Jackie shares her story of a well-supported breech birth in hospital. Here’s an example of true informed consent.
Mary moo (my daughter) was frank breech.
I woke up Wednesday (31/09/16) at about 6:30 and felt some slight cramping, which honestly felt like period pain and I had some blood in my underpants, which I figured was the show, but I really wasn’t sure as it was just like spotting. I had my usual obi appointment at 10:30 that day so I just figured I’d speak to her! I took the dog for a half hour walk, saying to myself this isn’t going to be a long walk, these cramps are still here and I really need to pee (AGAIN – all morning I literally would walk from our ensuite to the laundry, and by the time I got there I had to pee again). I had called my husband and gave him the heads up something was happening but I just figured it was pre-labour and was going to be a few days before anything really happened.
I got in my car to go to my 10:30 appointment with my current obi. She had me booked in for a c section at 41 weeks as she wasn’t willing to let me have a VBB and a c section with her was my only option. Today was our last check up before she was giving me another doctor’s details who was pro breech births. She did the usual ultrasound and discussed my decision to do a breech birth with another obi (who I was meant to meet at 5:30 that day). She advised me that I could potentially go into labour today due to the show etc.
I went to visit my old work to see the girls, and I joked with one of them saying I won’t use the stairs as I might go into labour! Haha! Meantime I was still feeling the pains every now and then.
Went home and went straight to bed, mum was dropping over at 2. I’m pretty sure I just dozed and still kept feeling this cramping. Mum came over and lay in bed with me and by now I was noticing the surges were quite regular but hadn’t thought to time them until mum said maybe you should time them as it was stopping me in my tracks and I’d really have to breathe through them! I was having contractions every 3 minutes and they were lasting 45sec to a minute! I called my original obi and said I was in labour and what should I do about my appointment with the other obi, so she called the other obi and ended up saying just go to there when you’re ready.
I called my hubby, told him to get on next available flight back to Perth and called my sister to tell her to come over (she was also going to be my birth partner as well as hubby). The contractions were very regular and I would lean over and just breathe through them. I tried the birthing ball but didn’t find it very comfortable. It was more comfortable standing and leaning either against the wall or over the counter. Sister came over at about 3:30, and we decided to start packing up and go around 4:30. Sitting down in the car was so restricting and quite painful, so the 45 minute drive felt very long! By the time we got to there my contractions were coming every 2 minutes and lasting a good minute! We got to ward 4 and as I was signing in my waters broke. Ha!
They did and internal and I was only 1cm dilated. I had the option to go home or stay; we chose to stay because I had a feeling by the time I’d get home, we’d have to come back. So they left us in the room to do what we needed to. Having my sister there was amazing! We had essential oils diffusing, relaxing music playing and were just left to our own devices which I loved! My waters continued breaking and sort of drizzling out with every contraction and I thought it was full of blood but turned out it was filled with poop from baby. She kept cleaning it up (and me) up (gross). Hubby got in at 8.
The new obi finally came in to meet us. She had to go through all the legal crap (which I was struggling to even listen to due to my surges), my options etc etc – she looked over my birth plan and did mention a few items which she said I’d maybe reconsider. They wanted to give me something to quicken the contractions because of breech position and she said an epidural would be recommended because of breech as well – I declined both and carried on! She noticed my contractions were coming in thick and strong so decided to check – I’d dilated to 5cm (within 2 hours) so they transferred me to the labour ward.
My first instinct was to get naked and get in the shower……….I HATED it. Initially the pain went away nearly immediately but as soon as a contraction came on, it was like hot knives being stabbed in my back! I felt most comfortable still standing and practically swaying and dancing through the contractions until my legs started hurting and then I lay on my side which seemed to work for me too. I managed to have micro sleeps between contractions.
At about 11 my body took over and I had an uncontrollable urge to push, I didn’t even know I was doing it and then all of a sudden I’d bear down. It actually frightened me and I said, oh god what was that, I didn’t expect that haha! The midwife kept telling me to try and breathe through the pushing feeling – this carried on for an hour and then she finally said “right it seems you can’t breath through these anymore, do you mind if I take a look?” (I’d asked for minimal internals as part of my birth plan.) I had to get on the bed on my back so she could check – it was horrible being on my back, quite painful – and finally she got to have a look and her face said it all! Haha the bum was already there practically out!
She literally said “oh shit, how did you do that?! You really have to stop pushing now until the OBI gets back!” (obi had gone home) I got on all fours and what felt like the longest 9 minutes of NOT pushing until the doctor got there – and then it was all go. I was lucky enough to only have 15 minutes of active pushing before Mary was here! I picked her up when she came out and pulled her onto me, but they had to take her away as she wasn’t breathing very well . She got some oxygen and started crying so we knew she was ok! I wasn’t able to have much skin to skin as they had to take her to the nicu. We had about a minute and she tried to find boob but wasn’t able to suckle as she struggled to breathe. It was probably one of the most amazing / proud moments of my life – what our bodies can do is incredible!
She was born at 00:27 and they said I was in active labor for 3 and a half hours…….so it was pretty quick. From when my waters broke to Mary was born was about 6 hours.
It was very hard being in my room and hearing all these babies crying and my little Mary was not with me. They said she had a collapsed lung and had to go down for monitoring. My feelings about it are still a bit skeptical, I think had they given her the chance to have skin to skin and more time with me, she would’ve have been fine. She was down in the nicu for 24 hours – on antibiotics, she was wired up to O2 for no more than 2 hours though, the rest was just monitoring, etc.