James Van Der Beek’s Wife’s Scary Home Birth Wasn’t Worth the Risk

Rant 166

James and Kimberly Van Der BeekWhen it came to bringing her second child into the world, James Van Der Beek's wife, Kimberly Van Der Beek, was determined to have a home birth under any circumstances -- even if it meant going against her doctor's orders.

After delivering her first child, daughter Olivia, at the hospital with the help of a doula, an epidural, and pitocin, Kimberly knew she wanted to do things differently the second time around. She wanted to give birth to her baby boy naturally at home -- but then her doctor discovered that baby Joshua was breech when Kimberly was 37 weeks pregnant.

And that changed everything, because she was informed her that if they could not get the baby to flip -- she'd have to have a c-section to deliver him. It was just too risky to try a vaginal delivery because there was a chance that her baby could become trapped in her pelvis.

But Kimberly wasn't about to give up on her dream of having a natural birth at home, even with a breech baby. After trying everything she could to get her baby boy to flip, it became obvious that he wasn't going to budge. And that's when she was referred to Dr. Stuart Fischbein, who agreed to deliver her breech baby right in the privacy of her own home.

Thankfully, baby Joshua was born safe and healthy -- and Kimberly even admits that she was up and showering an hour after he made his entrance into the world (How in the hell?)

And while I fully understand why having a home birth was so important to Kimberly, I can't help but wonder if carrying out her wishes was really worth the risk, considering how many things could've possibly gone wrong with her son's breech birth.

What if he had gotten stuck in her pelvis? And what if the only way to get him out was an emergency c-section? And what if she needed an emergency c-section and they couldn't make it to the hospital in time and the unthinkable happened -- all because she wanted to fulfill her dream of giving birth in her own bed?

Of her decision, Kimberly says, "I truly believe a woman should be able to plan to birth where and how she is most comfortable. In order to make such a decision, it’s crucial to have options."

Ok, so I get what she's saying -- I really do. But when it comes to the safety and well being of your baby, don't those "options" kind of get thrown out the window? If I'd heard the word "breech" so much as whispered when I was about to deliver my son, I probably would've high tailed it to the hospital right then and there to make sure we were in a place where we were surrounded by professionals who could help if anything were to go wrong.

It's wonderful that everything worked out for Kimberly and baby Joshua -- it really is. And while I do believe every woman should be able to give birth in whatever way she chooses, I worry that other moms-to-be will see her story as proof that delivering a breech baby at home is a piece of cake. Somehow I'm guessing nine times out of ten, it isn't so simple -- and it's probably pretty darn scary.

Are you planning a home birth? What will you do if your baby is breech?


Image via David Livingston/Getty

celeb moms, labor & delivery, homebirth


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nonmember avatar Megan

You do realize babies have been safely born breech vaginally since women have been birthing right? There IS an increased risk with breech babies, but it's not enough of an increase to warrant a C-section for every single one like we are currently being forced into.
It's hard to find someone qualified to help a breach birth occur naturally now days, but I'm glad she found someone who could/would and that they had the safe, comfortable birth they desired; its something so intimate.

curly... curlygirl31

She knows her own body

nonmember avatar Megan

I am currently 9 months pregnant birthing at a non hospital birthing center. If my baby were to go breech I would have to be transferred to any local hospital to birth. They all refuse to allow a vaginal birth for any breech baby and would force me into a C-section, even though I'm considered 'low risk' for a safe breech delivery.
Unfortunately in a lot of places, birthing at home is the only option for breech baby's mother who wants to avoid major abdominal surgery, hospital policies deny women the right to choose.

nonmember avatar Kristi

Babies can be delivered breech, even at home births. The first solution isn't always grabbing the scalpel. Attitudes like that are exactly why people want to have home births.

trini... trinity899

Breech deliveries used to be relatively normal, because doctors were trained to handle them.  Unfortunately as birth has become an "emergency" and moved into the hospitals, their rule is just Section 'em All and now doctors are losing this important skill of knowing how to deliver a breech baby naturally and safely. 

If Kimberly found a doctor who was skilled and trained in delivering a breech baby vaginally, then why not follow through with her homebirth plan?  There are risks involved, but the odds of something going wrong when she is cared for by a competent doctor are very low.

Complications happen in hospital births too.  For example when I gave birth to first child in the hospital, my husband caught C. difficile!  (A serious bacterial disease that goes around in hospitals.)  He was ill for months.  I had a homebirth with my second :)  


I'll get flamed for this, but, having a home birth makes about as much sense as having home heart surgery.

nonmember avatar Megan

Wow Mensamamma ...
surgery and birth are not comparable.
Surgery and surgery are comparable.

Birth the vast majority of the time does NOT require any surgery and has been done safely out of hospitals for much longer than in them.
Open heart surgery requires surgery 100% of the time, which requires medication, anesthesia, a completely sterile environment, tools and trained surgeons... aka a hospital.

puasa... puasaurusrex

I'm confused...if there were no complications and she had a doctor there trained in breech births, how in the world is this "scary"? I would love to do a home birth, but it's just big something my husband is comfortable with. And if my baby is breech, my doctor is trained in breech births.

jalaz77 jalaz77

No homebirth here. Hubby says "nah, what if something goes wrong" he has that right to ask, this is his baby too...anyways she had done her research. She seeked out a professional who has done hundreds of these births. If I have a breech baby, which I have had in the past and I've had a successful vbac since I will push for a flip or a breech delivery because I know what people to go to this time. To the people who say she knows her body you don't always know your body, a lot of women are low risk pregnant and during delivery turn into high risk. So she did not risk anything she seeked professional help. Unassisted home deliveries are dangerous, women have not been doing that for years and years and years if you do your research you will see that women always have somebody there helping through their l&d, unless you are in the Stone Age. Good for her for using her head and being smart and finding somebody who can help her through this and also keeping open mind. She is lucky to have the money and the resources to find a person who can help her with this not many of us little people will find that. I am sure that Dr. is not cheap.


@Megan, birth and surgery are absolutely comparable.  They've both been happening for hundreds of years, and the patients frequently died as a result of them for hundreds of years...until modern medicine.

Everyone is obviously free to do whatever they want, but I think it's incredibly selfish of a mother to choose a home birth.  The "home birth experience" benefits only the mother, and can potentially be fatal for the child.  Even if the risks are low, why take the risk at all?  I don't get it.

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