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Breech Homebirth After Cesarean

My first was a "necessary" cesarean, more for Dr. fatigue than any medical emergency. I thought that reading "What to expect when you're expecting" made me educated about birth.  I was wrong.

I had a horrible pregnancy with my second, suffering hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme nausea & vomiting that causes severe weight loss) and had to be on a medicine pump for a continuous infusion of anti-nausea medication. Thankfully that only lasted for about the first six months, but because of that I had to have parallel care with an OB as well as my midwife. 

Around 37 weeks, the baby turned breech.  I went to the chiropractor and had the Webster technique done, and she turned back vertex just fine.  I was very surprised when she turned breech again a week later.   I was scared, because neither my Dr nor my midwife were willing to attend a breech vaginal birth after cesarean, so I was looking at a repeat c-section that I didn't want.

The night before my ticker moved to 39 weeks, I started having what I convinced myself were Braxton Hicks contractions.  They didn't hurt, and they didn't get any stronger or closer together.  At first, I just told myself that all my efforts to get the baby to turn were working, and she was trying to turn.  That was, until I noticed that her "trying to turn" efforts were regularly 10 minutes apart.  I wasn't happy about that, I wasn't ready to go into labor- I wanted her to turn first!

By the next morning though, I had resigned myself that I was actually in labor, and I was probably going to have a repeat c-section, as I watched my dream of a homebirth slip away.  I managed about an hour of sleep, but it was enough.  I called the midwife to let her know what was going on, and she decided to come down and check on me, saying she would be here around 10 am.

We had a normal morning, but the contractions were closer together, about 6-7 minutes apart.  When the midwife got here, we all cheered when she palpated my stomach and determined that the baby was vertex!!!!  I wasn't really in active labor yet, so she decided to go ahead and go to another prenatal appointment on the other side of town, and advised me to try to get some more rest. 

I tried to get more rest, but it didn't work.  With my first born I had never even gotten into active labor before they decided his variable decels with his heart rate warranted a cesarean, so with this labor I was already further along than I had ever been.  I hadn't lost my plug yet, so everyone figured I still had plenty of time.

I knew it was going to hurt, so I just accepted the contractions and worked through them in whatever way I could.  When things started to get a little rough, I called the doula and she said she would head over.  The plan was to get a birth pool and have a water birth, but there was some delay on that, so the doula stopped at the store to buy a kiddie pool for me to use. 

Things from that point got very intense very quick.  I remember calling the midwife and telling her "this is getting hard".  She knew the doula was on the way, so she said she was going to grab a bite to eat at her house and then head over.  I wanted to ask her to come then, but didn't have the self confidence to speak up and tell her that.

I was soon screaming to get through the contractions.  Just as we had gotten on the phone to have our childcare come help with our son, I realized that I was pushing.  I started to freak out a bit.  How could I be pushing when neither the doula nor the midwife was there yet???  I wanted to call them, but they were already on the way.  What was I going to say to them- drive faster? 

However, I trusted the birth process.  I trusted my body.  I had a great calmness that I could give birth alone and everything would be OK if that's what it came down to.  My husband was on the phone with someone in the doorway to the bathroom where I was, and I could hear relief in his voice.  Someone must be here, and he went downstairs to let them in.

I had a horrendous, scream incoherently at the top of your lungs contraction.  Then, I looked down, and saw that I had feet hanging from me. I reached down to hold her, in shock that she had been breech after all.  I could hear my husband talking with someone downstairs, and I yelled to them, "SHE'S HERE!  HELP ME!"

I heard someone run up the steps and my doula entered the bathroom.  Thank God for her, she's been doulaing since before I was born, so she has a ton of experience.  She calmly helped hold my baby, and told me with the next contraction to put my foot up on the little step stool for my son, grab the towel rack, and lunge a bit to open up the pelvis. 

With the next contraction I did that, and out came Kaya Brielle.  I started to bring her up to my chest, but the doula said, "Wait.  There's cord."  She started to unwrap the cord from around the baby's neck... it was around her neck 6 times. It had been barely 3 hours from losing the plug to delivery.

She wasn't breathing at first, but with my doula calmly rubbing her back and me talking to her, she started to pink up a bit.  The doula told me to put my mouth over my baby's mouth and give her a little breath.  I did, and the doula said this wasn't CPR, to be very gentle.  So I gave her another breath, and another- I think 5 breaths total.

Then Kaya gave a tiny little cry, and all was well.  I sat back down on the toilet talking with the doula, ignoring the continuing contractions.  At least until I felt the placenta come out.  I tried to catch it, but I was juggling the baby, and the placenta fell into the toilet.  My doula, awesome as she is, used her bare hands to fish the placenta out of the meconium filled toilet.  There she was, holding the placenta in her bare hands, and she said, "So I guess now is the time to ask if you have any communicable diseases I should know about?" 

She got us wrapped up and headed towards the bedroom to lay down.  She checked my bleeding and said that it looked OK, but she thought from the tone of my last scream that I might have torn a little a bit.  The midwife got there shortly afterwards and checked me out, concurring that I had only a little skid mark. 

I never thought that I would be alone when my baby first started to come into this world, but I was.  And yet, it all worked out perfectly, exactly as Kaya needed it to be.  She just turned 3, and she is a lively and active little lady. 
mamanightsong mamanightsong 31-35 Aug 18, 2012

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