My Breech Birth Story

Mercy Reign was born Saturday, February 3 at 4:43am by way of C-section after 40 hours of intense, unmedicated labor at home. She was frank breech, 9 pounds, 9 ounces and 23 inches long! Mercy was extra-well done (haha) at 41weeks and 3days, extra-large, extra cozy, folded completely in half,  and slightly transverse, likely due to how long she was! This was not the birth story I wanted, it was the birth story God knew we needed. 

Zach and I did everything we could to prepare for a home (water) birth, something we both dreamed of having. We prayed. We took A Heavenly Welcome's Kingdom Childbirth Class and the 8 week Mama Natural Online Birth classWe hired an amazing Christian midwife with 29 years experience who thoroughly cared for, educated and encouraged us from 9 weeks pregnant through the "4th trimester". We both read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth book, Hypnobirthing and Supernatural Childbirth. A word on Hypnobirthing for those whose "New Age radar" just went up: Chew on the meat & spit out the "New Age" bones - most of the info on what happens in the woman's body during pregnancy, labor and birth + the breathing techniques in this book were very accurate and helpful though I don't recommend the cd or some of the wierd visualizations.  We also watched endless videos of amazing home births, and once we found out she was breech, endless vaginal breech birth videos. I LOVED The Heavenly Welcome Podcast in my last trimester, listening to all the supernatural birth stories/testimonies!! 

The Lord specifically instructed me on how to prepare my body before getting pregnant, after He gave me  the dream about Mercy. He gave me the words TRUST and DISCIPLINE, and challenged me to get a 1-year chronological Bible to read for 2017 (as of March 2018 I've almost completed it...hahaha...better to finish with grace than become legalistic and ashamed, right?!). I also felt the Lord instruct me to start pilates reformer classes to prepare my structure, as I was just coming off of a serious back injury involving 2 bulged discs and severe muscle spasms. He advised me to lighten my load and work on my adrenal glands/hormones, as my periods had gotten painful and a bit irregular after prolonged high stress.  The Lord also nudged me to finally change over the last of my makeup/skincare regimen. I had been using Bare Esscentuals for years and justified that it was "natural enough." I finally took the time to see how EVERYTHING I was using on my face/body ranked on the EWG- Skin Deep App and did my research to find  the BEST, most pure and complete cosmetic line  once and for all. (I hate changing makeup/searching for new products!) There are hundreds of serious carcinogens, hormone disruptors & other toxins in most makeup/skin care products. I still make my own body butter and anti-aging skin serum, both of which I used (mixed together) for stretch mark prevention throughout the whole pregnancy (and I didn't get a single stretchmark with my 55 extra pounds of  Mercy love!!!). I had pages of birth declarations and scriptures (you're welcome to use them) typed up that I meditated on for weeks to keep my mind constantly renewed and excited versus afraid. Aside from those specifics, I was already eating super clean and healthy, teaching Indoor Cycling classes 2 times per week and working a balanced schedule. I took responsibility and trained accordingly, as I knew childbirth was not something to "just wing". 

Everything the Lord advised me to do paid off and served its purpose. I had a wonderful pregnancy despite the fact that it was "God's plan" and not our own in the end. Mercy was head down until the middle of third trimester when she flipped. My amazing Chiropractor, who specializes in pregnancy and pediatric care,  is who suspected she was breech and referred me out for emergency ultrasound for confirmation on Christmas Eve (35.5 weeks). Praise God for the wise words from a dear friend who reminded me: "Remember, home birth isn't the ultimate goal, a health mommy and baby is". That was Truth I needed to remember for such a time as this. This pregnancy and birth experience took me to another level of surrender and trust, once again reminding me that we are not in control. I so desperately wanted to have this baby naturally at home. I fully believed that God was going to honor "the desires of my heart". My recovery entailed much more than physical healing. 

We prayed fervently through the end of my pregnancy and had so many others praying (even fasting for us). We did everything to get her to turn (Webster technique, Chiropractic care, Acupuncture, Moxibustion, External Cephalic Version 3 times, inversion exercises from SpinningBabies.comessential oils, homeopathies to increase my amniotic fluid making more room for baby to move, etc).  We were still lead to try to have a home birth instead of cave to C-section immediately since there were zero complications, and I was healthy and low risk through my entire pregnancy. We had to hire Dr. Stuart Fischbein (with Dr. Milo Chavira on call, his backup which is who we ended up with because Dr. Stu was out of town when I went into labor... the plot thickens!) the only Obstetricians in the area who specialize in vaginal breech HOME (or birth center) birth. Sadly, California law will not allow a breech home birth with a midwife any longer (don't get me started on that!). It is pretty much exclusively hospital policy here to force women with breech babies to have a surgical birth and not even allow them to try to deliver naturally. God kept opening doors of hope and possibility. 

Something I learned from our amazing and very experienced birth team through this journey: If you are trying to deliver a breech baby vaginally, induction and intervention are major no-no's. (Of course, I'm not a fan of either unless they are truly MEDICALLY NECESSARY anyway. One intervention often quickly leads to a whole cascade of interventions, which can have adverse effects on mommy and baby). Because Mercy could not descend through the birth canal due to her position and size, my contractions never developed a regular pattern into active labor, and I never dilated past 4 cm. I had MANY 10-15 minute, excruciating, back-to-back surges as my uterus did its job to TRY to bring her down. I fought to have her naturally, but it eventually became medically necessary to transfer. My water had been broken for nearly 48 hours.

This was my Garden of Gethsemane. 

“...Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” -Matthew 26:39 NKJV

There were some incredibly HOLY moments late in my labor where tears flowed from the depths of my soul. I was able to dance and worship, feeling almost zero pain for a couple hours!! I had a supernatural breakthrough and clearly heard the Lord speaking to me about restoring the family unit, the ancient ruins (Isaiah 61), and the places that have been long devastated through many generations. He spoke to us about making all things new through us, a fresh start, a new and healthy generation, and encouragement that I don't have to be afraid of me or Zach doing the things I witnessed growing up. These have been deep, tormenting and paralyzing fears throughout my life. The Lord "delivered" me as I was delivering my daughter into the world. I was fully surrendered at that point and HOLY is the only way to describe it.

Perhaps if my birth story had been "easy", I would have missed out on the healing that only comes through the kind of pain that brings you to your knees. I could quickly get caught up in grieving and re-living my birth story, wallowing in the emotions and making it an idol. Instead I CHOOSE to simply trust The Lord and thank Him for this baby girl that was worth it all!! After all, I don't "deserve" anything. Anything the Lord gives is a gift of grace in reality. 

Ultimately we had our home birth...with a cesarean delivery and a healthy mommy and baby. We did everything we could and therefore, will never have any regrets. In God's mercy and grace, Miss Mercy Reign never once showed any sign of fetal distress through the entire labor or birth or postpartum!! Thank you Jesus!!! 

We are in love!!! Mercy is so strong and healthy and BEAUTIFUL and FUN and squishy and delicious!!!! God's MERCY truly REIGNS and we can be grateful His plans are better than ours will ever be!!!

THANK YOU to ALL who have prayed, called, sent cards and gifts, celebrated and journeyed with us!!!

Psalm 136:1 "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER."

FUN FACT: A breech presentation is a variation of normal (like us! haha), not a pregnancy complication. It occurs in 3-4% of pregnancies and no one really knows why. Vaginal delivery is ideal for a low-risk breech baby so long as you have a properly trained birth assistant (OB or Midwife). The real problem is that medical schools are no longer training Doctors how to deliver breech babies, so there is a LOT of fear-mongering around this topic. Just as many things can go wrong during C-section delivery of a breech baby if a Doctor isn't properly trained (brachial plexus injuries, etc). It is still wise to avoid a surgical birth whenever possible unless it is truly medically necessary like mine ultimately was. 

A natural birth with twins? Yes You can!

When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I was doubly excited, and knew I still desired a home birth.  However, I realized many practitioners see all multiple pregnancies as high risk, and I would have to advocate for my wishes, while seeking out an experienced care provider.  As a home birth midwife, I have assisted with natural twin pregnancies in the United States, and abroad as a traveling volunteer.  While we are fortunate here to have medical interventions available, such as epidurals and cesarean sections, they are not needed for every birth, including every multiples birth.  So how can you best achieve your chance for a natural birth? Education, maintaining a healthy pregnancy, and trusting in yourself.  Here are my top tips to natural birth success with multiples:

 

Nutrition - starting in the first trimester, it is important to eat a health diet, including whole foods, lots of water, and a quality food - based prenatal vitamin.  One of the most important nutrients for moms is protein, which provides amino acids, known as the building blocks to cells.  With adequate nutrition, not only will you be growing healthy babies, they may also have a better chance of making it to full term, which also increases your success of a natural birth, while decreasing their risk of NICU time.  Good protein choices are lean meat, eggs, low mercury fish, beans and legumes.  Additionally, it is important to “eat the rainbow,” meaning many colors on your plate - think red peppers or strawberries, green broccoli, kale or spinach, oranges or carrots, yellow lemons or bananas, as each colored whole food provides different key nutrients and vitamins.  Drinking plenty of fluids will ensure babies have enough amniotic fluid, contractions don’t start prematurely, and can  help keep your fatigue at bay.  To combat nausea, try not to get too hungry, and keep bland snacks like cereal or dried fruit nearby.

Exercise - Once given the go ahead from your provider, prenatal exercise is another essential part of maintaining a healthy pregnancy, and will prepare yourself for birth.  Prenatal yoga, walking and swimming are all great options.  A walk outside also gives the added benefit of vitamin D!  When in doubt, consult before trying something new, and avoid heavy lifting, torquing maneuvers or high impact exercises, unless it is okayed.  During pregnancy, the babies need to get in optimal birth positions, and avoiding strenuous abdominal exercises, as well as doing weight bearing activity, can help make that possible.  As your pregnancy progresses, a maternity cradle, or wide, elastic band will offer support when standing or walking for long periods of time.  If you are placed on bed rest, ask if there is still any exercise you can do, such as leg lifts or arm exercises, because even a little movement may be beneficial.  You can also practice gentle breathing techniques, such as longer exhalations than inhalations or blowing, which may be helpful to use during labor.

Childbirth Education - Take a class with a local educator, watch natural birth videos, read childbirth preparation books and talk to experienced parents so that you have the knowledge to make an informed decision about your birth preferences, including place of birth.  A natural birth can happen at home or in hospital!  Research your birth preferences but be flexible.  Decide which aspects are most important to you, and also what part of your plan you could modify, in case things change.  In birth, preparation is helpful so you know what to expect, but the unexpected can occur, and its important to know why an intervention is being offered or recommended.

Self Confidence - now that you’ve ate healthy, exercised gently, and feel informed about labor and birth, hopefully you can enjoy your pregnancy!  I know easier said than done, but remember people have been giving birth forever.  Once you’re pregnant everyone has some piece of advice to offer, so take in the positive, and let the negative stories go.  Find affirmations or images that make you feel empowered and strong.  These can be your mantras during labor and birth.  Another essential is trusted a labor companion, which could be a friend, relative or partner, and statistics show that someone with a birthing person throughout their birth is the best thing you can do to reduce number of medical interventions.  Remember, this is a special time and you can do it!

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One of the best parts of an unmedicated birth is the feeling you have once your little ones are in your arms.  In fact it is the highest level of oxytocin, the love hormone, that a person will ever experience in their life!  However, no matter how birth happens, it is transformative and beautiful, and with multiples, only enhanced with each baby.


Here is our first family photo: happy, healthy and at tucked in at home!

 

Jacquelyn Ingram is a licensed midwife and international board certified vacation consultant.  In addition to serving home birth clients and teaching classes for expectant and new parents, she also runs a non profit corporation, Global Aurora Foundation, which aids individuals and non government organizations around the world, that serve women and children.  modelmidwife@gmail.com

Birthing on Her Terms

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After losing her first baby in the second trimester, Megan was deeply impacted by this experience and even questioned if she wanted an opportunity to become a mother again. Once she decided to get pregnant, she found herself “so hungry for knowledge – for anything that might help make this outcome different”. The more research she did, the more Megan wanted a natural childbirth and in the end stay away from hospital interventions. She planned for a natural birth in a birth center with a midwife. Then, one month before her due date, she was confronted with the possibility that her plan might go out the window. Her baby still presented breech (butt down) and was left with two options: plan for a scheduled cesarean with her back up doctor or continue care at the birth center and hire the only doctor in Southern California who attends out-of-hospital breech births, Dr. Fischbein. Going with her gut, she chose the latter and had the empowering birth experience she knew was possible. 

Tell me about your first pregnancy and how it impacted your decision to choose a midwife/birth center birth?

My first pregnancy was completely different than my second. I got pregnant as soon as we started to try and I was completely naïve about the whole process of childbearing. I didn’t know anything about being pregnant so I went by the book. I went to the OB-GYN who I had been seeing since college, and although I hadn’t begun to think too much about the birth, I am almost positive that it would have been in the hospital. It’s all I knew and I wasn’t in the mindset of going against the grain.

When we lost the baby, it rocked my world more than anything in my whole life. Our first baby had an extremely rare genetic condition, but in the back of my mind I was worried that maybe it was something I had or had not done that caused this. There was also a part of me that felt like my body failed me.

Since I had gotten pregnant quickly the first time, I hoped that that would be the case again, but it wasn’t. It took awhile and I started to doubt that I would ever get to experience another pregnancy or birth. When I finally got pregnant again, I was determined to do everything right. 

I also did not take one second for granted and from the very beginning, I decided to trust the process and have faith that my body would not fail me and that this outcome would be different. While I had a newfound trust, there was certainly fear though. In fact, there was a lot of fear that I had to work through.

The beginning of my pregnancy was very medical. I went back to the same doctor and was immediately labeled “high risk”. I alternated between that doctor and a perinatologist. I had a lot of appointments, ultrasounds, and tests. Every test and ultrasound came back perfect, and the further along I got, the more the fear of something going wrong with this pregnancy diminished.  

The real turning point happened at 22 weeks when my husband and I went on a road trip up the coast of California over the holidays. We needed some entertainment so decided to download an audiobook. We did a quick search for baby books and both took interest in a book called “The Business of Baby” (basically a more in depth version of Ricki Lake’s “The Business of Being Born” documentary).

This book went into detail about every aspect of pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and baby care in our country. The facts were both shocking and disturbing. So disturbing that at points I wanted to just turn it off and go back to my “ignorance is bliss” state of mind, but I couldn’t. My eyes were open and there was no turning back.

This is when I seriously started to think about a birth center or home birth setting. We returned from this trip with a completely new mindset and a list of questions to ask my OB. About three questions in at our return appointment and I could tell I was never going back. The big red flag was when my OB said that anyone who would consider a home birth is a “whacko”. Ha! We were definitely not a match.

Not long after this appointment, I decided to transfer my care to a midwife and prepare for a birth center birth. It definitely was not an easy decision and took a lot of soul searching but ultimately, I decided that there was no indication that this pregnancy was going to turn out like the last so I needed to go with my gut and have the pregnancy and birth experience that I (and my incredibly supportive husband) felt was right for me and our baby.

It was this mindset that allowed me to make the decisions I did later on when we found out that the baby was breech.

How did you know a vaginal breech birth was an option? 

Early in pregnancy, I read Ina Mays’ Guide to Childbirth. In it she talked a little bit about breech birth.  This was the first time I had really heard of it. At this point I was early in my pregnancy and didn’t think much about it.

Around 28 weeks, my midwife told me my baby was breech. We still weren’t very concerned since we had some time. Then at 32 weeks my midwife was pretty certain that my baby was still breech so she sent me to my back-up doctor (not Dr. Fischbein, who delivered my baby) for an ultrasound. He confirmed baby was in fact breech. At this point, I started trying everything – weekly chiropractic visits, acupuncture, inversions, swimming, even burning my toes with a moxa stick

At 36 weeks when baby was still breech it was time to really consider my options. My back-up doctor suggested that we schedule a c-section. My midwife and chiropractor were the ones who encouraged me to talk to Dr. Fischbein about the option of a vaginal breech birth. 

What helped assuage any fears around having a breech baby outside of the hospital? 

My consultation with Dr. Fischbein is what really assuaged any fears I had. He has a long list of boxes that must be checked off before you’re even considered a good candidate for a vaginal breech birth. Every one of those boxes were checked for us and he looked at us confidently and said, “There is no reason you shouldn’t have the beautiful, out-of-hospital birth you desire.“

For me, that was really all I needed to hear. From there, I spent the next few weeks watching breech birth videos and finding positive affirmations to remind myself that I could do this. 

I think it also helped that I had a gut feeling that this was just how my baby wanted to be born. I talked to the baby everyday and assured him or her (we didn’t know what we were having) that it would be okay and we would do this together. I may have actually been reassuring myself of this, but either way I found comfort in it.

Were your family or peers supportive of your decision to birth at home? 

Initially no, but in time yes although I didn’t tell anyone but my parents that I was going to have a vaginal breech birth at a birth center. I only told close friends and family of my plans to birth outside of the hospital and they were all concerned but respected my decision.

I knew that everyone would have an opinion and that while their opinions would come from a place of love, they would be uneducated ones. I truly felt that only I knew what was best for me and my baby and I didn’t want any negative comments or energy filling my mind.

What did you do to prepare for a healthy and smooth birth experience? 

I exercised regularly, kept a food journal to make sure I was eating a nutrient dense diet, visited the massage therapist and chiropractor regularly, prayed, and as I mentioned before talked to my baby a lot.

I also had a rock star birth team in place. Between my midwife, Dr. Fischbein and my husband, I had so much love and support. 

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Did you take a childbirth education preparation series. If so, how was it helpful in your birth experience? 

I did take a class. It was very helpful in preparing me for what to expect in each stage of labor. We also went over different movements, positions and breathing techniques that could be helpful during or in between contractions. Lastly, we were given exercises to do as a couple to help prepare us to work together during labor.

We also made a birth preference sheet for the in case scenario of needing to transfer to the hospital. While my husband I had already done a ton of research and were pretty much on the same page, this helped solidify our plans.

In addition, we had open discussions about our hopes and fears for the birth. I think it really helped to get all those things out in the open and work through them together before they potentially came up in the labor and birth.  

What activities or tools were helpful during the time of waiting for labor began? 

Walking and spending time with my husband helped a lot. Although I must admit that everyday past my due date I got more and more uncomfortable and more and more anxious for labor to begin.

Can you tell me about your labor and birth? 

I was a week and a half past my due date when I went into labor.

I had strong early labor contractions, which at first felt like intense period cramps for weeks and once I went into active labor, my daughter was born 27 hours later.

On the night of May 11th, my contractions picked up in frequency and intensity. These were stronger than I could have ever imagined. I couldn’t believe that my body was producing this sensation. It was almost an out of body experience. 

It wasn’t until the following day around 4 pm I made my way to the birth center. At this point, I was already exhausted from the labor and not having slept much the night before.

When I arrived at the birth center, I was hopeful that it wouldn’t be much longer. My midwife greeted me and I got comfortable in the birth room. Not long after, Dr. Fischbein arrived, although I didn’t see much of him until it was time to push. He let my midwife stay with me most of the time and gave me space to labor on my own. It was comforting though knowing that he was there when we needed him. 

I spent hours in the shower, in the tub and on the birth ball. I was so exhausted from the lack of sleep that around midnight I told my midwife I couldn’t do it anymore. I was so tired I couldn’t imagine mustering up the energy I would need to push my baby out.

At this point, she went to get Dr. Fischbein. As they were walking up the stairs, I heard them discussing our transfer plan and I started thinking, "Oh no, this is it. We really are going to transfer.” When they entered the room, Dr. Fischbein greeted me and very calmly and sweetly asked me how I was doing and if he may check me. I agreed. He checked my cervix and looked up at me and said confidently, “You can do this. It’s time to push. You’re going to have this baby right here, on this bed, right now.” His energy and reassurance was exactly what I needed at that moment to push through.

He could tell I was truly exhausted so he asked me to relax and look at him while he explained how I would push with each contraction. He didn’t want me to waste any unnecessary energy. Pushing was so much harder than I imagined, but once they could see my baby’s butt I had a new burst of energy come over me.

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After nearly 2 ½ hours of pushing, my daughter Eloise Rae was born at 3:32 am on Friday, May 13th. I pulled her up to my chest and excitedly announced, “It’s a girl!” She was perfect. I kept telling her what a good job she did making her way into the world and how proud I was that I was able to give birth to her exactly as she wanted to be born.

With the exhaustion and fear of not having enough energy, how did you best calm your mind and body in between contractions?

Being in water helped me a lot. I spent hours between the shower and the tub. I was also very vocal. Even between contractions, making deep primal sounds was soothing to me.

What surprised you about your birth experience? 

It was harder, more exhausting, and longer than I ever imagined, but I am still amazed at what my body is capable of. The female body is truly amazing.

What was the biggest take away from your experience?

Giving birth to my daughter on my terms was the most empowering experience of my life. It reassured me that I can do anything I put my mind to. 

Also, knowing my daughter now, it makes perfect sense that she was born butt first. She is a stubborn, determined, strong, bright light who does everything her way. Her birth prepared me to be the mother she needs me to be.

What words of wisdom would you pass onto to other mothers planning a natural birth, and specifically a breech birth out of the hospital?

Explore your options and go with your gut. Vaginal breech birth is not for everyone, but if it feels right to you and you have an experienced doctor (or in some states, midwife) as your support, it is absolutely possible.

*** This story was originally published on Milk Trails; a blog dedicated to out-of-hospital birth experiences.

There and Back Again, A Homebirth’s Tale

With deference to J.R.R. Tolkien

In a house on a street there lives a family. Not a cluttered, crowded condo filled with noisy neighbors and parking lots, nor a cold and rigid hospital with nothing in it to eat or to bathe in. It is a family home and that means comfort. In a neighborhood of grass and trees at the end of a street, a cul-de-sac they call it. It’s a place called Irvine and in the house lives a mother and a father and a daughter.

Mother is a psychology professor, Father a gastroenterologist. They were expecting their second baby in a little more than two weeks. It was an uncomplicated pregnancy, healthy and receiving good prenatal care with her obstetrician. Then one good morning their peace was disturbed by an unexpected journey. Was it a good morning or a morning to be good on or, perhaps, just good that it was morning? No matter in any event because their path was changed forever for they were informed that their baby had decided to turn footling breech. Now all would prefer a calm and predictable course through pregnancy and this couple was no different. Nothing exciting or unusual is expected in Irvine, California. Like Hobbits, pregnant couples and their practitioners do not like excitement or surprises.

This was not anticipated. Change is very difficult especially for the well organized and planning professional. So they did what we all might do at this time….panic! Then they settled in to do some browsing and seek information. “Breech deliveries are dangerous. No one does them anymore”, they were told. If the baby doesn’t turn then we will schedule a cesarean for Thanksgiving weekend. They tried the usual positioning maneuvers and several chiropractic adjustments. Conversations with baby were, sadly, unproductive. Their physician offered and performed an external cephalic version. She tried a backward roll. She tried a forward roll. Momma even begged her to try a third time all without success. A noble effort but Baby decided that he liked his foot just where it was.

However, once the information door is opened and you set your foot out on the road you never know where it will take you. Referred by Cathy the doula, Mom came a calling on me for a consult on November 12th at 38 weeks. We spent an hour or more reviewing her history, discussing all her options, answering questions, looking at baby on ultrasound and getting acquainted. Baby’s foot was still presenting but I felt confident it would not stay that way. Now it is also not in the nature of Hobbits or Humans to adapt easily. If baby’s foot were to move then would Mom and Dad accept a breech vaginal birth? Her first delivery was uneventful so the chance of success was enhanced. But we were not talking only about a breech delivery but a breech delivery at home! Talk about disruption and stress at a time usually reserved for nesting and resting.

Over the weekend we waited to see what baby would do and on Monday it seemed baby was determined to keep his foot down. Dad was uncertain about a home birth anyway. Most institutional physicians would certainly be uncomfortable with this option. But Mom absolutely did not want a cesarean and the idea of a home delivery was beginning to grow on her even though that foot was still lurking out there. What we needed was a wizard. Fortunately, here in Southern California we have our chiropractic Gandalf, Elliot Berlin, D.C. One visit with Dr. B and confirmed on ultrasound one week before her due date, on November 20th, her baby was now in the frank breech position with flexed head and meeting all the criteria for selected vaginal breech delivery.

Mom was very excited. Dad, well, not so much and still in need of some convincing. Time for a home visit on Sunday, November 23rd. Braving the beast that is the unexpected LA traffic my midwife colleague, our student and I made the trek to Irvine. Surprisingly, no traffic orcs were encountered and the journey took less than an hour. Portable ultrasound showed the active baby’s feet up by the head. We spent over an hour with this family reviewing the literature once again and all of Dad’s questions concerning my experience and reasoning were answered. We could feel his confidence building and, therefore, Mom’s comfort growing. Now at 39 ½ weeks all we could do now was wait. Still, the cesarean loomed on the horizon and was scheduled for 3 days hence. But there is always hope! With that in mind the team made the trip back to Los Angeles in the late afternoon.

Comfort and confidence play a very important role for a successful pregnancy and labor and cannot be understated. Too often they are ignored or at best downplayed. Fear and anxiety predominate in the culture and have taken root in the medical community. When adversity such as breech presentation presents itself too many succumb to those fears, see it as hopeless and wish it had never happened. Here, the wisdom of Gandalf speaking of misfortune is vital, “So do all who come to see such times but that is not for them to decide. All we can decide is what to do with the time that is given to us”. This couple made an informed decision to do just that. And so….

Just before midnight that very same evening I received a call reporting the leaking of clear fluid. Within the hour her contractions started and there was a sense of urgency in her tone. Even though the contractions were not that strong and only 6 minutes apart her intuition told us to come. There and back again we went, arriving around 2:00 AM on November 24th. Maybe it is a coincidence that she went into labor just hours after her home visit but I do not think so. I think she and her husband finally felt safe. This is not the first time I have seen labor in a breech mom start within hours of the home visit. Feeling safe permits the intellect to rest and allows the instinctual to come forth.

At 3:20AM, less than 3 hours after her labor began we welcomed a baby boy from an all fours, hands off, frank breech delivery. Doula Cathy, Grandma and Grandpa along with Dad were awed and Mom was incredibly happy that she got the birth she wanted. Her husband, the conformist, and her father, who she labels the non-conformist, both very smart, were raving about the birth and calling me a genius. In gratitude I replied, “Thank you but what I do is basic logic and ethics and not rocket science”. Mom replied, “That’s the genius of it – the simplicity that all the other OBs have missed!” I have to say that the team was honored to be a witness to their trust and accomplishment. Holding her baby on her chest in her bed she was radiant. The visual was a triumphant culmination of a tumultuous two weeks. She kept saying she couldn’t wait to call her OB in the morning to cancel her cesarean section scheduled in two days!

From The Shire, to Rivendell to Irvine wisdom comes from experience of the open mind and is allowed to blossom in free society. Ignorance thrives in the fear and darkness of Mordor and some halls of academia. This couple, encountering an obstacle they didn’t intend, believed in themselves and in what their birth team represents and achieved a dream. Dreams, like prophesies, can come true. When returning home after his great adventure to the Lonely Mountain, Bilbo Baggins still seemed surprised that such a prophesy could have happened. Gandalf once again reassured him saying, “And why should not they prove true? Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophesies because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself.”

In a house on street there lives a family. In a neighborhood of grass and trees at the end of a road, a cul-de-sac they call it. It’s a place called Irvine and in the house lives a mother and a father and a daughter and a new baby brother, now four where there once were three. They are home! It is a family home and that means comfort.   

Happy Thanksgiving to all,

Dr. Stu