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All’s Well That Ends Well: A Surprise Breech Birth

All’s Well That Ends Well: A Surprise Breech Birth

After a smooth and complication-free pregnancy, I expected my birth to be no different. I had chosen a free-standing birth center and a team of midwives for my care providers, took Bradley Method classes, and felt ready to have a pretty run of the mill, unmedicated, intervention-free birth. Little did we know what was in store for us…

I went into labor on a Friday night, the day after my due date, and had a lengthy labor at home, with contractions not really picking up until the middle of the night Saturday night. Our doula joined us at around 2:00am early Sunday morning, and we headed to the birth center a couple of hours later once my contractions were about 3 minutes apart.

Upon arrival at the birth center, I was told I was 7 cm dilated, and labored there for another hour or so before I started feeling the urge to push. My water broke shortly after, and our midwife noticed meconium in the fluid, so I was told I couldn’t get in the tub like I had hoped to, and that baby needed to come out quickly (to prevent baby aspirating the meconium, which can lead to infection). A couple minutes later, as baby boy started to crown, we heard one of our midwives exclaim “Wow, that is the baldest baby I’ve ever seen!” My husband and I both raised an eyebrow at that comment, as we had expected our little guy to have a full head of hair, like we both had as newborns. A few pushes later is when the world stopped spinning for a brief moment while it dawned on everyone why our baby was so bald: it wasn’t his head that was crowning, it was his butt! Baby boy was breech, and we had no idea until this moment.

How did we get to this moment without knowing he was breech, you may ask? That’s a great question, and one we’ll never have the answer to. Our guy was breech at both ultrasounds at 20 and 24 weeks, but we were assured that most babies are breech at that point, and we had plenty of time for him to turn on his own. During subsequent checks by our midwife (including an internal exam just to be sure!) we were told he had indeed moved into the head down position. So, was he breech that whole time and somehow fooled our midwife? Or did he turn sometime in the days or hours leading up to delivery? We’ll never know….

What we do know, however, is that we were fortunate enough to have an extremely skilled team of midwives present at our birth, with whom we owe everything to! Our lead midwife had delivered breech babies at home births before, so she knew exactly what to do, and sprang into action. Basically, the biggest risk with delivering a breech baby is the point at which the head is being delivered; there’s a chance that the baby’s chin can get caught on the pelvic bone and essentially get stuck. After I had successfully pushed the little guy’s body out, I was told to stop pushing. My midwife had one person pushing down on the top of his head from the outside, while she reached in and hooked a finger into his lower jaw – all in an effort to keep his chin tucked to his chest and prevent it from getting caught on my pelvic bone. One more big push later, and he was out!

While it was a huge relief to have our guy delivered (after just a half hour of intense pushing), we weren’t quite out of the woods yet. His breathing wasn’t quite where they wanted it to be, so they decided to transfer him, accompanied by my husband, to the hospital for closer monitoring. I had to stay behind because I had two two-degree tears that needed repairing, and a significant amount of hemorrhaging from my placenta detaching early. Luckily, however, my little man got a clean bill of health almost immediately upon arriving at the hospital and was able to return to me within just a couple of hours for his first feed and snuggles.

We feel so incredibly fortunate to have had the expert team at our birth that we did. It’s scary to think about all the ways that my surprise breech birth could have gone terribly wrong, but I choose instead to feel grateful for how well it did turn out. While I didn’t go into my birth thinking I was having an unmedicated, vaginal breech birth, I’m glad that my choice of care team supported that when it became a possibility. Had I been in a hospital, I would have had an emergency c-section no question, and would have possibly ended up with irreversible damage to my body due to the fact that baby boy was already on his way out when his positioning was discovered. All’s well that ends well, and we joyfully welcomed Ember Daniel into the world, backwards, on November 1st, 2015 at 6:56am.

breech, breech birth, midwife

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Submitted by Julia Hogan.

Photographs by Kyla Berry Photography

Talking High School Mascots After a C-Section

Talking High School Mascots After a C-Section

As a mother, I had this sort of primal need to birth my children the way women’s bodies were designed to birth children. My first two children were born after pitocin inductions and epidurals. Their births were special and miraculous, don’t get me wrong, but I always wondered what it would be like to have a baby without any intervention, I wondered how different, maybe even more wonderful, the initial bonding experience would be when there were no medications inhibiting the bonding hormones.

When we were surprised with the news that we were expecting our third baby, I decided immediately that I would do whatever I could to have this baby the “right way”. I interviewed midwives, consulted with doulas, watched the movies, read the books, made an elaborate birth plan that my wonderful OB was totally on board with, I was 100% prepared for natural child birth.

Then life happened.

My husband accepted a job 200+ miles away. That in itself made me question my decision to let my body go into labor when it was ready because I was so worried he wouldn’t make it in time as we were not able to move before the baby’s due date. There was lots of traveling back and forth so we could all be together and operate our family as normally as possible. I try really hard to choose joy in every situation and to be as content as possible but this was a tough season! At my 20 week anatomy scan baby girl was breech. We weren’t concerned at that point because there was plenty of room and time for her to turn. Everything else was going perfectly! As time went on, I kept wondering if I wasn’t feeling her head under my ribs, but brushed it off, knowing that there was still time. At 35 weeks, she was breech still! I think I pretty much yelled at my doctor “I am NOT having a c section for my third baby!” He giggled at me and told me to relax, again, there was still time and I had options. (he’s the best by the way!)

36 weeks, she was transverse, Dr. and I both thought she was on her way to head down so we decided to wait another week before making any decisions. In the mean time, I had been doing all kinds of things to encourage her to turn and continued to do so throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. Between week 36 and 37 I did tons of research on breech birth, external cephelac versions, and breech cesarean births. I read medical studies, checked statistics, etc.

My doctor had given me 3 options if she didn’t turn.

1. ECV

2. Planned cesarean

3. Spontaneous labor resulting in cesarean

I decided I wanted to do what was safest for baby and in my opinion, a planned c section was the safest. No risk of not making it to the hospital on time resulting in an unplanned breech vaginal birth. I didn’t like the potential risks to baby that could come with an ECV either so I declined that option as well.

Of course she was still breech at 37 weeks and again at 38 weeks so we scheduled the cesarean. I was nervous because it was something new to me, I was disappointed because this was not the birth I wanted, but I was mostly ready to get our baby in our arms safely.

I arrived at the hospital a couple of hours before the surgery time. They monitored me and the baby for a bit, started an IV, and then my OB came in to make sure baby was still breech. She had moved back to transverse, so the goal was to turn her during the cesarean and deliver her head first because that is the safest way even by cesarean. The procedure was not bad at all, I was tearful when we got to the OR but not because I was afraid, it was just really an emotional moment. The spinal was fine, my legs went numb quickly as well as everything else below my armpits and then my husband was able to come in to be with me during the surgery. The surgical team was great! So sweet and encouraging! Not long after my OB made the incision, he told me that she was breech again! Foot first! I could swear I felt her crawling up toward my ribs away from the doctor when he was delivering her.

He said, “She’s still a girl and she has a ton of hair!”

She wasn’t crying though. I’m not sure how long it was before I heard her first little cry but it felt like an eternity! They brought her to me to snuggle for a minute and then my husband followed her to the nursery to be cleaned up and monitored. She was 7lbs 3oz and 19 inches. My smallest baby.

We all joked and talked about high school mascots while the doctors were stitching me up (I don’t know why this was the topic of our conversation but it’s funny) I joked that I should have had all of my babies that way since it was so quick and easy to!

Before I knew it they were wheeling me to recovery and I was aching to hold my baby. My doctor came in and let me know that Kopper was needing a little extra help because she inhaled and swallowed some fluid during the delivery, I wasn’t too worried because I trusted the nurses to take good care of her but I sure wanted to snuggle her. She ended up having to stay all day and night in the nursery being monitored which was really sad but she made a full recovery with no problems nursing!

My recovery was much easier than I expected! I was never in horrible pain and I had wonderful nurses that helped me get up and moving as soon as I was physically able.

This birth was supposed to be different, and that it was! It reminded me that our plans aren’t always the best plans.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:9

birth without fear

birth without fear

birth without fear

Positive Support for Pregnant Mamas with Breech Babies

Positive Support for Pregnant Mamas with Breech Babies

birth without fear, breech birth, breech, frank breech, footling breech, pregnant, birth, childbirthI have written before how a breech baby is another variation of normal. Having a breech presentation does not mean you automatically need to schedule a c-section. Remember, our babies are wise and know just how they need to be for birth. Most of the time, babies will turn, even late in pregnancy and labor!!!  You can read my other post for more thoughts, support and ideas here.

I want to share a few breech birth videos for inspiration. My first baby was breech and everyone I talked to said, “Sure, you can have a vaginal breech birth, but if it goes bad, it will do so fast.” Not very encouraging. I had no where to turn to for POSITIVE support. I did have a c-section after doing everything I could to help baby turn. I had to fight for that opportunity.

So, if you are finding yourself pregnant with a breech baby that is not turning, you have our support and you do have options, one of them being cesarean birth.

As always, consult with your midwife or doctor and remember you can change providers. Assisting in breech deliveries has become a lost art, but there are those who are skilled and experienced in doing so.

Finding Healing in a C-Section

Finding Healing in a C-Section

My story really begins with my first two babies’ births. When I was about 37 weeks, we found out our first little girl was breech. We had planned a natural birth with Hypnobabies and midwives at the best hospital in our area, so to hear she was breech was crushing. We started doing everything we could to turn her around, but she did not want to turn. The chiropractor who did our Webster technique attempts was even concerned about her because she was SO chill after every appointment. After a lot of prayer, we decided that she must have a reason and felt that a C-section would be the safest way to go. When we met with the OBGYN that would be taking over our care, he was very good, but his bedside manner was awful. We brought a birth plan to discuss with him, and he completely belittled every choice we had made for her, made me feel like an idiot to the point that I didn’t even bring my birth plan when it was time.

We scheduled the C-section, after praying about when our little girl should be born, we scheduled for a Saturday at 38 weeks 5 days, and went home to get ready. The night before, I stayed awake until 2AM, so I could eat the last time before the surgery, but wasn’t hungry so only was able to eat a few crackers before going to bed. 3:30AM. I woke up to go to the bathroom and started having contractions that were lasting one minute, spaced two minutes apart, so they were coming really hard and fast, and since my mother had experienced a 15 minute labor with me, we knew we needed to hustle to the hospital.

They checked us in, got my IV, etc. then left me alone with my husband to wait. They had me signing paperwork through contractions and I was so miserable, but then they left me alone with the monitors, and all my husband did was stare at them. I felt pretty darn alone at this point, even though my husband was right there. What felt like years later, they finally came and took me back to the OR, gave me the spinal, and brought my husband in.

As they worked, the doctor completely ignored me, but did make two funny comments: “Wow, she is REALLY breech,” (apparently she had dug into my ribs as high as she could go) and second: “We’ve got a pooper!” She started pooping as soon as her butt hit the air. She didn’t cry at first, so we didn’t even know she had been born until the nurse came and asked if my husband wanted to see our baby. I got to see her for a minute before they left, then I was alone again, surrounded by people, but no one really seemed to actually remember that the body they were stitching back together was an actual person.

I didn’t get to see her for two hours after she was born. I still don’t know why, they just had me sitting in my room while I hung out with my good friend in recovery, but they ignored my requests to see her. When I did finally see her, she wasn’t interested in feeding or anything, but we were so in love.

Over the next three days, I felt ignored and manipulated by both the doctor and the hospital staff, even going so far as telling the nurses no outright and having them completely ignore me as I cried. It was a very hard recovery for me, and anytime I talked about it I felt alone, because that was how I was made to feel from the moment we found out she was breech.

Fast forward 3 1/2 years later, and we were expecting our second little girl. This time we planned a homebirth. I refused to feel that way again, and I didn’t. My midwife made me feel cared about. She came at 42 1/2 weeks (thanks to some family drama stresses). It was a long and hard labor, but my husband was there for me the whole time, supporting me. When she was crowning, my body got a huge contraction I couldn’t get control over, which shot her completely out, causing a 4th degree tear with spider web tears. It took two hours to stitch me up, and the last ten or so stitches I was no longer numb, so I felt each and every one. On top of this, my uterus refused to contract afterwards and stop bleeding, so I spent the next several hours with the midwife’s assistant on top of me, her fist ‘massaging’ my uterus. I ended up with a slow hemorrhage, which made it so I couldn’t even walk for the first week, because I was so weak. All the complications were traumatic and I decided I couldn’t do that again. Then, on top of all of that, I developed a bad blood clot two weeks after having her, so ended up in the emergency room to clear it, and needing blood thinners for any additional pregnancies from there on.

Despite being supported, I still felt extremely traumatized from my second birth.

18 months after my 2nd was born, I got my first period (yay breastfeeding). Surprisingly though, my next period didn’t show up and we found out that I was once again pregnant. The anxiety over it was crushing, and I knew that I could not handle another vaginal birth, so we began searching for a doctor to do a gentle repeat C-section.

This pregnancy was extremely hard on me. I didn’t really get morning sickness, but I struggled with debilitating dizziness and blacking out. We ended up finding out that I was struggling with a condition where my blood would pool in my legs and cause my blood pressure to drop 30 points when I was standing so I would black out, and fall. It was very hard to be the mother to two little girls through this, but my husband stepped up to help, and we were able to manage. To add to this, however, we ended up having to sell our home and move out of state a month before baby was due.

We found an OBGYN that would take me so late in the pregnancy, and worked on getting our new home ready to meet our newest family member. Because of the previous blood clot and being on blood thinners, I was high risk, so I had to see a high risk doctor as well as my OBGYN. During the routine appointment with the high risk doctor, we found out that my platelet count was low. This was concerning, because it meant I couldn’t have a spinal or epidural. I was concerned about how this would affect my birth, scared of the idea of being asleep and missing my baby’s birth, but after praying, we again felt that this was the safest option for me for this baby’s birth. We hoped my numbers would go up, but came to terms with the possibility that we would need general anesthesia.

The big day finally came, and we went in to the hospital, got blood drawn to check platelets one last time, IV started, paperwork signed. We all held our breath, waiting for the platelet count to come back, and to meet with the anesthesiologist to see what our birth would be. When the numbers came back, it was disheartening. They had dropped from 82 to 74, risking me out of a spinal. The anesthesiologist came in to talk to us, and started trying to figure out how to tell us that he felt the general would be safest. I cut him off and told him that if he felt that was the safest option for me, that I support his decision and do it. He was really happy to hear that; he had expected a fight.

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They got me a wheel chair and wheeled my into the OR, put me on the table, and got me all prepped. Everyone was apparently in awe of me, because I was making jokes and making everyone around me laugh. I guess they expected me to be more afraid, but prayer had given me the peace I needed to know everything was going to be alright; I wasn’t scared. Finally they put the gas mask on me and I went to sleep.

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When I woke up, they were wheeling me out of the OR. They were all telling me about my little guy, how he had monkey toes and a huge head. I had to be in recovery for a little while, but the nurses kept coming and updating me on his progress, how he was doing. The anesthesiologist even came by to tell me how great everything went, made me feel like I was actually cared about. Finally I was able to go back to my room to see my baby. He latched on perfectly as soon as I had him in my arms, impressing all the nurses.

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The greatest blessing from the whole experience is I didn’t have a single nurse that pushed me to do anything. When I wasn’t well enough to start standing, they let me take my time. When my bleeding wasn’t slowing as quickly as they thought, they made sure to take extra precautions to make sure I wasn’t going to keep bleeding. They respected me and my choices for our care, listened to all my concerns. Most people wouldn’t feel empowered or healed with general anesthesia, but I was, despite not having my baby skin to skin in the OR, my choices were respected, my voice was heard.

One Woman’s Successful Frank Breech Vaginal Hospital Birth

One Woman’s Successful Frank Breech Vaginal Hospital Birth

Let me rewind a little bit…At 37 weeks, we found out via ultrasound that Everett was frank breech. We tried everything we could to turn him. Everything was totally unsuccessful in turning him. He was stubborn and comfortable in his breech position.

Typically, a breech baby these days means a c-section. But I was being told by my midwives that I was THE perfect candidate to attempt a vaginal breech delivery…if I could find an experienced doctor willing to do it. Immediately after that 37 week ultrasound, I started calling every OB in our city (we live in a big city). After dozens of phone calls and lots of No’s, I found someone willing to meet with me to discuss it. We met and after a thorough health history discussion and an extensive examination, we all decided I was a good candidate and we’d do a trial of labor and see how things went.

However, delivering with an OB in a hospital setting meant having to compromise on some things that I wanted. In the mean time we tried everything we could to get him to flip. I saw a chiropractor who used the Webster technique. I saw an acupuncturist for moxibustion acupuncture. I did the spinning babies protocols at home. I shined a bright flash light on my lower belly multiple times a day. I took a homeopathic supplement that’s supposed to encourage flipping. I drank 100+ ounces of water a day to up my amniotic fluid levels, hoping to give him more room to move. And last of all, we tried an EVC (External Cephalic Version).

Then about 39 weeks, the priority went from turning him to encouraging labor to come on it’s own since inductions are not allowed with a breech. My doctor was scheduled to leave the country on September 3rd, so we had a scheduled c-section for September 1st. If he wasn’t here to deliver, I’d end up with a cesarean anyway. I had a deadline for getting this baby out naturally!I had contractions on and off starting around 38.5 weeks, but nothing stuck around (much like my pregnancy with #2). On Thursday September 28th at 39 weeks 3 days, I saw my doc and he did an internal exam to check for dilation. I was 3-4cm but not very effaced. Baby was engaged in my pelvis, but we think not having the pressure of his head on my cervix probably kept me from thinning out like I normally would.

I had some crampy contractions after the internal check (which was at 4pm), but I figured my cervix was just irritated, and they’d go away. We went for a long walk after my appointment to try to get things moving. By 7pm I was still feeling them and they were definitely painful. In the back of my mind I knew they were the real thing, but I didn’t want to jump the gun. I took a long shower after the kids went to bed, did some cleaning, and a little laundry.

By 11pm they were spacing out quite a bit to just a few an hour but still pretty painful. We decided to go to bed and get some sleep. I said a prayer and asked the little boy in my belly to allow me at least a few hours of sleep. But I kind of knew that wouldn’t happen. When had he cooperated up to that point?! I maybe slept 30 minutes before a hard contraction woke me up. Then maybe another 20 minutes and another 15 before I gave up and couldn’t stand to be laying down any longer.

I grabbed my phone and sat up in bed timing them and trying to distract myself from the slight anxiety that started to creep in. Around 2am I decided I was truly in labor with contractions 7ish minutes apart and it was time to pack the last minute stuff and wake up my husband, Corey. I let him know what was going on and decided to take another shower because I was having terrible back labor and the water on my back sounded nice.

I paged my midwife at 2:15am, and she thought it would be a good idea to come to the house and do an internal exam and see where I was at. We called Corey’s mom to come over and sleep on the couch until the girls woke up. I started to get a little nervous that it was a false alarm because my labor pattern was so weird and different from anything I’d experienced before (strong contractions further apart with multiple small ones in between). By the time both of them were here, my midwife determined I was 6cm and my water was bulging. And as soon as everyone arrived, my contractions were picking up in frequency and intensity, so we decided to head to the hospital since my labors move fast. By the time we got there and got into a room, it was almost 4am.

Despite my history of quickly progressing labors and the fact that I was once again GBS positive and needed antibiotics, the L&D nurse completely ignored me. She got me in a room, asked me for a urine sample, and left. We didn’t see her again for 45 minutes (she was too busy chatting with the ladies outside). And she only came into the room at that point because my water had broken and I still didn’t have an IV line inserted, and I was definitely going through transition.

I was incredulous when she told me I had to SIT in the bed while they monitored my and baby’s vitals for 20 straight minutes to make sure he was tolerating labor well before I could go ahead with a breech delivery. HELLO!! Why didn’t she tell me that and get that going the second I got in there?!?! Now I had to sit there for TWENTY a minutes while going through TRANSITION????? I was ready to scream and bite her head off and I made sure she knew I was pissed.

She then proceeded to try to get an IV going. The first time she couldn’t get the vein. The second spot she tried my vein blew and there was blood gushing and dripping down my arm. If I had not been in terrible labor pain and distracted as a result, I’d have definitely passed out. Then she stuck me a THIRD time and was only able to get the needle in half way, but it was enough to get stuff in me so she left it. She was very vocal about how long it took to get a vein since I refused to let her stab me during a contraction (which were coming every 90ish seconds at that point). It was clear early on that this lady and I were not going to get along. I was just SO glad my midwife was there to support me, help me stay sane, and be a mediator between me and this awful nurse.

By the time she had me hooked up, she said if they didn’t get me moved to a delivery room ASAP I might end up having the baby right there. But due to the intensity and frequency of my contractions, it took me 15ish minutes to even get out of the bed and into a wheel chair for her to move me. Which she was clearly annoyed by and also very vocal about. Once I got to a delivery room they were prepped and ready to go. My doc checked me and I was 10 cm, but had a lip on my cervix still and was told I could NOT push yet. Because he was bottom first, it was very important to be fully effaced so we didn’t risk head entrapment.

I had THE worst back labor I have ever had. The level of pain I was experiencing (I assume because of his position) was in another realm from what I’d experienced with either of my girls. I wasn’t able to labor in water because I was so close, and a water birth was out of the question this time around. I started to lose my cool in a way I’ve never done before in labor. And then I was involuntarily pushing and could not stop. They checked me again but I still had a lip and wasn’t supposed to be pushing.

It was at that point that I did something I never thought I’d do, I asked for an epidural. I got THE rudest most disapproving glare and shake of the head from that awful nurse. I was ready to bite her head off! I was in so much pain that I was actually starting to go crazy and I knew the only way I’d be able to not push was to not feel the contractions. I was feeling guilty, but my midwife assured me that it was TOTALLY reasonable to want an epidural this time around and at least I had made it almost the whole way without. She said I likely would not have the drugs in my system long enough for them to cross the placenta and affect the baby. It’s not standard practice to give a woman an epidural at 10 cm, but this was a special case.

There was a chance of needing an episiotomy to make room for baby’s head as well as the possibility that the doc would need to stick his hand up there to flex baby’s head or use forceps for the same reason if baby wasn’t flexing his head on his own. And I didn’t want to feel all that going on. They had an anesthesiologist on standby in the room in case I wanted it for these exact reasons, so as soon as I said the word, they got to work. He was pretty quick, but it was still agonizing to try and sit still through those contractions while he placed the catheter.

Let me just say, one of my biggest motivating factors for natural drug-free childbirth (outside from the whole idea of it’s better for baby to not be doped up) was my fear of needles and the idea of getting one put in my SPINE. Well…it wasn’t bad. AT ALL. I don’t even know why I was so scared (of course, in the moment, all I wanted was that needle in there to start the drugs flowing). And within 5-10 minutes of that being put in, I started to smile and sat back and said “so THIS is why people get these things!!” Hahahaha! It was SUCH a relief. They gave me a low enough dose to still feel the contractions a bit so I knew when to push, but enough to be totally numb in my lady regions. And because I was able to finally relax a little and take some deep breaths, that lip on my cervix was gone in minutes.

It was time to push.Throughout my laboring at the hospital, I’d had several nurses and doctors ask my permission to witness the birth (since a breech delivery is pretty rare). And I said ok to everyone who asked. I figured, it was a learning experience for all, and if it resulted in more women being able to do a vaginal breech delivery, than I was happy to pave the way and be the guinea pig. Corey was really tempted to take full-room selfie but wasn’t sure everyone would appreciate it (particularly that evil L&D nurse). I think it would’ve been pretty funny though!

So with an audience of four doctors, three midwives, and another four or five nurses plus my own midwife and husband, I pushed with all my might! It was pretty weird to feel/watch him coming out bottom first. Once his bottom and legs were out I kept pushing to his shoulder blade. He was just kind of sitting almost cross-legged on the bed waiting for his head to come out, moving a bit but not frantic or anything. Kind of strange and really cool all at the same time.

I think it was at that point that the doc gave me a very small episiotomy, but I can’t remember for sure. It might have been earlier. All I remember is that I was pushing this baby out like my life depended on it. Because his did. Once he was out to his head, I had 3 minutes to push his head out before he’d run out of oxygen since he cord was compressed. I remember the doctor telling someone to watch the clock and said out loud to me “ok Amber, we’ve got 3 minutes. Plenty of time. You’re doing great. Let’s just finish up the job.” He then used forceps to flex his head as he was not flexing on his own, and about 30 seconds later, he was out! I think I pushed a total of 5-10 minutes from start to finish. He had zero breathing problems and apgar scores of a 9 and 10. He was immediately placed on my chest while I delivered the placenta and got stitched up.

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I’m not a crier. It was the only time I’ve ever cried at one of my childrens’ births. Not because I’m not emotional or ridiculously happy, I just don’t express my feelings with tears usually. But this time I was just SO relieved and happy that he was here safe and sound that I couldn’t help it.He was born at 6:25am. He was gorgeous. It was weird not seeing a cone-shaped head on him. He nursed almost immediately like a pro.We were somewhat like celebrities among the hospital staff during our stay but in a good way. “Oh!! YOU are the breech delivery????!! Congrats and way to go!!!” Recovery has been tougher with the episiotomy. I had one with my first baby, but I wasn’t chasing two toddlers around while trying to heal. But I wouldn’t trade the vaginal delivery for anything. Sooo glad we did it and so thankful we found a doc willing to do it!!I want my experience to help empower other ladies to have breech deliveries if they’re the right candidate for it!

by Amber Hansen

My Breech Twin Vaginal Birth After Three Miscarriages

My Breech Twin Vaginal Birth After Three Miscarriages

My story starts with the journey of getting pregnant and what I endured to get these precious babies.

My husband and I got married June 2012 and had the most amazing honeymoon filled with love. We decided for me to stop taking birth control and to see what happens. I found out I was pregnant in October, 2012.

Before I could celebrate or be happy, I started bleeding. I was so confused. Was I really pregnant? I took 6 tests and all were positive. I thought I was just 2 weeks late on my period, because I was in denial that I was pregnant until I passed a small sac. I never really grieved it because I didn’t believe it was real.

A month later I had one of the most realistic and vivid dreams of my life. I saw Jesus in a white robe, holding a baby. He said, “It’s okay child, He will be okay, I will take care of him.” I woke up and cried and felt a wave of something majestic. Some days I feel guilty about not letting the miscarriage sink in, and not properly grieving it. I named this baby, Joey.

We got pregnant again in January, 2012! I was so excited! I immediately called my Mom to tell her the good news! My first week of knowing I was pregnant flew by and by week 5 I started getting tired and having pregnancy symptoms. Week 6 rolled by and my phone app said my baby had a heartbeat. I grew more in love everyday. Week 7 came and I thought wow, this is really happening, I’m going to be a mom. I secretly knew it was a girl, although that was something I kept to myself.

I was 8 weeks 1 day when everything changed… I started spotting. I went right to my doctor for an ultrasound. I was so nervous and anxious, praying everything was okay. I was laying there staring at the ultrasound screen anxiously waiting for those words, “Here is your baby, this is the heartbeat….” But instead I hear “This right here is your gestational sac and it looks like the baby didn’t develop properly.” I was numb, I didn’t even cry right away. She said that we would need to do a D&C. My doctor left the room and I took a picture of the screen. I sat there and stared at the empty sac, still in disbelief.

I got in my car and lost it. I started bawling. I could barely breathe. My Husband called hoping for good news. The words came out of my mouth for the first time, “The baby didn’t make it.” “What?”, was his reply. “Are you okay. Where are you? I’m coming.” I sat in the parking lot and my heart was literally hurting. My husband got there, got out and hugged me. I couldn’t talk. I thought to myself, did I let him down? Why me? What did I do wrong? The following weeks were some of the hardest of my life. I was very upset. I didn’t understand why I had to go through this. I dreamed about becoming pregnant for a while and imagined it to be so wonderful, but my dream just became a nightmare.

People didn’t really know what to say to me. Some people avoided it, some people said it wasn’t meant to be, some people said they were sorry and left it at that. I took a 2 weeks off of work… still awaiting my D&C. I was definitely in 7 stages of grieving and there was a clear sense of denial even after seeing 2 ultrasounds that clearly showed a non viable pregnancy. I thought maybe my tilted uterus is hiding the baby.

The morning of the D&C was emotional for me. I went through the procedure and woke up feeling empty and alone, even though I had a nurse there. I went home and slept all day. I woke up the next morning and wanted to start getting through this. I went through days of hopefulness, days of anger, bitterness and jealousy. I had a sadness that no one understood and a want for my baby that was so strong. I swear I saw a pregnant women everywhere I went- reminding me of what I wasn’t capable of. The world around me was pregnant and I was just living in it. My Mom kept reminding me that I would be a Mom someday, but there was a worry deep in the pit of my stomach that it wouldn’t happen. I didn’t want to go out because I knew that I would keep seeing things would remind me of my losses. At times I would just lay in my bed crying. My Mom and I came up with the name Stella for her. I wanted to start trying again after one cycle, and that is what we did. I didn’t think I would get pregnant again right away and to be honest I was still scared.

I woke up on a Saturday morning in May and I just felt like I was pregnant. I thought that was silly because I would have only been 3 weeks 3 days. I tested anyways. I got out a pregnancy test and nervously took it. I saw a faint but visible line! I started smiling, could it be? I got on my knees and thanked God. I felt so blessed, I felt like I was given another chance to have a sweet, beautiful baby. I rubbed my non existent belly/ baby bump and said” Thank you for picking me as your Mommy, I love you so much already”. I wanted to get creative on how to tell my husband because the first two times I just told him. I got a onesie and ironed on I love my dad in Bosnian (my husbands first language), along with the positive test. He was shocked and also informed me I spelled it wrong. I went right away for an HCG and Progesterone test. I had a good feeling, I tried to stay positive. My Dr’s nurse called me and said that the HCG was rising  now like it should and but my Progesterone was low. My heart sunk, and I asked if there was anything I could do. She said she called in Progesterone and to pick it up right away and take it. I took the rest of the day off, called my mom and rushed to the pharmacy. In my mind I thought that this couldn’t happen again. I was so scared.

I went to my Mom’s house and there was a lot of crying and hugging. I hadn’t even lost the baby yet nor did I know if I was going to lose it, but somehow I felt defeated. I even thought stupid things like well maybe I’m not meant to be a Mom. My Brother very quickly reminded me that I have so much love to give to a baby and that I was born to be a mommy to either my own biological baby or adopted baby. I had HCG tests every 2 days. The doctor was cautiously optimistic. My levels were still rising but not doubling every 2-3 days. At 6.5 weeks I got a miracle phone call. My levels doubled in 2 days. Finally the news I was desperate to hear! I cried tears of joy. We scheduled an ultrasound for the next week.

I went to my ultrasound appointment and we didn’t see anything but my doctor said it was probably too early. He saw a “hotspot” meaning that’s where the baby implanted and was growing, it was just too early to see the baby’s heartbeat. I felt calm and I knew the next ultrasound we would see the baby.

Three days later, my life changed again. I started bleeding. I stayed calm and told myself that I was okay because I wasn’t cramping. That night I passed a small clot and stayed in bed all day and the next days to come. A few days later I passed a large clot and I just knew that I would be miscarrying again. I started cramping and my world was shattered again. I went to the ER and passed a lot of blood. I had full on contractions. I tried to be at peace. I talked to my baby I named Anthony as I was miscarrying, and it helped me. I felt so broken, so useless. My body wasn’t capable of carrying a baby. I wondered how people would perceive it. Once again “why me” kept popping up in my head. I knew I had to do something to figure out why I kept losing my babies. I did a lot of research and finally went to a reproductive endocrinologist.

She was wonderful and helped us figure out the issue: low Progesterone, short luteal phase and MTHFR mutation. We started Clomid and got pregnant immediately. I was so happy but still rightfully scared. Our first ultrasound was set for 6 weeks. We waited for the tech and my heart was racing. She said how many babies do you think there are and I said I thought we were having twins. She turned the machine on and looked around and I could see it! Two sacs. Then she showed us something that would change my life. There were heartbeats! Two healthy, perfect little babies. My dreams had come true.

twins

I had a pretty uneventful wonderful pregnancy. I was very positive and didn’t see the aches and pains as a bad thing as I felt so blessed! We were beyond excited when we found out they were girls. We had a big gender reveal party and everyone was so happy. It seems every milestone we got to kept happening quicker and quicker. The biggest was making it to 30 weeks. That was one I was really happy about.

Maternity Shoot

At 32 weeks there was protein in my urine and I had elevated blood pressure, so my doctor wanted to monitor me twice a week. My labs and 24 hour urine test stayed pretty moderate and weren’t too concerning yet.

One morning at 34 weeks 2 days I woke up with severe upper abdominal pain that I tried to ease with a bath and laying down but I couldn’t move or breathe without it hurting. I decided to go to labor and delivery to be checked out. I arrived and my blood pressure was high. They consulted with my doctor and did labs. I was diagnosed with pre eclampsia. My doctor came to talk to me about my options because he was concerned if he sent me home I would end up back in labor and delivery that week and the few extra days of development wouldn’t really be a make or break in the health of the babies compared to the risk of the pre eclampsia. He checked my cervix and I was 2.5 cm and 50% effaced. He felt that it was in everyone’s best interest to induce me.

Gown

I called my husband and told him that I was being induced that day and he needed to go home to get some stuff and meet me at the hospital. I’m sure he was feeling a ton of emotions.  The nurse gave me an IV with fluids and gave me some apple sauce and cereal as my last meal before I was given Pitocin.

My husband arrived and it was go time! At 4:45pm the nurse gave me my first taste of Pitocin. My mom arrived and I tried to sleep but couldn’t. I didn’t really feel much pain or the contractions at that point. I was riding on adrenaline and it took a while to feel contractions. At 6:30pm my doctor came back to check me and I had progressed to 3.5 cm, but he unexpectedly broke my water. I’m actually glad I wasn’t warned of it because I probably would have tensed up in anticipation. That was when the fun started!

labor

I started getting stronger contractions. My mom and husband rotated giving me back rubs since I was having pretty bad back labor. I didn’t make much progress by 9pm. I felt discouraged as my contractions were bad enough that I though I would have progressed more. I was in pain and wanted an epidural. The anesthesiologist came in and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It didn’t hurt and I felt relaxed immediately.

I was checked at 11:30 PM and I was 4cm. We decided to change my position and use a peanut ball between my legs. I will tell anyone wanting to have a vaginal birth to use the peanut ball! Only an hour later at 12:30 AM I got uncomfortable, partly because my epidural was wearing off- I called my nurse in. I wanted to switch positions as well as tell her I had the feeling I needed to go to the bathroom. She decided to check me and I was 9.5 cm. When she said that I was completely shocked! How did I go from 4cm to 9.5cm in an hour? My husband was sleeping on the couch and I called his name to wake him up, I said 9.5! He said what? I said 9.5 centimetres. He got up quickly and didn’t know what to do.

Meanwhile the nurse wouldn’t leave since the babies head was right there.  She called my doctor. My husband had the pleasure of holding my right leg up as the nurse took my left and on my next contraction I had my first experience with pushing. My nurse was surprised at how good I was at it because after two practice pushes she said stop. If I kept going she would be delivering Arijana. My husband got scrubbed up since I was delivering in the OR. It was very interesting to have contractions and not push. I had to breath through them and focus on keeping her in.

My doctor got there and they wheeled me into the OR where they deliver twins in case of the possibility of an emergency cesarean. I lifted myself up and moved to the bed and all the nurses were wondering how I could feel my legs to do that. I told them the epidural wore off and I was completely mobile. I remember music being on and while they were setting up and I thought it was funny the song We Will Rock You was on. I guess it was a good song to give me some energy to do this.

My doctor was ready and it was go time. On my next contraction I pushed twice and Arijana was out at 1:36 am. I was teary eyed and in awe of my sweet baby I just gave birth to.

Arijana

They did a quick ultrasound to see where Isabella was positioned, and she was still breech and very high up. He said he wouldn’t be able to turn her. I thought that meant he would have to do a c-section. As I thought this, I hear him say, “So that means were gonna deliver her breech.” He broke Isabella’s water. Having a baby breech was a totally different feeling. I felt her legs were out and with 2 pushes I pushed her head out and she was here at 1:41 am. The song Yesterday by the Beatles was on when I gave birth to Isabella.

I laid there shocked. I just gave birth vaginally to two babies with pre-eclampsia and one baby was breech. I felt like a total rockstar!

Isabella

Seeing Arijana for the first time was amazing. I got to look at her and talk to her for a few minutes before I gave birth to Isabella.

Snuggle

I was able to see them a few minutes before they took them to the NICU as a precaution to monitor them to see if they needed to stay longer. I got wheeled back into the labor room where my mom was and she was shocked at how fast it happened. She was proud of me and so happy I got to have the girls the way I wanted. I told my husband to go with the babies. My Mom and I cried at the pictures my husband was sending me. I so badly wanted to be with them and that was hard.

An hour later I was finally able to go to my postpartum room and the NICU to see the girls. I immediately breastfed Isabella and she latched on amazingly! I had a picture perfect delivery with active labor only lasting 4 hours. I am so lucky and fortunate it went so well and the girls are healthy. Arijana weighed 4lbs 10oz and Isabella weighed 4lbs 3oz. They needed to stay in the NICU for 18 days and it was very hard to leave them, but they’re now home with us and although I’m barely getting any sleep, my heart is so full with these two beautiful & amazing daughters of ours. I can’t wait to watch them grow.

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Natural Breech Birth at Home

Natural Breech Birth at Home

Jessica Winquist shares the story of her daughter’s breech birth – a beautiful, natural birth at home. 

At my 32-week check, my midwife, Sarah*, found the Cub (our nickname for the baby-to-be) to be breech. We were planning a home birth in New York City, and New York State home birth regulations prohibit breech home births. Also, a C-section for breech presentation is considered the standard of care in NYC. Over the next few weeks, we tried everything to get the Cub to turn, but nothing worked; not even the external cephalic version. We barely slept the night after the ECV. Our options were to schedule the C-section, pay over $15,000 for the one doctor in NYC who does breech vaginal deliveries (in a hospital nonetheless), or drive while in labor to upstate New York to a midwife who is known for doing breech deliveries. All of these options sounded terrible, so I called Sarah and begged her for the umpteenth time to allow me to have a breech home birth. In spite of her own fears and hesitation because of the legality of breech home delivery, Sarah agreed. The Cub was frank breech (butt first), which is the safest type of breech delivery. We understood the risks associated with breech delivery and made an informed decision to move forward with our home birth.

On Saturday, September 13, 2014, I woke up feeling extra achy and uncomfortable, but I didn’t let it slow me down. I made Chris breakfast, and then we headed downtown to run errands. All day I kept asking Chris to rub my lower back, but I really wasn’t sure if the aches and pains meant anything. When we got home from a friend’s birthday dinner that night, I of course had to pee. When I finished peeing, tons more “pee” came out. I sat there for a minute not sure if I was imagining that my water had broken. I yelled for Chris that I thought my water had broken. He came running and asked why I thought that – I said I had never experienced my water breaking before, and he said neither had he (with more than a little panic in his voice); and we just stared at each other for a minute. It was clear that my water really had broken when I got up from the toilet and the “pee” didn’t stop. I called Sarah and she told me I probably had a while until the contractions began so I should get some sleep. It is very hard to sleep with that much excitement!

In the early morning, I texted the friends who I wanted to know, and talked to my mom about her coming down from upstate New York. My mom arrived at our apartment at around 12:30pm, while I was baking the Cub’s very first birthday cake and some lactation cookies.

1.1 1.2

I had started feeling little contractions around 9am, but they were really irregular and not very painful. Stephanie, the acupuncturist who tried to get the Cub to turn to a vertex presentation, came over at 2:30pm to help kick start labor. After she left, contractions became more regular (about every 6 minutes) and stronger. Chris and I went for a walk to get food from the diner and to the pharmacy for castor oil. At 4:52pm, while in line at the pharmacy, I felt more of a gush. When we got to the diner, I checked and I had lost the rest of my mucus plug (I had lost some of it about an hour and a half earlier). When we got home, we went up to our rooftop to walk laps and to watch the sunset (and later on we enjoyed the night sky). The contractions did pick up in strength and frequency.

2.1

2.2

I also took some castor oil at 6pm, so perhaps that was a factor in making things progress. At 6:45pm, the castor oil “kicked in” and the contractions starting gaining in strength, frequency and duration. Chris says that the contractions lengthened to a minute long and were consistently 3 minutes apart but I really didn’t notice clocks at all. At 7pm, on the roof, I had a contraction that lasted about 3 minutes (or perhaps just 3 contractions back to back). That was when it felt like we were getting down to business!

At 11pm I asked my doula, Emily, to come over because I felt like she could be helpful to me in relaxing. I had mixed up some aromatherapy tinctures a few weeks before and Emily used the one for pain management when rubbing my back. I definitely think it helped (not to mention how much Emily’s massage therapy skills helped). I started feeling shaky and there were some tears shed as the pain level increased. It wasn’t because of the pain that I got teary so much as the anxiety associated with it; but I quickly calmed myself down. Whenever Emily walked away to do something and a contraction would come, I would yell for her because the counter-pressure on my back really saved me. This became even truer after I got into the tub and hit transition. The contractions were now about 2 minutes apart.

3.1

3.2

Chris went to get some sleep, and I felt in good hands with Emily. Chris ended up sleeping until just shortly before Sarah arrived at 2am. I was annoyed with him for sleeping for so long, but I also knew he needed his strength. He wasn’t experiencing the same adrenaline rush!

When Sarah came in, she saw me talking, and thought that I had called for her too early. But she was so surprised when she checked me and said I was 6cm but could easily be stretched to 7cm. She was just amazed that during contractions I was all business but when they ended I went back to chatting. I just felt relaxed and happy being in my own home surrounded by people I trusted. Chris filled the tub after Sarah checked me and I got into the water right as transition hit, around 3am.

4.1 CROPPED

4.2

Transition mostly consisted of back-to-back contractions that upped the pain level to an 11, but only during the peaks. During the contractions I would hold onto Chris and vocalize while Emily pushed on my back. This is definitely when I needed people to breathe with me to keep me from hyperventilating. The contractions were so intense but it really helped me to know that they would end and I would get a break. Sometimes the breaks were very short, but even getting a small window where things were calm kept me calm. I had the Hypnobabies “Easy First Stage” track on throughout the entire labor. A lot of the time it was just in the background and I ignored it, but it soothed me a lot just to have it on. Everyone agreed that it relaxed me and was great.

5.1

5.2

At 5am, I asked Sarah if I could push, because it made the contractions hurt less if I pushed a little. She said I could, but that also she wanted to check me. It was tough for me to be on my back, even in the water, but I endured it for one contraction while she checked. She said I was fully dilated and could push. I pushed in the water for just a little while; because honestly, the water was pretty nasty with bodily fluids by this point, and I just wanted to get out. So first I went to the toilet and pushed there, but that didn’t last very long. Then I moved to the birth stool in my bedroom. I sat on it facing everyone except Chris, who was on the bed behind me, and whom I held onto for dear life between contractions. The contractions followed a pattern – initially they were very painful and it felt like the Cub was literally stretching me open, but then the feeling would change to an intense need to push. Once my body was bearing down, it was hard for me to not push with everything I had in me. I was pouring sweat and the level of intensity in those contractions was astounding. After spending about an hour (I assume?) on the birth stool, I moved to hands and knees on the bed. I liked this position but the birth assistant, Ellen, kept trying to get me to try something different. I just kept saying no to her and that I couldn’t move. I never said I couldn’t push this baby out but I firmly believed she was nuts for thinking I could do things like lunges at that moment.

At one point, the Cub’s heart rate was elevated; so Ellen asked me not to push for two contractions. That was CRAZY. I kept alternating between pushing and panting through those because it felt literally impossible for me to not push at all. It was enough to bring the Cub’s heart rate back down. I kept pushing on my hands and knees but Ellen wanted me to give my pelvis some asymmetry to help the Cub with fitting through (hence the request that I try lunges!). I rolled into a side-lying position, and as soon as I did that, a huge contraction hit and I bore down with all of my might. Chris was behind me and held my leg up while the Cub’s butt was delivered. Out came her butt, after which she immediately pooped and peed. Then her legs came out one at a time. I pushed again and her torso was out. Everyone rolled me back onto hands and knees (I didn’t help them do it at all – I just went with it) so that gravity would help to get the Cub’s head out. Next, her arms came out one at a time and then her shoulders were out. This was the MOST insane feeling. To know that her body was entirely outside of me but to feel the crazy pressure and pain of her head still inside was just astounding. After two or three pushes with every bit of strength I could muster, out came her head. We had a baby after 2 hours and 15 minutes of pushing!

I was on my hands and knees, and really just in shock. I looked at Chris and he was crying so I started to cry and then we kissed before even turning to look at the baby. Sarah was holding her and telling me to turn around but I was so stunned that it took me a bit to realize she was talking to me and that I was supposed to turn over. I maneuvered myself around the umbilical cord and watched as Sarah tried to get the Cub to cry. She was still getting oxygen from the umbilical cord, but she looked so dazed. She wasn’t breathing or crying but she was looking around the room. Sarah kept trying to annoy her into crying, but that didn’t work; so she stuck the tube down her throat to clear it out, and then gave her oxygen to try to get her lungs started. Sarah had to repeat those steps twice, but eventually the Cub started making noise (although not crying) and she pinked up. After a few minutes, Sarah had Chris cut the cord, and the Cub was free. She had a bruise on her right hip, so she was probably at an angle coming through the birth canal, and me lying on my side made my pelvis asymmetrical and helped her to be born. That fulfilled the “lunge” request without me actually having to do lunges! The Cub’s APGAR score was a 6 at 1 minute, and an 8 at 5 minutes – not perfect, but I’ll take it!

6.1

6.2

I was bleeding (a normal amount) and cramping while holding the Cub, so I handed her to Chris so I could finish my work. I pushed a little and felt the placenta start to detach, and then Sarah checked and knew it was close to coming out. So she pulled slightly on the cord while I gave a small push and it was an instant relief to have that separate. The placenta was HUGE (we weighed it: 2.5 lbs!) and I got 130 pills from having it encapsulated!

I only had one skid mark, so Sarah said it would heal on its own. I was in some pain, but overall felt really good. It was just so wonderful to have the breech home birth that I envisioned. I felt like a warrior woman. Welcome to the world, Dahlia Miriam! Born on Monday, September 15, 2014 at 7:15am, weighing 7 lbs 8 oz and measuring 20 inches long.

7.1

new

*Name changed to protect our midwife’s identity because of the legal implications of this birth story.

Surprise Breech Delivery {Home Birth}

Surprise Breech Delivery {Home Birth}

So, 8 months ago I gave birth to my first baby – a beautiful boy, a healthy 3.6kg (8 pound), delivered breech, vaginally, at home! He wasn’t diagnosed breech by my midwives & Dr’s, his position was not easily detected by feel as his legs were up around his head & everything more or less felt the way is should. -Alanna

I had a wonderful & straightforward pregnancy, so we decided to go for the Home birth option as it was something i was really keen on. At 40 weeks & 1 day I woke up at 3am with mild contractions. I was so excited I woke up my partner to tell him the good news- to which he replied, Midwives orders – go back to sleep you need to save your energy!! I couldn’t sleep, so got up & baked (as you do!). I made lentil & veg pies for dinner, & muffins to snack on during the day.

I did go back to bed, and then to the couch, and then back to bed, and so on for the best part of the day.

At about 6pm the contractions started to increase slightly, although I had it in my head that I would be laboring well into the night as I’d been told first babies can take their time! We sat down for some dinner (although I did more of a pace around, eat between contractions sort of thing) and then hopped into the shower. I told my partner he should call the midwives & as I was feeling a lot of pressure like I was needing to push.

I hopped into the birth pool, my waters broke (with a loud pop! Wasn’t like the lovely warm gush I had seen in so many movies), and soon after the midwives arrived. This was a huge relief & they said I could start pushing if that’s what I needed to do. The midwives saw that there was some meconium in the bottom of the pool & asked me to hop out as they could not see what was happening.

After a vaginal examination they determined that my baby was coming bum first! They had to ask whether (for legal reasons) I wanted to call an ambulance, or carry on at home. I just remember looking at my partner, squeezing his hand really tight & crying. My midwife said,  “It’s OK, it’s the same labour, same amount of work for you, the baby is fine and you can do this.”

So we carried on.

About 45 mins later my little guy was born, bum first, then the legs sprang out & down, then finally his head was born. He was arrived at around 9:45pm. The most vivid image I have is of bending over & seeing his little body hanging from me, his head still inside, and thinking just one more push and I can hold my baby. It was almost surreal.

home birth

It wasn’t until the days after that the immensity of it all dawned on me. I asked my midwives all the ‘what if’ questions I hadn’t thought to ask when I was pregnant. It had never even crossed my mind that I would birth a breech baby.

breech midwife birth
breech home birth

In hindsight I’m glad it wasn’t diagnosed. I think my whole pregnancy would have become about the breech factor, trying to turn baby, and probably accepting that my dreams of a natural, vaginal, home birth were not going to be a possibility.

As it were I was blissfully unaware, and in the end all went more or less to plan. I would not change a thing. There are always risks with any birth, & for us it came down to the trust we had in our midwives. I don’t think you can underestimate the role of your care givers, especially in a situation like this where you’re thrown a complete curve-ball right in the middle of your transition phase!

It’s like that saying (one of my favorite labor mantras) – She believed she could, and so she did.

Home Breech Birth 2003

Home Breech Birth 2003

Well, this photo is of my planned breech home birth in 2003. My little girl is still very cautious and likes to “test the waters” before jumping into anything.

image

I was 38 weeks when my midwife discovered a little head under my ribs. I did all the visualizations, yoga inversion poses, wore bells low down, etc. to get her to turn, but she was determined to stay where she was. I did not want to do an ECV (External Cephalic Version, a procedure to turn the baby) as I felt there was a reason she wanted to be that way, so I didn’t.

My midwife discussed all of my options with me and I did agreed to an ultrasound (my first ever in 3 pregnancies) and negotiated by my midwife so she felt comfortable about the position. I knew the whole time that we would be absolutely fine and kept reassuring my poor nervous midwife. I felt most comfortable at home and knew the hospital environment was not an optimal birthing space for me. I chose not to tell anyone about what I was doing as I knew the reactions I would have received would not be positive.

My midwife was an incredible educator and lent me many books to read so I had a full understanding of the physiology of breech birth and of the maneuvers she may need to use if necessary. We discussed and negotiated many other things along the way and worked together with some compromises so we were both happy with the situation.

This labor was a bit slower than the others and very gentle (the bottom is a lot softer than the head so there was not the same pressure on the cervix), I spent most of it walking, climbing cliffs to waterfalls and being outside by the fire. After ten hours, I went into the birthing pool (cow trough) and began second stage. I found the pushing more challenging than my other births, however in the end I birthed my baby who was born doing the splits with the longest umbilical cord ever ( I still feel if I had done the ECV she could have knotted her cord)

I am so grateful to the wonderful midwife who allowed me to birth at home. The experience was empowering and inspiring and I hope more people come to realize that breech is a variation of normal.

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