I’ll start off by saying, if you haven’t yet read Mila’s birth story, have a read of it first. In a way Mila’s birth sets this one up, her birth was what made me more determined to set out for the birth that I wanted with Remi.
I’ll also preface by mentioning I do have birth photos & a birth video in this post, and they are a bit graphic (yet beautiful).
My first 2 babies were quick & easy induced vaginal births. My 3rd baby was delivered by caesarean section (in Jan 2011), as she was breech. A c/s was something I never wanted, yet the Drs insisted (via scaremongering crap) I have one due to her breech position. I was happy to go ahead with a vaginal breech birth (VBB), but the Drs were not confident and since they no longer practice breech deliveries I ended up with a scheduled c/s. She was delivered at 39wk 4d, happy, healthy and oh so perfect. Everything went really well thankfully. I still regret not trying harder to get a vaginal birth, as I knew I could have done it. I decided I would most definitely be having a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) for baby #4.
10 months after Mila’s birth, I found out I was pregnant again. I was breastfeeding at the time, so it was a little bit of a surprise, especially since it took so long to fall pregnant with my last 2 pregnancies. I was due end of July 2012. We had moved from Canberra to Central West NSW (so we went from city to country pretty much) a few months before we found out we were pregnant, so I’d be delivering at a different hospital this time around.
My 4th pregnancy was very smooth sailing. I never had any morning sickness, or any problems at all. We chose to find out the sex of our baby at 20 weeks, a girl.
At 24wk 5d I was feeling off all day. I went to the maternity unit to be assessed, and the midwife on duty just put it down to food poisoning. Throughout the day I felt a bit worse, but the vomiting slowed down, though I had a slight pain in my side. After ringing a health line & speaking with a doctor, he suggested I head back up to the emergency department at the hospital. Once there I was checked out & had some tests, the nurse said I had a bit of protein in my urine, so it was a suspected case of pre-eclampsia. After a bag of IV fluids & shot of maxalon to ease the vomiting, an OB came by and suggested I may have an appendicitis and that it was in my best interest to head to the tertiary hospital over an hour away to be thoroughly checked. We spent roughly 3hrs waiting in Orange Base Hospital ED, ten finally after some assessment it was decided I would have an appendectomy the following morning. Before the surgery, I insisted they give me steroids for baby’s lungs (which they did), and if things went sour, to do all they could to save her. Thankfully the surgery went fine with no problems, and I recovered well. Baby stayed happily snug inside and showed no ill effects (phew!). Sure enough my appendix had burst, and it was gangrenous apparently. That was a scary few days, faced with the possibility of preterm labour.
I continued on with no problems through the rest of my pregnancy, watching my bump grow and getting excited about meeting our new baby.
At 37 weeks I went for a scan to check positioning of baby, despite her being cephalic (head down) a few days earlier at my antenatal appointment. Surprisingly, she had flipped to breech. I couldn’t believe it! But I figured since she had been head down just a few days ago, surely she would turn back around, there was still time. In the meantime I tried a few baby flipping exercises, but not holding onto much hope of them working as they never did with Mila.
When I found out I was pregnant, I started reading as much information and birth stories on breech as I could. I knew that if I had another breech baby, I would push harder for a vaginal breech birth (VBB). I never expected it would come in handy.
I saw my OB a few days later, and I informed him that in no way will I consent to a c/s. I insisted I will be having a vaginal birth with this baby, as a c/s was completely unnecessary. He was supportive, agreed that we wait till I go into labour before making any decisions (I was surprised by his reaction, as I was more than ready for a fight). Though he did feel I would end up with a c/s and baby wouldn’t turn. This same OB when I first saw him a few months earlier, had asked why I had a c/s with #3. He was surprised that I wasn’t given a trial of labour with her since I’d had 2 previous successful VB (vaginal births), and my babies were only small. But since this would be a VBAC, he was slightly cautious.
Bub continued to be breech at the next few appointments, and as much as I had hoped she would turn, I gave into the fact she wasn’t going to turn head down. I also started to lose bits of my plug, signs that things are happening down there!
Thursday 26th July… I saw another OB at 39 weeks (I rotated between 3 OBs, so when I did give birth, I was familiar with whomever would be on call that day), and she performed an internal to see where I was at & if baby was still breech. I was found to be at 2cm, soft and very favourable. She told me that I’d most likely have baby within the week. She knew my thoughts on having a c/s, and that I would be refusing one. As much as they didn’t want to deliver a breech baby vaginally, they also couldn’t refuse care. As bad as I felt putting both her and the other OB in that position, it wasn’t fair that I would be put in the position of not birthing the way I wanted, since it was my body & baby etc.
Saturday 28th (at 39+6) morning I found the rest of it had come away, though I knew this didn’t tell me much, labour could still be a week or more away. I’d also been experiencing painful braxton hicks contractions over the last week, not too painful, but noticeable. These happened mainly when I was breastfeeding Mila (18mths old at the time). Though on this day I noticed they were around a bit more, and hurt a little more, not regular though. I really didn’t think anything of it, especially since they had been bothering me for weeks.
I headed to bed at 12:30am that night, I got nice & cosy, and then had a cough. Well as soon as I coughed my waters broke/burst. Totally didn’t expect that! I spent the next 20mins trying to get hold of the maternity suite, when I finally did, the Midwife (S) informed me that as it was the weekend and baby was still breech, my husband Lach & I would have to drive to Orange Base Hospital. My local hospital had no theatre staff on call, and they wanted that back up should something go wrong. Now Orange was over an hour drive away, and we weren’t too happy about driving all that way, but figured we had no choice. I rang my parents to let them know what was happening, and Mum was on her way.
After I got off the phone (just before 1am), I started getting painful contractions. They were coming every 5mins, and lasting just over a minute. This gave me a little hope that I may get a VB, as I had never gone into spontaneous labour with my other kids.
My Mum arrived at our place around 1:20am (to watch the kids), and saw that I was having contractions. She soon suggested we get an ambulance to take us to Orange, as not only was Lach so tired and unwell (he had a horrid flu over the past week), but my previous VB were fast, and we didn’t want to risk birthing on the way. So she called up for an ambulance to take us. I was labouring on my bed at this point, on all fours. I was worried about a cord prolapse as I wasn’t sure if baby had engaged her bum yet or not. I really wanted to get up and jump in the shower, but didn’t want to risk being up right and possibly having a cord slip out.
The Ambos arrived around 1:40am, one of them lived just around the corner from us, so he got here pretty quick. After a check over, he informed me that we would have to go to the local hospital first before making our way to Orange. I felt bad as I had been told to go straight to Orange, but the Ambos said it was protocol. I had a contraction or 2 on the way, and wasn’t looking forward to labouring like this if we had to go to Orange. I had a cannula inserted while in the ambulance in case I needed fluids etc.
At 2am, making our way along the corridors to the maternity suite I had another contraction (I was on my back, ouch!), and we were met by my Midwife (S). I had to wait for the on call OB to arrive to do a check to see how far I was progressing. When she got there, I had an internal and amazingly I was already 8cm dilated! I couldn’t believe I was that far already, so quickly. This was what I wanted since finding out bub was breech, as the OBs had both said if I arrived at hospital at 7/8cm they would be happy to go for a breech VB. After my internal, my OB said I wasn’t going anywhere (YAY!).
Both my OB & S explained how we were going to approach this birth. I had previously discussed with my OB how she would do it, so had a fair idea with how it’d go. I was told once I was fully dilated & ready to push, I’d have to come back onto the bed, on my back with my bum right at the end of the bed. They would be taking the ‘hands off approach’, where I would be left to birth baby without anyone touching her. This was so bub wouldn’t flex her head while still inside me, which would possibly cause her to get stuck. Though S said she would have a hard time resisting the urge to touch baby, as she was so used to being hands on when catching (cephalic) babies.
It was almost 2:30am when I found out I was staying, and I made my way into the shower to labour (boy was it great to be up off my back!). I was in there for about 10 minutes when I decided the water wasn’t hot enough for me (I had it up as far as it would go, with just hot water), so I asked for the gas. Oh that blissful gas, it’s awesome! I only had gas in my 2 previous VB, and found it really helped to ‘focus’ in a way.
Not too long and I was starting to feel pushy and let S know. This meant I had to get out of the shower and back onto the bed. I didn’t really want to, and was ready to crawl there, but Lach & S managed to encourage me to get up and make my way to the bed. I hopped up onto the bed on all fours (leaning over the head of the bed) and my OB checked me over again. I was almost fully dilated, with a little bit of cervix in the way. I stayed where I was and continued to suck on the glorious gas, fighting the urge to push. I looked up at the clock at this point and saw it was 2:45am.
Finally at around 3am I was 10cm, & ready to push. I flipped over onto my back (half sitting up), got into position, and started to push.
After a few minutes of pushing I could feel bub descending. Out came her bum (and she did a big poo & wee right before her bum emerged), then her feet flipped out from under her (she was complete breech with legs folded). Next out came her head, and then she was immediately passed up onto me. My baby girl was born 29th July at 3:13am, just over an hour after arriving at the hospital, making it just a 2hr labour.
S went to clamp her cord, but I reminded her that I had requested delayed cord clamping as I felt (and knew) it was very beneficial for baby to receive all/as much blood from the placenta as possible. Though a minute or so later the OB asked us to clamp and cut it as bub wasn’t quite responding as well as she’d liked. She was fine though, and I knew this as I could see she was alert and trying to cry, just a little shocked. Lach cut the cord and bub was taken over to the warming tray to have a bit of air blown into her, then she was handed back to me where she latched on and began her breastfeeding journey.
I indulged in my new baby girl as I delivered the placenta and I was checked over & given a few stitches. Bub was weighed & measured – 3110gm (6lb 13oz), 48cm long & 36cm head circumference.
After I showered, all 3 of us headed to a room to get a bit of sleep. S let Lach stay with me since it was so quiet on the ward (bonus of a small hospital), and he took up the bed next to me. I dozed in and out for the next few hours, had some brekky then waited for my OB to get back so we could be discharged. At 11:30am we were finally ready to go, and headed home to introduce our new daughter to her siblings.
Throughout my whole pregnancy we searched high & low for names. It was SO hard! Well if she had of been a boy it may have been easier, but naming our 3rd daughter was very tricky. Finally when she was 10 days old we agreed to name her Remi Violet.
Over the next 2 weeks, while I indulged in this precious baby girl, I experienced my first ever bout of baby blues (never had it with the other 3). It was horrible. Not only did I have that, I also had the WORST after birth pains (how to cope with birth pains), they were worse than my labour! I think being unwell right before the birth, Lach having to go back to work a day after Remi was born (his boss couldn’t cope without him) & my hormones being out of whack, it was all too much. I knew I was definitely ok, I just had little outbursts of crying. Poor Lach didn’t kow what to do with me, I had to keep re-assuring him I was okay & not depressed. As I reached about day 7-10 I was back to my usual self, and feeling much better, phew!
So that’s my breech VBAC birth story. Even now, almost 7 months later, I’m still in awe of myself. I can’t believe I did it! Well I knew I could do it, but I figured I’d end up with a c/s one way or another. I just didn’t think things would go the way I wanted. I now know that if we go back for another baby, and he/she is breech too, I will push again for another breech vaginal birth without question. I won’t let anyone convince me otherwise. I am so unbelievably happy that I got the birth I wanted, the way I wanted. I’ve watched my birth video over & over, and it amazes me every time seeing a bum come out first!
And here is the video with original sound…