The Birth of Baby C: A Miraculous VBAC in Phoenix AZ

I won't lie that when I first met with this client I was both immediately ready to take her on as a client despite my schedule being full, but also completely aware of the fact that she was unlikely to get the VBAC she so desired if she stuck to her current plan. She was already 36 weeks along with a doctor who was very unsupportive of VBAC in general and birthing at a hospital that isn't terribly VBAC friendly. But she was determined and a referral from a current client and we hit it off so contracts were signed and we were off to the races!

With her first baby, she had done no research, no reading, and wasn't prepared at all for birth. She went with a doctor her friend had recommended. She went to the hospital when her contractions started. They admitted her, she got an epidural because she didn't know when she should get one. She laid on her back, got pitocin when her labor slowed down. Had her waters broken. Baby showed signs of distress and she got a fever after 12 hours of being on epidural and she went for a c-section. This time she swore would be different! She was educated and she had a plan.

She changed care providers at 38 weeks to Michelle Davis CNM with Maricopa OB Gyn Associates Midwives whom she immediately loved and chose to birth at Banner University Medical Center, so now I knew she had a chance! Her plan was to forgo an epidural as long as possible to try to avoid the risks associated with it and to limit vaginal exams to prevent infection. Oh, and an experienced doula by her side!

A week later, she was having contractions... prodromal labor. In the morning they stopped... She had maybe 1 an hour after sunrise, but come afternoon they seemed to start up again. We were thinking it might just be another night of prodromal labor but then at about 8pm, her water broke and we knew it was the real deal. Her contractions were coming fast and strong so we decided to meet at the hospital...

Here's the rest of her story ...

Checking in!

Waiting for our room in triage, the nurse and her midwife are rushing through her intake since she's already 7cm!

Walking to our L&D room

She went right to the tub to labor. Because she was a VBAC she had a battery pack for her monitors so she could still be in the water

She was quickly moving through transition but hung out here for a bit before heading back to the bed. Sitting backwards on the toilet is a great place to help laboring people relax the pelvic floor and open up the pelvis

9 cm and we are rocking and rolling but baby is still presenting OP (occiput posterior) so this team is going through all the positions to help mom turn this baby and get into a better position

Mom was feeling pushy but still 9.5cm and work to do. This midwife goes to WORK for her clients which is why I always am happy to refer to her

She decided to use the hospital's TENS unit to help with her back labor

More position changes and her sweet husband holding her hand along the way

And more position changes... Michelle and I took turns supporting mom in various positions

I love this so much. Her husband was constantly holding her hand. It was how he connected to her best. She's just decided that it's time to get an epidural at nearly 10 cm so she can try to rest and get that lip to go away and make it more comfortable to try to help baby change positions as she's still OP

A quick hug and a little more of her favorite position before it was time to start getting her into position for her epidural. She labored so instinctually the whole time, listening to her body and moving into advantageous positions.

In position and ready to go. As a birth photographer and also an artist, I like to occasionally turn my flash off for certain moments, and this was one of them. You can get a feel for how the room felt as it was now late at night and the lights were off and mom was collecting herself as the anesthesiologist was getting ready. After this I left the room.

There was something about the dark, quiet hallway as I waited for my client to be done getting her epidural...

A little side lying adjustment to her monitors and 30 minutes of shut eye so the epidural could take effect fully

Not one to ever call defeat without a fight, we pulled out the big guns and decided to do Walcher's maneuver to get this baby to turn and engage. She was 10 cm, but baby wasn't going anywhere. What you don't see pictured is that we also did rounds of belly sifting, and shaking the apple tree with my rebozo, but because yours truly was doing them, there are no pictures of that! #doulalife

Another no-flash capture... After this i was up on the bed holding underneath her shoulders to keep her from sliding..

Well, Walcher's worked, sort of. Got the baby halfway there. This mama then proceeded to push with everything she had for 3 hours while her midwife helped turn baby the rest of the way and get her through a very very narrow pelvis, but she did it! (Sorry, no actual birthing pictures here, but this is just seconds after birth). You should have seen the moulding on this baby's head!

How beautiful and pink is this baby!?

She was born just as the sun was rising!

Her first good look at her new daughter's perfect face

Soaking up some very golden Golden Hour

A kiss for a job well done!

Skin to skin in the beautiful golden light of the sunrise

Her poor husband is exhausted and is curled up asleep on the couch. Birth is hard work for everyone!

Time to nurse

I always get the best nurses at Banner University and this amazing woman is no exception!

She's a petite little thing but perfect in every way!

I've had the joy of seeing this beautiful family since their birth and from the mom's own mouth, this birth and recovery has been lightyears different. She feels amazing. She was drugged up for days after her c-section. She had massive issues nursing and for months struggled to get breastfeeding going. She was in pain, her baby was fussy. Nothing about her post partum period was good. This time her baby was gaining right away. Her baby sleeps well. She nurses beautifully and efficiently. She had no tearing. No complications. I could not be happier for her! She was truly a warrior who fought for her VBAC and trusted her team and her body and her baby to help her get there. I'm so proud and feel so blessed to have been able to share this amazing story with you all!


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Phoenix, AZ
503 298 0826
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