James and Kimberly Van Der Beek ‘Triage’ Getting Up with the Kids

06/03/2013 at 01:00 PM ET

James Van Der Beek Big City Moms
Robin Marchant/Getty

James and Kimberly Van Der Beek may have succeeded in the near impossible task that is balancing parental responsibilities.

“We’ve got the triage thing going. Whoever slept the least [the night before] gets to sleep,” the Friends with Better Lives star and father of two tells PEOPLE at the Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower Event on Thursday in New York City. “We take a lot of turns.”

Kimberly seconds the couple’s system. “Today I woke up with the kids and yesterday he did. It’s pretty fair,” she says.

Admittedly, the activist acknowledges that it doesn’t always end up being an even split between the two.

“James is a great help, but when he’s working a lot I’m picking up quite a bit more,” she explains. “I’d obviously like a little more help than I’ve had because I’m starting to work [again].”

Attending the event so Kimberly could give a seminar on childbirth — a topic for which she is very passionate — James happily took on daddy duty, entertaining children Olivia, 2½, and Joshua, 14 months.

After her speech, James, 36, raved about his wife’s presentation. “Kimberly was an activist long before I met her. I’m really proud of her. She’s a great mom,” he says.

And as for the days when she needs an extra hand, Kimberly follows what she says is her best piece of advice for new moms. “I recommend enlisting your friends to help out,” Kimberly says. “It’s hard to be 100 percent mom 100 percent of the time so it’s nice if you can have family and other people helping you out.”

— Michelle Ward

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Amy on

Every woman has the right to birth their babies any way they wish. However, as I recall, she opted for a vaginal Breech birth at home. I am a labor and delivery nurse. Not sure why you would put your child at risk to do something like that. I’ve seen it all. Good and bad. And unfortunately, really tragic. This was an irresponsible choice. Had it ended tragically, she would not be doing “birthing seminars”.

Please don’t convince women to do this. You were lucky. Others may not be. :/ I

brooke dubock on

I completely agree with you Amy!!!!

Marky on

Thank you, Amy; so true. The reason people think it can’t happen to them is that everyone keeps forgetting the midwives don’t get the high-risk patients like the doctors do. It appears that women are determined to deliver in the fields again, and when and if their baby dies, I wonder who they will insist on holding responsible?

When my grandmother died when having her 4th child, my grndfather would have loved to have had her deliver in a clinic or a hospital, attended by someone who knew what s/he was doing. I’m not against midwives, but I don’t care for the fact they seem to be against doctors…. I’m glad she didn’t have the kind of outcome some of us have had to try to save!

Amanda on

and csections don’t have risks? The problem right now is we have quit teaching medical professionals HOW to deliver a vaginal breech. Two of my cousins were delivered breech vaginally…in the hospital! Is it safe in all situations, definitely not, but we have ultrasounds and can determine that before birth (specific breech position, baby’s head size). I think it is awful that if a woman wants to try a vaginal breech these days she is pretty much forced into a homebirth because drs are so surgery-happy.

Amy on

Medical professionals are in the trenches , dealing with the aftermath when things go wrong. So many women are starting to become against hospitals / doctors when delivering their children. A non risk pregnancy is great for a home birth. I agree. But when things go wrong , and trust me… They DO …. Doctors and hospitals are the ones trying to fix the situation.

People don’t seem to understand the magnitutide of a home birth gone wrong. If the baby is stuck, if the mom is bleeding …. There’s not much time.

I’ve taken care of women who have lost their babies in tragic home births. It’s unforgettable . With so many medical advances , why take chances on your babies life?

As a labor and delivery nurse myself – while delivering my first baby, things started to go wrong. Fast. I didn’t want a C-Section , but if it meant getting my baby out safe – I had zero objections .

My instinct as a mother kicked in , even before my kids were born. Their safety came first in my eyes, not my own well being and birthing “plans”.

Again , I feel that how a woman births her babies is her choice. The benefits and consequences are theirs to deal with. However, doing birthing seminars and swaying women to take a path that may have horrible consequences , is irresponsible .

Alot of society is uneducated and easily persuaded. We need to be careful about what we tell others to do. Especially celebrities.

Amy on

I had MAJOR complications with my first birth and both my son and I ended up in the hospital for weeks. If it had not been for a nurse such as yourself my son and I would most likely not be here. Thank you so much for all you do and continue to do!!

Amy on

Just realized you’re an Amy too. :0)

Heidi on

Thank you Amy for writing that. I did every happy healthy chanting CD listening walking yoga well eating thinking breathing birth planning thing for a vaginal birth with midwives and my doula in a hospital setting, an ultra sound of low amniotic fluid at 42 weeks got me a quick ride to the H.I tried everything there to soften cervix, relax,whirl pool, yoga ball, walks, long talks with mid wife and doula, I knew 3 days later at 3:00 am and a “vaginal massage” with no success of going past 5 cm, I said “please could I meet my baby.” The mother in me was born and my son was delivered via c- section.

Natalie on

@ Amy you defining all homebirths by serious cases you have seen is like me going up to Level III NICU seeing all the sick babies and concluding all babies born in hospitals end up sick and with tubes in them therefore all hospital births are bad.

You do not know her specific situation. You do not know what training her midwives had, you do not know what went into her decision to have her baby at home breech or not. Having your baby in the hospital doesn’t automatically equal safer.

Natalie on

@ Amy again
Homebirths very often go right they are proven to be safe time and time again. As an RN you are an educated woman.

I think it is you who need to do research and less fear mongering.

Perhaps you should ask yourself why many woman are choosing to pursue giving birth outside a hospital?

Did it ever occur to you that part of the problem may be doctors and nurses like yourself that “talk down” to the women they are caring for assume they aren’t educated enough to make the right decisions ie any any choice that doesn’t agree with what doctor in nurse is telling them.

Why is she forbidden to speak out about a choice she made for her family because it’s not what you would have chosen?

Jenn on

Doctors and nurses do not talk down to patients because they don’t do what they want them to do. They see all aspects of it, but all you need to see is one tragic event and it sticks with you for life… And yes , I am an RN

Natalie on

So if she had gone to the hospital and her baby had died there she would be less heartbroken and happy to tour the country singing praises of csections. Unreal.

I don’t see her telling women they must give birth at home at all costs. I think she wants women to know they have options.

Natalie on

Midwives aren’t anti doctor.

They aren’t out there butchering people for fun and leaving it for doctors and nurses to “fix”

They are about women having options all options home or hospital csection or not, drug free or with drugs, as desired or as each situation requires. It’s about truly explaining all options and all outcomes and truly letting the woman and her partner decide. It’s hard for LD RNs to understand, but not all Breech’s need to be automatic csections.

They are in the trenches as well.

It’s not midwives and homebirths causing tragedies for women and babies.

It’s arrogance and the us versus them mentality that our healthcare system is built around.

Amy on

I was waiting for the nasty comments 😉

Thank you 🙂

Parenting begins before your child is born. You wouldn’t put your child on top of the car and drive around? So why would you birth your baby feet first at home , chancing death?

To each their own. Just don’t do birthing seminars about it. Lol

Jaime on

You can’t say to each their own and then tell her not to do birthing seminars, Amy. The whole point of her seminars is to inform women about their birthing options. She’s not forcing them to do anything.

Amanda on

your a LD nurse who thinks all breech come out feet first?

Amy on

Lol. I was referring to her experience … Lol.

Anonymous on

Amanda- Thank you for pointing out the real problem! It’s not that breech vaginal deliveries are impossible or super-risky (as you said, they’re quite safe as long as you take the proper precautions). It’s that too few doctors are trained to perform them these days.

Consequently, most doctors and hospitals no longer allow women to even attempt them, so for most women carrying breech babies, the only way to avoid being forced into an unneccesary C-section is to deliver at home.

Is it ideal? No. Is it the safest? Also no, unless you have the means to enlist a doctor who specializes in vaginal breech deliveries to do the delivery (which, FYI, is what Kimberly has said she did. She did NOT use a midwife!)- an option that, obviously, is out of reach for most women!

I agree that breech vaginal deliveries are probably best attempted in the hospital. So instead of bashing other women for their choices, let’s push for breech vaginal delivery 101 to be part of the medical school curriculum again!

Amy on

I suggest we start a birthing Olympics. That way, women who put their children at risk for their own birthing gratification can be properly recognized in a nice ceremony. 🙂

Jaime on

Or you can just write a handbook on how to do all things Amy and then you wouldn’t have to leave such snarky remarks on how women didn’t follow your birthing plan.

Amy on

Great idea!!! I think I WILL write a handbook !!!

family4square on

Saying that women who have a vaginal breech birth means they are putting their child through unnecessary risk is ignorant. I can’t believe you are an L&D nurse. I know the SOGC here in Canafa has changed their policy (as of 2009) to encourage vaginal breech births.

I understand the argument about the risks of childbirth, especially in breech births. But pretending like there aren’t risks to typical hospital birthing scenarios, for example: cesareans, pitocin, off-label use of cytotec, and epidurals, seriously depletes the credibility of what information one has to offer.

Lisa T on

A triage is a makeshift hospital. WTH is he talking about?

dj on

Amy, medical ‘professionals’ like you, with the bad attitudes & arrogance, are the very reason that I prefer not to have my babies at the hospital. Hospitals push for inducing far too often, they conduct preventable csections, etc. Not to mention the situation quickly gets controlled by the so called ‘professionals’ who think they know best, when in many cases, the mother knows best, since she is the one in tune with her pregnancy & delivery. It is not just about sunny birth plans that cause mothers to avoid the hospitals, it has a lot to do with the drugs used at the hospital, as well as the annoying control over the delivering mother, etc. Personally, I don’t respect the direction that health care has taken, where delivering mothers are just treated as a number in an assembly line at the hospital!! No thank you! & especially no thank you to having to deal with arrogant nurses! Women have been giving birth for thousands of years. It’s more rare than not, that problems arise.

Josie on

It does seem that more and more women are more concerned with how their birthing experience will be, rather than keeping their focus on the end result of a baby being born safely.
Too many friends have written out elaborate pans for ‘how this birth WILL go’ and then end up devastated if things don’t go according to plan. Birth should just be about safely producing new life – no matter how that new life happens to get here. 🙂

Ceb on

I had thought about doing a home birth with my second but decided against it. I’m glad I did because my second had the cord wrapped tightly around his neck. Did I end up with a csection? No because I chose an experienced doctor and he knew what was going on. If I had delivered at home, he would have died. But if a woman wants to deliver at home, let her but know there are risks and benefits involved. But don’t judge someone for the choose they make in this situation.

Elsa Caceres on

it know it is hard to believe …but normal people do this too
they are parents
and they do not have nannies

Katie on

I agree with many of you that homebirths usually go great with no problems. I would have preferred to give birth in my home, but I didn’t want to chance anything with the most precious gift I was receiving in life. My near perfect pregnancy (dr. said that) ended up being a life threatening delivery resulting in a c-section because the cord was twice around my son’s neck. I was told if I pushed vaginally, he likely would have had severe problems or death given how the cord appeared during delivery. I would never forgive myself if I chose to do what I wanted and it cost me the life of my child. I respect women who do this at home with no issues. Not every homebirth has a happy ending. I’d rather be safe than sorry.

maryhelenc on

Maybe I was in the minority, but my only “option” was “get my baby out in the safest way for both of us.” I had no plan. I just wanted my girls to be healthy & myself as well. I never had a C section, and one was delivered completely without drugs, but had I needed a C-section, I would have gotten it. It’s not worth risking my baby’s life.

Kim Bradford on

Another fallacy. My sister has birthed her last two sons at home, both with their cords wrapped around their necks- short cords at that- and both are perfectly healthy and safe because our MIDWIFE knew what to do and took the necessary steps. Several babies are born with cords around their necks- it’s just another form of fear mongering that if it were to happen at home you would have no baby. It’s interesting to me that most midwifes don’t continually insult and degrade the “work” that OBs do, but the same respect doesn’t go the reverse direction.

Tina on

I am all for a mother making decisions for her and her baby but as a Mom who was not considered high risk, I am so grateful to have delivered at a hospital. My daughter was born with shoulder dystosia which means that her shoulders were wedged in the birth canal and it was too late for a C-Section. Our amazing doctor pulled her causing her arm to break. The hospital that I delivered at was connected to a Children’s Hospital. Without the quick actions of our OB and the Children’s doctors our daughter would have died. I pray that women who choose to have a home birth never experience what we went through!

Misty on

I am an RN also and I totally agree with Amy. That is her choice to have the breech baby at home if the hospital refused to deliver her vaginally, but she unnecessarily put her baby at risk, greater risk than a C-section. I was a Mom-Baby Nurse before my current job as an OR nurse and I have seen countless cephalo-pelvic disproportion deliveries end up C-sections. Yes, we have ultrasound technology, but are they always 100% correct? No way! I have seen “7 pound” babies born and they are 9 1/2 pounds! Technology can only go so far and if the baby’s head is only a smidge to large, it could be detrimental. Why risk the life of the innocent baby so you can have your vaginal delivery? It is attitudes like this that also make women that are unable to deliver vaginally feel like less of a woman because they had a C-section. It is not wrong to deliver by C-section. It is a surgery. If you had an infected gallbladder, you wouldn’t lay writhing in pain at home until you pushed it out your vagina would you? No! You would go have an operation to get it out!!! Surgeries happen every day and thank God for the technology to do them or else countless lives would be lost including those of babies!!!

Hatie on

It is my personal opinion that it should be a woman’s choice as to how she wants to deliver her child(ren). I personally decided to have my children at a hospital and thankfully I did as emergencies arose with both deliveries.
Medical professionals have their opinions as Amy does because they have seen situations they probably wish they didn’t and I cannot speak for Amy but I am willing to guess she has and now has that reminder forever. It appears she is in this field to help others and we should be thankful for nurses and doctors. I am aware there are not the best nurses or doctors that may have tended to you, a family member or a friend but not all are like that. I don’t think we should be so quick to judge based on perception.

JD on

I also had a baby with shoulder dystocia–at home with trained midwives. Yes, it was a scary moment but trained midwives know what to do.

K.W. on

yep – another L & D nurse here. This woman has two birthing experiences under her belt – she in my mind / prof. opinion only being given this opportunity to speak because she has a famous husband. There are many more women much more qualified to speak on this subject. She opted to have her home delivery overseen by a doctor w/ sanctions against him – because her own responsible midwife / doctor did not agree with her choice?

I am a nurse because I love taking care of people..I use my training and experience to help women / families make the best decisions for their particular situation. My job is joyful, stressful, emotionally draining and sometimes heartbreaking. I see moms who have done everything “right” lose a child to stillbirth while in the next room a mom who has forgone all prenatal care and injected, snorted, smoked and swallowed any illegal substance she could get her hands on delivers a relatively healthy child. Yet we are not supposed to judge – we are supposed to merely provide care. See how long you would last at a job where so many children suffer because of the choices their mothers made. I have worked with awful ob / gyns that I wouldn’t let deliver a calf and I have worked with some of the most amazing doctors who in some cases have performed miracles. Lets not forget that lawsuits have gotten us to this point of risky deliveries equal c-sections. How do you sue a physician after you ignore his advice / plan of care and your baby dies or has birth defects? How quickly women have forgotten what used to be our number one cause of death..childbirth. Did Rikki Lake or Kimberlee VanderBeek make child birth safer? Pretty sure advances in modern medicine had a small part in fewer of us dying..

Now we all have to run out and prove ourselves worthy by pushing a child out from between our legs at home in our own bed – even though that may not be the best choice for our child. Ridiculous.

SG on

Awesome comment and I totally agree with you!

C on

I am also a nurse and I completely agree with you!

Emma on

I’m with Amy and the other nurses on this one. I had a “normal” pregnancy and no ultrasound showed the surprise we were in for when we had our son. If we had decided to do a home birth because we thought everything looked “normal” then he would have died. He came out blue and oxygen was not helping him. He had a heart problem that was never detected on an ultrasound and had to be rushed in for emergency surgery. I am thankful I was in a hospital so he could get the treatments he needed as fast as possible. There are too many what if’s for me to feel comfortable having a baby at home. The nice thing is that everyone has the right to choose where and how they want to birth their baby 🙂

Erica on

I can’t believe Dawson is 36 years old.

Debra on

Natalie: Rambling on and on does not help your case

me on

Big James Van Der Beek fan. Not a fan at all of his wife. Her preaches are completely irresponsible. My sister lost her baby to breech home birth this month. It could have been prevented had she had a hospital birth. This baby’s death has devastated our whole family. Shame on anyone recommending this.

Hill on

I have several friends that have had successful homebirths…and a few that only remember the frantic call and wait, which felt like an eternity, as the ambulance rushed to their home. Their children lived but the stress, guilt and anxiety from their decision haunts them. Even with a midwife, the are many lifesaving limits to a homebirth. As a clinician in one of the top free-standing U.S. children’s hospitals, I can assure you that research and statistics do not lie. Check out the homebirth death rates provided by the CDC and see for yourself…or search for stats in Oregon, a particularly dismal record. It is a dangerous option and while I know it feels right to some, having kids means it’s not just about you anymore.

JDS on

A few things concern me about this. I’ve been an RN for many years and am now an NP student, being trained by doctors. I’ve delivered babies. I’ve had 3 babies. I understand the desire for a vaginal birth. I’ve also seen 2 neonatal deaths from bad home births (the babies come into the ER with EMS). These were previously “normal” pregnancies.

The problem is 1. you can have a normal pregnancy and an abnormal delivery; and 2. you have 4 minutes of oxygen deprivation before baby has anoxic brain damage and/or death. These seem like really ridiculous things to risk just to be able to live our a fairytale birth. Breech deliveries are not safe and versions (turning the baby) are very rarely successful. C-sections are safe and only opted for when the risks of surgery outweigh the risks of a vaginal birth.

I see at least 10 pregnant women per day in clinic. Some want epidurals, others don’t. Some have a birth plan, others go with the flow. I always tell them that our goal is a healthy mom and healthy baby – however we get there.

There are a few things that concern me in this woman’s blog and articles. They are not well-informed about pregnancy and child birth and should not be advocating for anyone but themselves.
1. Triage doesn’t mean alternating who gets up. It means the sickest person gets priority.
2. No one pushes for hours at 9 cm dilation. You are never allowed to push until you are 10 cm dilated, otherwise you end up with an edematous cervix and even less likely that baby will be born vaginally.
3. Cervical dilation does not decrease, it only increases. So when she states she was only 1 cm at the hospital and then closed up – that is not possible. There are no feedback mechanisms to support this physiologically.

I believe women should have the right to make their own decisions. But they need to take advice from unbiased experts. This lady is not educated on the subject and should not be advertising herself as such. I should only hope she has purchased some malpractice insurance for the quality of advice she’s doling out.

Anonymous on

Misty- With all due respect, I don’t think gallbladder problems are the best comparison. A lot of times they can be treated non-surgically (whether it be with diet changes, medication, or even a wait and see approach for a minor attack).

Sam on

hahaha Erica…THAT was perfect!!

Mom of 3 on

Mom of 3. 3 inductions, 3 hospital births,3 epidurals. Greatest experiences of my life. It didn’t make me any more or less of a woman how the birth happened. Most importantly all 3 were and are healthy and I feel blessed to be a Mom.

Tami on

I am also an RN. I totally agree with you Amy! Why anyone would risk their babies life is beyond me. Don’t listen to any of the haters.

Anonymous on

Well said Amy and JDS! I have 6 children, all of them born in the hospital with great nurses and doctors. I understand that some women want a home birth, and that is their decision. But if women know that their babies are breech, why would they put themselves and babies at risk. It just doesn’t make sence.