I fought through profound opposition and prevailed! I was turned down by two OB offices and a midwife. I had two previous c-sections, a bicornuate uterus (which I was told might not even be strong enough to have contractions), and a breech baby. I still got my natural home water birth that I had so longed for!!! Keep reading for the full story.
I have to start at the very beginning, that being the birth story of my daughter Sayla. At my first appointment I was nine weeks along and they did a dating ultrasound. I found out right away that I have a bicornuate uterus. The sonographer said that it wasn't too big of a deal and that I might just end up having a cesarean delivery. The bicornuate uterus, often called a heart shaped uterus because of its shape, is a birth defect where my uterus didn't fuse together the way it should have, leaving me with a septum that caused two horns. This is like only having half a uterus, with only half pushing down on the baby during contractions. Sayla was in my left horn and my next two babies picked the same side also. I went home thinking it couldn’t be that big of a deal, I am young and my mom had five natural pretty easy pregnancies and deliveries. Fast forward to 37 weeks and 4 days and I found myself lying on the operating table due to Sayla being breech and I had been told I could possibly have pre-eclampsia. I was told that my baby was head down by abdominal palpation a few hours before at my appointment, so this was quite a shock. This was now the first of my two emergency c-sections.
Seven months after Sayla was born I found out I was expecting again! This time I wanted a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), I asked and was cleared for one, just so long as I went into labor by 39 weeks. At 33.6 my water broke randomly with a huge gush and I went to the hospital and within a few hours I started having contractions. I asked to be checked then, my mommy instincts kicked in and I knew something was not right. I was checked and the OB felt the umbilical cord pulsating, it had prolapsed and was now cutting off baby's oxygen. I had to have an emergency c-section under general Anesthesia. My baby was born at 34 weeks exactly. He was put in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for observation and was fine! He was sent home eight days later, his stay was extended a few days because he got jaundice.
Thirteen months after Walker was born I found out I was expecting my third child. I went back to my OB office and asked right away about a VBA2C. My first two c-sections were ultimately due to the breech presentation, I figured this time my uterus should have more room for the baby to get into the head down position. My OB needed to talk to the other OBs in my office and see how they felt about it. She brought it up at a meeting and the group of doctors voted on my request for a VBA2C and the vote went to a no. She told me at my next appointment that I would need to schedule my c-section for 39 weeks. I wanted more opinions and I went looking into other offices and hospitals. I set up a consultation at another office and went in asking for a Trial Of Labor After Cesarean (TOLAC). The OB asked me if I cared for my children at home and the baby I was carrying because I would probably die trying, or my baby. She then went on to say that ACOG (American College of Gynecology) changed their guidelines against vbacs and they couldn’t go against ACOGs guidelines. She lied straight to my face!
I found that out a few weeks later when I went to an International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) meeting, and I did a Google search for their new guidelines and found out that I was still a good candidate by their guidelines for the VBA2C. I went home from my ICAN meeting with a phone number from a doula I met at the meeting for a midwife in my area. I called her up for her opinion and she felt that I could have a homebirth, but it was too risky for her to take me on. I was a little disappointed that a midwife wouldn’t except me for as a home birth client. I decided to stick with the hospital route and call up another OB office and set up a consultation. I set up my consultation and it was awesome, I was cleared for my VBA2C! They were very happy that I wanted to have the vba2c and didn’t see a reason why I couldn't have one, so long as this baby would cooperate and get his head down. I hired the doula I met at the ICAN meeting to be my advocate in the hospital for me. She really wanted me to still consider a homebirth.
We had a meeting and she felt my baby’s position and he was breech. I knew I wouldn’t be able to have my VBA2C if he was breech and decided to go ahead and set up an appointment with another midwife my doula suggested to see if she would take me on. I called and she was fine with me having a breech homebirth and had delivered over 6,000 babies and a couple of hundred breech babies. She was very knowledgable and skilled.
In the meantime my doula also wanted us to attend a six week 'intense' birth class. We learned so much and our instructor is a Labor and Delivery nurse at a local hospital. She was an awesome teacher and I learned a lot. I also was doing my own research, hours and hours of my pregnancy was spent getting educated. I loved reading birth stories and information. During this time I was also doing all the spinning babies techniques and Webster chiropractic technique. Nothing was working, I still felt all the kicks going down.
My husband and I went to meet with the midwife and we felt very comfortable with her experience. We decided to go with the homebirth route. I have never felt that breech is an emergency and I feel as though C-sections should be reserved for emergencies, such as my second delivery. My midwife informed me that Gail Tully, the owner of spinningbabies.com would be doing a conference at her clinic and would be there from June 1-4. My husband and I started praying that I would go into labor on June 3, then she would be done with her conference. My due date wasn’t until the 18th but I was already 5cm dilated - 95% effaced - and my little one was in the -1 position.
June 4th rolled around and at 12:38am I woke up to a pop and a gush. My water had broken! I woke my husband and told him it was time and I needed towels, it wasn’t a trickle it was a gush.
I called my midwife and told her it was time. She had her team get ready and we were all together at around 1:40am. I got checked right away because I was a little worried about a cord prolapse again. She checked me and I was 6cm and she was feeling a foot instead of his bottom that she had been feeling for the last few prenatal appointments. This was a bit of a shock because he was in the frank breech position (bottom first with feet up near the head) which is one of the best for the vaginal breech delivery. He was a bit high too, not engaged like he had been for the last few appointments.
I went back to try to sleep since I was still in early labor. My husband and I would walk around every so often. I had it in my mind that this would be a fast delivery since I was already half way through the dilation process before labor even started. I was wrong….
I got checked again at around noon about 12 hours after my water broke. I was at a 7cm. I was dealing with some awful pain during this time, my round ligament was spasming and it was hurting worse then the contractions. Gail helped me free up the ligament and helped release the tension in it. She then helped me with some positions to help the baby engage into my pelvis to get things rolling. How blessed was I that she was there! God answered my prayers and here was this beautiful woman who has a wealth of information on breech and she was helping me!
The pain from my ligament went away and I continued to labor. My contractions were all over the map, for an hour they would be consistent and then they would die down again. Gail had to unfortunately leave because she had a scheduled flight and a workshop to attend overseas. She told me I was in great hands with my midwife and reassured me that I was laboring well. I did a few hours later wonder if this was going to happen and I started thinking, and then talking to my husband about when we would start considering the c-section. I decided that if things weren’t progressing by midnight we would leave to go have the c-section. I didn’t want to give up, but I didn’t want to be dumb either. How could I push and go through transition when I was already so tired? I decided it would be best to just go relax, and I wanted to go and watch TV.
My husband went up ahead and I started a conversation with my birth team. We were giggling and having a good time and I finally gave up timing contractions and focusing on the labor and that’s when it started, the real pain! After about two hours of real pain I wanted to be checked. I was 9cm fully effaced the baby was still a bit high. I was told that I shouldn’t push until the baby was presenting.
I wanted a water birth and some relaxation so I asked if I could get in the tub. Transition contractions were very painful. I knew I had to do this so I got together every ounce of energy I had left. I was so exhausted by this point. When I got in the tub it was around 9:30pm I can’t remember exactly, but I believe this was close to the time. The tub made the contractions a bit easier because I was relaxed.
I labored for about 30 minutes in the tub and I felt something a little funny down below and decided to check it out. I reached down and felt his little foot presenting. I told my husband that I could feel the baby and he ran out and got my team, they were in another room just waiting for something to happen. I asked if I could please start pushing as soon as they came in. The pain was so intense and I was told that when I started pushing it would lessen and they gave me the go ahead. I was a bit stubborn at this point, the contractions hurt and I didn't want to move into any other position. I was on my hands and knees, but my midwife wanted me more in a squatting position so she had my husband sit on the edge of the tub and hold me up. I didn’t want to move so he grabbed me up and I started pushing in that position.
Two little feet were the first to come out and I saw them in a hand mirror. I kept pushing in that position until he was out to his chest. Then I got on my hands and knees to push out his shoulders and head. The pushing was hard because he was in the complete breech position and I had to push out his calves, thighs, and bottom. He was doing a cannon ball into the tub. He was born about 35 minutes after I started pushing, at 10:34pm. It was a 22 hour labor. Once he was out he was stunned and wasn’t breathing he needed some encouragement so he was rubbed vigorously and I talked to him. They gave him some oxygen and suctioned him. He had his eyes opened looking around while they were doing all this and finally after what felt like forever I heard a little whimper! It was the greatest sound ever!
I stayed in the tub holding him until he got all of his cord blood and then I got out and went to the bed to deliver the placenta. I was checked and I was sure I had ripped, but to my astonishment I hadn’t at all! My Titus was 7 lbs 13 oz and was my biggest baby! He was so alert and turned nice and pink. I started nursing him right away and it was wonderful to have that bonding time so quickly after him being born. I can't express how much I enjoyed being the first person to hold my baby!! This was the best experience of my life and I am so thankful to my midwives, Gail Tully and my birth team, for their experience and all the effort they put forth to make my birth happen!