a few hours of contractions and I was only one centimeter. We walked around. We got to about two or three centimeters, and they were like, “We will keep you,” but at that time, it was overnight. 

At our hospital, we have a hospitalist who sees you until early morning hours when you would see your regular doctor, as long as everything’s going as planned and smoothly. The hospitalist kept us and I continued to progress pretty well. I mean, very slowly. By about the 12-hour mark I think I was 5 or 6 centimeters, but it was still so much faster than with my son in my previous pregnancy.

Everything was going well. The doctors I had were a little bit more VBAC tolerant versus okay with it, but they were letting me do what I wanted to do and labor on my own. They kind of just waited it out. I ended up getting an epidural and that helped progress me a little bit. They would turn me every two hours. They were doing minimal checks and everything was going smooth until about 2:00 am. 

I was about 8 centimeters, they had just checked me. The nurse had just come in to re-dose my epidural and my water broke. My husband and I just laughed. We were so excited because I finally felt like it was happening. I was getting my VBAC. My body was doing what it needed to do. I was on the right path. We knew that at 8 centimeters, if your water breaks, it’s going to progress pretty quickly, so we knew she was coming. 

About eight to ten minutes later, nurses swarmed into my room. I mean, we probably had about eight to ten in my room. They couldn’t find my baby’s heartbeat. They were trying to get me on all fours to try to figure out if it was just a positional thing or what. And that’s very hard when you’ve had an epidural and can’t move. I had people touching me in all kinds of places trying to turn me over. 

My doula had actually left. She had taken a little bit of a break because it was in the middle of the night. We had been progressing but it had been slow and she lived right by the hospital.

Meagan: Can I just say, that’s a really awesome thing for you to have done? A lot of doulas burn out and they get so exhausted. They’ll be there for a really long time, but when things are moving slow and they’re not as necessary, it’s a really good idea to send your doula home or send her somewhere to go rest. That’s really, really good.

Jennifer: For my first one, she was with us the whole time. She was a saint. I mean, she was literally with us for 40 something hours.

Meagan: Doulas will power through.

Jennifer: Yeah, so my doula this time had a few breaks. She was only a phone call away. I mean, she lived so close that it didn’t matter if she left for a little bit, because no one was expecting to have this baby super fast.

So the hospitalist comes in. It was like he had been sleeping all night. He was very slow with his speech. He was like, “There seems to be a problem. We’re not quite sure what.”

And I’m like, “Okay, you need to get my baby out if you can’t find the heartbeat.”

So, thank God, my stand-in doctor, the on call doctor, has monitors at his house and also lives right near the hospital. And for whatever reason, at 2:00 am on this Saturday morning, he was awake and looking at the monitors. So before the nurses even had a chance to call him and tell him that something was wrong, he was already in his car on the way to the hospital.

Meagan: That’s amazing.

Jennifer: He barged into my room and it was literally like something out of a movie. He and this other doctor, the hospitalist, were arguing over what to do. From what I remember, the hospitalist was saying, “We’re going to take the baby out right here in the room”, and the on-call doctor was like, “No you’re not, the OR is right down the hall.”

They’re arguing. The nurses are unplugging everything from the bed and trying to wheel me out of the room. They were able to find the heartbeat at one point, but it was only 30. So they were thinking that my uterus had ruptured and the doctors had agreed on that.

Julie: Yeah, that’s a scary heartbeat.

Jennifer: Yeah and then they couldn’t find it after that. They were basically screaming at me that it was a uterine rupture and I was thinking that it was all my fault, that I did this. I could have just had an easy C-section but I chose to do this. Because prior to this happening, earlier in the day, every time the doctors would come in, even the VBAC friendly one, they’d talk about it. “Well this is the risk. Are you sure you don’t want to just have a section? Are you sure you don’t want to have a little bit of Pitocin?”

And I’m like, “No.”

So I go in thinking that my baby has died. How am I supposed to tell my four year old that we don’t have a baby anymore? It was chaos. There was cursing, not by me, by the doctors and the staff, because I guess things just weren’t falling into place as quickly as they wanted it to. They were finally able to put me under and of course, I don’t know what happened after that. 

The doctor did tell me that from the time I was put out until my baby was here, it was only 43 seconds. They were able to get her out super quickly. And she was good. She was fine. Her APGARS were the highest they could be. She was okay. Now we know that the cord was wrapped around her neck twice, which was why her heartbeat was so low. Before my water had broken she had all that cushion to bounce off of, but once my water had broken, the cord was too tight. There was nothing for her to float around in, so that’s why it happened right after my water broke.

Meagan: That makes sense. I was going to say, it’s like there’s a floodgate opening. They’re in this nice little hot tub, this floodgate opens, and they move. Water comes out, and it could have just gotten too tight. Did they try to change your positions or anything or was it just kinda like, “We’re going”? 

Jennifer: They did. That’s when they tried to get me on all fours before the doctor had come in the room. But because I had an epidural, it was just too hard to move. They didn’t really get a good response from that. They couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat. They tried checking me, just to make sure the cord hadn’t prolapsed too, because that could have been one of the issues, they said. But that didn’t happen. She was fine.

My doula wasn’t there. My husband, poor thing, he was by himself for that part. Thankfully, I told him as they were wheeling me into the OR, “Call her! Get her to come. You need someone here with you.” Because I didn’t know how he would be either, especially if my baby hadn’t made it. He did say though, that he was able to hear her cry, because he was standing outside the door. It seems like it took forever in the OR, but he said it didn’t because literally, once I was in there, it took five or so minutes for them to put me under and all of that, and he was able to hear her cry. He knew at that point that she was okay.

We didn’t know if she was a girl or a boy at that point. We didn’t get our moment of her coming out and being put on my chest and being able to look together, which we were so looking forward to, because that was the incentive for a VBAC too. You know, how exciting it is to have your baby and not even know if it was a girl or a boy, then being able to look. He found out via a picture. The nurse got his phone and took some pictures for him. I found out when I was wheeled into the room. There was a little pink hat on her head, so I knew it was a girl at that point.

Meagan: How long did it take for you to come back to and be present again?

Jennifer: Honestly, I think it was less than an hour. I was in the recovery room by 3:00. She was born at 2:00, and by 3:00, I was in the recovery room, which is basically the amount of time it took with my son as well. It was like a normal C-section. He was actually able to cut on my old C-section scar, so everything was pretty textbook. Instead, it was a lot faster than a regular C-section. As far as post C-section, everything was textbook. I was in the room about an hour after, nursing her, and she was feeling so good. That part was kind of normal, if you would call it that.

Emergency vs. Crash Cesareans

Meagan: Good. Yeah and I want to talk about, really, that difference. There are emergency C-sections, then there are true, true emergent, crash C-sections. You had a crash C-section. One of the first indicators of a crash C-section is if they have to knock you out and there’s no time to even talk and discuss or do anything like that. Baby was out in, what did you say, 43 seconds?

Jennifer: 43 seconds. 

Meagan: Yeah, that is a true, crash C-section. A lot of times with crash C-sections, partners are not allowed to be there either because there’s no time and there’s so much happening that they don’t even have time to allow that person in. Fetal heart tones are one of the biggest reasons for a crash C-section. Really low heart decels that cannot be recovered or found. Obviously, it’s a very scary situation and we want to get baby out. So that’s what they did. They rushed and it sounds like they did a very good job rushing. We are so glad that she was okay.

Jennifer: Thank you. It was very scary and still it’s very hard to even talk about. I was so grateful-- we have a great perinatal mental health specialist in town that, four days post-delivery, I saw her for the first time. I saw her every two weeks for the first month. I went every month and I still see her. Now we talk more about husband and children issues, but for a long time, we just talked about the birth. Trying to help me to just realize that it was okay to have those feelings. The sadness. Because even in the hospital, talking to my nurses, I was very tearful all the time. But they were just like, “She’s here, she’s okay.”

It was true. But I was also kind of mourning the birth that I didn’t get to experience. I am so happy that my little girl was okay, and I would do anything. I would go back and have another crash C-section just to have her healthy, but after preparing and feeling like I am a great candidate for a VBAC, I didn’t really set myself up for what if it doesn’t happen? You know?

Julie: Yes. Oh my gosh, yes.

Jennifer: I guess that’s one reason why I wanted to share my story too. Because for nine months, even longer than nine months, before I even got pregnant, VBAC was what was going to happen and I had no doubt about that. That was one of the things we’ve worked on a lot in counseling too. It was okay to have those feelings, but it’s okay too that it didn’t go the way I wanted it to or the way I expected it to.

Julie: Yeah, I agree. I think it’s so important. That’s one of the reasons why we like to share all of these different types of stories and different birth outcomes, because while uterine rupture is incredibly rare and a catastrophic rupture is even more rare than that, it still happens. When you’re the 1 in 100 or a 1000, it might as well be a 100% chance for you, because that’s what your story is and that’s what’s happened to you. We’re grateful that yours didn’t end up in a uterine rupture. But there’s still that trauma there. The minutes leading up to that 43 seconds probably felt like an eternity, and there’s a whole lot of stuff there to process.

Jennifer: It did. When they’re putting you in the OR, you’re having to switch over beds real quick and you can’t move, because they’re trying to get you all set up. You’re literally laying there naked because they’re in a rush. They’re throwing betadine on you and cleaning you up and getting you ready. All of those things, while you’re sitting there and you’re trying to think through it. You’re thinking the worst of what’s going to happen and how you’re going to tell people. How you’re going to tell your little ones at home-- just the worst thoughts

Then my doctor came in the next day and said, “Oh, well, you did have a uterine window.”
And I’m like, “Gosh. First of all, do we really need to talk about that? Because that had nothing to do with my delivery at all.”

Meagan: A lot of people have uterine windows.

Julie: Yeah, Meagan did.

Jennifer: I’ve heard you can even have one if you’ve never had a C-section.

Meagan: Absolutely. A lot of first time moms probably have them and they would never know if they didn’t have a C-section.

Jennifer: He’s basically telling me that, “Look, you’re never going to have a vaginal birth.” I don’t know if we’ll have another child. I think we’re good. But I just had a baby 12 hours ago. You don’t need to be telling me this.

Meagan: Right. My provider told me that on the table. During my C-section he told me he was so happy that I didn’t VBAC because I “for sure would have ruptured.” And that I have this window. But what he doesn’t understand is what that did to me for my next birth. It stuck with me. And you’re like, “I just had a baby. Can I just focus on this for this very moment?”

Jennifer: Exactly. Because even if we choose to have another one, or are blessed to have another one, I’d probably worry my whole pregnancy that, “Oh gosh, I have a uterine window.” Even if I wasn’t trying for a VBAC, I’d probably be thinking, “Okay, I can rupture any moment.”

Some things just don’t need to be said.

Julie: I think that providers sometimes don’t realize the impact that their words have on these pregnant people and I think sometimes it comes out of misinformation. They just don’t know. These guys, they’re surgeons. Most obstetricians have done hundreds, thousands of C-sections, perhaps, and have seen a lot of really abnormal things. I can’t imagine that it would be comfortable for someone doing a C-section to see a uterine window and see through the uterus. That probably would be really hard. They would probably be thinking, “Wow. It’s a good thing we’re doing this C-section because this uterus is really thin.”

I think it’s more of a defensive mechanism-- a subconscious, primal thing. Seeing that is scary and there’s not a lot of information. There’s no information. There’s no way to tell if a uterine rupture or a uterine window leads to a rupture. There’s just no way. You’d have to know if the uterine window was there before the rupture happened. You can’t do that unless you have a C-section. And so, there’s just no evidence. At all. You just have to assume. When you make assumptions, you get misinformation and misguided providers. It’s really frustrating.

I wanted to tell a quick story. I had a client who had a crash Cesarean. There’s so much stuff I want to talk about. It is all in our course. My mind is going on all these different tangents like epidural placement, crash Cesarean, emergency Cesarean, preparing mentally for a different outcome, all of these things. But I want to talk about my experience. 

I had a client and she had a two-vessel cord. Normally the umbilical cord has three vessels, two going in and one going out. Hers only had one going in and one going out of the cord which, usually, is not a problem. And, usually the cord around the neck is not a problem. Most of the time, you just slip the cord off the neck as the baby comes out and everything’s fine. But sometimes it is a problem, like in your case and, it turns out, in my client’s case. 

She was going along perfectly in her VBAC and everything was fine. She was pushing for two hours. She just could not get the baby past the pubic bone. She finally decided she wanted an epidural so that she could get some rest. Rest and descend to let the body do some work on its own while she could get some much needed rest. The anesthesiologist came in and she was pushing. She finally got the baby past the pubic bone. The anesthesiologist was there getting ready to do the epidural. 

By this time, the OBGYN had come in. She was with a midwife and the baby’s heart rate was super tachycardic. 60bpm, 240bpm, 180, 40bpm, 90. It was up, down, up, down, up, down. It was so crazy, all over the place. Baby was under a lot of stress. The OB said, “How long is it going to take you to get an epidural where we could do a forceps delivery?” He’s like, “Well, probably about 20 minutes.” She’s like, “I don’t have 20 minutes. I have 2 minutes.” 

Once she said that, everything changed. They dosed up her IV. They flattened the bed out. They wheeled her to the OR. It was like, this baby is not doing well. Now we need to get the baby out. There’s no time for an epidural. There’s no time for anything else. We need to get the baby out now.

And so, they rushed everybody. It was busy chaos, just like you said. Everybody flooded into the room. Me, the birth photographer, and the birth partner stepped back, got out of the way, and they rushed her away. The baby was born three minutes later, after the obstetrician had said, “I only have two minutes.” It ended up being three minutes, but I’m sure she was just throwing out a short amount of time. It was a good call because the baby was born with an APGAR of 0. Literally, they had to resuscitate him. His two minute APGAR was 5, he was in the NICU for six weeks. There was a lot of crazy stuff. 

It was not a uterine rupture. It was the two-vessel cord. The cord was wrapped around his neck twice, so once he got past that pubic bone, all of the pressure was super restrictive and he wasn’t getting oxygen. That’s a crash Cesarean. Baby needs to be out in minutes. Minutes, even seconds, matter. That’s why we kind of laugh at the “just in case” epidural, because even if an epidural is dosed and turned on, in order to get it up to a dose where you wouldn’t feel it during surgery would take 20-30 minutes, even if it is already turned on. If it’s not turned on, it could take 40 minutes. If you only have two or three minutes to get baby out, you’re going to be put under whether you have the epidural or not.

Jennifer: Exactly. See, I had asked my doctor that at one of my appointments because I was going to try to go without an epidural. I said, “If I go without, what happens if I end up needing a section?” He said, “If you need a section that quickly, it would be a crash section and you’re going to be put under regardless.” He said, “Do not make up your mind on whether or not you want an epidural on the basis of a section or not. If you want it, get it for pain management. Don’t get it because, you think, okay well, what if something happens and I need a section?”

Julie: This is where people can get confused. The medical definition of a crash Cesarean is baby has to get out now. We can’t wait. We can’t do anything. We need to knock mom out, cut baby out as soon as possible. That’s a crash Cesarean. 

Emergency Cesarean is, “Oh gosh, baby is not looking great. You’re only 4 centimeters. Let’s call the OR and get the anesthesiologist in here. Oh, he’s in another surgery, so you’re going to have to wait 30 minutes.” That’s an emergency Cesarean. But when people hear the word emergency, it’s not a good word. It’s not a good thing. Emergency is bad in our minds. An emergency Cesarean really just means, “We don’t think baby is going to come out vaginally and so we need to get it out through a Cesarean.” 

In that case, if there’s time to wait, then there’s time to get a spinal block, which takes five minutes to take effect. It’s much different than an epidural. It wears off a lot quicker too, which is why it’s not their first go-to, but a spinal block takes effect rather quickly and you can still have your Cesarean in 30-40 minutes with a spinal block. 

Then, of course, we have planned Cesareans which are scheduled. So you have your scheduled Cesarean, your emergency Cesarean, which is not an emergency. It just means, “Oh, well, we don’t think baby is going to come out vaginally”, or maybe there are problems, like mom has a fever, there’s pre-eclampsia, blood pressure, swollen cervix, etc. Crash Cesarean is, “Alright. This is an emergency. There is a risk to the life of mom or baby. Baby has to come out right now.” That’s where seconds matter.

Jennifer: I think it’s important for people to know the difference. Not that any one is worse than the other, but some nurses and doctors don’t even know the difference. Because my regular doctor was on vacation, I had a stand-in doctor every day. They would call it an emergency C-section, often. It was so close and so fresh in my mind that I would correct them every time. “No, it was a crash section.” There’s a difference. The fact that they call it an emergency section over and over, I was like, “Gosh y’all. It wasn’t just an emergency.” It didn’t feel like that, at least to me.

Julie: Yeah. Significant difference. Very big difference.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Before we forget, we want to ask you our questions that we try to remember to ask people.

Meagan: I actually want to share just one more thing really, really fast. We have a blog post. I believe Julie wrote it. It’s about healing after a birth that didn’t go the way that you wanted it to.

Julie: It’s How to Cope When You Don’t Get Your VBAC. That’s what it’s called. I just barely linked to it in the blog I’m writing right now.

Meagan: It’s How to Cope When You Don’t Get Your VBAC and there’s Healing From Trauma After a Difficult Birth Experience. We have two different blogs that may benefit you if you are in this situation as well. So go check it out. It’s at thevbaclink.com/blog. We’ve got oodles and oodles of blogs in addition to that, but those are two specific ones that I thought related to this awesome story.

Julie: There’s a search bar on the blog. You can go in and search for whatever you want, really. Enter in the search term you are looking for. On mobile, I think it’s at the bottom sometimes. If you are on a desktop, it’s on the right side. Click on the blog page and it will pop up there for you.


Meagan: Yes, yes, yes. And then we do. We ask questions. We always forget to ask, so I’m excited that Julie remembered. One of them is, what is a secret lesson or something no one really talks about that you wish you would have known ahead of time when preparing for birth?
Do you remember what you answered? Or do you want to answer something random, too? We have what you answered if you want us to read it.

Julie: I don’t remember. I wrote that so long ago because we had to reschedule a few times. I don’t even remember what I put.

Meagan: You said that you wish you had prepared yourself for the possibility that you would have had to have a C-section. You were so positive that you would have had a VBAC that you didn’t think of any other complications. I think that is such a big and powerful tip. Our secret lesson, as we are calling it, because there are a lot of times where people write their birth plans and they’re like, “This is how my birth is going to go,” and then birth doesn’t necessarily go that way. It’s actually a lot of trauma for them because they had only prepared for this one way. This is why we believe that hearing CBAC stories and uterine ruptures are really good to hear. They’re really scary to hear when you’re preparing, sometimes, but they’re so beneficial in so many ways.

What is your best tip for someone preparing for a VBAC?

Jennifer: I think it would be, like I said, to have an open mind. Labor never goes really how you plan, but definitely have a very pro-VBAC team. You know, a doula, your doctor. Go in knowing that it may not go the way you want it to, but it’s okay. There are so many resources after that can help you, like my counselor. My husband was a big support system. Just making sure you have a good support system, whether it’s family or otherwise.

Meagan: Definitely. I love it. Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing your story. We love it. We love you and thanks for being with us.


Would you like to be a guest on the podcast? Head over to thevbaclink.com/share and submit your story. For all things VBAC, including online and in-person VBAC classes, The VBAC Link blog, and Julie and Meagan’s bios, head over to thevbaclink.com. Congratulations on starting your journey of learning and discovery with The VBAC Link.

October 14, 2020

146 VBAC Doulas Tell All

This episode is a must-listen! Ten of our VBAC doulas give their best tips and tricks for an empowered pregnancy and birth. There are so many sweet nuggets of information given by these wonderful people that you will be sure to re-listen again and again to soak it all in. To find a doula on this podcast or, in your own state or country, go to thevbaclink.com/findadoula. Guest Doulas:

  1. Kimberly Culver Dulce Birth - Central Texas - Birth hormones and physiological birth
  2. Terri Schelkoph Doula Mama - Lakeville, Minnesota - The people you have in your birth space
  3. Tiffany Muniz  The Doula Tiffany - Breese, Illinois - Choosing a supportive provider
  4. Emmy Howard Birth Wizard - Chandler, Arizona - Teamwork makes the dream work
  5. Brittany LeBoeuf MotherBirth - Lafayette, Louisiana - Staying informed and always learning 
  6. Nicole Ramsey Ada's Gift Doula Services - West Central Indiana - Birth planning and choices
  7. Michelle Holmes Doulaed - Heber City, Utah - 3-minute childbirth education class for the partner
  8. Brooke Volpe Solace Birth Services - Southeast Pennsylvania and New Jersey - Understanding the pelvis
  9. Dominika Buck Alaska Above and Beyond Doula Care - Alaska - Coping with unsupportive family and friends
  10. Sarah Bills - The VBAC Link Admin - Boise, Idaho - Asking questions and being an active participant

Want to become a VBAC Doula? Head over to thevbaclink.com/product/advanced-doula-certification and get started today!


Hermaris' first birth was straightforward and boring until the very end when they found out her baby was breech. She was unable to turn her baby and ended with a Cesarean. With Hermaris' second pregnancy, she was forced to switch providers at 30 weeks due to her insurance. After laboring at home for a long time, Hermaris and her husband headed to the hospital. She arrived at a 6 and quickly progressed. Hermaris' birth was full of lots of surprises, but she still got to have her VBAC. 

Meagan takes a moment to talk about prodromal labor. She tells you what it is and what to do when you experience it.


Main Episode Topics:

- Breech

- Switching providers

- Prodromal labor


This episode is brought to you by, How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents:

Our course is not a typical childbirth class. We focus exclusively on the extra information you need to prepare yourself for the best chance of a successful VBAC.

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents


Additional Links:

The VBAC Link Blog

Hermaris' Website

Hermaris' Instagram

Hermaris' Photography Instagram

Hermaris' Shop

Hermaris' Facebook

Hermaris' Blog

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