SHOW / EPISODE

Episode 300 with Meagan & Julie + Where We Started & Where We Are Now

43m | May 15, 2024

We can hardly believe that we have recorded 300 episodes! Meagan brings Julie on the podcast today to take a look back at how The VBAC Link Podcast started, the growth they have both experienced along the way and where they are now. 


Since 2018, we have shared laughter, tears, heartache, and joy through your stories. Thank you to all of our listeners and guests for your support. Together, we are changing the birth world for the better through all of our ripple effects!


Meagan promises to continue the journey and bring you more powerful stories. It’s been quite the ride and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon!


Needed Website

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Full Transcript under Episode Details 


01:11 Review of the Week

04:05 How the podcast started

12:09 How the podcast has grown 

16:40 Changes in birth

22:11 Celebrating differences within the birth community

28:45 Challenges bring growth

35:35 Julie’s photography


Meagan: Hello, you guys. Today is a very, very exciting– for me at least and I’m sure for Julie– episode because it’s the 300th episode. 300 and Julie is here with me because I couldn’t share this exciting episode without her. 


Julie: I cannot believe it. I seriously cannot believe it. So wild. 


Meagan: It’s so crazy. 300 episodes and we’ve had so many other crazy things like special episodes so it might even be more than 300, but it is the 300th on my form and I’m really, really excited. We want to share more about where we are today but also recap a little bit about where The VBAC Link started. I know we have a lot of listeners who have joined us in more recent years. We started in 2018. 2018, is that right? 


Julie: Yeah. 


Meagan: So we have a lot of new listeners who maybe don’t know our full story and know what we are and what we’re doing and all of the things. 


01:11 Review of the Week


Meagan: So we are going to be talking about that, but we do have a Review of the Week. I’m going to share that. It is from Michelle. She listed this on Google and it says, “Thank you so much for inspiring and informing me through the journeys of VBAC mamas. As I prepare for my VBAC in October after a recent traumatic Cesarean, I feel empowered, motivated, and healed knowing that there are so many women who are out there preparing in the same way that I am. I recommend this podcast to all mamas.” 


Now, this was about a year ago so I’m assuming Michelle has had her baby. So Michelle, if you are still with us, let us know how it went and as always, if you wouldn’t mind leaving us a review, it helps all of these other Women of Strength find these amazing stories and information as well as our blog and all of the wonderful things I believe that we provide. You can do that on Google. You can do it on Apple Podcasts. You can even send us a message or on Spotify. I mean, really wherever you are listening should have a ranking– Google, Apple, or wherever you are, we would love your review. 


04:05 How the podcast started


Meagan: Okay, Julie. 300. 


Julie: 300. I can’t believe it. Do you know what is wild? It’s so funny because I left. I’m using air quotes right now. I know people can’t see it. I “left”. It’s been 2 years. 3 years, oh my gosh. 3. I left in 2021. 


Meagan: It has. 2021. You did. 


Julie: My gosh. Isn’t that wild? When is this episode airing? 


Meagan: May. 


Julie: May, so it will almost be 3 years. It’s really funny because life is definitely much easier now and more manageable, but there are parts of me that still feel very strongly connected to The VBAC Link. I appreciate you for including me and having me back on the podcast and things like that but it’s also sometimes so weird when I’m scrolling through Facebook and I see The VBAC Link recommended, sometimes people talk about Meagan and Julie still which is so cool, but also it’s sometimes like Meagan Heaton has The VBAC Link and it’s really amazing and she does a great job. I’m like, “Aww,” but also, it’s weird. 


It’s this weird little thing because I still believe that I made the right decision. My life has a much better balance and everything I needed it to be by letting go of The VBAC Link. It’s right there where it needs to be, but there’s also part of me that is just kind of like, “Man, that was a big part of my life for so long,” and it still feels weird not being in it. 


Meagan: I’m sure, absolutely. I miss you. I love you. 


Julie: I miss you too. 


Meagan: I’m so glad that you come on and join me here and there or take random phone calls when I call you to vent or something. 


Yeah, you guys. It’s kind of crazy to think that it’s 2024. It’s even more crazy to me to think that I’ve been solo for that long. Yeah. Just thinking back in 2018, I still will never forget the moment that I saw Julie Francom pop up on my phone out of nowhere, out of absolutely nowhere. We knew each other. We knew we were VBAC passionate. We were doulas. I would say we were kind of really kicking off into the prime doula stages of our careers and it was just so crazy. 


My personality is sometimes where if someone is calling that I don’t really know this person super, super well, I’ll let it go to voicemail and see what they say. 


Julie: You’re like, “Why is this weirdo calling me?” 


Meagan: You’re not a weirdo, but we weren’t the absolute tightest doula friends in the community. We just really knew each other and respected each other through going to ICAN meetings and things like that. I so easily could have not answered. I always wonder if I didn’t answer what would have happened. Would you have texted me and said, “Hey, call me?” 


Julie: Probably. 


Meagan: Would you have called me right back? Would you have just said, “She didn’t answer.” I don’t know. 


Julie: No, it had to be you, my friend. It had to be you. 


Meagan: I’m so grateful that it happened. You and I personally have grown so much over the years. We also have grown a lot as a partnership. We decided to start this company and it was exciting and if I’m going to be honest, I’m going to say that Julie had more positivity or ambition behind her. I was feeling it. I could feel it inside of me. I was like, “Yes. This is amazing and I want to do this. I really want to be part of this,” but I was reluctant a little bit more. She was like, “Let’s do this. Let’s do this. Let’s do this.” I was like, “Oh, my gosh.” 


Do you remember the day when you called me? You were like, “So, we’re going to start a podcast and it’s going to be super easy and I’m going to edit it.” Do you remember that day?


Julie: Yes. I remember. I was in Target. I was walking around in Target. 


Meagan: I remember where I was. I was in my laundry room. 


Julie: I was like, “Oh my gosh. We should start a podcast.” I was super confident. In my past life, I worked a lot in the tech field. I had edited a lot of videos and audio and things like that before when I was in the military so I knew the technical side of it would be simple. I thought it would be easy. It’s very simple for me. I knew that we had a lot to say. We’ve never not had a lot to say. I knew that the– I don’t know what the right word is– whole sphere of audio was growing rapidly, like the digestible content of podcasts was a fast-growing entity or whatever. 


It just seemed like the right thing to do. It just seemed like the right thing to do. I remember I was like, “Oh my gosh. How am I going to convince Meagan to do this?” We were already so busy writing our course and our manual with our doula contents. I think you had 12 births coming up in October that year because you were putting your husband through law school. I was just like, “I don’t know how I’m going to talk Meagan into this.” I feel like you were reluctant but you for some reason just had this hint of, “Okay, let’s just see. Let’s let Julie do this. I’ll get on the phone and talk about it.” 


Then I was like, “Okay. We’ll do this.” I signed up for a free Podbean account and we did a free conference call on our phones and recorded our phone calls. It didn’t cost anything at first and things are very different now, but it didn’t cost anything at first. I was like, “See?”


Meagan: “This is great.” I remember some of the days, I was like, “Okay, sure. I’ll jump on and do a podcast, but I’m driving to a prenatal right now. I literally have 35 minutes because my client is 38 minutes away.” We were recording and I remember back in the day when I was in my husband’s car and his trunk sensor was bad and it was dinging, so oh my gosh. If you guys have listened back to those episodes, wow. Thank you for sticking with us. 


Julie: At the very beginning. Well, we used to take turns hosting like we would just do one at a time. I remember the first OB that we had on our episode. It was in the teens. I was out in my car in my garage in the middle of summer because my kids were inside. It was the middle of the day and it was the only time they could do it. I remember hiding in my closet so that the clothes would absorb the sound of the audio echoing around so it was better acoustics on our free conference call. 


Meagan: Oh my gosh, yeah. I remember sometimes when I was in the closet literally under the clothes and Jess, she was one of our clients from Russia and I was in the closet for that one. In the husbands’ episode, I was in the closet on that one. It’s just so crazy. We’ve come so far. Yeah. We had a whole bunch of people who were like, “I want to share my story. I want to share my story.” 


12:09 How the podcast has grown 


Meagan: We were realizing that this is a serious need. 


Julie: We had to hunt people down at first. 


Meagan: Yeah, we did. 


Julie: We would message people at first. Kelsey, what’s her name? Is it Likowski? Kelsey, super cute. She was Episode 8 or something. We were like, “Oh my gosh. She has 10,000 Instagram followers and she’s so cute and she wants to talk to us.” 


Meagan: I know. That was so weird to us. We went to this little marketing conference thing and we were watching our Instagram account grow and we were watching our podcast grow. We started getting people like, “Hey, I heard,” and we were like, “Whoa, this is insane.” It was so exciting and so motivating and we really, truly realized that this was such a need. Let me tell you, our heart was there. Our hearts were there so we were so excited to dive in. So we did. We started sharing stories. We tried to get different content-type stories and different types of births. We tried to get OBs. I remember I reached out to this OB and they randomly responded. I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is insane.” We really tried to get the most we could while still doing birth and writing manuals for our VBAC course and– 


Julie: And wives. And being moms and wives. 


Meagan: And being moms and wives and friends and humans who were ourselves. 


Julie: Too much. 


Meagan: It’s so crazy to look back and think about that time and where we were and all that’s happened. It’s kind of crazy to also think about birth and how we have seen it change and how personally, I think I’ve even seen it change in some good ways and in some bad ways. We talked about this a little bit before we started recording, but COVID. COVID was a really, really difficult time as moms giving birth, as doulas supporting birth, even as podcasters weirdly enough. 


We had this entire– we went from this really junky set up all over to having an editor and having a podcast studio and in this really amazing space which– shoutout to our favorite editor. I just have to say that he is amazing for all that he has done for us over the years. But we had all these things that were really helping us and really changed our lives for the better as far as podcasters goes and VBAC Link facilitators or whatever. 


It all changed. It all changed so fast. 


Julie: Yep. We had to go back to recording at home. We had to– oh my gosh, getting into hospitals was just nuts and wild. 


Meagan: A nightmare. 


Julie: There were so many clients of ours having to switch plans and a lot of people shifted to out-of-hospital birth because the hospital policies were so flip-floppy and so strict. They were limiting who could be in your birth space. I actually think that’s a really positive shift. That’s just me. 


Meagan: Yeah, no. I actually agree. 


Julie: Out-of-hospital birth is still growing. I think it’s super cool. At least in Utah, it is. I’m not sure of the numbers in any other state, but I know in Utah, it used to be that 1-2% of births were out-of-hospital, but now as of 2024, so far, just under 5% of births in Utah are happening out-of-hospital which is super cool. But not enough. 


Meagan: It is super cool. Yeah, I would agree that through COVID, that was one of the positive shifts of helping people see the different options. 


Julie: Forcing people to really, seriously look hard at them. 


Meagan: Yes, and then also seeing that those options actually are pretty dang safe. But yeah, so COVID. We’ve had even so many people on the podcast sharing their stories through COVID. Man, it was rough. We were seeing induction taking off because they could control who had COVID and who didn’t. 


16:40 Changes in birth


Meagan: Then we also went through the ARRIVE trial just before that. 


Julie: Oh jeez, yeah. 


Meagan: So there was all of that we saw making changes. You know, birth is constantly changing and evolving and growing. It’s pretty cool, I feel like, to say. I’ve been in the birth world for 10 years now as a doula. It’s pretty cool to say that I’ve been there. I’m here. I don’t know how to say that. I just feel like it’s really cool to be a part of this community and to see these changes. 


I’ve talked to some people who did birth back in the 80’s and the 90s and it’s kind of crazy to think about how it’s changed. I want to go back and listen to some of those earlier podcasts and see, has birth changed? Are we changing and what can we do to make birth change in a positive way? I think this podcast honestly is one of those ways to help people change their birth experience in a positive way by going in and listening to what is happening. What is happening? What to expect? How to avoid those things? Right? 


Don’t you think, Julie, that this is a really great place for all moms and all people preparing for birth to come?


Julie: Well, and here’s the thing. We all have a threshold for what is and is not acceptable to us. Going back to talking about COVID a little bit. COVID and the things that were happening due to COVID didn’t sit right with some people and caused them to question and explore other options. Hearing The VBAC Link Podcast creates realizations for people that could cause them to question the things that they are presented within their own personal life as far as giving birth goes and what their provider is saying and the policies of their hospitals and things like that. 


I think that is the way that ultimately birth in the United States will change and all over the world really is when people are faced with the things that cause them to feel uncomfortable about their current situation and explore other options and seek out those other things that will resolve whatever their intuition is telling them needs to change and shift. 


Here’s the thing. We don’t know what things will make us uncomfortable until we have all of the information available to us. You don’t even have to have all of the information, but any information available. That’s been the goal here. It’s been really cool to see things shift and I mean, there’s obviously not a study or research or anything on how much The VBAC Link Podcast is causing a shift or whatever, but I do know that we do hear these stories from people and I do know that it is creating a shift and a change in our birthing culture however small that might be.


I just think it’s really cool to hear people say that it was this thing that gave them the confidence to stand up to their provider or talk to their husband or their partner or look into other options. 


Meagan: Mhmm, it really is. It’s just– I don’t even know. I’m almost speechless to get those reviews or to get people saying those things when we are recording a story and they’re like, “It’s just so crazy to me that this is coming to full circle that I’m now sharing my story when all of these other Women of Strength’s stories is literally what changed my life or my path or whatever.” 


I think I’ve said this before, here we are. We started this podcast randomly as you come up with this idea in Target and you’re like, “I’ve got to convince this girl that we’ve got to do this,” and here we are when really in so many ways, it’s you, Women of Strength, who are changing. 


Julie: Yeah. 


Meagan: You. So it’s like, okay. Yes, it’s us at The VBAC Link but then also where is the stat for all of them? All of the listeners and supporters? You guys, it’s been a long time and to say thank you isn’t enough. I don’t know what to say. I feel emotional, but I don’t know how to say thank you enough. Julie is laughing at me because I’m always the crier. 


Julie: I’m not laughing, well I am laughing. 


Meagan: I don’t know how to say thank you enough to this community because it’s been absolutely the craziest, sometimes most stressful but most amazing journey and I’m so excited that we can still be on it with you. Like I said, I know these listeners are the people. They are the people. They are the reason. So thank you for making this happen. 


22:11 Celebrating differences within the birth community


Meagan: In the midst of meeting all of these incredible people who are sharing their stories, we have also met incredible people throughout our own community who are trying to do the same thing we are trying to do– educate, support, motivate, empower. I mean, all of these words. We have made some amazing connections with people within their own community and I’m just so grateful for that as well. 


Julie: I agree. I am really proud of all of the people who have chosen to start their own podcasts and their own VBAC education platforms too. There is a home birth after Cesarean podcast. I actually haven’t been as good at keeping up with other VBAC podcasts or whatever, but there are people– and I don’t know whether it’s influenced by us or not but definitely coming after us, there have been other things popping up here and there. I love that and I’m so proud of those people for choosing to pursue their passions as well for VBAC in spaces like this. 


I think it takes a village. It takes a whole– I don’t know, what’s the saying? A rising tide lifts all boats. I don’t know. It’s something like that where the more people talk about VBAC, the more people are talking about VBAC, so yes. Let’s bring more people into this space. There is room for everybody. There is room for all of us here to grow and educate and inspire and uplift. 


We might not always see things the same way and that’s okay, right? It’s okay if we don’t see things the same way as everybody else as long as we are all trying our best to create a positive influence in the birth space. We are not the same as anybody else and nobody else is the same as us and that’s cool. That’s okay because if you don’t resonate with us, there are other people who you can resonate with and vice versa. I think it’s really important to say that we welcome everybody here and we want you. We don’t have to be the only thing that you follow. Go follow all of the things. 


Meagan: Well, I love that you talked about that because back when we were going for our VBAC, for me, it was back in 2015/2016 when I had my son and the resources were more slim. Now we have all of these incredible resources and it makes me so dang happy because that is what this VBAC community needs– more info, more support, more people backing them up, more places or people to go and like you said, I mean, we would love to always be in your circle. We love this community so stinking much, but we also know that not everything we say or not everything we do resonates. 


I mean, it comes down to this podcast where we share CBAC stories and uterine rupture stories. We share stories that are out of the hospital and we’ve even had free birth stories on this podcast. Not everyone may agree with those types of birth or people advocating for that, right? It’s not even that we are gung-ho about anything specific or not gung-ho about anything specific. It’s that everyone has a space in this community because if we were to completely eliminate a uterine rupture story, no. I’m sorry, that’s just a no for me. 


Julie: Yeah. 


Meagan: We want to share those stories and CBAC. The CBAC community is so precious to me and near and dear to my heart. Sometimes, that can be a really hard community to be in. I say that personally. I have been in that CBAC after my two C-sections. I wanted a vaginal birth. I had a Cesarean birth after a Cesarean. It wasn’t what I wanted. I had healing to do. I had a lot to overcome, but I’m so glad that people come on this podcast and are willing to share those stories because our CBAC community deserves that. 


Like we were saying earlier, not every desired vaginal birth ends in a vaginal birth, so we have to learn through these stories. Like Julie said, everybody has a place here at The VBAC Link and yeah. We support everybody else as well. We love this community so much. 


Julie: Do you know what? Maybe I’m out of line to say this. Please, you can tell Brian to edit this out if you want, but I just think it’s no surprise to anybody that our world can be pretty hateful right now. Even people doing the most good things can face criticism or cancel culture or the mob or the mafia– not the mafia, the wokeness, or whatever, all of the things. There are so many things coming at you no matter how pure your intentions are or whatever. 


I just remember one time a few years back, somebody was talking crap. This was my gosh, 4 years ago and they called us “wholesome-looking podcasters from Utah”. Do you remember that?


Meagan: I don’t remember that. 


Julie: I will never forget that phrase. Sorry, I’m laughing now. I’m crying. They said something like, “It’s easy to want to trust wholesome-looking podcasters from Utah,” or something like that because it’s fine. There’s going to be people who don’t love us and that’s totally fine. But gosh, when you were saying that, I was like, “Are we wholesome-looking?” 


Meagan: Are we wholesome-looking? I don’t know. 


Julie: I don’t know. 


Meagan: I don’t remember that. 


Julie: It’s so funny. I’m sure there’s a screenshot of it somewhere, Meagan. My gosh, I can’t even. 


28:45 Challenges bring growth


Julie: I want to circle back to you talking before about the struggle. There has been so much struggle. There have been a lot of challenges. Challenges due to our own creation, challenges due to technical difficulties– do you remember the time I changed the URL of the podcast and the whole thing went down? It was the day that the podcast was supposed to go live and we were meeting with Lynn, our first business coach. 


Oh my gosh, there have been so many things. 


Meagan: She broke the podcast, you guys. 


Julie: I broke the podcast. Things where we have definitely butted heads before and had to do a lot of growth in our relationship. 


Meagan: Yep. I was going to say you and I. 


Julie: There have been other VBAC groups out there who railroad us completely. There have been other birth people in our local communities and otherwise who are not big fans of The VBAC Link and I think that– I don’t want to get pulling a little bit into saying, sorry. I don’t know what I’m trying to say here. No, I do know what I’m trying here. I’m trying to figure out how to say it the right way. 


There is opposition in all things, right? I feel like, oh my gosh. I’m going off on six different tangents right now. My therapist told me one time– it always comes back to my therapy. 


Meagan: I love it. 


Julie: When you want to strengthen a muscle, if you want stronger arms, you can’t just sit there and be like, “Hey arms, get strong.” You have to put it under tension and stress. It’s lifting the weights. It’s under the tension and strain where that muscle grows. 


Such is life. Such are relationships. Such it is in business. It is everywhere. Things don’t grow and become stronger in comfortable times. It’s the strain and the tension and the struggle that ultimately causes that strength and that growth. 


I feel like there have been moments of really beautiful and incredible and empowering moments along this journey for The VBAC Link over the last 7 years now, but there have also been incredible moments of tension and struggle and strain. 


Meagan: Hardships. 


Julie: Yeah. Those moments really have the most growth. They are the most identity forming and I don’t know. They are the things where it really solidified what we are doing. Sometimes, in the face of people who should be doing the same things as us and sometimes, it’s from people who just for whatever reason, don’t want to see other people succeed. It’s come from a lot of other different places, but also going back to what you said before, I’m so grateful for the people who are still here, the people who support us, the people who love us, the people who are still here and challenge and question the things that might not be 100% true. Yeah. I don’t know. I love all of that and I don’t know. 


There is this quote I heard forever ago, probably decades ago because I am old now that said, “Don’t compare your backstage footage to someone else’s highlight reel.” I feel like sometimes it’s really easy to see all of the beautiful things that The VBAC Link puts out and all of these other birth organizations and see the highlight reel and think that everything is sunshine and butterflies, but I know that for us and for everybody else too, everybody else that has any kind of online presence anywhere, there is so much struggle that can go on behind the scenes. Yeah, I just wanted to talk about that. 


Meagan: It’s intimidating sometimes. It’s intimidating. But this community, I feel like, offers something special and it truly is the most motivating thing for me where I do wake up and I’m like, “I can’t wait to record more podcasts” or “I can’t wait to go and see what people are asking in our Q&A’s” or whatever. I love that you talked about a little bit how sometimes you are going to make decisions or you’re going to do things and some people might not agree with you. I think that applies so much int his community because let me tell you what, when I decided to VBAC after two Cesareans out of the hospital, I had some haters. I had some haters. 


Julie: Yep. 


Meagan: Those haters and doubters, some of those were even in my own family. 


Julie: Sometimes it’s the people who are supposed to love you the most, right? 


Meagan: And support you the most. Sometimes, they were people in my own circle, so it can be really hard when you’re getting pressure from people who you love and respect or people who you idolize or whatever, right? But it’s up to us to conquer, to have faith, to move forward, to grow, to adapt, and all of those things. 


I think that as we grow, more people in this community get to experience it. I mean, truly, the community grows through hardships and strengths and podcast-breaking and all of the things.


Julie: And wholesome-looking.


Meagan: In a wholesome-looking way apparently. 


Julie: I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not. Am I wholesome-looking? I guess that’s good. We look wholesome. 


Meagan: We look whole. 


Julie: I want to look up the definition of that really fast. What is wholesome? What does it actually mean? 


Meagan: What does wholesome mean? Yeah, and is that supposed to be not a compliment?


Julie: I think the intention was that they look good. They look legitimate, but–


Meagan: They might not be because they represent some birth stories that we don’t support or whatever. 


Julie: Whatever. “Conducive or suggestive of good health and physical well-being. Conducive to or promoting moral well-being.” Wholesome-looking. 


Meagan: Interesting. 


Julie: Hmm, I don’t know. I could not not say that. Oh my gosh, I’m sorry. You can have Brian edit it out if you want. 


Meagan: No, no. You are good. 


Julie: You’re the boss. 


Meagan: No, I love that. Now I’m going to think about myself being wholesome-looking. 


35:35 Julie’s photography


Meagan: Okay, we talked a little bit about where we’ve gone, where we’ve started, what we’ve gone through, and all of the things. Now, where are we at today? I just have to gloat a little bit about Julie. 


She is phenomenal, you guys. If you have not been in our email or if you haven’t been on our social media, I definitely suggest you check it out and go follow her because she has taken a step back from The VBAC Link. We are so grateful that you come on here and there. You have taken a step back from doula work, but you are killing it in the photography world. 


Julie: Aw, it’s the best. I love it so much. 


Meagan: You’re doing so good. I’m so impressed. I just love seeing her photos on her Instagram and I love being able to chat with her and even connect more to the story. Sometimes, she will tell me the story that goes with the picture. I’m like, “Oh my gosh.” It’s so amazing. I’m so happy for you. Do you want to talk a little bit about what you are doing now that you are not doing The VBAC Link?


Julie: Oh my gosh, I have to tell you. I sent you these pictures. I think I texted you. There was this girl. She reached out to me 2 years ago and she was like, “My C-section baby just turned 1. I’m thinking about getting pregnant again.” She wanted to connect with me for doula work. At the time, I was doing doula-tog so I was doing both doula and birth photography. So we talked and we connected. 


Then I sent her a couple of different local resources to connect to, then a few months later, she reached out and she was pregnant. She was going to hire me for doula-tog then she had a miscarriage, then it was a little while that passed again. She reached out to me again later and she was pregnant again, but by this time, I had phased doula work out completely, so I had referred her to a local doula here that I absolutely love working with. 


Anyway, super long story short, she ended up hiring this other doula and me as a birth photographer and she switched from hospital birth to a home birth and I just attended this beautiful VBAC birth at home last week. It was so neat to have somebody come full circle and follow their whole journey. She called me and we talked on the phone forever 2 years ago when she was starting on her VBAC journey because she had found The VBAC Link.


It was just really neat. I know more about her journey. It’s hard sometimes as a birth photographer because I don’t have an initial connection with people as much as I did when I was a doula. Sometimes, the first time I see people is when I walk into their birth space with my camera which is okay. I like it when it is a little more than that beforehand, but it was really neat. Her name was Emmy and I’m sure that one day she will share her story on the podcast because I want her to. 


It was just a beautiful birth. I got called at midnight. The baby was born at 3:45 in the morning and it was just a really beautiful story with really powerful, empowering photos for this girl. She got to 10 centimeters with her first baby and she pushed for 6 hours. She got the epidural when she was 4 centimeters. She got to pushing. She was flat on her back the whole time, a classic story. She didn’t know. 


Anyway, it was a really beautiful and very empowering story. I got to document it and I just think that some of the imagery, I cannot wait for her to tell me that I can share these. She wants to see. I respect everybody’s wishes. Some people want me to share everything. Some people don’t me to share anything and I respect all of that. 


Anyway, it’s just really cool and really neat. I love being able to document that. I tell people, “My gosh, just hire the birth photographer. These moments are fleeting. They change so fast. One of the biggest days of your life, you’re not going to remember what your baby looked like, what their cry sounded like, and the joy on your face as you met them. Just invest. Do whatever you can to be able to invest if that’s what you desired. Don’t let finances get in the way.”


I personally now offer several financing options I can implement and things like that because I know it’s not super cheap, but I love being able to capture and preserve people’s stories. I also do videos. Videos are my favorite. I love being able to see the motion and hear the sounds of those babies’ first little noises. Oh my gosh, there was this cute little baby making fish faces an hour after it was born the other day. I could not believe it. It was amazing. 


These people wouldn’t have that. Sure, there are cell phones and things like that you can take pictures on. There are some cell phone cameras that are really good quality now, but you’re going to miss out on so many things because who is going to be taking the picture on your cell phone? Your partner? Your doula? You’re not going to be able to see how your doula supported you. You’re not going to be able to see the beautiful moments your partner and you had because they are the ones holding the camera. 


You’re not going to be able to see the look on your partner’s face because it’s all going to be baby or you. Plus, most partners are not really that great at taking pictures, let’s be honest. It’s okay. It is okay but it’s such a fulfilling thing. I love being able to go and witness the power that women have in all of the stories. There is so much power in scheduled C-sections, in unplanned Cesareans, in vaginal births, in medicated births, unmedicated births, hospital, out-of-hospital, all of it. All of it takes so much power and strength, all of it. I get to witness that but not only do I get to witness that but I get to document it. I get to come home and I get to witness it again as I’m editing photos and video. 


I just think it’s a really, really, really cool and really inspiring thing. I love it. I love it. 


Meagan: I agree. It’s actually one of my biggest regrets not having that. We had some candid– not even candid, some photos that were snapped really quickly, but not being able to see, I really wish it was recorded. So dang it. 


Julie: Yeah, I feel like that’s the biggest regret I hear from first-time moms too. They will be like, “I didn’t have a birth photographer for my C-section. I wish I would have though. I wish I would have. I wish I would have been like, ‘Well, I’m having an induction now. I was thinking about it, but I really wish I would have had one,’” because there is just so much. Cell phone pictures just don’t do it justice. 


Meagan: I agree. Well, I love what you are doing. I’m so grateful that you are in that space and I’m so grateful for you letting us use your images that of course are approved. I definitely highly suggest going over to Julie Francom Birth Services, right? That’s your page, right? 


Julie: Birth Stories. Julie Francom Birth Stories. Well, it’s just Julie Francom Birth on Instagram and on YouTube and on Facebook. 


Meagan: Go find her, you guys, so you can still follow her journey. Thank you, Julie, for joining me on the 300th episode. I really am so grateful for all that we have done, all that you have done, all the growth that we have seen, and I’m excited to keep going. 


Julie: Thank you so much. 


Closing


Would you like to be a guest on the podcast? Tell us about your experience at thevbaclink.com/share. For more information on all things VBAC including online and in-person VBAC classes, The VBAC Link blog, and Meagan’s bio, head over to thevbaclink.com. Congratulations on starting your journey of learning and discovery with The VBAC Link.





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