The birth story of my breech baby.
My little girl was due on the 27th May and from Easter I had this feeling she might be breech (mother instinct I guess) and I was a breech baby. So I went along to my 28 week midwife appointment and the midwife confirmed she was head down. Phew!!! So I could continue to plan my home birth. A few days later I was pretty sure she had turned head up and remember telling my mum I could feel her head as it felt like a big hard lump. I hoped it was a bottom but at my 32 week midwife appointment she confirmed she was breech but I was told not to worry as I had lots of time for her to turn. Roll on 36weeks and she was still breech. I was referred to the breech clinic at Wexham. We had a chat with some lovely midwifes and decided to try Maxobusion which had a very high success rate of helping baby to turn. This involved burning a large cigar by a point my little toe twice a day for 10minutes. This was meant to stimulate baby and encourage her to turn. I also decided to listen to the Katherine Graves Hypnobirth Script and had a look on spinning babies for positions I help create more space for her to turn. I also saw a chiropractor to make sure that there was noting postural preventing her from turning. I tried a lot of things, my son tried singing twinkle twinkle with a toilet roll to where I wanted her head to be, we tried a torch light, frozen peas on her bottom……..nothing was getting her to move.
We returned to the breech clinic and decided to try a External cephalic version where a consultant would manually try to turn her. There were some risks involved including the risk of needing a emergency c-section should babies heart rate drop after the procedure. We were monitored before and after. This wasn’t the most pleasant experience…..actually it was extremely uncomfortable and I was extremely grateful that I knew how to breath correctly, that I had gas and air and my hypnobirth music on. The consultant was very impressed at how relaxed I was (in my head I was thinking something totally different) But by the end of the procedure they had moved her side to side but couldn’t turn her bottom was firmly engaged in my pelvis. At this point we discussed my options for delivery, we were hoping to go for a natural breech delivery but discovered that following research in 2000 which found that c-section was safer for breech delivery that many midwifes and consultants had lost the skills need to deliver breech babies. Although there has been more up to date research has shown that natural breech birth is safe. After discussing my options and finding out that the chances of having a consultant who was happy with a natural breech delivery was slim as there were only two that did and in the end we decided on a elective c-section. This was such a hard choice to make.
Over the coming weeks I tried to come to terms with my dreams of a home birth changing to a elective c-section which was very hard but in the end I decided to go with it and plan how to make it the birth that I wanted.
At my booking appointment we discover that that Oxford John Radcliffe delivered breech babies regularly – so on a Friday afternoon a few days before my due date a lovley consultant had a go trying to get me transferred there but it was too late in the day and close to my due date.
My c-section was booked for the 24th May but got delayed by a day. I woke on early on the 24th and realised that I was getting contractions but went back to sleep. Rather pleased as I hoped I would go into labour before my c-section as I had read that it was better for babies lungs as they get some of the fluid squeezed out. I rang the labour ward to see what I had to do and was told that I had to wait till my contractions were 1 every 5mins and then go in for a urgent c-section. So I went about my day as normal taking my son to and from nursery – the contractions were so much more intense then when I had my son. So I called a few more times during the day and was told to wait. In the afternoon I called my mum and told her to take my son as I felt that I was going to be meeting my little girl at some point during the night.
So about 8.00pm I had a bath which was so uncomfortable that I got out and set about getting dressed. My husband enquired to when I was calling labour ward and I said once the contractions were one every 5mins – and he pointed out that I’d had 3 in the last 10 minutes. So I gave them a call and they were rather busy and finally I spoke to someone at 11.00pm and they said to come in to get checked out. So I went in and got monitored and the midwife decided that it was better to keep me in being a 2nd time mum. At this point we went through he options for c-section and the registrar said I could continue and see how I went but I opted for a c-section as things were feeling pretty intense and the midwife had checked and said I was only 3cm.
So I went to through to the labour room and got prepared for my c-section, Iv in, stockings on and was just waiting for them to finish cleaning theatre. Finally the midwife with me offered me gas and air until now I had just had my tens machine and hypnobirth music. I was just bringing myself into a sitting position after being on my back for something and my waters broke, combined with getting the gas and air my body just let go and things got going. I was up on all 4’s leaning on the bed and in between contractions decided to go for it naturally as the midwife said she could see her bottom and I was already fully dilated. There was a few moments rest between contractions and I remember commenting to the midwife that it was the rest and be thankful stage and then bam my body did what it had to do and I focused on my breathing. The midwife asked if I wanted to push and I said yes I wanted to that for quite some time. The register firmly stated not to encourage me to push but to let me follow what my body wanted to do. At this point there was quite a few people in the room and the Registrar was asking me to move onto my back. In between contractions I managed to say NO all 4’s is the best position for a breech birth, but finally I did turn as there were a lot of people telling me to, half way over on my side half of her was out and then once on my back the register guided her arms and legs out. A quick check and I got to meet my little girl on the 25th May. The funny thing was I was pretty sure I’d have my baby 25th of May instead of my due date of the 27th as it was the day my dad passed away! Babies know best!
For further reading about breech birth - Keep Your Hands off the Breech By Mary Cronk, MBE
Simple-Changes Prepared for Birth and Beyond online includes a 45minute sessions to practice breathing and relaxation which I know played a major role in the birth of Avani. It allowed me to feel in control and to focus my mind away from the physical sensations, use the gas and air correctly and have a amazing birth experience. If you would like to learn more about the session click here.