YAY – I’M PREGNANT
After a year and a half of trying to fall pregnant, I WAS FINALLY PREGNANT, and over the moon, yet a bit nervous as so many I knew had miscarried in their first pregnancy if not subsequent pregnancies.
We however couldn’t contain our excitement and told everyone before the “12 week” mark as I figured if we did suffer a loss, I would rather have the support from my family and friends rather than no one knowing.
We decided to book into a private obstetrician, we had been paying maternity on our private health insurance after all, so Private it was to be.
I had a very easy pregnancy, no real morning sickness, comfortable in my own skin, no aches or pains and other than one MAJOR “issue” things were perfect. I loved pregnancy, I loved my pregnant body and loved this little thang growing inside me. If only this baby would spin already…………..Mary was presenting Breech, so her bum was down and her legs were sticking up, she was what they call “Frank Breech”.
BIRTH PLAN and PREPARATION
I had a birth plan, and that birth plan was as natural as possible, no intervention, no drugs, no C/section. My OBI seemed very onboard with all of this. She was happy to sign off on my “Birth Preference” as she called it. I was physically and mentally prepared and had done a lot of work to get me to this point.
I had been doing hypnobirthing and going to regular meet ups to surround myself with positivity about pregnancy and birth, and didn’t want to have any fear associated with birth. I watched positive calm birth videos, looked at birth photography footage – watched documentaries about homebirths/ hospital births / breech births everything. I was armed with knowledge and I felt empowered and prepared.
THINGS WERE UPSIDE DOWN
And then I got to 35 weeks and everything started to go into turmoil. Up until now, Mary presenting Breech didn’t seem to be an issue……..the closer I was getting to “Term” the more of an issue it seemed to be.
Discussions about c/section were coming up at every antenatal appointment from 35 weeks onwards, as that was going to be my only option with this provider. I was trying EVERYTHING to encourage her to turn. Chiropractic (Webster manoeuvre) Accupuncture, moxi sticks, looking at spinning babies website, doing inversions – somersaults in the pool. You name it I tried it.
I was leaving my appointments in tears every week, and the week I had finally agreed to book a date for our c/section I was devastated. We had agreed to book at 41 weeks to give my body and my baby all the time to be ready and possibly turn. Having a c/section booked didn’t resonate well with me at all, I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t “Allowed” to birth my baby the way nature intended, or at least TRY.
I had often spoken to my sister about the scheduled c/section, and also to my hypnobirthing practitioner. I started researching Breech Vaginal Births, why they weren’t the “Norm” anymore and why it was such a fight. After copious hours of research and a lot of back and forth in my mind, the final decision came from a few choice words from my sister. “Why don’t you just see how you go? Find someone who will support a breech birth and try?”
HUGE DECISION TO MAKE
So at 38+6 weeks, I called my OBI and asked whether she could refer me to someone who may support my choice to birth my baby the way she was – Breech. And she did, she called around and referred me onto King Edwards. Her words were, I’m sure you’ll be able to birth this baby breech, but I’m not comfortable with it as I’ve never seen a Breech Vaginal Birth.
I was elated and so relieved that I was going to have the opportunity to birth this baby the way I knew my body could.
LET THE LABOUR (I think) BEGIN
And so it begins………..I woke up Wednesday (31/09/2016) at about 6:30…….I was 39 weeks exactly, and felt some slight cramping, which honestly felt like period pain and I had some blood in my underpants, which I figured was the show, but I really wasn’t sure as it was just like spotting. I had final OBI appointment at 10:30 that day so I just figured I’d speak to her about what was going on.
I took the dog for a half hour walk, saying to myself this isn’t going to be a long walk, these cramps are still here and I really need to pee (AGAIN – all morning I literally would walk from our ensuite to the laundry, and by the time I got there I had to pee again) I had called My husband (FIFO) and gave him the heads up something was happening but I just figured it was pre labour and was going to be a few days before anything really happened.
Got in my car to drive to Subiaco for my 10:30 appointment. She did the usual ultrasound, confirmed breech position and discussed my decision to have breech birth with the OBI she referred me onto. I was due to have an appointment with him that afternoon. She had also advised me it was quite likely I could go into labour anytime with the signs I had discussed with her.
I decided to visit my old work while I was in Subiaco to see the girls, and I joked with one of them saying “I won’t use the stairs as I might go into labour”! Haha! Meantime I was still feeling the pains every now and then, but it was just dull ache, nothing that made me really think this was it.
I went home and went straight to bed for a rest, my mum was dropping over at 2, so I thought I’d try and get some sleep before she got to the house. I’m pretty sure I just dozed and still kept feeling this cramping. Mum came over and lay in bed with me and by now I was noticing the cramping feeling was quite regular.
YEP THIS IS LABOUR
I hadn’t thought to time them until mum said maybe you should time them as it was stopping me in my tracks and I’d really have to breath through them!
Mum ended up timing them for me and low and behold I was having contractions every 3 minutes and they were lasting 45sec to a minute! I called Linda OB and said I was in labour and what to do about my appointment with the other OB, Was told to make my way into KEMH.
I called my husband told him to get on next available flight back to Perth and then called my sister to tell her to come over. My chosen birth team was always going to be my husband and my sister.
My contractions were very regular and I would lean over and just breath through them, and practicing the breathing techniques I had learnt through hypnobirthing. I had some music playing and some hypnobirthing tracks playing. I tried the birthing ball but didn’t find it very comfortable, more comfortable standing and leaning either against the wall or over the counter and just swaying my hips with each surge.
OFF TO HOSPITAL WE GO
Carla came over at about 3:30pm, and we decided to start packing up and going around 4:30pm. Sitting down in the car was so restricting and probably the most uncomfortable part, so 45 minutes drive felt very long! By the time we got to subiaco my contractions were coming ever 2 minutes and lasting a good minute! We got to ward 4 and as Carla was signing me in my waters broke. HA! Hows that for timing!
They did and internal and I was only 1cm dialated. Gave me the option to go home or stay, we chose to stay because I had a feeling by the time I’d get home, we’d have to come back. So they left us in the room to do what we needed to, Carla was amazing! We had essential oils diffusing, relaxing music playing and were just left to our own devices which I loved!
My waters continued breaking and sort of drizzling out with every contraction and I thought it was full of blood but turned out it was filled with meconium from baby. This is very common with Frank Breech as there is a lot of pressure on their stomachs from being folded in half and the contractions pushing them – the bum is in the pelvis so the meconium comes straight out, it doesn’t pose for panic as a head down birth does. Carla kept cleaning it up and me up (gross)
Aidan finally made it to the hospital at about 8pm, it was such a relief to see him, and know he was going to be with me for the birth of our baby,
Not long after Aidan came in, the OBI came in and had to go through all the policies, advising why Breech births aren’t recommend and would prefer to do C section etc (which I was struggling to even listen to due to my surges) my options etc etc – she looked over my birth plan and did mention a few items which she said I’d maybe reconsider – they wanted to give me Synto to speed up the contractions because of breech position and she said an epidural would be recommended because of breech as well – I declined both and carried on!
She noticed my contractions were coming in thick and strong so asked whether she could do an examination – I’d dilated to 5cm so they transferred me to the labour ward.
LET THE LABOUR PROGRESS
My first instinct was to get naked and get in the shower……….I HATED it, initially the pain went away nearly immediately but as soon as a contraction came on, it was like hot knives being stabbed in my back!
I felt most comfortable standing swaying and dancing through the contractions until my legs started hurting and then I lay on my left side which seemed to work for me too, managed to have micro sleeps between contractions. I thank hypnobirthing for this, I was so relaxed through the whole labour, I could snooze.
At about 11PM my body took over and I had an uncontrollable urge to push, I didn’t even know I was doing it and then all of a sudden I’d bare down, it actually frightened me and I said, “oh god what was that”!
The midwife who was there kept telling me to stop pushing or I’d end up with a c/section…………..this was the only point in my whole labour I felt like punching someone……….and that someone was her. Aidan quickly asked her to leave and get the original midwife who had been with us back – she had been amazing. So the midwives swapped – thank goodness.
Once the midwife realised I wasn’ able to breath through the “Pushing”, and honestly, for those mummy’s out there who have experienced this, there is no way you can stop it. She finally said “right it seems you can’t breath through these anymore, do you mind if I take a look”. I had to get on my back so she could check – this was the first time I’d really been on my back and it was horrible, quite painful – when she did her check, her face said it all. My little brechling was coming out – she was “Bumming” for a lack of better words, because she certainly wasn’t “Crowning” haha
I CAN SEE THE BUM
The midwife was a little panicked and said I really had to try and stop pushing until my OB got back, the OB had gone home for a sleep………..I instinctively got on all fours and what felt like the longest 9 minutes of NOT pushing, our OB finally got there and then the sweet relief of just letting go and letting my body push and bare down as it needed to.
I remember at one stage my OB asked Aidan whether he wanted to see what we were having? (We didn’t know what gender our baby was going to be) So Aidan took a look, and because she came out bum first, it was the first thing on display…….hahah. A Vagina in a Vagina. As soon as he told me, I squealed for Joy. The only real noise I had made the whole labour.
It must have only been 15 minutes of active pushing before Mary was here! Thats not including the hour of pushing which I was told to “Stop pushing” As soon as Mary was born, I picked her up and cried and held her so tight. They had to take her away as she wasn’t breathing very well – had to give her some oxygen and she stated crying so we knew she was ok!
My sister videoed the whole birth and I find it incredible looking back on it. But now that I am more knowledgable about Breech Births, I can see there was way too much interference in her Birth. There was a lot of unnecessary pulling and hands on assistance for the birth. The main rule of thumb for Breech births is “Hands off”.
I wasn’t able to have much skin to skin as they had to take her to NICU. We had about a minute and she tried to find boob but wasn’t able to suckle as she struggled to breath.
it still feels quite raw and makes me tear up quite typing it. It was probably one of the most amazing / proud moments of my life – what our bodies can do is incredible!
They said she had a collapsed lung and had to go down for monitoring. My feelings about this are still a bit skeptical, I think had they given her the chance to have skin to skin, not cut the cord so she could have received all her oxygen rich blood from her placenta and more time with me, she would’ve have fine.
She was down in NICU for 24 hours – on antibiotics, she was wired up to O2 for no more than 2 hours, the rest of the time was just monitoring etc.
It was very hard being in my room and hearing all these babies crying and my little Mary was not with me. My heart will forever go out to mums who’s babies are in NICU for long periods of time
My Mary was born at 00:27 and they said I was in active labor for 3 and a half hours…….so it was pretty quick. From when my waters broke to Mary being born was about 6 hours
Mary is the reason for my drive to support and help women during their pregnancies and birth. She has been my inspiration to do what I do now. I am a big believer in the fact that I had this sort of birth for a reason, had I not had this experience and a Breech Birth I would never have been walking the path of a Birth Worker.
Breech is a Variation of Normal.
I have provided some links for reference in regards to Breech Research.
Research on breech birth in an upright position
What was the Canadian Term Breech trial?
My name is Jackie O’Neill, I am a Doula who is inspired to help and support Women through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. I strive to keep myself informed with the most up to date evidence based information and resources.
“Live your life, Love your body, Birth your way”
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