Words from the mama:
"I am still in shock and awe at what God can do. My pregnancies have been very difficult, from Aaden's loss to complications in Brooklyn's birth (both ending in c-sections). I always dreamed of having a birth without complications, where I could just enjoy my baby. This was it.
I had the best support and birth team I could ask for. Everyone was patient with me and my concerns and considered my history. I couldn't ask for more. Thank you to Lisa Raynor my doula, Courtney McMillian my midwife at Boca Midwifery, Paulina Splechta my birth photographer and birth film maker, and of course my husband David. I literally could not have labored nor survived this pregnancy without you." - Jocelyn
When I first met Jocelyn, I was so emotionally tied to her and excited for her and also a little bit anxious. I am a two time cesarean mommy myself (neither was planned) but I never had an amazing birth team the way Jocelyn had for this pregnancy, so I didn't know what to expect would happen at her labor and delivery with such an amazing team.
I was so excited for her to experience a vaginal birth and to meet and hold her baby immediately, and I knew it in my heart that this could only happen with Boca Midwifery. They understood her medical history and they cared for her the entire pregnancy, but it was a delicate journey Jocelyn had been on, from experiencing the loss of one of her children and complications with her daughter Brooklyn's birth, and I was anxious to witness the birth of baby Riley. I didn't know if we would witness her having a vaginal delivery or if we would have to go into the operating room. I feel the entire labor and delivery staff was rooting her on at Toppel Family Place (The labor and delivery unit of Boca Raton Regional Hospital in East Boca [off of Glades Road, just east of I-95]).
A lot of birth workers uncover a deep passion for their work due to their own emotional and personal history, and with me, it is completely true. Originally, I wanted to test the waters four years ago when I photographed my first birth. But once I captured that birth for my client, I knew this is where my heart belongs and its become so much more than photography over the last four years.
In all this time, four years, I had never witnessed a vaginal delivery after TWO CESAREANS. I had attended many VBACs (vaginal delivery after cesarean) with Boca Midwifery, Women's Health Partners, Dr. Skeete down in Ft Lauderdale, and vbac home births with midwives Gelena Hinkley, Sandy Lo, Mary Harris. But I had in all this time never seen a mommy successful deliver a baby vaginally after having two previous c-sections. And the reason I haven't before seen a vbac after two c-sections is not entirely that the trial for a vbac after two csections failed with previous clients. It's not that at all.
It's that often times the mommys who have had two csections stay with their provider who automatically schedules a repeat third csection for them with their third delivery. These moms are simply not aware of the option to try for a vbac after two c-sections. No one has even told them that its physically possible to achieve. And what the benefits to having a vbac are instead of scheduling a repeat cesarean. Most of the vbacs I have documented in my four years as a birth photographer here in south Florida have been moms who had a c-section with a practice (sometimes traumatic, physically or on an emotional level) and change practices, hoping for a more positive, empowered and supported experience for their subsequent pregnancy to a practice heavily experienced in achieving safe and successful VBACs. Many of my VBAC birth clients with Boca Midwifery have exactly this story.
As Jocelyn's entire birth team stood around her during her final pushes, I thought to myself, "this is happening, this mama is going to meet her baby right now"
I felt the tears begin to swell up in my eyes, I tried to hush them and focus on capturing this incredible moment. I stood near mom's shoulders, making sure that her midwife was blocking any angles that would prevent Jocelyn from being able to share photos from her birth story with her family and friends, I looked up at Jocelyn and her husband David, they were smiling at each other, at their doula and midwife, at me. Their doula, Lisa Raynor, was proudly beaming a smile back at them and at me. Baby nurse Donna was eagerly waiting to meet their sweet baby, also wearing a proud smile for mama. Her midwife, Courtney McMillian, was focused and positive and their nurse Peggy knew this moment was about to happen.
This moment would contribute to the shift in the change of the world's view of birth. A successful vbac after two cesareans for Boca Midwifery, for the labor and delivery staff at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, but most importantly, a footprint in the history of birthing women, showing them, that with the right support and birth team for your pregnancy, skilled vbac professionals who have a great deal of patience and success rates, a vbac after two csections is possible.
Knowing this fact, it put chills on my back.
Knowing that maybe someday, I too could experience a vbac, after my two unjust csections with previous providers and birth teams who had failed to support and encourage me in the ways I needed.
You can watch the film of the birth of Riley below:
Jocelyn's two-time cesarean scar and baby Riley's teensy feet