My midwife came for a home checkup on Wednesday afternoon. I was 42 weeks + 3 days with our 3rd baby, 2nd girl. She has delivered both my other two children (ages 4 and 2). Both of them were homebirth as well. My midwife and I have a bond we share as if we have been through the battlefield together.
We discovered through external and vaginal exam that baby had turned breech after being head down the whole pregnancy. After discussing options and reviewing the fact that hospital was 30 minutes away and in our little country town we only had a volunteer EMS system set up, we decided to pack up the kids and birth kit/baby stuff, extra clothes etc…and drive nearly 2 hours to the midwife’s house for an ultrasound to be sure. While I was packing I felt the anxiety and worry for the safety of my baby. There were tears and hugs and trying hard to relax. This was completely new territory for my midwife and myself. In her 20 years of experience she had only delivered a handful of breech babies.
The plan was to stay at her house, induce labor naturally and have hospital/EMS closer than it would be where we live in case there was a need for them. After the ultrasound confirmed that baby was breech there was more worry, stress and tears. The option to go to the hospital was on the table, but where we live it would have been an automatic c-section, no option of trying vaginally. I really didn’t want a c-section unless baby was in immediate danger.
We spent the night Wednesday with the midwife and her apprentice attending. The midwife checked me that evening and did a membrane stretch. I was at 5cm. Between being in a different place, my kids not sleeping and needy, and all the anxiety I really didn’t sleep that night. Thursday, mid-morning, some friends came and picked up the kids for us. That allowed me to concentrate on getting labor going, not having to juggle two toddlers in someone else’s home. I have never left my kids overnight with anyone and at this point it looked as if they would be spending the night away from me. Of course, I cried over the guilt of having to send my babies away.
After 2 rounds of castor oil, taking herbal 3 tinctures on and off, breast pump, another membrane stretch and power walking nothing was happening. I got very frustrated and exhausted, thought about just going home but decided to give it a few more hours. I was so exhausted and contractions were hit and miss at this point. I was tired of thinking about it and wondering what would happen. I was insecure, out of my element and very emotional. My midwife kept telling me that I was on the brink of labor. I held on to that.
I went to lay down at 3:30pm to try and rest up and calm down. I woke up at 5pm in hard labor. The contractions got closer and closer really fast. I sat on the toilet for a while laboring there where my water broke, mucus plug came out and lots of progress happened. It was shortly into labor I was already vocalizing through contractions and depending greatly on my amazing husband. I could not do this without him. I literally have to touch him/hold him through the whole labor. He keeps cold cloths on me and gives me water between contractions, he tells me its almost over, tells me about our sweet baby I will be holding soon and is so tender and loving. I am blessed to have him.
This labor felt more painful than my other labors. Definitely more intense! There was a lot of nerve pain in my front lower abdomen and lower back. The contractions got so hard and close my husband and the midwife decided I needed to move to the birth stool in the bedroom. I had to be carried by hubby as I couldn’t walk on my own. It was decided that the birth stool was the best place/position for my breech birth. By this time both midwives in the practice were attending as well as a student/apprentice midwife who was very helpful in applying counter pressure on my back. They were checking baby’s heart rate between every contraction.
At this point my body wanted to push but I wasn’t completely dilated to 10 and there was still some cervix left. My midwife coached me to breathe through contractions and not push until I was fully dilated no matter what my body was saying. I spent about an hour and 15 minutes breathing through contractions that were telling me to push and sleeping/leaning on my husband in between. I was fully exposed and remember saying something about how labor was not glamorous and vocalized my concern that there was more blood this time around than I remembered. Everyone kept reassuring me that things were progressing normally and smoothly. My labor was only 4 1/2 hours but I felt so weak and exhausted I had to sleep. I had several moments of crying, wishing and pleading that it was over. It took everything out of me even to the point where they had me stand leaning slightly over the bed to position baby better and my legs gave out underneath me. They had me lay down instead.
As soon as I laid myself down the contractions hit even harder and faster. I was struggling to breathe evenly through them, crying, yelling out, clinging to my husband. I remember thinking it was a good thing my older children were not there or they would have been scared and worried for me. I stayed in that position through 4-5 contractions and felt baby move down finally. I remember telling them she had dropped. They checked her heart rate and it wasn’t as strong so they carried me back to the birth stool and her heart rate went back up.
By this time I was near the end of labor. My body was screaming to push so the midwife told me it was safe to go ahead and push. I was fully dilated and effaced. Every push felt as if my butt bone was going to snap into pieces. They told me that my baby’s booty was pushing on my booty. On the birth stool I pushed for another 10 minutes. I was able to see her through a mirror and that gave me the strength and encouragement I needed to get her out. I knew how much farther I needed to push, how even one more second of pushing that extra “mile” could make all the difference. My fears of her not breathing kept me pushing harder and harder. I worried about her head being stuck or left inside me too long so I kept pushing.
I pushed a total of 15 minutes after she dropped (and believe me it felt like forever) and she came booty first and one leg. She bicycled her other leg out on her own and a few seconds later with another urge her head slid out safely. She was alert, breathing, moving and her heart rate was perfect the whole labor. Faryn Maisie was born at 9:31pm, 7lbs 4 oz, 20 inches long. First thing I asked as I gathered her in my arms was if she was safe. My relief was so great that she was healthy, whole and breathing that I cried even more. My relief and joy was combined and I bawled. She was a little bruised but otherwise a perfect, beautiful baby girl. Born at 42 weeks + 4 days and still had some vernix!
It can be done! Be encouraged Mommas!