After many weeks of bed rest due to cervical thinning, I continued to be pregnant until 2 days shy of my due date! On July 2nd I woke up with an ambiguous sensation of my bag of waters breaking, but could NOT reproduce the feeling by climbing stairs. All day I wondered. This is how my labour began with my first child. My midwife came over to check the fluid and determined it was not amniotic fluid. So we went to the store. While my daughter was getting her scraggly hair cut, I got a power food smoothie. The new girl behind the counter put extra energy food into the smoothie and I wondered more about an imminent labour.
After finishing up a big shop at New Season’s I got into the car and experienced enough fluid that I could call amniotic fluid with certainty. We went home and took a nap. While resting I began to have contractions (3:30 pm ish). I got up, aware that soon I would have a newborn, and had to prepare some things. My daughter Ruby, age 4 1/2 decided she wanted to go play with friends rather than watch me give birth. That was fine, the fewer people around, the better – I thought. I packed her up, while watering the garden, preparing a herbal lustration and burning Copal in the house to clear the space for baby. At 5:30 pm Ruby was picked up. I called my mentor in Steamboat Springs, a midwife who practices Maya Abdominal Therapies, and then went deeply into labour.
By 6:30 pm I was pushing. Both midwives in attendance and birth pool filling up with water. Shortly after that, I got into the tub!
A little while later, I was curious and wanted to feel the baby’s head to see how far I had to go. But what I felt was not the head. I asked, “Was this another bag of water?” My midwife checked me, and then stated that the other midwife would check me.. “Why?” I asked. I purposely had two very experienced midwives here in my kitchen. Why did one midwife need the opinion of the other? “Well, the baby is either breech or face presentation”. I simply did not believe her. I was going to have a normal birth, after all!
The second midwife checked me and it was agreed. My baby was in frank breech position, sacrum to the right. This was not good news. However, breech births can be considered a normal variant given the right set of conditions.
I laboured in the tub a little longer, in order to gather my courage. My contractions spaced out. My midwife stated, ” We would be more confident if you would get out of the tub to birth.” To improve the chances of a good outcome, I would do a cart wheel, or try my best, if asked.
I got out and we assumed the position encouraged by Ina May Gaskin for just these circumstances (3.5% of all births at the farm). Now that I was moved from the tub to the bed, I knew the next move would be a c-section at the hospital. It was now time for me to face my fears, to face the pain and get on with it. I pushed my hardest. The baby “crowned” – meaning that most of the body came out, and then slipped back in. I pushed him out again and he stayed – so I pushed and pushed until he came out. His arms were over his head. This was unusual, as typically the arms are flexed over the chest. This required extra maneuvering from my midwife, to bring the arms down. But at last he was born! And, as you already know, he is a boy!
It was a difficult birth, and not the birth I was hoping for… But we did it, and are healing well from our injuries. I am one of the few women in America who has given birth vaginally to a breech baby. I am proud of that, and very grateful to my two experienced midwives who helped me navigate this complication with as much grace as possible. We are receiving lots of cranial-sacral, massage, chiropractic and spiritual healing to complete the circle on this one.
born 7/2/11 at sunset 9:01 pm