Shannon’s birth story is so empowering because it is such a wonderful example of navigating informed decision-making and choices around breech birth. I am so glad she had the confidence to critically think and make the informed decisions she felt were best for them and the birth of their little one. Not only do so many women not have the confidence, but they also don’t realise they have a choice and as you know it makes the world of difference.
Story by Shannon
It was at 37 weeks when the Obstetrician discovered that my baby was in breech position and that I felt as though everything was spinning out of control. My first baby was born in such a beautiful Calmbirth way and all of a sudden I could feel myself being frightened away from even attempting a vaginal birth. My heart raced as we discussed scheduling a Caesarean in 2 week’s time, as well as going in for a procedure to try to turn my baby immediately (which had significant risks).
I took a deep breath and remembered my Calmbirth training. I realised that I did not have to decide on the spot and that I really didn’t understand the other options available, let alone the risks involved. Not only was I making a decision based on another persons’ fear (he had seen a few breech births go very badly) but I hadn’t even spoken to my Husband or had a moment to really digest what I was being told.
I bought time by scheduling in an ECV for the coming week and didn’t commit to a Caesarean date. I walked out feeling scared and numb. Luckily, I remembered something about Spinning Babies, and I had the strength of conviction to go out there and look for better answers.
If I needed to have a Caesarean for the right reasons, then that was fine, however I was going to exhaust every other avenue first. I had a toddler to look after, and I owed this new baby the opportunity of the safest and calmest birth possible.
During that phase I reached out for knowledgeable people to help me. I listened to the Calmbirth podcast about breech birth, I found out about ways and places that you can safely attempt a vaginal birth and religiously did the Spinning Babies exercises with my Husband that was sent to me by a local Doula. I even laid with my legs up the wall with frozen peas on my ribs to encourage her to turn around – essentially, I did anything to give my baby a fighting chance at changing her position first.
As it turned out, there was plenty of fluid for her to move around and she changed her position a few times, settling in a head down position in the 39th week. Even though she was perfect, I was still offered a scheduled induction (which I declined). Honestly, I shake my head at the ease in which I was offered unnecessary interventions and how surprised everyone was that I opted to try and do everything as naturally as possible.
On her due date I went into labour and by mid-morning I was holding a beautiful baby girl. Baby Caitlin Christine Park, born at 3.148kg and 50cm at 9.50am 3/9/21. Such an amazing result and I attribute so much of the turnaround to being able to effectively weigh up my options and have a voice. As it turned out, it was even easier than my first birthing experience. She started feeding immediately and both of us are healthy and happy.
I am so proud that I was able to step back, resist well-meaning advice and take the time to be fully informed before making a decision. Simply seeking out help and speaking to people who were experienced and whom I trusted made all of the difference. This included Karen McClay who generously gave me her time to discuss my options for places where I could deliver a breech baby safely in Sydney.
On face value, I was told by the Obstetrician that I had no safe choice but to go through significant medical intervention, however this Mama and bubba say otherwise!
I’ll always be grateful for my Calmbirth experiences – Caitlin on the left and my first baby Christopher on the right.