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Seth's natural breech birth. (Long.)

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Seth is almost a year old now, but I just started visiting this website and figured I'd post his story.

My dh and I were ready for our first son’s birth several months before his due date – or so we thought. We had taken classes, gotten most of the baby’s things ready, and chosen the Lisa Ross Birth and Women’s Center in Knoxville (http://www.lisarosscenter.org/) as our birthplace. I had done a lot of research about the disadvantages of hospital births, and my dh and I were both very sure that we wanted a natural birth for our son and ourselves. The pregnancy was the easiest thing in the world for me – I had no morning sickness, no swelling or health problems, and hardly any discomfort, even in the last months. I started to wonder if my lack of bad luck would catch up to me eventually.

So, as the months went on and I could still feel the round bump of the baby’s head near my ribs, we started to be worried. Seth was breech, and he wasn’t turning. Starting at about 36 weeks, we tried everything to turn him – positional exercises, playing music, putting ice on his head, even chiropractic adjustments. We had an external cephalic version (where the doctor tries to push the baby from the outside - it hurt a lot!) done by a doctor who was supposed to have a high rate of success, but the baby still wouldn’t turn. The Birth Center wasn’t allowed to do breech births, so that meant that after preparing for months for a natural birth, we were looking at an automatic C-section. That just wasn’t acceptable to us, not without looking at our options. I spent a week or so phoning almost every doctor in the city – not one was willing to try a natural breech birth, not even under the best of circumstances. (And the circumstances for natural birth were about as good as they could get – I’m one hundred percent healthy, with a very roomy pelvis, and I even found out that my mother, aunt, mother-in-law, and two uncles-in-law were all born breech, vaginally, without problems.) Every doctor I asked gave the same reason for refusing to let me try a natural birth – not the baby’s health or my own, but insurance regulations.

It was a very frustrating and stressful week, but luckily my midwives at the Birth Center recommended that I call the Farm Midwifery Center (http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/Midw...r/Default.aspx) near Nashville. We came down for a visit one weekend and liked what we saw, and I looked at the statistics for births there, and we decided that the Farm was our best choice. My parents were worried about the distance to the nearest hospital, but when I showed them the numbers, they eventually supported our choice. My grandmother, though, who had had her two breech babies and three vertex babies at a time when the woman was given so many drugs that she was hardly aware of the births, was very worried that we wouldn’t be in a hospital. All the doubts from other people made it hard to choose to go to the Farm. Even though I knew that my baby’s risks were as good or better at the Farm, and my risks were significantly improved by avoiding surgery, I sometimes felt as though I were doing something foolhardy and dangerous. It was hard to go against what everyone else thought was right, but my dh’s wholehearted support kept me going, and the facts really seemed to be on my side.

We hadn’t yet decided when to come down to the Farm. Dh’s job situation made it difficult for us to come down to stay, when we might have to wait weeks for labor to begin. Luckily, we ended up not having to make the decision. On the Tuesday evening after our weekend visit, we came home from our breastfeeding class to hear that my friend, who was also pregnant, had gone into labor. Other friends had joked during our pregnancies that we were in a race to have our babies, and they told me that I needed to hurry if I was going to have a chance at winning the race. I told them I’d get right on that, and apparently I meant it. A few hours later, at 2 in the morning, I woke up to a slight but unmistakable leaking – my water had broken.

We weren’t quite ready, since our plans had been changed so abruptly, so we had to get up and scramble to get the rest of our things together and packed in the car. My contractions were about six minutes apart, and not very strong, so we weren’t worried about having time to make the four and half hour drive (especially since it was my first baby). Two hours after my water broke we were in the car. It was a nice drive – I had plenty of pillows and got some sleep while dh drove. My contractions seemed to slow down a lot when I slept, but every time we stopped at a rest area they would speed up to be just a minute or so apart. It was snowy coming over the Cumberland Plateau – luckily the roads stayed clear, and looking out at the snow on the trees as we drove along, with the moon shining brightly over everything, was very peaceful. Everything was beautiful, and we watched the sun come up behind us as we drove, slowly lightening the snow. Once we got away from the main highway we saw several hawks in the trees. Everyone had warned me that a long drive while in labor would be a horrible experience, but I’ll never forget what a beautiful and peaceful time it was.

When we arrived at the Farm, my contractions were still about six minutes apart, so we had plenty of time to get settled in at the beautiful little cabin where we were staying, the “Meditation House.” It was full of windows, and so open and sunny! Later in the evening, we saw dozens of buzzards coming to roost in the trees not far away, and all through the day there were squirrels in the trees right outside the window. I rested and napped for several hours. Ina May Gaskin was one of my midwives, and she came by, but decided not to do an internal exam since my water was broken, so for a long time we just let the labor progress on its own. Another midwife, Carol, also came by. It was easy going until the afternoon, when the rushes started to get stronger and closer together. The contractions stayed in my back through the whole labor (the dreaded “back labor” everyone hears about, but it could have been worse), and later on I even had pain radiating down the outsides of my hips and legs, for some reason. I started to sit up and rock back and forth during each one, trying to breathe deeply and keep my muscles relaxed. Having dh or a midwife rub my back helped too. Even if they didn’t rub very hard, it seemed to help just to have a different sensation to focus on.

I was starting to get pretty tired by late afternoon and wanted to rest, but after getting sick a few times I realized that lying down through a contraction was what was causing the nausea. I’m glad I wasn’t stuck in that position in a hospital bed! I sat on the edge of the bed and leaned on dh between contractions. I remembered some of the birth stories I had read in Ina May’s book, and during some contractions I would think about opening up, “getting huge”. I didn’t do it every time, because it seemed to make the contractions stronger, and they hurt – but I knew stronger was better. I eventually asked Ina May to see how dilated I was – what a relief, 9 centimeters! I really wanted to push, since I was tired of the contractions, but I tried to wait until I felt the urge. I never did feel the overwhelming urge to push that people talk about, though, probably because the baby was breech. After a few hours I didn’t want to wait any more, and I tried a few experimental pushes. The midwives were encouraging, and we were seeing a lot of meconium (which doesn't indicate distress in a breech baby, it just gets squeezed out of him), so I kept on pushing with each contraction.

Things seemed to be going slowly. I kept pushing, sometimes leaning back on dh while sitting in the bed, sometimes on the toilet. The toilet helped a lot – it just seemed easier to push there. I was getting a little worried, mostly because I was tired, I think, and because of the stress I had felt over my decision not to go to a hospital. When I finally mentioned it to the midwives, they started listening to the baby’s heart more often, and reassured me that I was making progress, and that helped a lot. Seth’s heartbeat stayed strong and steady the whole time. Slowly, he moved down. I couldn’t tell though, until finally Carol showed me that I could feel his bottom starting to come out! That was a huge help, finally I could tell the progress I was making with each push for myself. That gave me a lot of reassurance and motivation to keep pushing. I was making a lot of noise by this point with each push, but I didn’t have to feel self-conscious about it. Everyone there knew that noise was good.

When Seth’s bottom became visible, I moved to a birthing stool. There was a mirror on the wall, and I could watch what was happening with each push. The midwives had me drink some Gatorade, since I had been sick earlier and was getting tired, and they also gave me some oxygen for the last bit of pushing. I could feel some stretching and burning with each push, but it wasn’t very painful, and I knew it was a good feeling. By that point I didn’t care if I tore, I just wanted the baby to be born! I could feel him kick from time to time, which was a strange feeling, but it let me know he was still doing fine. It seemed like I pushed for a long time with just part of his bottom sticking out, getting very slowly bigger. But then all of a sudden, with one push, something seemed to slip, and the rest of his bottom came out all at once! I felt Ina May pull his feet free, then I pushed again, and out came his shoulders and arms. Another push, and I heard a funny snuffling sound. Ina May said his nose and mouth were out – my baby was already breathing, even though the top of his head wasn’t born yet. Everyone was telling me to push one more time, but the contraction went away, and all of a sudden there was nothing to push against. I had to take a few seconds to re-gather my strength, but pretty soon I managed one last push, and out came the rest of his head, and Seth was born! I screamed, but it didn’t really hurt – there was a scraping feeling as his head came free, but mostly it was a great feeling of release. After all that effort and almost nine months of waiting, it was done!

Since I was sitting up on the birthing stool, they put Seth on my leg while they cleared out his nose. He was so warm! I could finally look at him and hold him. After we moved to the bed and they cut the cord, he latched on to nurse right away. He seemed to know exactly what he was doing. He had a few scrapes and bruising on his bottom from his unorthodox entry to the world, but he was perfectly healthy, and he didn’t have any head molding like a vertex baby would have had. I had a small tear, but it healed with no problem, and I was feeling back to normal within a week or so. Adam and I were incredibly happy to have such wonderful memories of Seth’s birth, rather than being forced to go to a hospital, and in the next few weeks I was very glad not to be recovering from surgery. We will always be grateful to the midwives at the Farm for giving us the choice. I'd recommend the Farm (and doing your own research rather than blindly accepting what doctors or other people tell you) to anyone having a baby.

-Seth's mom
post #2 of 40
What a fantastic story!! I met Ina May Gaskin at a speaking engagement while pg w/ my 1st. Her very presence is calming and somehow very powerful. Lucky you to have your baby delivered by her!
post #3 of 40
Great story! Thanks for sharing. Its so important for us to hear that natural breech births are possible!! : :
post #4 of 40
what a beautiful story, thank you for sharing!
post #5 of 40
What a wonderful story! Congratulations !
post #6 of 40
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Nanners View Post
What a fantastic story!! I met Ina May Gaskin at a speaking engagement while pg w/ my 1st. Her very presence is calming and somehow very powerful. Lucky you to have your baby delivered by her!
I was lucky! It was very reassuring to know how experience Ina May is with breech birth, even when she was just sitting off to the side knitting a sock! That was fine, I preferred not to be bothered most of the time.

Originally Posted by JustJenny View Post
Great story! Thanks for sharing. Its so important for us to hear that natural breech births are possible!!
That's one of the reasons I posted - when I first found out that Seth was breech, I had never heard of anyone having a natural breech birth. I didn't even know about the ones in my family.

Since Seth is my first baby, I don't have a regular head-down labor to compare this one to, but I don't think him being breech made things much harder. The whole labor was 18 hours from the time my water broke, but the first 9 hours were very easy. And Seth was in good shape - they said he got a 10 on his APGAR at 5 minutes. So I was really happy to have avoided a C-section, with all the side effects for me and him.

-hapersmion, husband to hoshiadam and mom to Seth (1-18-06)
post #7 of 40
Thanks so much for sharing such a great story!!
post #8 of 40
What a great birth story! I love reading about calm "easy" breech births.
post #9 of 40
Wonderful story! I was almost headed there myself for the same reason until I found a doc who would help me here. Congratulations and happy birthday to Seth!
post #10 of 40
I want to go on a rant about the ridiculousness of the medical community/insurance that won't let women birth breech, but instead I'll just say CONGRATUALTIONS! Ina May should re-name the Farm to Breech Haven . I'm so glad you had a place to go and that everything went so wonderfully well! Thank you so much for sharing your positive and beautiful story!
post #11 of 40
wow! natural breech story! this is so encouraging! congrats!
post #12 of 40
That's awesome mama!! Way to go!!!
post #13 of 40
great story! thanks so much for sharing and congratulations!
post #14 of 40
I had my ds at Lisa Ross I guess we are neighbors Loved reading your story.

When I asked the mw's tho what they did if the baby was breech I was told they had a Dr. that worked at St. Mary's who did breech births. I wonder if he moved away or something. I know it made me feel so much better to know that I had that option should ds be breech since that was a major fear of mine having to have a c-section for breech.
post #15 of 40
Wow! What a great story!

post #16 of 40
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by MCatLvrMoMof2 View Post
I had my ds at Lisa Ross I guess we are neighbors Loved reading your story.

When I asked the mw's tho what they did if the baby was breech I was told they had a Dr. that worked at St. Mary's who did breech births. I wonder if he moved away or something. I know it made me feel so much better to know that I had that option should ds be breech since that was a major fear of mine having to have a c-section for breech.
That's pretty neat that you live near here - did you enjoy your experience with Lisa Ross? I'd still like to go there, I think, if my next baby isn't breech.

About the doctor at St. Mary's, I'm pretty sure that's the guy (Brabson? Bradford? something like that) who did my external version. He seemed pretty nice, but after the version failed I asked him if he'd deliver breech, and he said insurance wouldn't let him any more. He said he used to do it all the time and didn't think anything of it, but now the liability is just too great. He said a jury will hardly ever rule against a doctor in a lawsuit if he performs a C-section, but if the mom delivers breech and anything goes wrong at all, the doctor will probably lose the case. So I guess that's what happened to him. : I heard a rumor that my friend's high-risk OB might consider a vaginal breech birth, but she wasn't on my insurance and the nurse I talked to fed me some weird story about it being fraud to go to a doctor not on my insurance :, so I never got to ask her. And after hearing about my friend's birth (she delivered the same day as me), I'm not sure I'd trust the doctor to be as hands-off as I'd like. My friend got pitocin after less than 12 hours because her labor had slowed down, then needed an epidural. She was still happy with her birth and likes the doctor, but that's not what I'm looking for.

Actually, I'm really glad I didn't find a doctor, since the Farm was so great. But I'm kinda nervous now about going back to Lisa Ross, in case my next baby turns breech at the last moment and I don't have time to get to the Farm. I felt pretty safe about a 5-hour (when you stop at every rest stop, anyway) drive with the first baby, but I have a feeling that might not be long enough next time. : I guess I can always go homebirth, if there are any homebirth midwives around here... But I don't have to worry about that for a while.
post #17 of 40
What a beautiful story!

I live in California and have told my husband I am going to fly out to the Farm if my babe turns breech on me. DH thinks that is crazy but there is no way I am going to have another unnecessary csection. That is very sad what you mentioned about why that doctor is no longer attending breech births. I was birthed breech, and I am a twin too! Imagine finding a doctor who will deliver a breech twin today... it's just sad.

(Wondering outloud...)why is it doctors only fear litigation from vaginal births, not csections? And what can women do to change that? I know my csection was not necessary... if I thought there was a chance I would win, I would sue, so that future moms wouldn't have to go through what I went through. The thought that so many women are undergoing a major surgery for no good reason because of insurance issues and this "cover my a**" mentality really, really angers me. Sorry, pregnancy hormones are making me ramble...
post #18 of 40
Thread Starter 
Yep, I think it's pretty sad that the decisions are being made because of insurance, rather than what's best for the moms and babies. As for why c-sections are less likely to result in successful litigation, the doctor I was talking to said that it's just easier for a c-section doctor to say he was doing everything he could, so that if something went wrong it isn't his fault. If something goes wrong in a vaginal birth, the jury will often say, "Well, why didn't he do a c-section? Obviously he was being negligent." Apparently unecessary damage to the mother doesn't count for much. : There are just too many lawsuits, and too much power given to insurance companies. And I guess one thing women can do to change it is be educated, and demand the best care for themselves and their babies, even if that means leaving doctors and insurance rules behind entirely.

Good luck with your VBAC!
post #19 of 40
What a FABULOUS story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #20 of 40
Great story - I love reading about breech births! Very cool to deliver at the Farm as well!
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