Sorry this took so long for me to post. My computer decided to crash and it took 2 weeks to finally get it fixed.
I was planning a homebirth for our first baby with an EXCELLENT midwife. At 34w I found out our baby was frank breech. Unfortunately our CNM midwife is not legally allowed to attend a home breech birth. We spent the next few weeks trying EVERYTHING to turn her including moxa, Webster Technique, massage, meditation, talking to baby, inversions and ECV. After all of that failed, I really felt like our baby did not want to turn.
It was time to look for options because though our backup doctor was “allowing” us to go into labor before requiring a c-section, I didn’t want to give up a natural birth if there were other safe options.
After lots of research, we found that there are 3 options for breech vaginal birth in Los Angeles:
- An OB across town will do it if you agree to a mandatory epidural
- A religious direct entry midwife located 2 hours away
- An OB that now only does homebirths with midwives…SCORE!!!
When I first heard about option #3 I prayed we had hit the jackpot. …it took a week to get an appointment and while I was still only 38w, I was soooooo nervous about going into labor early. I asked the baby to wait every day. We FINALLY went to the appointment and our hopes were met. This OB is VERY experienced and is actually good friends with and worked with my backup doctor for 30 years. For the past 10 months he’s only attended homebirths. This incredibly rare situation became our salvation. We met his list of 6 criteria (including baby’s position, etc.) and he agreed to take us on as a client.
While I think it’s incredibly sad that women with supposedly “high-risk” pregnancies have so few options, I’m glad we could satisfy society by covering our bases so thoroughly.
We ended up with a very well attended home birth:
On Sat, May 28th at 8pm we watched “Orgasmic Birth”…great movie! 2 hours later I was lying in bed and felt fluid leaking out of me. I went to the bathroom and sure enough, there was some clear fluid. I went back to bed and continued to leak and have period-like cramps for the next hour or 2. Eventually the cramps got stronger and stronger. I tried to sleep as much as possible and when the cramps got worse I moaned through them and really focused on words like WIDE OPEN and TRUST and images like waves.
By about 4am I couldn’t sleep anymore and my husband ran me a bath and lit a candle. I moaned through more contractions while he got the apartment ready for labor…blowing up the birth tub, straightening up, etc.
Around 6:30am our videographer arrived and my contractions were pretty strong and about 2-3 minutes apart. She asked if we had called the OB and we said we had left him and his midwife a message, but hadn’t heard back. She asked if she could call him…which made me feel pretty good cause I figured that meant I seemed to be progressing.
I kept thinking about pacing myself because so many first births take a long time. The contractions were painful, but the great thing is that I got a complete pain-free break in between each one. When I miscarried last June, I had constant contractions for almost 4 hours without much of a break…and I didn’t get a baby after…so it seemed worse.
Our doula was at another birth, but the backup doula said if we could wait 30 minutes she’d be finished and could attend our birth. So we decided to continue on our own for a bit.
Our doula arrived at 7:30am and confirmed that we were moving along well. At this point I was laboring in the living room and would lean over the arm of the couch during contractions with my husband pressing on my hips to relieve some of the pain. As soon as a contraction would finish I would stand back up and sway around and even joke with people. I can’t tell you how great it felt to get these little breaks from contractions.
Our OB and his midwife arrived around 7:45am and I decided to try laboring in the birth tub. It hurt too much to lay on my back or side and so I ended up on all fours with my arms hanging over the side of the tub during contractions. My husband eventually got into the tub and held my hips while the doula held my hands. It was really nice having everyone there supporting me through this experience.
At 8:15am the doctor checked me for the first time and I was 8cm! My exact words were, “Yeah b*tches!” I felt so on track!
The doctor told me that the lip of my cervix was stuck and that I should hold off on pushing. This was definitely more difficult because everything made me want to push.
By 9am I was ready to get out of the tub and labored in the bathroom and then in the bedroom. At 9:10am I was complete and the doctor used his hand to slip the last bit of cervix over her butt.
They explained to me how to switch to push breathing and asked if I’d be okay birthing on my back. The doctor felt more comfortable that way. At that point I was willing to do anything to meet my daughter. I started pushing on my back while the midwife and my husband held my feet up. After a few minutes her butt came out…along with all of her meconium. (We actually never had any meconium filled diapers because it all came out as she was born.)
It was amazing to feel each part of her slip out during contractions and then wait in between contractions. I felt a bit of stinging, but this part was way easier because I knew she was close. After about 4 sets of contractions with 4 pushes each, her head was ready to come out. I knew that I should probably spread that out into 2 contractions, but I really really wanted to see her. So I pushed 5 times during my next contraction and her head came right out. …that’s probably when I tore. Oh well.
At 9:38am, Aurora was born at 6lbs, 9oz and 20cm long
I’m hesitant to say any more because the birth itself, while challenging, was also so positive, but I feel like I should briefly mention the challenges we faced in stage 3 and after.
During the few visits we had with our OB, he noticed that my uterus appeared heart-shaped on the u/s. No one else had been looking for it, but that is probably why she couldn’t turn in the womb. Most likely because of this, my placenta was impacted at the top of my uterus and was not coming out 30mins after the birth. The umbilical cord was flimsy and tearing and could not be pulled. So the doctor had to reach into me with his whole arm and then with forceps while the midwife pressed on my stomach. Even after he pulled the placenta out, he had to continue searching until he had removed all the bits of membrane left inside. This was by far the most painful part of labor, but time heals all wounds and it already seems like a distant memory.
That, along with the stitches for tearing, did not make the day perfect, but it was pretty darn close. …We even had a bit of a sing-along during the stitching.
In the end I’m thankful that we had an OB present so I didn’t have to transfer to a hospital after such a lovely birth. I’m also happy to report that my original midwife continued with all of her great support through my post-partum appointments.
I cannot recommend homebirth enough! Thanks for everyone’s words of encouragement through this process and feel free to post or PM me with any questions. Some of my birth footage will be used to create a short documentary promoting breech vaginal birth and I’ll hopefully be able to post a link soon.
Harlan (11/4/2011)http://www.desertreadingloft.com--Independent Usborne Books Consultant
Sara that is amazing and wonderful! Congratulations on a beautiful home birth, and a beautiful breech birth! Your daughter is just lovely. :) I'd love to see the video once it's completed!
Momma to my boy (1/99) & girl (7/00), Birthmomma to my Ladybug (8/09), the new baby monkey boy born 6/6/11!
Student nurse, doula, future midwife, and breastfeeding, bedsharing, babywearing, organic gardening, God-loving single momma
Congrats! So glad you still got your homebirth and what a beautiful little girl :)
~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister
Livin' in the sticks with my chicks and lovin' it!
2014: 4/52 projects 0/2014 things 0/52 books
~Karenso happy to be mothering my four... DS ('94), DS ('94), DD ('00), and DS -- June 8, 2011, our UC baby!
DDCC - Congratulations! What a beautiful birth & baby! I had the same experience with my placenta with all three of my babies and for me it was pretty traumatizing so I'm glad you've come through it so well! I love her name.
Mommy to THREE sweet boys & ONE sweet girl + a newb due in February! I need a nap.
Wow. That is such an amazing story! I'm so glad that you were able to find an experienced home birth provider to attend your home birth. I know that's not something that would be possible in every area - I'm really glad you lucked out. Your baby girl is beautiful! Congratulations mama!
Congrats! That's a wonderful story. :)
I am so glad to hear that there are at least a couple of options for delivering breech babies in Los Angeles. And you're daughter is adorble. :)
Melaya (29) - Mom to Z (9) and soon to be I (due Nov 2013)
Birth mom to M (7), O (5), & C (2).
OMG that child is gorgeous! TY for posting such an amazing breech home birth story! I feel it is so rare for women to trust a breech birth these days. What an OB huh? I think I love him lol
Young born-again mama and loving wife to DH and SAHP to two crazy girls we and believe !
Thanks for the support everyone! The breech documentary isn't done quite yet, but our videographer (Jodie Myers) posted a video of our birth on her website. Feel free to check it out:
So beautiful, mama. What a wonderful gift you've given your daughter. Congrats on your peaceful birth and your new precious family member.
Blissed out mama to 3 beautiful boys LIFE IS GOOD!