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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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A Vaginal Breech Birth with Yoga, Meditation and Visualizations {Take Note, America}

A Vaginal Breech Birth with Yoga, Meditation and Visualizations {Take Note, America}

My water broke when I was 35 weeks. It was an “oh no!” moment. I really wished I’d peed myself, but knew I hadn’t. She’d been breech all along. Despite my inversions, remedies, and visualizations, I knew she hadn’t turned. Maybe I should have been concerned about her being preterm. In reality, my first concern was that I was on my way to the operating room. So much for that waterbirth I’d wanted.

There was an eerie calm in the car as we drove to the hospital. Our son came with us. We’re a military family living overseas. My parents were coming to help with birth logistics but they weren’t scheduled to arrive for another month. This emergency C-section was going to be a family affair.

Months earlier I’d opted out of care at the base hospital. My son was born at a military facility. His birth was phenomenal, empowering, and un-medicated. We have a picture of him wearing the t-shirt they put on all the newborns: “property of the US government”. Really they mean it; don’t take the t-shirt home. I’m a big fan of military medicine. But for some reason when it was time to enroll in prenatal care for our daughter, I had a visceral feeling that we belonged with the British caregivers at the NHS.

They put me on a monitor and brought us some tea. The OB came in to explain our options. Options?!? I had options! We could choose to have a Cesarean right then. We could try an external version and an induction. Or we could let labor progress and deliver her vaginally.

My husband, in a shining moment of feminism, told me it was my body and he trusted me to decide. My answer to him was, “I am confident I can birth her.” That shocked me a bit because it felt 100% true, yet I wasn’t sure if it should be true.

Twelve hours later, we were walking the halls before visiting hours ended, 1960s-style visiting hours being one of the few detractions of our NHS birth experience. I told my husband that I needed to give myself permission to really labor. I’d been holding it off all day. He went home. I decided to take a nap and then have my baby. And I did.

When I woke up from my nap, I started doing yoga, child’s pose in a curtained off corner of a bay of metal beds that look like they came off the set of a WWII movie. That military hospital’s looking pretty glamorous right about now. I meditate on the word “courage” and press my forehead into the thin mattress, telling my baby that I will open my cervix for her, I will press my head against this bed and we’ll just pretend it’s your head pressing against my cervix. Things are moving along now.

There are no monitors. No nurses. No doula. No dad. It’s just me and this upside down baby and God, and the mom three beds down who thankfully took a sleeping pill. Our next meditation is “faith”. Somehow this is going to be ok. We do a lot of cat-cow.

We make 35 trips to the bathroom down the hall. This is so not the spa version of American childbirth. Pacing, swaying, lunges; “patience”.

Now it’s getting real. My hips ache in a way they never did birthing my son. It’s like I need them to move out of the way so her hips can work their way past mine. “Work”. This is going to be work. Horse pose. Warrior. Lizard. Monkey. When my prenatal yoga teacher said we were going to do monkey pose I was all into it until it became clear that she meant for us to do the splits. Now I do every hip opener I can contort myself into. I’m getting louder too. The midwives pop in to check on me once in a while, then they leave us to our work.

24 hours after my water broke, we enter our last gate: “Love”. No more yoga poses, just lots of “oooooo-pen” vocalizations as the midwives rush me to a delivery suite. I was a bit like an animal, bothered by the bright lights and loud noises. The next hour was a little less zen than the four hours that preceded it, but no less miraculous: Matilda Jane, 5lbs 12 oz and who knows how long because they don’t measure them in England.

The secondar miracle is that an OB caught my breech baby. In a hospital. On purpose. As an American, I still can hardly believe it. He cried when I explained how it is in the States and how blessed I felt to have the team of providers that we had with us in that room.

This was the mainstream medicine approach. We didn’t do anything sneaky or even unconventional. I walked into the emergency room with preterm labor and walked out of the hospital a few days later without so much as a single stitch, carrying a perfectly healthy baby girl. Take note, America.

international vaginal breech birth

Double Footling Breech Birth Adventure {Vaginal Hospital Birth}

Double Footling Breech Birth Adventure {Vaginal Hospital Birth}

“I am a chiropractor who specializes in pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic. I am certified in the Webster technique which is a special technique/analysis that helps balance a mom’s pelvic bones and ligaments via a chiropractic adjustment and also helps take stress/torque off of the uterus by finding trigger points on the round ligaments. Not only does it help mom feel and function her best but it helps baby get into the optimal position for childbirth. Ironically, my baby happened to be hanging out happily breech at 39 weeks pregnant.” – Crystal

I had been getting adjusted regularly (almost daily), doing inversions and breech tilts (spinning babies), visualization, ice/heat pack, playing soft music at my pubic bone, etc… BUT my baby boy really was enjoying sitting Indian style/cannon ball in my uterus! My care started off with Alpharetta Women’s Specialists midwife Janet and plans for a North Fulton Hospital waterbith as I had planned with my first son, Alex, who is now 2.5 years. I knew from my first labor and delivery that not all things happen according to the “birth plan” but never did I expect to be full term and not even know who my provider or hospital would be, let alone come to find out at 37.5 weeks that baby boy was not head down.

My midwife, Janet was pregnant and began transferring all her patients due around the holidays (my EDD is 12/23) to another midwife group. Unfortunately ISIS had a midwife whose son had died over Thanksgiving and could not take me, so I was transferred to North Fulton Women’s Specialists. I had one appointment there with the new midwife, Michele, and Dr. Mudugno (whom I saw a couple times at my post-partum checkups from having my first son with Diane Tandy a couple years ago). I was given the option to have an External Cephalic Version performed first thing Monday morning at the hospital in order to get him to turn. I was agreeable to this, seeing as how 1 or 2 out of the 3 OB’s at this new practice were not comfortable doing vaginal breech delivery and I would likely end up with a C section if he wasn’t turned by the time I went into labor.

At the hospital, prior to my ECV, I picked the brains of a nurse that had worked there for a couple decades. I asked if vaginal breech delivery was allowed/ever performed there. She said, not intentionally and hasn’t been done in a very long time. This is when I knew I had to get in with either Dr. Bootstaylor or Dr. Tate ASAP. By the way, the ECV was unsuccessful after two very painful attempts. The Terbutaline Sulfate given to me to relax my uterus, made the rest of my body a nervous wreck. Come to find out that it can cause tremors, tachycardia, palpitations, all of which were happening to me while my baby was getting pushed and pulled in-utero. Not fun! I’m also wondering if I had a mild/moderate allergic reaction because I am allergic to Sulfa drugs. Anyway…

Dr. Tate was booked solid and I couldn’t get an appointment with him until Thursday so I decided to have a consultation with Dr. Bootstaylor Tuesday morning to get his perspective and the diagnostics on this baby’s dimensions via an ultrasound. I was really impressed with all of the midwives at Intown Midwifery and Dr. Bootstaylor when I attended an Intown Midwifery Meet & Greet the prior week. It was confirmed that my baby boy was complete breech, weighing approximately 8.5 pounds based on femur measurement. Dr. Bootstaylor informed me that he will only deliver frank breech (butt presenting first) due to a couple risk factors of cord prolapse, feet coming first, etc. He said we can just wait and see if baby decides to change, I can go into labor spontaneously and then have a c-sect or schedule a c-sect for after 39 weeks. I knew I still had to talk with Dr. Tate and Thursday couldn’t come soon enough.

At my first appointment with Dr. Tate I loved the fact that he took the time (3 hours) to share with me all of the pros/cons of breech vaginal birth. He gave the most thorough informed consent that I have ever experienced and had me sign a few forms about what we discussed. Not too many doctors are willing to take the time to explain the risks, side effects, benefits and alternatives in this much detail. It was so important to me that I got all of the facts to make an informed confident decision. He did a head/body ratio analysis of the baby and my score was a 0.91. He said he is willing to deliver breech vaginally since anything under a 1.1 is ideal for this scenario. I was so relieved to hear this. This meant my baby’s abdomen was the same size or even slightly larger than his head at this point. So during a breech delivery if I am able to push out the butt/body/abdomen then I should have no problem pushing out his head, avoiding one of the risks of breech vaginal delivery, head entrapment. He also stated I had a “proven pelvis” which means I have pushed out an 8.8 pound baby with no complications in the past. My “homework” was lots of walking, sex and nipple stimulation! Sounds like work at 39 weeks pregnant! Lol!

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Given my options and the probability of success for vaginal breech delivery I chose to go into labor spontaneously. My baby boy was in the complete breech presentation (he was basically sitting cannon ball/Indian style) at the appointment with Dr. Tate. I promised to call when either my water broke or my contractions are at 6-8 minutes apart every hour. I continued to get adjusted because, regardless if the baby turns or not, chiropractic care helps the body function at its best which I need for an optimal delivery!

12/17/12 7:25 AM Woken up from sleep by a contraction. I felt another about 5 minutes later. I began using the contraction timer I had downloaded on my iPhone the night before. Ironic that I felt the need to go out with my fiancé and 2 year old son as our last meal for a family of 3 the night before! I even took my 39 week pic in front of our Christmas tree and wrote this jingle/caption, “My Christmas Jingle: All dressed up and nowhere to go! It’s raining outside and I wish it were snow. 39 weeks pregnant and 1 to go? Alex is excited to meet his little brother and Santa Claus. Ho ho ho!”

After about 30 minutes of the contractions I realized they were consistently 5-7 minutes apart and I got in touch with my doula and my parents, letting them know what was going on. Since my first son’s labor was over 27 hours I thought I had plenty of time to labor through this first phase in the comfort of my home. My 2.5 year old son and fiancé were sound asleep in bed. I got up and began finishing up the laundry, packing the rest of the hospital bags, getting breakfast ready for my son and his overnight bags packed for the friend of ours that would pick him up from daycare. In this amount of time (2 hours or so) I was able to observe my contractions lasting about 50 seconds, every 5 minutes, consistently. My fiancé woke around 9 and I called Dr. Tate’s office at 9:30 to tell them my progress. I was surprised when they told me to go in to the hospital as soon as possible. I decided I would take a shower and shave my legs before I woke up my son to get him ready for daycare. I hardly felt the contractions in the shower so I extended my stay in there but once I got out, contractions hit me so hard that I began sweating through them, dropped to my hands and knees during them and had to recruit my fiancé for sacral counterpressure to alleviate the intensity. My son woke up worrying about mommy, grabbed mommy’s hand and said “I help you, mommy. I help you.” So sweet! I realized my contractions were getting more serious and productive when my son asked me to read him a book and I couldn’t read 3 words in a row because of the pressure and intensity. It was time to get gone! Lol! After I started saying, “Dear God, help us all.” (My mantra during Alex’s labor/delivery!) My fiance also started realizing we needed to have been on the road a while ago.

We made it out of the house around 10:40 and to my son’s daycare at 10:50… it was a quick drop and run because I was already feeling pressure in the birth canal. I remember my fiancé asking if we should just go to the hospital without dropping our son off at school. I was thinking, “Yes”, but my mind knew that he would probably have missed the birth due to our son not being able to be in the L&D room or just trying to get a toddler to cooperate in such a rushed scenario, so I screamed “Drop him…FASSSST!” As we approached Alex’s school, he began singing, “ Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday mommy, daddy, Robi! Happy Birthday to you!”. Kids are so intuitive! He knew how to make mommy feel better!

We had about 15 minutes to go to get to Emory University Midtown Hospital in the heart of Atlanta…Thank God it wasn’t rush hour, because it took us 25 plus minutes with the traffic we did encounter… and that was with Xavier running 2 red lights in midtown. I was so impressed and surprised by how calm Xavier was during this process. He is typically a type A, almost OCD personality that is very impatient. He showed a lot of calmness during this process which I definitely needed at this stage. It was 11:08, we were on 85 South and my water broke. I began to panic a little. I called my doula and had her call Dr. Tate. Xavier assured me “Just because your water broke doesn’t mean you are having the baby soon/now.” My body was telling me something else. I felt my baby boy slip into the birth canal almost immediately afterward. This whole time I was in the back passenger seat of our SUV, squatting on the floorspace hugging the back of the passenger seat with my head on Xavier’s shoulder, saying “Dear God, help us all!” Visual: I’m 6 feet tall and very athletic build. I don’t fit very well in a floor space of a car. You should have seen the pedestrians and other cars looking in at what the heck was going on in our car? Was that lady shot or something? Haha! Comic relief in between intense urges to push, and I think I did… twice.

11:16 Emory Hospital front entrance is a chaotic traffic jam of Marta buses and backed up valet service… 200 yards to the doors…! I could reach down and feel baby parts coming out of me and was going into shock not knowing if it was feet/arms/cord because it definitely was not a butt or a head! I needed someone to come and sweep me up and fly me to the moon, or at least the labor and delivery room! Not an option. Xavier yelled at a police officer directing the chaos that there was a woman in labor and to take the car…

We both got out and walked about 50 yards… I stole someone’s wheelchair and yelled… “Labor and Delivery… he’s coming out… NOWWWW!” The lady pushing the wheelchair was going about as slow as she could go in the hustling lobby while onlookers are yelling, “She’s in labor!” I decided she needed to see the severity of the situation so I outstretched the waistband of my yoga pants and she and I could see his feet/legs. After 2 other passengers in the elevator got a birds eye view of a woman with 4 legs, they will never again be the same!

“Stand back everyone!” The wheelchair pusher screamed. “ Here we come. Sir, get that door. And that one.” As she is racing me sitting sideways in the wheelchair to the labor and delivery room on the 3rd floor.” The registration desk is trying to flag us down and get us to register! Really?! We pulled up to the first L&D Room and there he was, the angel of a Dr. that was off-duty but ready and willing to take on this delivery. A L&D nurse pulled out my waistband and said, we’ve got a baby coming out and it’s not a head! A nurse/doctor on each appendage hoisted my petite delicate (haha!) self up on the bed and ripped my pants off…

Dr. Horton did a couple maneuvers with the baby’s arm which was giving him a high five already inside the womb. I had already pushed my baby boy out up to his thighs upon arriving. Dr. Horton had to adjust baby boy’s arm and flex his head forward by some maneuver that I was definitely not expecting!

3 minutes after arriving at the hospital front doors, “I need you to PUSH!” fell on deaf ears in shock from my last 15 minutes of labor. Everyone in the room came together to encourage me, “PUSH Crystal!” and with one room-shattering, bone shaking scream… his head was out and baby Robi Xavier was born at 11:20AM, a strong and healthy 8.7lb, 20 inches long!

I was in shock and in love! I couldn’t believe how fast I had progressed, that I got to have a vaginal breech “Footling?!!!” delivery and that it all felt so efficient and natural and safe! That God really was watching over us, since Dr. Tate didn’t get notice in time, Dr. Horton was the next most experienced vaginal breech delivery doctor and he was almost “waiting” for me outside that room at that time (even though he was technically off-call and getting ready to go home for the day). So many OB’s may have pushed the panic button due to lack of experience, etc… but he was so calm and relaxed and ready.

The unmedicated labor and birth was night and day from my first labor and delivery and my son was wide awake and alert and nursed 3 times from birth to my post-partum room. I felt awesome and ready to leave an hour after delivering. The only weird side-effect was that my legs would not stop shaking like I was freezing cold, and it lasted a good hour, until after I delivered the placenta. They said this is a common effect from the effort of pushing out the baby. The most painful part of my experience was uterine contractions after delivery. When my son nursed, it would send shock like sensations down the inside of my thighs and legs and I got very nauseous several times.

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This had to be one of the most adrenaline packed births ever! I’m sorry Dr. Tate was not able to participate due to my fast transition and regret that his OB residents didn’t have the chance to observe another fantastic breech vaginal delivery with him. But I feel grateful for Dr. Horton and blessed that he was calm and cool and had been trained in vaginal breech delivery. I feel grateful for Dr. Tate and his willingness to take on VBAC’s and breech vaginal birth with such confidence in himself but more importantly in the woman’s ability to birth naturally.

So, in my quest to avoid a c-section I met some wonderful providers, toured 3 different hospitals, and finally found the information, peace and clarity that I needed to make a confident decision to have a vaginal breech birth. If not for the experience of Dr. Tate with this and the gentle guidance and time that he took to give me all of the information I needed, I would have spent my last week of pregnancy worried about an eminent c-section rather than focusing on the possibility of a beautiful natural birth. C-section could be the end result any time in birth, but I would hope it is only in case of an emergency. If my body is capable of handling the labor and delivery of my child no matter his presentation, I am ecstatic that I found a provider who is comfortable with that and respects the body’s ability to birth! We are blessed to have a healthy and strong baby boy and happy, healthy and unmedicated mama mia! Robi Xavier is nursing like a pro already and has gained a pound and a half and an inch and a half all in his first week and a half! We are so blessed.

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Crystal owns C’hi Chiropractic in Atlanta

 

A Frank Breech Birth: Faith of an OB and Mother

A Frank Breech Birth: Faith of an OB and Mother

This is the birth story of Emery Elizabeth by Amy A. Elliot, D.C.

I was lucky to have a very healthy and happy first pregnancy. Pregnancy did not slow me down from my busy life in chiropractic school, and I continued to see patients and attend classes up to the very end.

The only concern that plagued me was that my baby presented in frank breech position and stayed there starting in the second trimester. I tried every alternative that I knew of to coerce the baby to turn: chiropractic, acupuncture, swimming, playing classical music by my pubic bone, ice, inversion tables, positive visualization…you name it.

Resigned to the fact that the baby might choose not to turn, I discussed my options with my midwife and was horrified to find out that my ONLY option in that practice was a c-section. I felt so frustrated upon hearing this news since I had worked so hard to keep my body tuned up and create a natural, healthy environment for my baby.

All of a sudden one day, the universe answered my call. Three weeks prior to the birth, all roads lead me to Dr. Tate. A friend of a friend had used him when encountering the same situation, a classmate had worked with him, my chiropractor, doula and midwife all told me about him. It took almost three weeks to get an appointment.

After my lengthy visit with Dr. Tate, I felt renewed knowing that there was someone willing to let me do this on my terms, provided that circumstances proved it to be safe. Dr. Tate was very thorough in explaining potential benefits and disadvantages of vaginal breech delivery. This appointment took place on a Tuesday.

The next morning at 7AM I had a HUGE graduation-determining exam at school that I was firmly resolved to take. It was technically one week prior to my due date. I had been communicating with the baby that I needed to get through this test before giving birth, or I would be stuck in school for an extra quarter. When I woke up, I felt a little extra groggy, but I got up and took the test. The exam took the entire morning to complete. Upon completion, I gave the baby permission to be born at any time s/he wanted!

After that, I headed out to run errands that I’d been putting off until after the exam…things I needed to do to prepare for the baby’s arrival. As I went about my business, I noticed an achy low back pain, but figured that it was related to stress and my changing physique. For some reason, urinating seemed to relieve the pain. A few hours later I noticed that the back pain would disappear completely for a few minutes and return a little while later. I called two friends who had recently given birth to ask if they experienced anything like this the week leading up to labor. I followed it up with a call to my mom who told me to expect that the baby was coming sooner than later. It was a week before my “due date”, but I’m late for everything, so I didn’t expect this to be any different.

After I got home I had dinner with my husband (Jon) and a friend who were working on some home improvements. After the friend left, I asked Jon to take an updated pregnancy photo to send to my parents. Within this time, the back pain picked up a bit, so I decided to take a bath to see if it would offer any relief. It was at this point that I finally accepted that I might actually be in labor.

Since I’d only met Dr. Tate less than 48 hours before, I still hadn’t registered to give birth at that hospital (my midwife worked out of a different hospital where I’d pre-registered). A friend came over and picked up our registration and faxed it to the hospital. About an hour after the bath, Jon called the doula to let her know what was going on.

At this point I’d been lying on the bed, trying to sleep in between the contractions. They were sporadic in length, and they weren’t spaced evenly either. She suggested taking another bath to see if that triggered things to take off, and it did. We eventually called Dr. Tate at 2AM. Unfortunately, due to the test anxiety (my husband was also a student), we hadn’t prepared for going into labor early. We still had to pack our bags and make sure that we had everything.

We finally arrived at the hospital at 4AM. When Dr. Tate arrived, I was 4 cm dilated. When he checked me, my water broke on it its own, and things really seemed to take off from there. Shortly thereafter, my doula (Annette) arrived. Dr. Tate told me that if I wanted to accomplish this birth vaginally that my job was to push the baby out to the torso by myself. There was pain, but I’ll admit that it wasn’t as bad as what I’d built it up to be in my imagination! Jon and Annette were the perfect balance to guide me throughout the birth experience.

I’d been working through contractions in triage and was moved to labor and delivery. To get through the painful contractions, I kept saying out loud “My body knows what to do!” It was important for me to acknowledge that my body was designed to do this. As part of my agreement with Dr. Tate, I couldn’t push until being moved to the OR, just in case of emergency. In my mind, I was in labor and delivery for no more than five minutes. The contractions came hard, and I felt so ready to push. It was extremely challenging to wait to push. At this point, Jon and I were both so grateful to have Annette there to help give me breathing tips so I could refocus as I was transferred to the OR.

Frank Breech Birth

There were a number of medical residents present to assist and observe in the birth. I was moved to an operating table and lying on my back. I pushed for 20-25 minutes total. In my brain, I concocted all sorts of stories prior to labor that this would be extra painful due to the breech position. Sometimes it is beneficial to have an overactive imagination, because it never got as bad as I’d imagined! Also, by the time I got to push the head out, it felt like nothing. Even in my state of exhaustion, I could hear Dr. Tate in the background educating the interns and the assisting resident on what he was doing. The nerd in me appreciated the fact that this birth was a learning experience for myself AND others!

hospital breech birth

Just shy of two hours from arriving at the hospital, applause was heard from the observers in the room, and I learned that I’d had a baby girl (which was a great surprise as everyone had been predicting a boy). She was immediately put to my chest, and Annette helped facilitate her to latch on. Jon cut the umbilical cord. Then we waited for what seemed like an eternity while my third degree tear was stitched up (Jon claimed that it was twice as long as the actual delivery).

Frank Breech Vaginal Birth

Emery is a happy, healthy baby, and after a few weeks she stopped kicking her legs up over her head all the time (as if she were in breech position).

I am forever grateful to Dr. Tate for giving me the opportunity to have this baby on my terms with no epidural or other interventions, and I’m grateful to my body for letting me!

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