From week 32 my pregnancy started to be a rollercoaster. I was on a business trip in Germany where a guy pushed me against a pole in a dart because it was so full and he wanted to get out. Immediately after the push drops where running down my legs and I was scared it could be my waters. But it stopped when I came to the hotel and so I thought it might have been sweat or urine. This business trip was so exhausting for me and so stressful. I had to carry my bags because the airport there had no elevator and there was nobody there to help me and I almost missed my connection flight that I had to run with two bags. It was a whole nightmare. Next day after this business trip I flew with my husband to Austria (our hometown) to attend the antenatal class. I thought I would like to hear everything in my mother tongue so I could remember better when I went into labour.
Breech is just another variation of normality. This was my motto. And I was so confident in going for a vaginal breech birth. I knew I could do it.
The midwife told me to go to the hospital in Austria before I fly home just to check if my amniotic sac was still intact. I had to stay four days in the hospital in Austria. The amniotic sac was not damaged and the water was not broken. But I had only a small amount of fluid left, it’s called oligohydramino. They injected me with steroids for baby’s lungs just in case I went into labour. I stayed three more days in Austria and returned then to Dublin on a Sunday. The next Thursday I had an appointment in my hospital in Dublin and was immediately admitted. They treated me like my water was broken. After a full week in hospital my consultant, who is German, discharged me because he could read the diagnostics from the Austrian hospital. But I had to come twice a week to the hospital for a CTG on Mondays and doppler scan on Thursdays to check my amount of fluid.
Week 36 was here and I went in on a Monday to the CTG and the baby was doing perfectly fine. They always had to call the OB to tell how my baby was doing. So the OB came and looked again how the baby was lying and said it was still breech and next week we would decide if we could turn the baby or not due to the lack amount of fluid. I went mad and was a bit loud when I said to her that I would not going for a C-section. A woman in the waiting room heard me and told me her story that she had a C-section and felt terrible. It was an emergency C-section and she was so upset and felt horrible afterwards. And she said I should look for a doula and recommended Tracy Donegan from GentleBirth. Thanks to the iPhone I sent an email to Tracy immediately and she responded not even after 30 minutes. So we were in contact now and I told her my story and asked if she would know a hospital which would do a vaginal breech birth. Tracy was immensely supportive. She told me everything she knew about vaginal breech birth and recommended a forum where they talked about breech positions.
I joined this group and was now in contact with midwives from the UK where every woman has the right to choose how she will give birth to a breech baby. So it is very common to have a vaginal breech birth there but still the doctors do recommend C-sections. Tracy also showed a video to me from a woman who gave birth to a breech baby and she was also a first time mom. All these things motivated me in a way that my husband and I made the decision to refuse the C-section. Breech is just another variation of normality. This was my motto. And I was so confident in going for a vaginal breech birth. I knew I could do it. My self-confidence was so strong. And my husband trusted my instincts.
The OB (not my consultant) came up with terrible horror stories. She really tried to scare me. Instead of just telling you the risks they try to scare you. But I felt strong and I looked into her eyes and said “Well, and now tell me all risks about having a Caesarean and also the afterwards risk for the baby and the mother.” And I think that made my point very clear.
So week 37 started and between week 36 and 37 I drank so much water, relaxed all day long and spent the days with research and got so much help from Tracy. That week I had the CTG on a Tuesday, my scan on a Wednesday and my appointment with my consultant on a Thursday. I felt very good. CTG was perfect as usual and my scan was a surprise for everyone. The water was back, fully back not only on the minimum line. No, it was fully back. So I went on Thursday totally thrilled to my appointment. The doctor and I decided to try to turn the baby manually (ECV) on the next day at lunchtime. He was very positive because the water was back. I told him that we would refuse the C-section and he said that he would totally understand my point but he would have to go through all risks with me. I told him that I would know all the risks. And I also told him that I was not scared and that I was so confident in my decision that I would know I could do it. He said that we should first wait for the ECV tomorrow and if this would not work he would write down with me all risks and my decision. Fair enough. I left the room, emailed my husband that we would try to turn the baby tomorrow and wanted to leave the hospital. I went downstairs and felt like having to go to the toilet. Urgently!
And then I felt it. It was like in a movie. At the reception of the hospital my water broke. I stood in a little lake of amniotic fluid and I wasn’t scared at all. I was laughing and said to my baby “Okay, so you don’t want to get turned!” I called my husband: “Hi Honey, my water broke. It starts now, can you come to the hospital?” It was 4pm on the 7th July. I went back to admissions and they checked everything. I asked them to contact my consultant because he knew my decision and we would have to go now through all the risks. My husband arrived and was very calm and happy. The consultant came in and said in a funny and smily way that this was not the plan. He was very sorry that he could not be there that night because he already had two night shifts the nights before and couldn’t do a third one. But the good news was the doctor who was on the night shift was very experienced in breech birth and there was also a midwife who was very experienced.
After 20 minutes the contractions started. Very soft but they started to come every 6 minutes. Around 6pm I came to the ward. At 7.30 pm I had contractions every 3 minutes. I was so hungry that I had to eat something. And I ate a lot. You need energy for the birth so if you are hungry, eat! It was 10pm when the contractions were every 2 minutes so the midwife checked how much I was dilated and I was 3cm. She asked me if I would like to have any painkillers but I said that I didn’t want to have anything. I wanted to be fully there to get the full experience. I was absolutely not scared of what would come next. The doctor who had the night shift came to the ward and told me how I would have the vaginal breech birth. She knew from my birth plan I would like to choose the position when the pressure waves start. But she told me I had to lie down on my back with the feet in the air and under my bottom nothing. Because I got what I wanted I wasn’t complaining. I thought this doctor seemed to be so calm and so relaxed when she talked to me that I will trust her completely.
At midnight they brought me to the delivery ward. The midwifes were very very nice and they were so excited to attend my birth as they never saw a breech birth. They went through my birth plan with me (four pages long) and except for a few little things they told me that they could do everything on it. They asked me again for pain relief, epidural or gas but I didn’t want anything. So the contractions were every minute and were very intense. I wasn’t able to sit nor lie. “Let the gravity work for you”, I thought. So I started to walk around, danced a little bit (circled my hips) and breathed deep in and slowly out with a AAAHH or an OOOHH sound. This helped me to breath much slower out. At 2am the midwife checked again how many centimetres I was dilated and it was still 3 but my cervix was very thin and short already. So around 3am the contractions were so intense that I started to feel the need of pushing. But I knew I had to wait until I was fully dilated. They checked me again and here it was, 9cm dilated so they called the doctor.
It was just unbelievable to hold my little stubborn baby who wanted to come out with the little bottom first. My husband and I were so full of love.
My contractions were very intense and I could still only stand on my feet. But my legs were already so tired from all the walking and standing so I started to fall asleep after every contraction for around 20 seconds or so. I always focused on my baby. I thought all the time that every single contraction will bring me nearer to my baby. My husband was so supportive. He pressed acupressure points on my back and forced me to drink after every contraction so I would not get dehydrated. He also motivated me in how strong I was and how proud he was. When I could no longer stand the feeling of the need to push because it was so intense the doctor checked how many centimetres I was dilated and said “Well then, let’s start and follow now your instinct when you need to push, then push.”
The midwife said to me that I should push into my back. I said I couldn’t when I was lying on my back and the doctor allowed me for the first pushes to kneel. I did so and the first pressure wave came and I pushed with all my strength and after three times pushing, the little bottom of my baby appeared. Now I had to breath away the pushing needs because they needed me to move on my back as already discussed with the doctor. They helped me and I saw the room was full of people. All the free staff of the night shift attended my birth because everybody wanted to see a first time mum having a vaginal breech birth. It is so rare that they were all excited. I had absolutely no problem with that. This made me just stronger in showing them that it will go easy and good. I waited for the next pressure wave and as it came I started to push with loud AAAHH’s and OOOHH’s. This helped me to relax my jaw. I could feel how the bottom came completely out followed by the legs. It was amazing. This feeling made me stronger and I started to push again and I could feel that much more was coming.
The doctor didn’t pull on the baby. This is very important in giving breech birth. Nobody should pull the baby. Just let it come. The consultant just helped with the arms so that they didn’t get stuck with the head. Now there was only the head which needed to come out. I had to wait for the next pressure waves and it felt like an endless time in waiting. The baby was hanging down and I could feel the weigh of the baby. This was a very weird feeling and I got impatient, but the next and last wave came. With all my strength and a very loud AAAHH I pushed the head out and the doctor grabbed the baby and placed him straight to my chest. I cried and was so emotional. It was just unbelievable to hold my little stubborn baby who wanted to come out with the little bottom first. My husband and I were so full of love. Our baby boy :).
Everyone in the room was amazed and thrilled. It was a record time in giving birth to a breech baby as a first time mum. That’s what they told me. Our little man started to search for my breast after 20 minutes and he drank for a full 25 minutes. The whole experience was so amazing and I never felt more love in my life. We called him Vincent William and he is our love, our world and our happiness. I myself felt so strong and I felt like I can do everything. Vincent is totally healthy. The orthopaedic surgeon and paediatrician checked him and everything is fine. He is a very good drinker and so nice to Mommy and Daddy. A wonderful little star.
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