By now you’ve probably heard that Joy Szabo had her baby by VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). You can read about her fight for VBAC here. She graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us about her experience. Congratulations, Joy!
ICAN Blog: You received a fair amount of media attention for your fight to VBAC. How did that affect you as you prepared to give birth?
Joy Szabo: I am very grateful for the media attention. When the story was picked up, dozens of people came out in support of what I was fighting for. I got to make contact with the birth community in Phoenix, which referred me to VBAC supportive providers ( and best of all Sally Stevens). This, in turn, provided me with a safe place to give birth, with husband and doula supporting me. The whole experience has inspired me to establish a supportive birth community here in Northern AZ.
Blog: In order to VBAC, you had to move to be near a hospital hundreds of miles from your home. How did that go? What challenges were there for you and your family?
Joy: It was very tough on my family to leave them in Page. My husband had a difficult time juggling the running of the business and taking care of the children day to day. They came down to Phoenix for Thanksgiving break and decided to stay until I delivered the baby. For me, I had a hard time getting comfortable in someone else’s home, and I found it very stressful. Probably the part that will hurt the most is the financial burden it put on us. We calculated that these endeavors have cost about $1500 so far in gas, food, and paying for coverage at the business.
Blog: Tell us a little bit about your birth. How did it go?
Joy: I went in on Sat Dec 5th for an induction after trying many other things to kick into labor. I was 2 weeks past my due date, and I was worried that baby’s placenta might be aging in there, (like my last baby). About 4 in the afternoon, contractions started getting useful and I set about moving around to get baby into the pelvis. Later on, I think about 7:30 or 8pm, I got in the shower and could barely feel the contractions. I stayed here in Laborland until the nurse coaxed me out of the shower to get heart readings, and shortly thereafter, when I as begging for mercy, I had that overwhelming urge to push, and felt baby’s head hit against my tailbone. I waddled over to the bed and pushed. He came out in that first push, quick as lightning. I immediately held him while the cord was pulsing, then when it was cut, I let the nurse have him for 30 seconds to wrap him in a blanket. Then he took right to nursing. Very quick labor, even quicker delivery. I don’t regret a bit of it.
Blog: What advice do you have for other women who are facing VBAC bans or restrictions?
1. Don’t roll over and take it. You are the patient. You have to make the choice, and once you have made it, you have to stand behind it.
2. Most people have been trained to be a good patient, and will give you a hard time.
3. Find a provider and hospital that is willing to work with you, and who believes in birth.
4. Take a doula.
5. Draw attention to the problem, and make the ban publicly known.