I gave birth to my 5th child in August of 2015. My daughter was born a vaginal breech delivery, my second vaginal breach delivery, as my fourth child was also a vaginal breech birth.
I will begin my story at the birth of my fourth child who was my very first vaginal breach birth. When I arrived at the hospital that early evening, the midwife informed me that he was coming out bum first. My doctor had not picked up the fact he was breach during my pregnancy. However, I’m happy to say the staff at Logan Hospital were amazing in helping me deliver my fourth child and my first of two breech births.
That labour was a very quick and intense labour, just under an hour, just as quick as the birthing labour’s I had experienced with my previous 3 children. In my experience these fast labour’s I had come to know were intense. Ladies, don’t be jealous, as in my birthing experience the pain seems to be more intense the quicker the labour. Basically, I felt I needed to push through (no pun intended) to give birth to my son naturally. He was 5 weeks early but thankfully he was healthy.
So now in the last weeks of my pregnancy with my fifth child, the medical staff overseeing my pregnancy at my local hospital have picked up by ultrasound that she is in a breech position. I felt let down a little as I was really excited to have her at my local hospital, which is only 10 minutes away, especially considering I had quick labour’s in the past, one of which led to a home birth. Though now that doctors have detected the breech position of my baby, they have to refer me to Logan Hospital, which is at least 40 minutes away. Now I feel stressed that I may have endure a breech birth at home or in a car on the way to hospital.
I’m 36 and1/2 weeks. I’ve started to have contractions and they are 2 minutes apart. I have had no sleep all night. In the morning when my partner awokeI decided that I should go into Beaudesert Hospital to be evaluated. The staff assesses me and decidesI need to betransferred to Logan Hospital because if I stayed there I would have to have a caesarian section, as due to policy they do not deliver breech babies naturally. After having four babies naturally, I am determined I don’t want to have a caesarian. Ultimately, they transfer me via ambulance to Logan Hospital with my midwife. When I get to the labour ward at Logan, a midwife who had delivered my last baby 18 months ago greets me. I am so relieved that I have someone there who understands me and values the importance of my wishes and natural instincts to have a natural birth. No one seems to want to deal with a vaginal breech birth.
Next thing,I’m evaluated by a doctor who tells me that my cervix has not dilated at all! She tells me the risks of a breech birth and the only words I hear are “your baby could suffer brain damage if you go through a vaginal delivery”. The doctor also tells me that even with the risks of Caesarian I should have the Caesarian, as it is the safest option. (I’m thinking she’s never done a breech vaginal delivery, which is later confirmed).
So there I was, lying on a bed and I’m having contractions. I’m crying and I don’t know what to do. My friend is crying and my partner is crying. My mum is hours away. I want my mum! Even when you’re an adult with your own children you still want your own mother.
I know caesarian births have increased in the last 20 years due to risk factors, but I have had four vaginal births. I also have four kids at home to care for, one of which is still a toddler! How can I have 6 weeks with limited mobility?
In one sense I feel bad that I don’t want the caesarian, but I’m also thinking, “how can I risk my child’s health above my own?” I couldn’t live with myself if something went wrong! So, I agree to the caesarian.
I sign the form to agree to the cesarean, however the doctor has to performtwo other caesarians before mine. My midwife decides to go back to Beaudesert though told me she would be back.
So, I’m lying there on the hospital bed waiting for my cesarean and then all of a sudden I have a massive shooting pain, like a stabbing pain. I grab the bed tightly with my hands and my reaction to this pain frightened the crap out of my friend and my partner. I then said, “My waters have broken”.
My friend runs to get the midwife back. And so it begins…I know it will be bad and it’s terrifying. I had already told my partner, “I won’t be able to talk to you so don’t ask me any questions” so he knew that that was what labour was like for me. This was our first child together and his first child born to this world.
I’m lying there and I can hear people talking and I can see what’s going on but I can’t move and I can’t talk. With the instant intensity of this labour I now just have to focus on one spot on the ceiling and not move. My friend says,“Oh my God, are you ok? Look at her eyes they are so dilated.” She saw that I felt that contraction, no mistakes.
The midwife calls out and says she something like, “I need a friend, a buddy!” (I’ve never seen the bottom half of a hospital bed removed and the stirrups put on a bed so fast. The doctor had mentioned something that if I gave birth naturally I would have to be in them). The doctors called back to the midwife. I havedilated in about 30 minutes from nothing to 10 cm. Yes, fully dilated to 10cm! Next thing she’s telling me to push and I feel my baby girl coming out. I can tell you that the feeling is very different to a head first delivery. You are pushing out their whole body first in one long push. It’s long and it feels very, very different. She tells me to keep pushing and I’m really trying. Then my contraction stops. She’s is still telling me to push though I tell her that I am but there’s nothing.
I’m waiting for the next contraction and as my friend would later tell me so is the doctor, she is checking the clock. The doctor asked the midwife how long had it been, and I can tell you that it seemed like forever. Everything feels like slow motion now. Then I finally experience another contraction and to my relief my daughter is born.
I’m a bit out of it from the labour but my friend later tells methat the nurses and the doctor are rubbing her and cleaning her and she took a while to cry, that I had also noticed at the time. Midwife later tells me that breech babies do take longer to cry regardless of vaginal or caesarian birth so not to worry.
The breech birth had felt a scary journey. Looking back on the experience my wish is that they would educate more doctors on natural breech deliveries. My midwife later tells me that delivering on your back in stirrups is the worst way for the mother to deliver a breech baby though the easiest for the doctor (which I can partly understand), but not the most natural way for the baby to be born. A breech birth is still a natural human occurrence in many births. I among other women feel with the support of educated doctors that this process could be more joyous if they allow the natural process tohappen in the care and guidance of a hospital setting in case intervention is truly needed. It was an empowering experience to naturally birth my breech babies being my fourth and fifth children. The experience would have been less stressful if I just had the experienced midwives to deal with and not be caught up in the doctors medical red tape as this can be disempowering to the birthing mother). Though all in all, I’m just happy and grateful that my baby and I are ok. Nature took it’s course after all and she is healthy and beautiful. My partner is in love with our little girl and me. He is a wonderful stepfather for my first four children and now he has his own to love which I feel so blessed to have given him a daughter. It is a wonderful gift to us both.