Story by Vicki Fraser
I will start by saying that my life has changed a great deal since attending the calmbirth® program. I began feeling the changes on waking for my third day. I couldn’t get the smile off my face if I tried. I knew I was exactly in the right place. I felt good…great!
I went home from there with such renewed faith and confidence in childbirth. I actually couldn’t wait to get back to work as a midwife. All doubts I had acquired through experiences at work and personally with my first 2 births, had melted away. I had gained wisdom from better understanding of why things had “gone wrong”. Fear….Physiology’s worst enemy.
This story starts at antenatal classes at my workplace, where one couple informed the group they wouldn’t be at the next two classes because their baby was breech and they were booked for an elective Caesarian for just after the next class. Naturally a few questions came up at the time, then the class departed.
Early the next morning, a Thursday, I found myself glued to the computer with the aim of brushing up on Breech presentation and “frequently asked questions”, so that I would be well prepared for the next antenatal class when I expected much more questions. I was entranced sitting there, only leaving the computer to put the kettle on a few times. The whole day slipped by, with me still in my dressing gown come nightfall. I had ended up on a Homebirth website, where there was excellent information and footage on breech delivery. Over the course of the day I had watched over 50 breech deliveries and read some great information on the mechanism of labour and birth with a breech presentation. But the main things I got out of it was:
“How smart are Babies”! …and
A Breech delivery is not a “malpresentation”!
It’s just a “not-so–common” normal presentation!
I slept on these revelations, and woke in the morning feeling like I’d delivered half a dozen breech births in my sleep!
This night coming I had Night shift…..
Just after I’d had one delivery, a young couple presented at 37weeks and 3 days gestation, in early labour with their second child. On initial palpation the baby was still “high”, not settled into the pelvis. I asked hopefully if she had happened to have had a scan lately and she’d had one that day, Friday! It had been organised because the baby was high and at her clinic visit, and they were concerned she was breech. The Ultrasound report showed the baby to be head down so all was good.
About 45min later her waters broke, and as the baby had been sitting high I explained the need for vaginal examination to check the baby had settled down nicely ( and secretly check for Cord Prolapse). Being 2 cm dilated and a nice firm Presenting Part, everything appeared normal, and we waited for labour to establish. Within an hour labour was well and truly happening and she was obviously progressing quickly. Two hours after ruptured membranes she was naturally, involuntarily, pushing….sitting on the toilet. I guided her onto soft padding on the floor of the dimmed bathroom kneeling and leaning over the Ball.
Encouraging not to push and just breathe, I saw the plop….plop of what could have been small clots, but I knew it, it was the tell-tale sign of breech!
I requested the couple move out to the room and onto the bed, but still in the all fours position, which I had learnt very well the day before is the most natural way for a breech baby to deliver. My hospital doesn’t “allow” breech deliveries, but there was not going to be time to intervene with this little one. I had already asked for my on-call doctor to come in, with the message “I had Mec, with delivery soon”.
As the Doctor arrived “our little bottom was on the peri”, with mum ever so gently just breathing her baby down. I was guiding her and softly reciting everything this clever little person needed to do to come down in this special way. It was like I had learned by rote the explanations I had heard and heard over the last 48 hours of my research. The Doctor asked for her to roll over “because he couldn’t get his bearings right”, thinking of the interventions he expected to have to do. I didn’t want her to be alarmed by this so I just calmly helped her, explaining some made-up benefits of this movement. As baby now didn’t have a soft landing on the bed anymore because the bed-end had to be removed, I calmly gathered up the warmed towel from under the resuscitaire heater.
We all watched as this baby came out slowly, at right angles to mum’s body, due to being a frank breech. Then as each foot cleared, the baby continued its turns, lowering down onto my towel, the little pixie face came into view and baby was breathing before the rest of the head was free. Everything was like slow motion, the room was so warm and loving and happy and Calm. The Dad was in awe as this birth was so much better than their first. Mum was A Goddess….like she could do anything.
I felt so right, that I was set up to be ready for this night.
And I was exuberant but calm, like it was meant to be.
And so grateful, for what I truly think was divine intervention.
Of course the doctor soon after showed how high his adrenaline must have been, bottled up in anticipation. So unfortunately our baby was moved to the resuscitaire for his evaluation….but only briefly, as there was nothing wrong.
I was afterwards amazed at my ability to be so calm, and to keep the room calm. I didn’t even feel like I was trying to do this. It was just natural…
I had become calm……. What a great feeling.
Thank you Peter.