Saturday, April 9

Jamie's VBAC Home Birth:

I want to preface this post before I introduce you to Jamie, by saying that I celebrate ALL births. (I will be posting hospital births with epidurals as well.) If you had a perfectly normal, amazing hospital birth with an epidural, you were totally supported and were treated like you were included in the decisions being made by the nurses and Dr's during your birth, & you felt loved and encouraged through your experience, I'm all about that. The reason posting these stories was SO important to me is because I wasn't supported through my labor, & I am not the only woman with that complaint about her birth. I felt like a monster because I didn't want to get cut open again and have a repeat cesarean, but I wasn't the only woman who felt this way either. There are many others of us out there. I've had several doctors make me feel damaged & broken because of my cesarean, but meeting these ladies & spending time with them has helped show me another way to birth. It has been HUGE in my healing process. 

I think these stories are beautiful and need to be told. Thank you for reading along, crying along and celebrating these woman along with me. I have loved reading your comments. Thank you again! What awesome-sexy-rockstars of readers you are! 
This is Jamie. (total knock-out right?)
In total stalker status, I found her through a birth photographer's website and balled like a baby through her birth photo-slide show, emailed her, became her face book friend, got her number, and I totally look up to her (I'm really ok with the whole stalking her thing....I'm so thankful I did and got to hear her story!) Oddly enough, she's a runner, loves Jesus and had a VBAC! She is incredible. I'm obsessed with her strength and having heard her story has blessed me. 

Without further adieu, here is Jamie's story:

"At 6:14 AM I pushed out Baby Christopher weighing 10lbs even! Pelvis too small? That was crap! This kid was a bowling ball and I did it!"

My childbirth journey began in April of 2007 when we became pregnant with my first son, Antonio. I always knew that I wanted to have natural childbirth, free of medication, but I was completely uneducated and went into my first pregnancy blindly. Everything up until the birth seemed perfect. I was healthy, I had taken plenty of natural birth classes (even through the hospital).

My water broke at about 10:30 at night and labor started right away. I curled my hair (yes, this was my priority), got my bags ready with my birth music, candles, and whole bunch of other labor aids and off to the hospital we went with birth plan in hand. This is where everything went downhill. Upon arrival, I was notified that there were no labor rooms available and that I would have to stay in triage where I was only allowed to have my husband, no birth music, and no candles!!! They told me I might have to give birth in the operating room since they had no rooms. I asked them if I could walk around during my labor and the nurses were very stern in letting me know that was not allowed. (my instict was to walk and be on my feet, not laying in a bed...) So there I was, tied to a bed in triage, in active labor, and feeling completely out of control. I was beyond miserable.
I had horrible back labor, so laying in that hospital bed was the worst position possible for me to labor in. Before too much time passed, I caved an asked for an epidural. They finally moved me into a room and my labor went by super fast. I believe it took me only 6 hours to fully dilate, but it still didn't stop the nurses from threatening pitocin every hour. After two hours of pushing the baby was not coming down and the doctors called for a C-Section saying my pelvis was too small. At 11:14 am on 1-28-08 I gave birth to my first son, Antonio, weighing in 7 lbs., 11oz via Cesarean. The surgery went well, (I'm sure the doctor had done many in his career), my son was healthy and that was all that mattered...right?
I couldn't help but feel cheated by my experience. I felt robbed of my decisions, & of my birth plan. It wasn't until I joined a local mommy's group and discovered a mom who had given birth at home that I really started thinking about my own birth. I probed her with questions and she graciously shared her story with me. I felt so inspired and wanted to know more. She gave me books and movies and the more I read, the more I knew that I wanted to have a homebirth.

My husband and I met with her midwife and I fell in love right away. I felt confident with her abilities. She had been doing it for years and had plenty of VBAC experience. So when we got pregnant with our second, we decided that a home birth was our best option.

I continued to see my OB for most of my pregnancy. I think I was still afraid of just letting go and trusting my body and the midwife to tell me if there was any sign of a problem during labor. I buried my head in books throughout my pregnancy. It helped reassure me of my decision and tame the fear of having an HBAC. Throughout my pregnancy, the care that I received from both my midwife and my OB was like night and day. Every month I would travel down to my midwife's office and spend an hour with her just talking and getting to know each other. There were no other patients, no bright lights and white walls. Just a quaint little room with a day bed and a desk. A little off putting at first, but it slowly became comforting and home like.

Then there were the days that I would travel to my OB office and spend three hours in the waiting room trying to entertain my toddler, for five horribly spent minutes with my bossy OB. I hated it! I hated it more and more every time I went and finally I decided I needed to quit receiving "care" from him. I was about 7 months pregnant and I knew that I needed to get rid of the negativity coming from that area of my pregnancy. So I went in one last time and I let my OB know of my decision to have a homebirth.

The conversation went a little something like this...
OB - "So have you been doing your kick counts?"
Me - "No."
Ob (giving me a me an aggressive glare) - "Why not?"
Me - "Because I am aware of how much the baby is moving or not moving and don't feel the need to do an actual kick count.... But.... you are really not going to like what I am about to tell you next."
OB (now really giving me the eyeball) - "What?'
Me - "I have decided to have a homebirth. I have been seeing a midwife throughout my pregnancy and this is going to be my last office visit with you"
...and here is where the next comment becomes entirely shocking and threatening!
OB - "Don't you know the risks involved. You could die. I see tons of women come in on gurneys with uterine ruptures. I think your decision is stupid."

Shocked? Yep...I was too! I felt like a 2 year old being scolded by my mother. Who the hell did he think he was coming at me like that. He knew nothing about me or how I had come to make my decision. I had done my research. I had reviewed ALL the statistics and I was making the best choice for both myself and my baby. But he didn't want to hear any of it. Instead, he dismissed me from his office as if I was a disease and I knew that was it. About a week later I received a letter letting me know he had released me as his patient for failure to follow medical advice.

It took me a month to get over that office visit and feel confident with my decision again. I was so glad I did it though. I needed to let it go. I needed to surround myself with the people who were supporting me in my decisions. For the remainder of my pregnancy I soaked in the love from the birthing community and my family and I found myself in place I never been before, mentally. I was ready.

At 41 weeks and 6 days, I woke up at about 2:30 AM with a strong rush! (Natural birthers prefer the term rush, as opposed to contraction). I got up to go to the bathroom and felt my water leaking down my leg. I knew that it was time. I waited for the next two contractions to time them and then started calling everyone. I anticipated my labor going quickly, as did everyone else, since my first went so fast.
My labor did go fast. 3 1/2 hours from start to finish. It felt like eternity though. The experience was beautiful, it was raw. Finding the strength inside of you to give birth is unexplainable but powerful. My husband was amazing! He was so supportive throughout the entire process, by my side every minute. At 6:14 AM I pushed out Baby Christopher weighing 10lbs even! Pelvis too small? That was crap! This kid was a bowling ball and I did it!

I'll never forget how I felt the moment the midwife put him on my chest. I had a completely successful VBAC homebirth and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I will never forget that journey as long as I live. Childbirth is a gift from God. We were made to handle it and even though it is painful and completely challenging in ways you will never know until you experience it, it is also one of the most beautiful experiences you will ever have in your life. Not every mom will make the decisions that I made, but I hope that more women can get as much information as possible about the birthing process and become empowered to be able to make the birthing decisions that they feel are best and not be bullied by the medical community into a birth plan that is not what they chose.

Even today, I am still healing from the loss of my first experience, but being able to make the choices for myself the second time around has been a huge part of the healing process and it has allowed me to be able to share my story with other people.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story,


  1. Awesome story!!! Some of those doctors just make me cringe! I'm so happy you made the choice you did & that everything was all you wanted it to be, just perfect.

  2. Chelsea ~ I am so loving all these stories. I have been checking in everyday to see the new one & even shared it on my FB page! So inspiring & empowering!!! ~Tirzah~

  3. jaime, I had a similar experience with my first son- I labored in triage and pushed him out on the operating table. I'll never forget the nurses asking me to scoot from the gurney to the operating table... what a blast! Glad your second one was more comfortable!

  4. Dang Jamie. That picture of you in the birthing tub gives me chills! That fierce-mama birthing, I can do it, watch what i'm capable of face of yours totally rocks me! Your hubby in that shot is so so sweet as well.

    Thank you for your honesty and for encouraging me with your bravery. The more I'm reading The Bradley Method and hearing more successful VBAC stories, the more pumped i'm getting and more CONFIDENT i'm becoming in my body's ability to birth! I am SO glad we've met and I'm sure i'll be looking to you for more advice in the future!

  5. I'm so glad you shared this story. I have decided for do a home birth this second time around and it was refreshing, encouraging, motivating and exciting to hear of this awesome story. IT's women like Jamie that get me pumped and encouraged in knowing- I CAN DO THIS! I'm so glad i found your blog!

  6. oh my goodness! these lovely ladies who have home births/natural births are BRAVE. that is all i can say :) i thought i was going to go all natural but after five minutes in the hospital i wanted meds...haha!
    awesome story!

  7. It's a crazy journey, but in the end, however your experience turns out, it will be beautiful because you will have made every decision you feel is best and that in itself is so empowering!!!

    You will be absolutely amazed at how your body and mind work throughout the process. There was a point in my pushing phase that I hit a wall. There was A WHOLE LOT going on in my head to work past that point, but I am so thankful that I was at home because my only option was to make it happen. There were no alternatives and it was great that way!

  8. loving all of these birth stories... though I am not as brave as some of these women!

    i'd love to share my story with you. i had a great experience: induction at 41 weeks with cervidil and pitocin. epidural. the whole nine yards. my choices. completely respected and cared for all the while. let me know if you would like to share :)