My first 2 babies were quick & easy induced vaginal births. My 3rd baby was delivered by caesarean section (in Jan 2011), as she was breech. A c/s was something I never wanted, yet the Drs insisted (via scaremongering crap) I have one due to her breech position. I was happy to go ahead with a vaginal breech birth (VBB), but the Drs were not confident and since they no longer practice breech deliveries I ended up with a scheduled c/s. She was delivered at 39wk 4d, happy, healthy and oh so perfect. Everything went really well thankfully. I still regret not trying harder to get a vaginal birth, as I knew I could have done it. I decided I would most definitely be having a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) for baby #4.
10 months after Mila’s birth, I found out I was pregnant again. Due end of July 2012.
My 4th pregnancy was very smooth sailing. I never had any morning sickness, or any problems at all. We chose to find out the sex of our baby at 20 weeks, a girl. We had moved from Canberra to Central West NSW (so we went from city to country pretty much) a few months before we found out we were pregnant, so I’d be delivering at a different hospital this time around.
At 24wk 5d I presented to the hospital with abdominal pain, and after some assessment it was decided I would have an appendectomy. Sure enough my appendix had burst. That was a scary few days, faced with the possibility of preterm labour. Before the surgery, I insisted they give me steroids for baby’s lungs, and if things went sour, to do all they could to save her. Thankfully the surgery went fine with no problems, and I recovered well. Baby stayed happily snug inside and showed no ill effects. I continued on with no problems through the rest of my pregnancy, watching my bump grow and getting excited about meeting our new baby.
At 37 weeks I went for a scan to check positioning of baby, despite her being cephalic (head down) a few days earlier at my antenatal appointment. Surprisingly though, she had flipped to breech. I couldn’t believe it! But I figured since she had been head down just a few days ago, surely she would turn back around, there was still time. In the meantime I tried a few baby flipping exercises, but not holding onto much hope of them working as they never did with Mila.
When I found out I was pregnant, I started reading as much information and birth stories on breech as I could. I knew that if I had another breech baby, I would push harder for a vaginal breech birth (VBB). I never expected it would come in handy.
I saw my OB a few days later, and I informed him that in no way will I consent to a c/s. I insisted I will be having a vaginal birth with this baby, as a c/s was completely unnecessary. He was supportive, agreed that we wait till I go into labour before making any decisions (I was surprised by his reaction, as I was more than ready for a fight). Though he did feel I would end up with a c/s and baby wouldn’t turn. This same OB when I first saw him a few months earlier, had asked why I had a c/s with #3. He was surprised that I wasn’t given a trial of labour with her since I’d had 2 previous successful VB (Vaginal Births), and my babies were only small. But since this would be a VBAC, he was slightly cautious.
Bub continued to be breech at the next few appointments, and as much as I had hoped she would turn, I gave into the fact she wasn’t going to turn head down.
I saw another OB at 39 weeks (I rotated between 2 OBs, so when I did give birth, I was familiar with whomever would be on call that day), and she performed an internal to see where I was at (She also did this as she couldn’t clearly tell if baby was still breech or not, which she was, and an internal helped her to tell). I was found to be at 2cm, soft and very favourable. She told me that I’d most likely have baby within the week. She knew my thoughts on having a c/s, and that I would be refusing one. As much as they didn’t want to deliver a breech baby vaginally, they also couldn’t refuse care. As bad as I felt putting both her and the other OB in that position, it wasn’t fair that I would be put in the position of not birthing the way I wanted, since it was my body & baby etc. That was Thursday 26th July.
I had been losing my plug over the last week or so, just little bits. Then on Saturday 28th (at 39+6) morning I found the rest of it had come away, though I knew this didn’t tell me much, labour could still be a week or more away. I’d also been experiencing painful Braxton hicks contractions over the last week, not too painful, but noticeable. These happened mainly when I was breastfeeding Mila (18mths old at the time). Though on this day I noticed they were around a bit more, and hurt a little more, not regular though. I really didn’t think anything of it, especially since they had been bothering me for weeks.
I headed to bed at 12:30am that night, I got nice & cosy, and then had a cough. Well as soon as I coughed my waters broke/burst. Totally didn’t expect that! I spent the next 20mins trying to get hold of the maternity suite, when I finally did, the Midwife (Susan) informed me that as it was the weekend and baby was still breech, my husband Lach & I would have to drive to Orange Base Hospital. My local hospital had no theatre staff on call, and they wanted that back up should something go wrong. Now Orange was over an hour drive away, and we weren’t too happy about driving all that way, but figured we had no choice.
After I got off the phone (just before 1am), I started getting painful contractions. They were coming every 5mins, and lasting just over a minute. This gave me a little hope that I may get a VB, as I had never gone into spontaneous labour with my other kids.
My Mum arrived at our place around 1:20am, and saw that I was having contractions. She soon suggested we get an ambulance to take us to Orange, as not only was Lach so tired and unwell (he had a horrid flu over the past week), but my previous VB were fast, and we didn’t want to risk birthing on the way. So she called up for an ambulance to take us. I was labouring on my bed at this point, on all fours. I was worried about a cord prolapse as I wasn’t sure if baby had engaged her bum yet or not. I really wanted to get up and jump in the shower, but didn’t want to risk being up right and possibly having a cord slip out.
The Ambos arrived around 1:40am, one of them lived just around the corner from us, so he got here pretty quick. After a check over, he informed me that we would have to go to the local hospital first before making our way to Orange. I felt bad as I had been told to go straight to Orange, but the Ambos said it was protocol. I had a contraction or 2 on the way, and wasn’t looking forward to labouring like this if we had to go to Orange. I had a canula inserted while in the ambulance in case I needed fluids etc.
At 2am, making our way along the corridors to the maternity suite I had another contraction (I was on my back, ouch!), and we were met by my Midwife Susan. I had to wait for the on call OB to arrive to do a check to see how far I was progressing. When she got there, I had an internal and amazingly I was already 8cm dilated! I couldn’t believe I was that far already, so quickly. This was what I wanted since finding out bub was breech, as the OBs had both said if I arrived at hospital at 7/8cm they would be happy to go for a breech VB. After my internal, my OB said I wasn’t going anywhere (YAY!).
Both my OB & Midwife explained how we were going to approach this birth. I had previously discussed with my OB how she would do it, so had a fair idea with how it’d go. I was told once I was fully dilated & ready to push, I’d have to come back onto the bed, on my back with my bum right at the end of the bed. They would be taking the ‘hands off approach’, where I would be left to birth baby without anyone touching her. This was so bub wouldn’t flex her head while still inside me, which would possibly cause her to get stuck. Though Susan said she would have a hard time resisting the urge to touch baby, as she was so used to being hands on when catching (cephalic) babies.
It was almost 2:30am when I found out I was staying, and I made my way into the shower to labour (boy was it great to be up off my back!). I was in there for about 10 minutes when I decided the water wasn’t hot enough for me (I had it up as far as it would go, with just hot water), so I asked for the gas. Oh that blissful gas, it’s awesome! I only had gas in my 2 previous VB, and found it really helped to ‘focus’ in a way.
Not too long and I was starting to feel pushy and let Susan know. This meant I had to get out of the shower and back onto the bed. I didn’t really want to, and was ready to crawl there, but Lach & Susan managed to encourage me to get up and make my way to the bed. I hopped up onto the bed on all fours (leaning over the head of the bed) and my OB checked me over again. I was almost fully dilated, with a little bit of cervix in the way. I stayed where I was and continued to suck on the glorious gas, fighting the urge to push. I looked up at the clock at this point and saw it was 2:45am.
Finally at around 3am I was 10cm, & ready to push. I flipped over onto my back (half sitting up), got into position, and started to push.
After a few minutes of pushing I could feel bub descending. Out came her bum (and she did a big poo & wee right before her bum emerged), then her feet flipped out from under her (she was complete breech with legs folded). Next out came her head, and then she was immediately passed up onto me. My baby girl was born at 3:13am (just over an hour after arriving at the hospital, making it just a 2hr labour).
Susan went to clamp her cord, but I reminded her that I had requested delayed cord clamping as I felt (and knew) it was very beneficial for baby to receive all/as much blood from the placenta as possible. Though a minute or so later the OB asked us to clamp and cut it as bub wasn’t quite responding as well as she’d liked. She was fine though, and I knew this as I could see she was alert and trying to cry, just a little shocked. Lach cut the cord and bub was taken over to the warming tray to have a bit of air blown into her, then she was handed back to me where she latched on and began her breastfeeding journey.
I indulged in my new baby girl as I delivered the placenta and I was checked over & given a few stitches. Bub was weighed & measured – 3110gm (6lb 13oz) & 48cm. After I showered, all 3 of us headed to a room to get a bit of sleep. Susan let Lach stay with me since it was so quiet on the ward (bonus of a small hospital), and he took up the bed next to me. I dozed in and out for the next few hours, had some brekky then waited for my OB to get back so we could be discharged. At 11:30am we were finally ready to go, and headed home to introduce our new daughter to her siblings.
Throughout my whole pregnancy we searched high & low for names. It was SO hard! Well if she had of been a boy it may have been easier, but naming our 3rd daughter was very tricky. Finally when she was 10 days old we agreed to name her Remi Violet.
Even now, almost 7 months later I find myself in awe. I can’t believe I did it! Well I knew I could do it, but I figured I’d end up with a c/s one way or another. I just didn’t think things would go the way I wanted. I now know that if we go back for another baby, and he/she is breech too, I will push again for another breech vaginal birth without question. I won’t let anyone convince me otherwise. I am so unbelievably happy that I got the birth I wanted, the way I wanted. I’ve watched my birth video over & over, and it amazes me every time seeing a bum come out first!
She’s beautiful! I am so impressed with your confidence and drive to push for the birth you felt was best for your baby and for you. Congratulations on achieving this birth, it is truly fantastic. It’s a wonderful example to me, if I ever have a breech baby! It certainly is in the range of normal, and it’s a shame care providers are largely not trained to deliver a breech baby.
Thank you so much for sharing the pictures! That is amazing to actually SEE the process of a VBB – very encouraging for myself and many other moms-to-be that it IS POSSIBLE! And kudos to you for your boldness and confidence in standing up to your doctors for your desires – many pregnant women are too afraid to boldly express and firmly stand up for their desires! I hope your testimony helps many other women stand up to their doctors for a better birth experience!
Thank you so much for sharing your pictures!! How amazing!! I was just talking with my 5 1/2 year old little girl about how babies come out of “Jay-Jay’s” last night 🙂 She was AMAZED by your pictures. What a beautiful series of birth images…. and shall we say “educational tools” 😉 Thank you again. I’m so happy you were able to have the birth you wanted. Good job MAMA!
salut to provider. in my country when you got pregnant breech, almost all doctors and midwives will always motivate and instruct them to choose a caesarean section. as well as VBAC, a mother who has plan for VBAC really really struggling to get their rights.
moreover breech and VBAC.
wow remarkable team of doctors at this hospital…
if only in my country doctor and midwife more open mind would have been better.
Congrats mama! Your story is giving me hope! I am nearly 37 weeks with baby number 5, first 2 were cesarean (fetal distress and FTP) and the next two were hba2cs, this is my first breech. I will not have a rcs for her position, so thank you for showing me it can be done!
Wow, your story is strikingly similar to my own. My first two were also VB, and my third was a planned csection because my daughter was breech. Not thinking really too much about it, I just did what the doctors said and figured that was the only way. I was told after my csection that there was no way I could have delivered her naturally, so that does give me some peace of mind knowing I didn’t have to have that csection for nothing. Right now I’m 35 weeks with my 4th, who is breech (again!). Well technically transverse because baby is right under my right rib cage, so not fully breech. And apparently not ideal for birth either. Although I know there is still time. Now I’m faced with a decision to make, a EVC? I refused it with my last pregnancy,but I’m pretty desperate this time to avoid another csection so I am considering it. Drs. said I was the perfect candidate since my uterus was already streched and the likelihood of baby staying in the head down position was good. I have also been doing some inversions to try and help baby turn. I am hopeful. I am also inspired by your story and proud that you stood your ground. I need to do the same because I certainly want the same outcome as you.
Tess - Breech VBAC Mama
Thankyou all for your kind words, support & congratulations.
Melanie, I opted out of the ECV this time around, due to having a previous c/s. OB was hesitant to perform one anyway, & doesn’t believe they work. I did have an ECV with my previous breech baby (born via c/s), but it was unsuccessful. I did come to a point where I wanted one, with Remi, but after thinking more about it, decided it wasn’t best. After trying for a few weeks to get her head down (with me almost upside down!), I figured there was no point as she was comfy breech, & she wasn’t gonna turn.
Good luck Amber! Hope your birth goes well!
Feel free to check out my blog (https://lactasticmamachatterings.wordpress.com/) I do have my other birth stories on there 🙂
This is amazing! I’m only 31 weeks, so there’s lots of time for Sweet Pea to flip, but last time I was checked she was breech. If she remains that way, I hope I’m able to do this. Congratulations! Remi is absolutely beautiful!
Great story! The video was great and I went to school with Sara Ramirez, the one who was singing on the track (and she plays Cali Torres on Grey’s Anatomy).
I was thrilled for you that you got to have the type of birth that you wanted. The pictures and video were awesome! I wasn’t aware that the person who was singing during the video is the same actress that portrays Callie Torres on Grey’s Anatomy. Your whole story is simply wonderful! Kudos to you for being strong enough to stand up for what you wanted!
That was beautiful and inspiring, and oh-so fast! Amazing job mama. 🙂
Where were you located? (im curious where a small hospital will do a vbac breech birth!!).
Gas? Like during dental work? Ive never heard of using that, only heard of epidural relief!
Congratulations!! Such a beautiful birth and baby 🙂
I came across your post as I am looking at VBAC Breech options. Your post has given me strength and reassurance that it can be done! Can I ask if you had any tearing or pain after? I had an AWFUL C Section experience and really don’t want to have a section again. My first was vaginal, second section and hoping 3rd will be a VBAC….all be it breech.
That was Amazing!! Thanks for sharing. I delivered a unexpected breach at home on the leap year! It was really cool to see that video – Watching the a birth from that angle is Very Cool. Congratulations!
I NEEDED to read this, thank you for writing it! I have 3 children and have never experienced natural labor truly before. My first was a c/s, then my second was augmented with Pitocin, and then my 3rd was a full induction. (and they went further and further past their due dates!). I want a home birth if we have a 4th child, but am a little worried that my body can’t get good strong contractions on its own to birth the baby, so hearing that your body did it, gives me some confidence!!
Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us (and letting us see the pictures and video!). You and Remi are so inspiring!
I had my daughter by c/s at 17, wasn’t really givin much of a choice, they gave up on me after only 5 1/2 hrs. i hope God gives me the courage to stand up for myself next go round.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I have a scheduled induction for a twin vbac at the end of the week and am reading absolutely every possible positive experience I can find trying to get myself into the right frame of mind for this! Every single one has been helpful! I just know I can do a natural birth this time, I think the real struggle will once again be the doctors. They seem to feel they are doing me a favor letting me try for a vbac with twins at all.
Awesome! Notice the deep purple/blue nuchal cord just before the head was born. No problem with the cord for this birth. Pulsing away right up till the birth. Thanks for sharing!
Carolyn Gall AAHCC
A lovely birth story. I am so glad bub came so quick and gave you the VBB you wanted. The only two things I am sad about is them making you get up on the bed rather than use an upright position and then the cutting the cord to resus the baby. Had they waited and kept watch on the baby’s colour and heart rate they would have found within another 30 seconds that all was well.
At least they tried their best and the result was healthy and satisfying.
Thanks for shareing, one of my twins was breech and came out feet first, more breech births need shareing online so people realise it is possible !