By Tess Bell
Here’s my story about Arlo Herbie Bell 6lb 6oz born feet first at home on 29th November 2019 at 4.08am.
By Tess Bell
Here’s my story about Arlo Herbie Bell 6lb 6oz born feet first at home on 29th November 2019 at 4.08am.
By Lizzie Johnson
Even before I became pregnant, I always knew I wanted to give birth at home. Home births seemed safe and familiar because my mother had me in her own bed thirty-four years ago. Moreover, hospitals had bad associations. Their wipe-down surfaces and windowless rooms reminded me of the months I’d spent being treated for breast cancer a decade earlier. A hospital birth was the last thing I wanted. And yet here I was, under the moonlight, my body bent double by contractions, climbing into the back of a car destined for St George’s hospital in Tooting. How had I got here?
The news that my baby was breech was delivered without much fanfare during a routine (but late) ultrasound at University College London Hospital (UCLH) in week 34 of my first pregnancy. At the time the sonographer was more concerned about a suspected and potentially dangerous complication to do with my umbilical cord, making my baby’s breech presentation seem almost incidental. Even after the doctors established that my umbilical cord was fine, I wasn’t concerned about my baby being breech. I had been breech until late in my mother’s pregnancy. She persuaded me to turn using moxibustion; a practice used in traditional Chinese medicine where dried mugwort is burned next to particular acupressure points. Plenty of time to turn, I thought. And there was always moxibustion to fall back on if my baby didn’t make its own way into a head down position.
Up until that ultrasound, my pregnancy had progressed without any real difficulties. It was deemed low risk and I hired a private midwife to help me give birth at home. I also registered with UCLH to have my antenatal scans and ensure that I could easily transfer into hospital if needed. My midwife seemed relaxed about the breech presentation, but suggested moxibustion and swimming to encourage the baby to turn. Each night before bed I ground up fresh ginger and put it into a plaster that I taped to the outside edge of my little toe. I got to grips with the exercises designed to encourage optimal foetal positioning on the Spinning Babies website, and could often be found lying on an ironing board propped against the seat of my sofa with my feet elevated in the air. Friends and acquaintances made suggestion after suggestion about how to turn breech babies. It seemed that everyone had a theory and a tale of a baby turned at the last minute. I was happy to give anything a go, no matter how peculiar, so long as it might prompt my baby to turn and keep my home birth on track.
Three weeks passed and despite my efforts the person growing inside me remained stubbornly bottom down. My midwife advised me against a homebirth if my baby stayed breech, and made an appointment for me to have an external cephalic version (ECV) at UCLH to try to turn the baby around. I knew the procedure came with risks, but on balance I thought they were worth taking if it meant I could potentially avoid a medicalised hospital birth. The talk of caesareans only began after two doctors failed to push the contents of my swollen belly into a more typical position. Responding to what they referred to as my baby’s “malpresentation”, the team at UCLH strongly encouraged me to opt for a planned caesarean section, arguing that a vaginal birth represented an increased risk to my baby. They could support a vaginal breech birth, and did agree to respect my wishes if I made this decision, however it was made clear that it would likely be a highly medicalised affair. I would have to give birth on the labour ward (the midwifery-led unit was not an option) and the delivery would likely involve obstetric interventions including lithotomy, and potentially forceps and episiotomy. An emergency caesarean might still be necessary if my labour wasn’t making sufficient progress, and I would have to agree to a caesarean if I had not gone into spontaneous labour by 40 weeks. Whether they intended it or not, I left UCLH with the feeling that I would be regarded as reckless were I to choose anything other than an ‘elective’ caesarean.
The problem, I later learned, was a scientific report published almost twenty years ago known as the Term Breech Trial (1). It concluded that an elective caesarean section presented a significantly safer mode of delivery for mothers and babies than planned vaginal breech births. Following the publication of the report vaginal breech births became a rarity in developed countries and a whole generation of doctors and midwives went through their professional careers with almost no clinical experience of this type of delivery. As I read more and more online articles, clinical guidelines and blogs about breech presentation, I discovered that they were rare, affecting only 3-4% of pregnancies at term, but not abnormal. I also learned that since its publication in 2000 the Term Breech Trial had been widely criticised and aspects of its findings found to be flawed (2). Vaginal breech births could be as safe as vaginal cephalic births so long as the supporting doctors and midwives were trained and experienced in this mode of delivery (3). This is the catch 22 situation familiar to all pregnant British women who discover their babies are breech. Vaginal breech deliveries are safe with experienced staff, yet the Term Breech Trial had all but eliminated that clinical experience.
The day after the ECV my tender stomach muscles needled my conscience about going through with the previous day’s potentially harmful procedure. Weary with guilt, I tried to make sense of my new situation. A caesarean represented a major surgery; a prospect coloured by my previous treatment for breast cancer. I was terrified of what I perceived as the loss of physical sovereignty that my past surgeries had entailed. Following my mastectomy, the slow dissolution of my surgical stitches had counted out the postoperative days, turned into weeks, in which my body was bruised and swollen. I knew all too well how flimsy the promise, “You’ll be up and about in no time”. Despite their obvious differences, I struggled to separate the idea of a caesarean from my mastectomy. Having a caesarean was the most sensible decision given the lack of vaginal breech experience at UCLH, but it also meant letting go of the idea that my birth could be an opportunity to heal; to regain trust in my body and its physiological processes.
The fragile belief that there was still time for my baby to turn was my only shield from my fear of a hospital birth. Foetal positioning exercises took up hours of my time each day. I listened to hypnobirthing audio tracks designed to encourage breech babies to move into a cephalic position. Instead of resting, I took almost daily trips across London, spending hundreds of pounds seeking help from chiropractors, osteopaths and acupuncturists.
Two weeks before my due date I had the good fortune to meet midwife turned acupuncturist Meredith Churchill. Meredith placed her needles in my skin with care. She suggested that my baby had been given every opportunity to turn and perhaps there was a good reason for it staying with its bottom lodged in my pelvis. If I wasn’t sure about the caesarean, she proposed, perhaps I should research whether there were any other London hospitals with staff experienced in breech vaginal deliveries. That way, if there was nowhere supportive of a vaginal breech birth, I might find it easier to accept the caesarean and focus on making the experience as meaningful as possible to me. Her suggestions recognised how important it is for women to feel that they have agency in the way they give birth. Referring to the psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott’s theory of the ‘good enough’ mother, Meredith sensitively suggested that my experience of birth did not have to be perfect: it only had to be good enough. Buoyed by these words, I began to let go of the perfect home birth I had envisioned and wonder what my ‘good enough’ birth could look like.
After a few hours of searching online, I sent emails to mothers and midwives interested in physiological breech birth asking if they knew of any London hospitals experienced in this area. One of the people kind enough to respond was Dr Shawn Walker, Midwifery Lecturer at King’s College London, who directed me to the breech clinic run by Emma Spillane, Lead Midwife for the Carmen Birth Centre, at St George’s hospital, Tooting. On contacting Emma, I discovered that over the past few years the team at St George’s had been building confidence and clinical experience in physiological breech birth. In the thirty-ninth week of my pregnancy, my boyfriend and I met Emma, looked around the hospital and booked in with St George’s. St George’s had strict guidelines designed to minimise the risk to mothers and babies. I had to give birth on the labour ward, rather than in their friendly midwifery-led birth centre. If I had not gone into spontaneous labour before week 42, I could not be induced and a caesarean would be necessary. Finally, if my labour did not progress smoothly, I would have to have an emergency caesarean. Although its policies were broadly similar to those at UCLH, for me the difference between the two hospitals was that the team at St George’s made me feel my wish to attempt a physiological breech birth would be supported and respected. What I was being offered was a chance at a vaginal delivery: there were no guarantees. I knew that I might still end up having a caesarean, but if that happened I could be certain it would be the right decision at that point. After weeks of anguish and confusion I finally felt ready to have my baby.
A day after my due date, I returned home from a long, slow walk in the summer evening. My boyfriend had gone to a work event and I slumped on the sofa, glad to take the weight off my feet. Ten minutes into an episode of the Great British Bake Off, I felt a small rush of water flow between my legs. I jumped to my feet confused and thinking that I might have wet myself. More fluid trickled into my knickers and down my leg. It took me a few seconds to realise what was happening. This was it: my waters had broken. I called my boyfriend to tell him he probably ought to come home. I called my midwife to ask her to come to check on me. I called my mother to share my excitement.
I rushed around the flat, shoving my slippers and phone charger into the hospital bag, wiping down the kitchen surfaces and tidying away clutter. My boyfriend arrived back. We sat on the sofa chatting, giddy with excitement. When the midwife appeared she checked my amniotic fluid, told us all was well, to get some rest and to head to the hospital, where she would meet us, once I was experiencing three contractions in every ten-minute period. My first contraction came as she spoke; a tightening in my uterus like period pain. It was about 9pm and I had no idea how quickly things would progress. I got into bed with my boyfriend and tried to rest, but the tightenings were too distracting. With each tightening I felt the urge to jump out of bed, as though I could run away from the feeling now taking over my body. I repeatedly ran to the toilet, responding to an urge as though I wanted to poo. I’d fail to shit and climb back into bed. After about an hour of this back and forth between bed and toilet, I stopped returning to the bed, preferring to lie on the bathroom floor. The surges of energy consumed my body for short periods at a time. I found myself saying to my boyfriend, “This really hurts,” for some reason surprised by the intensity of the feeling. With each surge I’d jump to my feet as though I could outrun it, and then bend onto all fours moaning. Not once did it occur to me to ask for the TENS machine or the glass of wine I had planned to drink as an analgesia, and had so been looking forward to after nine months sober. The sensations consumed me.
By 11.30pm it was clear to me that if I did not head to the hospital there and then I would refuse to go at all. I had no idea how many contractions I was having over what period of time, but I knew I couldn’t face getting into a car if we left it any longer. The plan had always been to take a taxi, but now in the heat of the moment I had no confidence in my power not to puke, shit or leak amniotic fluid in the back seat of a cab. We decided that my boyfriend would drive us. Armed with a bucket and an incontinence pad, I climbed into the footwell of the backseat.
In the car I fumbled with my headphones, eventually managing to start the playlist I had put together. Focusing on the music between the surges and the speedbumps, I belted out familiar songs all the way from Kilburn to Tooting. The sensations and the music enclosed me so completely that I was shocked when the car stopped and my boyfriend told me we had arrived. The short walk from the carpark to the labour ward was punctuated by several contractions, with pitstops leaning over bike racks and railings, but eventually we made it. I hobbled through the ward’s double doors and immediately got onto all fours in the corridor. Everything in my body told me to stay low to the ground with my bum in the air. A midwife directed us towards a waiting room, but the idea that I could sit on a chair was preposterous. After five minutes on all fours in the corridor, I was moved to “somewhere more appropriate”, which turned out to be a triage room. It took some persuading to get me off the floor and onto the bed to be examined. The routine blood pressure test and internal exam seemed unnecessary to me when I was certain that what I needed was to be taken to my own room and left alone. I only agreed on the grounds that after this there would be no more routine exams. The midwife checked my dilation and went to fetch a more senior colleague who also examined me. I watched them realise what I already knew: my labour was well advanced.
The midwife led us to a small room with no bathroom. I requested that the lights be lowered and the resuscitation equipment pushed to one side. The blankets, fairy lights and pictures that I had so carefully selected to make my hospital room feel more homely remained untouched in my hospital bag. All I wanted was to kneel on the floor, leaning over a couple of pillows, and disappear back into the headphones’ cocoon. I hardly noticed when my private midwife arrived and various hospital staff came and went. Surges of pain ebbed through me with no clear beginning or ending. I found myself chanting as their intensity increased, sometimes Buddhist chants my mother had taught me, sometimes instructions like ‘relax, relax, relax, relax, relax, relax, relax,’. When the intensity slowed, I would tune into the music playing on my ipod, occasionally giggling at song lyrics. “Nothing’s gonna change my world,” sang John Lennon, as my world was in the process of changing forever. The surges rose up regularly and relentlessly, crashing over my body. There was only one occasion during the labour when I integrated the contraction into my being, instead of trying to escape it. I rode the feeling, rising to meet it with my breath. It was my only glimpse of how labour could be experienced without feeling pain in its usual sense.
The surges continued and I was starting to get tired. I wriggled around on the floor searching for a position where I could rest a little. But as I lay on my side I had the sense that it was a mistake to try to slow the surges’ intensity. It seemed that any momentary relief would merely slow the juggernaut of labour. There was no way out but through.
My midwife suggested I stood and leaned over the bed, swaying my hips from side to side. I managed this until the next surge propelled me to climb onto the bed, where I would stay, on all fours, for the rest of the labour. My birth plan specified that I should not be offered pain relief and I was so overwhelmed by sensation that the idea didn’t enter my mind. What I did do was tell my boyfriend that I didn’t think I could do it. “You’re doing it,” he replied. I gained strength from knowing he was at my side throughout it all; holding my hand, rubbing my shoulders, encouraging me to relax my clenched jaw and making sure I kept drinking water. Seeing that I was flagging, my private midwife waited until the hospital midwife had left the room and encouraged me to eat. (Eating is generally discouraged in hospital because it increases the risk of complications should a labouring woman go on to need a general anaesthetic.) Instead of eating, I slurped a carton of apple juice and felt replenished by the sugar.
Every so often I would surface from the pure sensation of the surges and become aware of the people around me. I turned to my hospital midwife, who had already cared for me for over an hour, and said “Hello”, as if introducing myself for the first time. This represented a rare occasion during labour where my feelings towards her were not warped by circumstance. I hated her when she did her initial internal exams; when she explained that she needed a small lamp light in the room so she could see to write her notes; when she held the Doppler to my belly to check the heartbeat of my baby at ten-minute intervals. I also developed a passionate dislike for the objectively personable man who was the Consultant on duty. Although I was well aware of the risks associated with a vaginal breech delivery, he insisted that I remove my headphones so he could explain again and warn me about the possibility I might need a caesarean. “Just say what you’ve got to say quickly and I’ll consent,” I murmured; prepared to say anything so he’d go away.
The labour drove on and my hips began to feel as though they were about to burst from the pressure. Then, when the baby’s body started lowering into the birth canal the sensation changed completely. Still on my knees, I gripped the metal bed head and emitted a low, fast “Huh!”, like the sound made by someone doing martial arts. I felt prised apart and as though I couldn’t breathe. As the surge subsided I could feel my baby’s body slowly slide back up into my body. “Huh!”: the sensation of my baby’s body moving down again. I felt it slide back inside me. “Huh!”. “Huh!”. “Huh!”. The surges pulsed the baby’s body in and out, until it began to move down and stay down. “Huh!”. Somehow my headphones had been removed. I was kneeling on the bed facing the wall, unaware of the crowd of people gathered behind me. “Huuuhhh!”: I felt my body opening. At this point, my boyfriend would recount later, a tiny bottom emerged from my backside and did a swirling shit of treacle-black meconium. Another surge came and I went with the feeling, experiencing relief as a leg flopped down out of my vagina, then another. A downwards movement forced my body open and out slipped the arms. The baby was now out up to the chin and the surge subsided. “You need to push now,” said the midwife. “But I don’t feel the push feeling,” I replied. The directions issued by my body had got me this far and I was unwilling to listen to advice that ignored my instincts. But the medical team now gathered in the room explained that getting the baby out quickly was now imperative, so I forced myself to push like I was doing a shit.
I felt a tremendous rush of relief as my baby slipped fully from my flesh. I spun around and there on the end of the bed lay a lanky purple doll on its back. The Consultant rushed towards the silent, still baby to cut the cord. My boyfriend tried to stop him, hoping we could still achieve the delayed cord clamping set out in our birth plan. But our baby still hadn’t drawn a breath, and a medical chorus insisted that cutting the cord now was necessary. We consented quickly, the Consultant cut the cord and our baby yelped and opened its eyes. Everyone in the room cried out and sighed with joy. My baby looked so utterly unfamiliar, like a person I had never seen before. A paediatrician I hadn’t noticed until that moment whisked the baby over to the resuscitation equipment to perform some initial checks. “What kind of baby is it?” I asked my boyfriend. “It’s a girl,” he replied. It was 4.20am. I had been in the hospital for barely four hours. My baby weighed 7lbs and 3oz. Five minutes after her birth her Apgar score was 10. I had a small perineal tear, but apart from the stitches that sewed it up I had managed to avoid any intervention. We had made it. She was safe. She was well. So was I. I felt elated.
My daughter was not born at home surrounded by the sights, smells and people now familiar to her, as I had hoped. She was born in a room filled with wipe-down surfaces, strangers and her parents. Her birth was not what I had imagined. But it was good enough.
1) Hannah, M, et al. (2000) ‘Planned caesarean section versus planned vaginal birth for breech presentation at term: a randomised multicentre trial’. The Lancet, vol. 356, issue 9239, pp.1375-1383.
2) Glezerman, M. (2006) ‘Five years to the term breech trial: the rise and fall of a randomized controlled trial.’ American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 194, 1, pp.20-25.
3) Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (2017) Management of Breech Presentation (Greentop Guideline No. 20b).
So after a lot of thinking I have decided to share my pregnancy story in the hope it helps other mummies and daddies to be.
I found out I was pregnant with my sixth child and me and my husband were over the moon. We decided to have our baby in Lewisham Birth Centre and couldn’t wait till the day came when we got to meet our bundle of joy. Everything was going according to plan – we had our 12 week scan and baby had a strong heartbeat and was growing lovely. Me, my husband and our children were so happy to see her.
Then we had our 20 week scan and found out we were having a girl and were so happy – we had our name picked. Baby Niamh was due on the 9/9/19. We were all so excited – we couldn’t wait to meet baby Niamh to see who she looked like, what colour eyes she would have, what colour hair she would have. We then had our 32 week scan and baby Niamh was breech. We weren’t worried as at this stage there was still time for baby Niamh to turn.
So at 36 weeks I went to see my amazing midwife and she then told me that baby Niamh was still breech. I had to have a scan just to make sure baby was breech and talk through my options. So I went for my scan the next day and was told baby Niamh was definitely breech and there were a few choices I had. The choices were talk to a consultant about a cesarean, or try an ECV (external cephalic version) to try and turn baby Niamh, or have a breech vaginal birth, but there was no way I could have my baby in the birth centre. So I went away feeling a bit worried about a breech baby and disappointed that I couldn’t have Niamh in the birth centre, but I was looking forward to talking through my options with a consultant.
At 37 weeks I had an ECV to try and turn baby Niamh – she was monitored constantly to make sure her heart rate didn’t drop but her bum was firmly in place in my pelvis and they couldn’t move her. So I had a scan at 38 weeks just to see if baby Niamh was still breech. She was so I saw a consultant/senior doctor. This was such a bad experience I cried and cried after this appointment feeling worried I was going to be putting my baby at risk if I went ahead with a breech birth and then on the other hand I was putting myself at risk if I had a cesarean. I was booked in for a cesarean for the 7/9/19, 2 days before my due day and really wasn’t looking forward to major surgery as I had 5 other children.
I then spoke to my midwife as I was so unhappy about my consultant appointment. My midwife phoned me and spoke to me for a while trying to calm me down and talk me through things. She then said that she wanted me to speak to her manager (a lovely lady) so she passed my details on to her manager and told her what had happened. Her manager then phoned me and asked me to go in and see her. We spoke about a cesarean and also a breech birth. She made me feel a bit better about it all. I was still nervous but feeling better.
She also phoned the labour ward to see if they could fit me in for another ECV. Which they did so I went along to try and get baby Niamh turned again. Sadly it was unsuccessful again. Niamh’s bum was firmly in place in my pelvis and wanted to be born breech (cheeky baby). I was then trying everything I could to get baby Niamh moving so I could have a breech birth but nothing seemed to work, she was just too comfy.
It then came the day 5/9/19 to have my pre-assessment for my cesarean so I went along to Lewisham Hospital to have my bloods taken and find out what time I had to be in on the day of my cesarean. The midwife I saw was absolutely amazing – she asked me if I was 100% sure I wanted a cesarean. I said no I didn’t want it but baby Niamh didn’t want to move. The midwife then asked me if I wanted to push back the date of my cesarean to give Niamh more time to come naturally so of course I said yes and was so happy so my cesarean was now booked for the 9/9/19 my due day.
I asked if I could have a sweep as it worked with my last daughter. So in came a matron (absolutely lovely) and I had a sweep and she said she could feel baby Niamh’s bum so I was excited things might start moving soon. I then went home and drank more raspberry leaf tea, bounced on my ball, went for walks, but still baby Niamh didn’t want to move. So on the 7/9/19 I went back to the hospital for my pre assessment. When I got there I saw the same midwives again, had my pre assessment done and also had another sweep in the hope it would work.
Then on the 8/9/19 my waters broke. I was so happy I phoned the hospital and off I went to give birth to my breech baby. I was still a bit nervous as I have never given birth breech before but it was just as simple as a normal (head down) birth. The midwife on the labour ward knew about baby Niamh being breech and talked me through who would be in the room when I gave birth.
Then the time was here to push. Her bum was coming, then her legs came, then her arms, then the final push and she was in my arms. All the worry was over. She was here safe and sound and perfect. I gave birth to a breech baby. I was fine and healthy and baby Niamh Fionnuala was finally here happy and healthy.
It was such an amazing experience I would do it all over again. I’m so proud to say I gave birth to a breech baby and to share my amazing story with you. I hope this helps some mummies to be feel at ease with a breech birth.
Stay positive you can do it. Good luck!
I spent my pregnancy, like so many other women, visualising a very specific birth. I constantly focused on doing things ‘naturally’, with no drugs and little medical assistance. I thought that childbirth would be a simple, spiritual encounter, and it was spiritual to a certain extent, but in a very different way to I had originally imagined.
I loved being pregnant. I totally threw myself into it. I read the books. I did the courses. I dedicated myself to eating and sleeping well. I followed a daily yoga routine. I recited affirmations. I practiced my hypnobirthing techniques daily. I listened to birthing podcasts. I fundraised for the local midwife unit where I planned to give birth, in order to spread the word about how great unassisted birth could be. I didn’t sit on anything that wasn’t my exercise ball. I didn’t even consider any alternative outcome. I couldn’t wait to push. I was obsessed, I was excited, I felt in control.
As I reached 35 weeks, however, I was struck by a sudden realisation that, no matter how much you plan, no matter how many classes you take, it’s your baby, not you, that will set the pace for his birth. Discovering our little boy was breech was a lot to take in, mainly because, if he didn’t get head down in the next few weeks, it didn’t necessarily mean that I had to opt for an elective (planned) c-section (which I was reluctant to do) and I would have an important decision to make. My local hospital and its midwifery team gave me lots of information on why a vaginal breech birth is today rare but can in certain circumstances be equally as safe as surgery, especially in my case with no other complications and a perfectly-growing baby who was in an extended position (his bum virtually ‘engaged’ in my pelvis already). We discussed all of the research that was available, its reliability and how it related to my personal circumstance, approaching my eventual decision with my current specifics in mind – this is very important when discussing any birth plan, as no matter what any general statistics might say, you have to look at the individual case, as all women – their medical histories, their pregnancies, their babies and their specific and realistic risks – are different. As a breech baby myself, I also had first-hand anecdotes from my own mum and dad about how a vaginal breech birth could be as safe as any other birth, as well as a ton of information from other breech birth stories online, mainly from midwives keen to ensure the skills around supporting women to attempt a safe breech birth are kept alive. There was a lot to read, a lot to discuss, and a lot to think about.
Before properly considering my options, I tried everything to flip our baby. Acupuncture, moxibustion, inversion postures, yoga, aromatherapy, ball exercises, visualisation, meditation and two ECVs (where a medical professional tries to manually turn your baby from the outside using their hands)… you name it, I tried it. Baby boy was going nowhere. He had been sitting in the same butt-down position for my entire third trimester and didn’t want to budge.
Exhausted, confused and anxious about my birth plan slipping away, at 37 weeks I then reached a huge turning point. I stood in my kitchen in tears, looked down and took a deep breath. I calmly apologised to my bump for being so forceful with him over the last few weeks. If he wanted to arrive in a breech position, and he clearly did, I’d support him. Learning that only 3% of babies are breech by full-term, I whispered to him: “it’s OK, babe, we can be the 3%… we’re not like everyone else and that’s absolutely fine. I’m sorry for keep trying to make you be otherwise. I’ll let go of it now, I promise.” And I knew I had to do just that – I had to let go, and at the same time make myself feel relaxed and in control. At 38 weeks and 1 day, my husband and I sat down together and promised to move forward with our situation. I’d already done A LOT of research (I must have read every breech birth story on the internet) and now I needed put it all out of my mind.
We put a few things into place. We wrote a birth plan on how we’d attempt a vaginal birth but knew we would be open to changes and advice on the day. We packed our hospital bag. We scheduled some appointments – we planned to meet a handful of particular midwives at our hospital that following week, including a breech enthusiast called Jane who was kindly going to give up her time to talk to us about how we could approach the challenge safely, with all the right information. Knowing that we wanted to attempt a (rare but potentially do-able) vaginal breech birth, our hospital’s midwifery team assembled (queue Avengers’ theme tune music) some meetings for us for the following week. We felt safe, calm and supported, so lastly, we vowed to do nothing from now on but relax. That night, we sat down together, wrote our fears down on paper and tore them up. We could finally let go.
The next day, I went into labour. I mean – the power of the mind, right?
Despite not having had some of those conversations yet with our local hospital, we had definitely made a good start and felt fully guided (and adequately monitored) to attempt our new birth plan. Talk about things happening the way they were meant to, the midwife Jane I was due to meet that week had just begun her shift as we rocked up at that night. She ran through her thoughts on how we could safely approach our birth – it identically matched my own desires. We were ready to do this.
13 hours later (20 since my contractions had started), I’d given it my best shot. Thanks to staying calm through focus and breathing, I’d dilated quickly. I’d spent time in the birthing pool, I’d retreated within, I’d felt my contractions get stronger and stronger. I’d had the chance to experience the first stages of labour and loved every second, but a few hours after reaching full dilation, I knew I had to call it a day. I wasn’t feeling my baby descend past a certain point, my contractions weakened and I just wasn’t feeling any urge to push whatsoever. Baby boy didn’t want to come down – he wasn’t distressed but just wasn’t moving – and not being in a traditional head-down position, I didn’t want to force him… I’d decided before I went into labour (based on all the heaps of reading I’d done about birthing breech safely) that this had to happen quickly, easily and naturally, or not at all. Just like I had in my kitchen those weeks ago, I sent a message down to my belly: “it’s OK, if you don’t want to be born like this, that’s fine, I won’t force you. I can let go.”
Right then, I wanted nothing more than to be whisked off for an emergency c-section. In this moment, I didn’t feel like I was letting go, actually, but using all my knowledge, advice and guidance to take control. After discussing my options with the amazingly supportive and patient medical professionals around me, I was calmly and efficiently prepped for surgery. At 13:12 on 5th February 2019, Jaxon was lifted out of my belly and I saw his little crying face peer over a surgical cover. I’ll remember that magical moment forever.
Through the entire labour, he hadn’t been distressed once, and didn’t encounter any problems after his belly birth. I was so proud of him. My boy had been stubborn through this journey, yes, but by listening to him (and my gut) and letting him decide how he wanted to be born, he was happy, healthy, chilled and meeting him for the first time was indescribable.
To be supported to give vaginal breech birth a good go, and then to also demand sudden access to potentially life-saving surgery was an amazing opportunity, and I am still in awe at our health system and all the people who supported me during pregnancy, birth and beyond. In the moments after emergency surgery, during which I personally could have been freaking-out, I was absolutely elated, beaming ear-to-ear at what had just occurred. As someone who wanted to control every element of her birth, her baby and her body, I had been so terrified of having a c-section, but in the moment, it felt like 100% the right thing to do for my and my son, and I will be eternally grateful for the entire experience.
Childbirth for me has been about the power and importance of being given access to opportunity. I wanted and did have the chance to discuss my birth options and ultimately attempt to experience a natural birth. The outcome didn’t matter – it didn’t matter that my baby had other plans and was delivered abdominally in the end anyway, what mattered was that I was given the opportunity to try. I had the opportunity to do as much research as possible in order to make the best decision for us as a family. Despite talking so much here about letting go, I was actually consistently given the opportunity to be in control, and for any strong, independent, well-informed woman bringing a child into the world, this means more to us than we can put into words. My strong, independent son wanted the flexibility to grow in whatever position he wanted to, even if some may call it the ‘wrong’ one. He wanted the opportunity to arrive in his own way, to make his own mind up, just like his mother. We had so much opportunity and for that we are very thankful.
I wouldn’t have had this entire story turn out any other way. Learning how to let go has been completely liberating, it ironically has taught me how to take control when necessary. As someone who so desperately wanted a drug-free, vaginal birth (now, I always hesitate to stigmatise cesarean sections by not labelling them as natural), I made the decision post-natally to do nothing other than vehemently view my birth story as positive – emergency c-section mums, ALL mums, have enough to suddenly deal with, and burdening myself with regret wasn’t going to help anyone.
The other day, after seeing I had a baby, a woman serving me in a shop asked if I’d had a natural birth and I replied with a smile: “yes – a long labour and then a cesarean section.” She winced and said: “oh no, I’m sorry.” No, don’t feel sorry for me or tell me you are “sorry” for my birth. Women who have had emergency c-sections have likely gone through all sorts of mental motions, thrown themselves from grief to joy, from guilt to gratitude, from regret to peace and back again, trying to arrive at a place of calm after everything that’s happened, especially if it happened quickly and unplanned – this all on top of long and hard recovery.
My own journey has made me realise that we must encourage all birthers to seize positivity and OWN their unique birth story, look back on their journey with a smile and feel euphoric accomplishment for everything they’ve put their mind and body through. Onlookers, don’t say “yikes” at the gory details, just tell us that what we did and what we went through and GOT through was amazing. Every birth is beautiful. Every birth is natural. Once she’s done healing and processing, if all ended well, every woman needs to be encouraged to see her scar as her proud warrior-woman wound, her birth as wonderful, and not be shamed into feeling she was robbed of the better experience. If, like me, she feels completely informed to make the best possible decisions before and during labour, feels completely in control of her birth no matter what complications arise, she deserves to feel nothing but pride. And I am proud, to own every single element of this journey and truly submit to the person, the mum, it has allowed me to become. For the first time in my life, I truly surrendered, to my instincts, to fate, and more than anything, to my son.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I wrote my unborn child a letter. On two sides of A4, I told him that he could be whoever he wanted to be in his life, that I would never force any expectations upon him. He was free to creatively design himself and his entire life, in any way he pleased. He didn’t have to follow one educational path, or do a certain type of job, have certain interests, or fall in love with a certain type of person. I would set him zero restrictions and encourage him to challenge the pre-conceptions and expectations of the modern world around him. Our family motto – question everything. Despite being the size of a peanut at the time, he really listened to my letter. He has already started writing the rules for our life together and for that, I am so proud of him and so happy that he’s choosing to do things his way. This journey has been nothing short of an amazing learning experience which has resulted in my falling absolutely head over heels in love with this awesome little human who has truly taken control of his own life already.
Of course, I’ll always have his best interests, health and safety and heart, and it will always be mine and his father’s job to make those decisions for him in absence of his ability to make fully-formed choices yet. But, no matter what his age, I want to continue listening to him and letting him lead the way. I want him to lead me, to lead us. I want him to continue challenging me and challenging pre-conceptions. In just the last nine months he has taught me so much, about pregnancy, birth and the aftermath, about my own body and mind – he has made me throw all my original conceptions out of the window and see all of this in a completely different light. He has shown me that it’s OK to let go. That it’s OK to not tread the path you originally imagined. That it’s OK to be in the 3%.
And if he has done all of that whilst just a few days old, I can’t wait to see what he will go on to do in the years that follow.
By Rebecca Rimmer Givens
Our little breechling
By Ali Barker
We planned a home water birth for the birth of our first baby. We had bought a pool which we blew up at the weekend I turned 40 weeks pregnant (10 August 2014) and felt ready for labour to commence. However a few issues presented themselves at the latter stages of my pregnancy which had a great bearing on the planned birth.
During a routine ante natal check carried out at our home when I was 40 weeks + 1 day on 18 August 2014, a midwife, whom I had not seen previously, carried out palpation on my bump and suspected our baby may be breech. I could not believe it. All previous ante natal checks had identified our baby (given the moniker, Beatty) as head-down and, by this stage, 4/5 engaged. I was shocked to hear this at this late stage in my pregnancy.
The midwife was fairly confident that our baby was head-down. Such was her conviction, she sent me for a scan at the hospital the following day, rather than an emergency scan on the same day. Upon arriving at the hospital, the midwife carried out palpation and she also thought the baby was head down. However, upon carrying out the ultrasound scan, one of our biggest fears was realised when our baby was confirmed as being breech. I was devastated as I believed our home birth was an impossibility and I was naturally concerned as to any consequences of the breech presentation in relation to our baby’s health/delivery.
I had to wait in the hospital from 11am on Tuesday 12 August 2014, when the breech was diagnosed, until 7.30pm, before an ECV (a procedure carried out by a consultant doctor to try and manually turn our baby) was performed. I was told this was because I needed to be nil by mouth in the event I needed to go into theatre for an emergency C section. This was far from ideal at 40+ weeks pregnant on a hot summer’s day on a hospital ward. After the ECV failed to turn Beatty, I was told by the NHS that the only option was a C section.
While I waited for the ECV procedure to be performed, I started to research breech birth and came across midwives who were experienced in the field. From my research, it seemed that breech presentation was not abnormal, it was, in fact, a variation of normal. This was something I held at the forefront of my mind in the coming days.
As I was 40 weeks + 2 days, the hospital wanted me to sign a consent form to have a C section on Friday 15 August 2014. I asked the hospital whether it was possible to deliver a breech baby vaginally but I was told this skill was a “dying art” amongst midwives.
I spent that evening/into the early hours of the next day frantically researching breech presentation and the possibility of vaginal breech delivery. The possibility of a breech vaginal delivery was not discussed at the hospital.
I had been practicing Natal Hypnotherapy for the majority of my pregnancy and attended a 2 day workshop in Wimbledon. This, I believe, gave me the confidence to trust my body’s ability to give birth naturally and to trust my instincts, both of which led to our birth story I describe below.
On the evening of 12 August, after I was discharged from hospital, I searched Google for “natal hypnotherapy” and “vaginal breech” and found Ruth Atkinson’s birth story. I emailed Ruth at an ungodly hour desperately hoping she would reply to my email. Time really was of the essence given the late stage of my pregnancy. I was truly grateful when I saw Ruth’s reply in my inbox at around 11pm at night. One of the things she said which gave me an element of hope was “All is not lost. It is still possible to have the birth you want…”
Ruth kindly spoke to me the following day and shared her birth story which was, strangely, not too dissimilar to mine in respect of the breech diagnosis late in her pregnancy and her desire to have a vaginal breech delivery. Ruth told me about the wonderful independent midwives who had supported the safe arrival of her breech daughter, vaginally, at home.
I wasted no time and contacted the same independent midwives who then came to our house the following day to discuss matters in person. My husband and I digested all of the information and decided we would engage their services. I was so happy to have their assistance as they shared similar views to my husband and I as to natural birth.
This sentiments of this quote rang true during this time:
“The more Wisdom you attain and the more Conscious you become, the crazier you will appear to others”
I think Beatty knew not to come until we had our team in place. By this time, we had an excellent, supportive team together (including my wonderful husband). It was therefore a matter of waiting for labour to commence.
By 41 weeks, Beatty had still not arrived. However, the midwives recommended that I ought not to do anything to try and augment labour, whether that be reflexology, acupuncture and/or a membrane sweep as it was important for a breech baby to come when it was ready, or opt for C section. So, it was a matter of (patiently) waiting.
Our independent midwives therefore embarked on ‘Project Relaxation’ as it seemed apparent that my body/mind were in a state of flux given the issues of the preceding week. I believed that I would not go into spontaneous labour until I switched of my ‘thinking brain’ and allowed my primal bran to engage, something I learnt in Natal Hypnotherapy.
All the while, I was getting many messages from friends/family wondering if we had had our baby. As each day went by, I was getting more anxious as I knew post 42 weeks would bring further issues to bear. We had even booked a fetal well being scan on Harley Street (as we were keen to avoid attending the hospital, where possible, to avoid further pressure from the hospital as to an elective C section) to check Beatty’s heart beat, amniotic fluid and blood flow to the placenta.
I was not overly concerned as there is perhaps unnecessary significance placed on the ‘guess date’; many people had said to me that babies come when they are ready. In France, for instance, full term is considered to be 41 weeks, so there are different interpretations of ‘full term’. Beatty continued to be very active with lots of kicks which the independent midwive said was a good indicator of Beatty’s wellbeing.
I wrote a letter to Beatty and read it aloud to her and also talked to Beatty several times a day to try and encourage her to start her journey into the world. I knew we could do it together and I truly believed that.
At 41 + 6 days, my contractions started at 3.45pm on 23 August 2014, while eating strawberries and cream in the garden on a lovely warm day. They were irregular and not very strong. I had had the same sensation a couple of days before, while watching a DVD, when I had to get out of bed to ease the sensation, however on this occasion it passed after an hour or so. We were therefore convinced that this was another false start. Nevertheless, we walked to the park to try and encourage more contractions. While I had a few sensations, they continued to be irregular and did not increase in intensity. We did, however, practice filling the pool but promptly emptied it, again not anticipating labour to commence imminently.
We received a message from one of our NCT group at around 2.30pm that day to confirm they had welcomed their little boy into the world, 2 days’ early. I was delighted for them but it served to emphasise the fact we were still waiting for our little one.
After a little break from the contractions, we retired to bed. However, by 8.30pm the contractions were coming more frequently and with increased intensity. We therefore called our independent midwives to come to the house.
My surges were concentrated in my back so my husband massaged my back with increasing force to counteract the sensations. My contractions continued but did not seem to progress sufficiently therefore the midwives retired to bed. I continued to have infrequent contractions throughout the night. I recall shouting at my husband (who was asleep) to massage my back throughout the night. We all woke up around 7am and, as my surges continued in a similar manner, the midwives decided they would give my husband and I privacy to seek to encourage labour to progress. They all went into the local town for breakfast.
My husband made me breakfast of yoghurt and fresh fruit but I promptly threw this back up again. I was in the kitchen on my exercise ball and could feel myself drifting away from my husband and the environment around me and retreating into my own body. Once the midwives arrived back at 8.30am, I was in established labour. The midwives did not carry out any internal vaginal examinations, rather they read my behaviour to assess progress.
I had never really considered where I would labour in the house but I remained in the bedroom. I recall it was a lovely sunny day outside but we kept the curtains closed to create a more ‘safe’ enclosed environment. The Natal Hypnotherapy relaxation music was playing in the background for the duration of the labour and we had lavender essential oil in a diffuser. The midwives were very respectful of our own space and left my husband and I alone for much of the time.
My waters broke in our bathroom during one of my contractions at around midday. I realised I was getting ever closer to meeting our baby!
My husband and I were prepared for the transition stage from labour to pushing. However, I do not recall this period in the labour, nor does my husband; although, in retrospect, it may have occurred when I asked the midwife if I could use gas and air. I think this was a moment of slight panic in my mind when I knew I was entering the final stage and thought I may need assistance. The midwife gently discouraged this and I was happy to proceed without gas and air. I did have 2 paracetamol at some stage but not sure they would have had any effect whatsoever!! I did, however, use my TENS machine throughout labour and found this really helpful for easing the effects of the surges and it also served as a distraction, together with the tools I learnt with Natal Hypnotherapy. I also made loud chanting sounds of AHHHHH and OOOOOM to get through the surges which I learnt from JuJu Sindin’s Birth Skills book – I would highly recommend this.
At around 3pm ish we were all preparing for the birth of our daughter. The midwives prepared the bedroom with the dust sheets and old bedding. I assumed a side lying position on my left side. This was an odd position in the sense that I had never considered this position in any of my birth preparation classes.
I recall the bedroom was very hot as we had to use a heater to ensure the room was sufficiently warm to receive Beatty. During the pushing stage, my husband cooled my forehead with a cold flannel which was replaced regularly by the midwives to ensure it was cool. I also had lots of coconut water throughout the labour, together with ice cubes, made of honey/lemon and himalayan sea salt, raspberry leaf infused water and black molasses in hot water to maintain my energy levels.
Beatty was slowly descending but I could sense that the midwives were keen for me to change positions, although they very much allowed this to be led by me. As a matter of common sense, it would have been more logical for me to be in a vertical position/all fours. I had pulled a muscle/ligament on my left side at some stage during labour so I was not desperate to change positions, as I knew it would hurt. However, something urged me to jump onto an all fours position. Once I changed position, Beatty seemed to descend much quicker.
The midwives have since commented on the extent of my movements during this stage – I was almost kneeling at one point, then swaying my hips left to right and then leaning forwards in a prayer position. All of this behaviour was instinctive, rather than conscious, and the midwives believed this assisted our daughter’s birth. It felt like Beatty and I were doing a little dance with one another. I was comforted that our daughter was almost dancing with her little legs hanging out of me and she was a lovely colour, whereas some of the videos I had seen of vaginal breech deliveries involved a baby looking a little limp and blue.
I recall the sensation of our daughter’s bum coming out and then her legs. I could sense when Beatty’s body had flopped out. I recall looking through my legs and seeing Beatty hanging there, with her head inside of me. We had kept the sex of our baby a surprise so I was constantly asking the midwives if they could discern the sex. As our baby passed urine, they could tell it was a girl. My husband and I were so surprised as 95% of people had said they thought it was a boy. While we had no firm view either way, we had become convinced that it was a boy; it was a lovely surprise to hear it was a girl.
I did not have another contraction to push out Beatty’s head for around 5 minutes. It felt like a long time. The midwives were not too concerned as our daughter’s lips were peeping out of me and her lips were opening and closing to take in air. The only time the midwives intervened was to lightly move the cord to allow our daughter to breathe safely.
As no contraction came, I pushed without a contraction and my daughter was born at 4:17pm, exactly 14 days after her due date. It was the best feeling. My husband, who had been attending to me the whole labour, gave me a big kiss and then the midwives put our daughter in front of me on the floor. I couldn’t believe she was ours. I didn’t pick her up straight away while I took it all in. I then held her close to my chest – skin to skin – and we had our first cuddle as a family.
Our daughter was 8 lbs 9 ounces (the midwives did comment on how big she appeared as she was being born – I always had a strong suspicion that she was going to be a big baby!) and 52 cm long – although she appeared much longer; most people have passed comment on this since her birth. Our daughter scored 9/10 on her APGAR score.
Given established labour started around 8.30am that morning, labour was fairly quick. I also only suffered a minor tear which did not require any stitches. When I spoke to a midwife before the birth she told me that breech births are generally fairly quick and that generally women don’t tear – so breech birth does have its advantages!
We then all moved to our bed with our daughter in my arms while the midwives tidied up around us. One big bonus was that the student midwife used to be a chef so she made an amazing breakfast for us of eggs, bacon, spinach and tomatoes – beats hospital food any day!
One of the midwives also made me a lovely placenta smoothie and I ate some of the placenta immediately after the birth, when resting in bed. I cannot be certain, but I attribute the fact that I did not suffer any baby blues to the placenta which I consumed. I believe this regulated my hormones and replenished vital nutrients lost during labour.
I will treasure forever the memory of the three of us snuggling in bed that evening. If we had given birth in the hospital, my husband may have been asked to leave us that evening which would have been awful. This was another (of many) advantages to a home birth.
If the hospital had had its way, our daughter would have been born on 15 August 2014; that was not her time. In fact, the midwives noted that our daughter did not show any signs of being particularly over her due date. We were delighted she came naturally on her true birthday and not a date fixed by a hospital.
We did not name our daughter until a couple of days after the birth; such was our belief that our baby was a boy, we had not properly considered girls’ names. On Tuesday 26 August, we named our little breechling Estelle Augusta Barker – inspired by the main character in Charles Dickens’ novel, Great Expectations, Estella. A strong, formidable character which we hope Estelle will be, too.
Ali Barker gave birth with the assistance of Maya Midwives, Kathryn Weymouth, Liz Nightingale and Suyai Stenhauer. Ali is married to Sam Barker and they are looking forward to celebrating 10 years together this summer 2015. They are very much still in love and have enjoyed every single moment spent with their breechling, Estelle.
“We soon realised that just as annoying as Jo Public’s views were romantic, the NHS’ policies and attitudes to twins were shocking – routine intervention, endless scanning, water birthing out of the question, expected epidural and C section ‘very likely’.”
“We decided at this point to go with our initial instincts and discuss the situation with an independent midwife. Valerie Gommon was recommended to us, she came round for dinner and for the first time in our pregnancy we discussed our options with a professional practitioner who seemed to use common sense and wisdom rather than fear of litigation. We decided for the safe arrival of our girls, in a relaxed atmosphere where I would feel empowered and in control, £3,500 was worth every penny. To put this into context of our spending this is twice as much as we spent on our car and 35 times what we spent on our wedding. Independent midwives are not just for the rich; we believe the money was well-spent and actually fantastic value for the level of care and amount of time Valerie and her colleagues spent with us.”
“I count my lucky stars that I found Andrew and had the fortitude to strive for a Plan C… however it wasn’t really luck, it was all about preparation:
• Doing lots of homework so I was fully informed every step of the way;
• Creating a private, safe & sacred space to birth in, with caregivers who supported me 110% (settling for nothing less);
• Using visualisation, affirmations & meditation to help maintain my positive mindset;
• Listening to my instincts & letting them guide me through the obstacles;
• Connecting with my baby throughout;
• Practicing my calm breathing and using it consistently;
& lastly, but perhaps most importantly –
• Trusting implicitly in my body to do the job that it was so magnificently designed to do.”
“This is getting ridiculous. This baby is wedged in my pelvis, without ultrasound technology it is unlikely that anyone would have realised this baby was breech. It’s legs are extended and there is little room to move. I am making myself sick doing acrobatics to try to get postural turning, and taking desperate measures to try to get this baby to move. “I just want to be normal”, I hear myself say it over and over again as I talk to family, friends and begin to beg the universe “You’ve made your point!”. The thought of lying on a theatre table, as they cut me open and surgically extract my child, makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t believe that I am “in need” of a caesarean section but I am not the one that needs convincing.”
“Dr A splints and supports one little arm out, then the other, each provides instant relief as they are birthed. I take a breather briefly, I am not contracting. As Dr A hangs my baby over her arm I am instructed to push. “Even though I’m not contracting?”, yes, “PUSH!” the chorus instructs me. At this moment, I feel like I want to “pant” more than “push”, but I am determined to do this “right”. I give one almighty push and my baby is born. (Rosemarie tells me later that “If it was a cephalic birth it would’ve been one push and the baby would have landed in the bucket on the other side of the room”). It is placed on my chest, eyes wide, looking a little stunned, it is 12:25pm. I pull it’s little legs apart, “what have you got?” someone asks me “A girl!” (I knew it!). ”
“I was surrounded by mothers who all labored at one time. With the next contraction, I began thinking of my midwife, the talented Lora Burgess who passed away last year, who worked with Evelyn who always said that there are some births that fathers shouldn’t attend. She was right… With each contraction, my midwives, my mother and my friend would breathe with me, sigh with me, and rest in between. They labored right with me and their support, along with counter pressure from Christina, and her whisperings of support and love made me feel that Lora was right in the room with us, nodding her approval and smiling.”
“I didn’t want a c-section unless my baby was in danger. She never was. Her fluid was perfect, her placenta was posterior, her cord was adequate, and she merely arrived bottom first in 4 of the most intense pushes that I have ever experienced. With vertex babies (my previous 4 were posterior vertex), the “work” is basically over once the head and shoulders emerge. The rest of the baby sort of slithers out quickly. Not so with breech babies. I had to work for every inch of my baby daughter’s arrival. The first pushes of her birth exposed her bottom. (She pooped….not unusual for breech babies when their bottoms are exposed to the cool air). The next brought forth her legs because her hips were flexed and her legs were folded Indian style against her body. I roared with the push that brought her shoulders, and lastly, one enormous push later her head was born and I couldn’t believe that Evelyn was saying, “Carla, take your baby!” in a shocked voice.”
Our breech baby Jennifer born by c section.
Had hoped for vaginal breech but new decisions needed to be made as not in a good enough position for me to feel confident with vaginal delivery, back to back footling breech.
At consent form signing with consultant he offered me another chance to try and turn baby under the spinal and if she turned to break my waters and transfer to DS for a natural birth allowing the spinal to wear off. Overjoyed to get another ECV and at least a chance for a vaginal birth. Baby didn’t turn with 3 attempts so proceeded with C/S.
Had radio station of my choice, all the staff picked up on my desire for a joyful relaxed environment and each and everyone of them contributed to making it the amazing experience that it turned out to be. The consultant asked if we wanted to see her being born and the screens were dropped, we saw our baby gently eased from within me, her little bum first, she came out so gently and easily. The consultant handed her directly to me, she was pink apgar 9 at 1 min. I held her against my chest with my cord still intact. We were both covered with dry towels and I rubbed her all over talking to her, she breathed without support or assistance in under a minute. Within the next 30 seconds she searched out my breast and latched herself on. Weighing etc was delayed until I was ready. I had delayed cord clamping and cut my baby’s cord after about 5 mins.
The staff were amazing it was an atmosphere of calm celebration and I felt so involved. I was fine throughout and the anesthetiser then took photos of us all together. My baby never lost her connection with me, she was on my breast feeding and I cut her cord. The staff took great care to involve my husband.
I really didn’t want a c/s felt it would be clinical and that I’d be detached from it. My experience has left me with nothing but joy. My consultant (University Hospital North Stafford) had been fully supportive during my pregnancy and there is nothing more I could have asked for or expected, he made the birth of our baby unique and so personal for us and the theatre team were also amazing. We are blessed to have our beautiful daughter she is feeding so well and I believe this is wholly contributed to her being left to do what nature intended.