the following is a birth story contributed by one of our readers. Heidi has three children, and all three of them were breech. Each child had a very unique birth, and Heidi has graciously shared all three of them with us. This is the story of her second birth.
You can read the story of her first birth in Part I .
When I was pregnant with my 2nd child in the winter of 2008, I knew I wanted a completely different birth experience & therefore was under the care of a midwife. I knew I did not want to go back to the hospital after the care we received the first time around, but I was still unsure of a homebirth (mainly because I didn’t know anyone who had experienced a homebirth) but yet this seemed like my only alternative. As I had a previous C-Section I was now labeled a VBAC and any “middle ground” like a birthing centre was not an option.
I had a wonderful pregnancy & the best of prenatal care. And I was determined to have a natural VBAC this time around. I asked a lot more questions & really educated myself about my choices. As my pregnancy progressed and my level of comfort and trust increased with our midwife, I leaned towards a homebirth – what better way to bring a baby into the world then in the comfort of our own home in the tub. Therefore it came as quite the surprise when around 36-37 weeks, my midwife told me that she thought that the little bum that we thought was under my ribs was actually the baby’s head – this baby was breech (later confirmed frank breech)! At this point I started reading about breech babies & doing everything I could to try and get my little one to turn; breech tilts, pulsatilla, chiropractic Webster Technique, Craniosacral therapy, walking on hands/knees, laying on an ironing board, ice packs & headphones to try and get the baby to turn.
All I could think about was the possibility of having another C-section. I was devastated. I felt frustrated, angry and even resentful towards this tiny being growing inside of me. Why was this happening to me? I finally was at peace with my decision to have a homebirth but yet that decision & the choice of where I birth this baby was being taken away. There was one piece of advice that my midwife gave me that I will never forget – ” you don’t always get the birth that you want but the birth that you need”. It was at that point that we decided we would plan for the best vaginal breech delivery - – my midwife referred me to an OB that is experienced in breech deliveries and was willing to let me try to have a natural birth.
I went into labour much the same as I had with my first although this time 12 days late as opposed to 3 weeks early! This time when I felt the dull ache in my back and it wouldn’t go away, I knew it was real labour. We called our midwife and after coming to the house and checking me she determined I was around 5-6 cms. We stayed home for another hour or so before heading to the hospital & I arrived at the hospital at 6-7 cms dilated. I had done so much research before the birth & was comfortable in my decision to have a natural breech delivery. Therefore I found it extremely frustrating when the hospital staff tried to deter me from my decision as they pushed a detailed & scary waiver in my face & continued to point out the risks involved in trying to have a breech delivery. I can see how most women would be scared into having a C-section, when the reality is a breech delivery with an experienced caregiver is safer than a C-Section.
The dull backache I felt earlier was stronger & I tried sitting on my birth ball but the only thing that really helped with the discomfort was the hot water of the shower. As I was considered high risk attempting a breech delivery & a VBAC, I was pretty much prepped and ready to go for a C-section in case things didn’t go as I had planned. The constant fetal monitor & IV did not allow me to move as freely as I would have liked & were as annoying as the back labour. After 2 hours of labour, I was 10 cms and after the nurses suggesting they break my waters, it broke on its own & I was ready to push.
I really didn’t know what to expect & in the beginning I realize that I really wasn’t pushing effectively. I don’t know if it was because this was the first time being in full labour or whether my worries about how I sounded, looked like and what I was doing were actually inhibiting my body from really working as it needed to. It wasn’t until I really just let go & let my natural instincts take over, I was squatting and groaning with all my inner being. It was just me and my baby working together. I was finally able to work with my body & allow it to do what it needed to do to move my baby down the birth canal and closer to coming in to this world.
As we neared the end of the 2 hour mark, which was basically my “time limit” for pushing (again being a high risk breech VBAC), my midwife negotiated with the OB to give us 30 more minutes as I was doing so well. It was close the his shift ending and although he agreed, he brought in the OB that would be taking over after his shift, as my birth history was reviewed, the next OB made a comment that “she’s already had a C-section and this baby’s breech, perhaps there is something wrong with your pelvis and you cannot have a vaginal birth”. It was at this point that my determination was stronger than ever – I felt the need to prove her wrong & as I felt down between my legs I could feel a little male part, my baby was right there! At this point the nurses started instructing me to stop pushing and get on the bed. As they rushed me over to the bed and propped my legs up our midwife ran to get the “good OB” back into the room before he was gone.
The minutes spent on my back were the most excruciating & uncomfortable I had ever felt. I was told to keep pushing and not stop and the pain went away as soon as my baby boy was born and I held him on my chest. He was a healthy 8lbs 1oz & came into the world hips & bum first (frank breech). I am happy to say that I successfully had a natural breech VBAC thanks to my midwife & the OB that allowed me the opportunity to listen to my body. As breech deliveries are somewhat rare, it seemed that everyone in labour & delivery was in the room watching. I had nurses ask me the next day why I would try to deliver naturally when I knew the baby was breech. All I can say is having gone through both a C-section and natural breech delivery – I would take the breech delivery any day!
Part III will be published tomorrow. Stay tuned!