Passing this along from Tina (the Mom in the story) - a breech baby does not always have to be a caesarean birth. It can be an empowering, inspiring experience.
From week 32 my pregnancy became a roller coaster. I was on a business trip in Germany where a guy pushed me against a pole on a train because it was so full and he wanted to get out.
Immediately after the push drops where running down my legs and I was scared it could be my water. But it stopped when I came to the hotel and so I thought it might have been sweat or urine. This business trip was so exhausting for me and so stressful. I had to carry my bags because the airport there had no elevator and there was nobody there to help me and I almost missed my connection flight as I had to run with two bags. It was a nightmare. The next day after this business trip I flew with my husband to Austria (our hometown) to attend an ante natal class.
I thought I would like to hear everything in my mother tongue so I could remind better when I go into labour. The midwife told me to go to the hospital in Austria before I fly home just to check if my amniotic sac wasn't damaged. I had to stay 4 days in the hospital in Austria. The amniotic sac was not damaged and the water was not broken. But I had a small amount of fluid. They gave me steroids for Baby's lungs just in case I went into labour. I stayed 3 more days in Austria and returned then to Dublin on a Sunday.
The next Thursday I had an appointment in my hospital in Dublin (Coombe) and was immediately admitted and they treated me like my waters had broken. After a full week in hospital my Consultant who is German discharged me because he could read the diagnostics from the Austrian hospital. But I had to come twice a week to the hospital for a CTG on Mondays and Doppler Scan on Thursdays to check my amount of fluid. On week 36 I was there and I went on a Monday to the CTG and the baby was doing perfectly fine. They always had to call the OB to tell how my baby was doing. So the OB came and looked again how the baby was lying and said it was still breech and next week we would decide if we could turn the baby or not due to the lack amount of fluid.
I went mad and was a bit loud when I said to her that I would not going for a c-section. A woman in the waiting room heard me and told me her story that she had a c-section and felt terrible. It was a emergency c-section and she was so upset and felt horrible afterwards. And she said I should look for a Doula and recommended Tracy Donegan from GentleBirth.
Thanks for the iPhone I started immediately to send an email to Tracy and she responded not even after 30 minutes. So we were in contact now and I told her my story and asked if she would know a hospital which would do the vaginal breech birth. Tracy was hugely supportive. She told me everything she knew about vaginal breech birth and recommended a forum where they talked about breech positions.
I joined this group and was now in contact with midwifes from UK where every woman has the right to choose how she will give birth to a breech baby. So it is very common to have a vaginal breech birth there but still the doctors do recommend c-sections. Tracy also showed a video to me of a woman who gave birth to a breech baby and she was also a first time mom. All these things motivated me so much that my husband and I made the decision to refuse the c-section. Breech is just another variation of normality. This was my motto. And I was so confident in going for a vaginal breech birth. I knew I could do it. My self-confidence was so strong. And my husband trusted my instincts.
The OB came in with terrible horror stories. She really tried to scare me and I think that this is very very unfair. Instead of just telling you the risks they try to scare you. But I felt strong and I looked in her eyes and said "Well, and now tell me all risks about having a cesarean and also the afterwards risk for the Baby and the mother." And I think that made my point very clear.
So week 37 started and between week 36 and 37 I drank so much water, relaxed all day long but did researching researching researching and got so much help from Tracy. This week I had on Tuesday the CTG, on Wednesday my scan and on Thursday my appointment with my Consultant because he was back from his holidays. I felt good this week. CTG was perfect as usual and my scan was a surprise for everyone. The water was back, fully back not even on the minimum line. No it was fully back. So I went on Thursday totally thrilled to my appointment. The doctor and I decided to try the turning on the next day at lunch time. He was very positive because the water was back. I told him that we would refuse the c-section and he said that he would totally understand my point but he would have to go through all risks with me. I told him that I know the risks and also what it would mean to have a disabled child. As I come from a family where 3 siblings had muscular dystrophy and know exactly what a disabled child would mean. And I also told him that I was not scared and that I was so confident in my decision that I know I can do it. He said that we should first wait for the turning tomorrow and if this didn't not work he would write down for me all risks and it would be my decision. Fair enough. I left the room, emailed my husband that we would try to turn the baby tomorrow and wanted to leave the hospital. I went down the stairs and felt like having to go to the toilet.
And then I felt it. It was like in a movie. In the reception of the hospital my water broke. I wasn't scared at all. I was laughing and said to my Baby "Okay, so you don't want to get turned!" I called my husband "Hi Honey, my water broke. It starts now, can you come to the hospital?" it was 4pm on the 7th July. I went back to the admission and they checked everything. I asked them to contact my consultant because he knew my decision and we would have to go know through all risks and the refuse of a c-section. My husband arrived and was very calm and happy. The consultant came in and said that this was not the plan but he smiled as well. He was very sorry that he could not be there in the night because he already had night shift the night before and was totally wrecked. But the good news the doctor who was on this night shift was very experienced in breech birth and there was also a midwife who was also very experienced.
So at 4.20 pm the contractions started. Very soft but they started to come every 6 minutes. Around 6 pm I came to the ward. At 7.30 pm I had contractions every 3 minutes. I was so hungry that I had to eat something. And I ate a lot. You need energy for the birth so if you are hungry, eat! It was 10 pm when the contractions were every 2 minutes so the midwife checked how much I was dilated and I was 3 cm. She asked me if I would like to have any pain killers but I said that I didn't want to have anything. I wanted to be fully there to get the full experience. I was absolutely not scared of what would come next.
The doctor who had the night shift came to the ward and told me how I would have the vaginal breech birth. She knew from my birth plan I would like to choose the position when the pressure waves start. But she told me I had to lie down on my back with the feet in the air and under my bottom nothing. Because I got what I wanted I wasn't complaining. I thought this doctor seemed to be so calm and so relaxed when she talked to me that I trusted her completely. At midnight they brought me to the delivery ward. The midwives were very very nice and they were so excited to support my birth plan as they had never seen a breech birth. They went through my birth plan with me (4 pages long) and except of a few little things they told me that they could do everything on it. They asked me again for pain killers or gas but I didn't want anything. So the contractions were every minute and came very intense. I wasn't able to sit and lying is not good. Let the gravity work for you.
So I started to walk around, danced a little bit (circled my hips) and breathed deep in and slowly out with a AAAHH or an OOOHH sound. This helps you to breathe much slower out. At 2 am the midwife checked again how many cm I was dilated and it was still 3 cm but something was really good with my cervix. I think it was very thin or short already. So around 3 am the contractions were so intense that I felt the urge to push. But I knew I had to wait until I was fully dilated. They checked me again and here it was. I was 9 cm dilated so they called the doctor. My contractions were very intense and I could still only stand on my feet. But my legs were already so tired from all the walking and standing so I started to fall asleep after every contraction for around 20 seconds or so.
And I always focused on my baby. I thought all the time that every single contraction will bring me nearer to my baby. My husband was so supportive. He pressed acupressure points on my back and forced me to drink after every contraction. So I would not get dehydrated. He also motivated me in how strong I was and how proud he was. When I could no longer stand the urge to push because it was so intense the doctor checked how many cm I was dilated and said "Well then lets start and follow now your instinct when you need to push then push." The midwife said to me that I should push into my back. I said I couldn't when I was lying on my back and the doctor allowed me for the first pushes to kneel. I did so and the first pressure wave came and I pushed with all my strength and after three times pushing the little bottom of my baby appeared. Now I had to breathe away the urge to push because they needed me to move on my back as already discussed with the doctor. They helped me and I saw the room was full with all the night shift because everybody wanted to see my special vaginal breech birth. It is so rare that they were all excited. I had absolutely no problem with that. This made me just stronger in showing them that it will go easy and good. I waited for the next pressure wave and as it came I started to push with loud AAAHH's and OOOHH's. This helps you to keep your jaw relaxed. I could feel how the bottom came out followed by the legs. It was amazing.
This feeling made me stronger and I started to push again and I could feel that much more was coming. The doctor didn't pull on the baby. This is very important in giving breech birth. Nobody should pull the baby. Just let it come. She just helped with the arms that they didn't get stuck with the head. This is one risk on breech birth. But if you have someone who is experienced then they know how to help baby's arms. Now there was only the head which needed to come out. This is one of the scary moments because you need to wait for the next pressure waves and it feels like an endless time in waiting. The hard thing was that the baby was hanging down and I could feel the weight of the baby. And here it came the next and final pressure wave. With all my strength and a very loud AAAHH I pushed the head out and the doctor grabbed the Baby and gave it to my chest. I was crying and so emotional.
It was just unbelievable to hold my little stubborn which wanted to come out with the little bottom first. It was a boy and my husband and I were so full of love. Everybody in the room was amazed and thrilled. It was a record time in giving a vaginal breech birth with the first child. That's what they told me. Our little man started to search for my breast after 20 minutes and he drank for fully 25 minutes. The whole experience was so amazing and I never felt more love in my life. We called him Vincent William and he is our love, our world and our happiness. I myself felt so strong and I felt like I can do everything. Vincent is totally healthy. The Orthopedic and Pediatrician checked him and everything is fine. He is a very good drinker and so nice to Mommy and Daddy. He only cry when we change the nappy and he wakes us up only two times per night. A wonderful little star.
You will hear a lot of horror stories around vaginal breech birth. But think twice. In the past it was just normal in having a vaginal breech birth. And look at all risks not only the risks in a natural birth. A cesarean is an operation on your tummy. It is not only risky while the operation there is also a risk after it. The Baby can have problems with the lungs, metabolism, breast feeding problems etc. And Mommy can have problems afterwards as well. You will have a scar in your uterus for your life time. I am not against cesarean if they are necessary. I just think that a breech position does not always need a cesarean. I know that for a vaginal breech birth you need someone who is experienced. But how can they be experienced when all breech babies are cesarean?
If you feel so confident as I did in having a vaginal breech birth. If you feel that you can do it and it's very deep in your heart and your instinct. If you have absolutely no fear then fight for having a vaginal breech birth.
A head down baby can also ended up as an emergency c-section. I met 5 women in one week with a case like this. So every birth is with a risk that something can go wrong. I think we all should choose in how we would like to have our birth and the women voice should be heard. We are the ones who are giving birth to a child.
Tina-Maria and little Vincent