Hi everyone, just wanted to let you know that our baby girl, Wilde Honey Valentine May was freeborn at 10.30pm on 29th April. 8lb 4oz.
Towards the end of a lovely, unassisted pregnancy I had become instinctively questioning about the baby’s presentation – head down only felt right on some days and when s/he had hiccups that felt very low, otherwise I could feel a high, hard ball that wobbled like a head when palpated. This was my fifth term pregnancy and having had a footling breech baby in 2000, I could remember what to feel for. I was aware I had a lot of water and the baby made big movements – plenty of room to swim about or turn yet! DH and I spent some hours talking through breech birth articles/videos and all I had learned and could remember from last time when Mary Cronk and Jane Evans had coached me through the last few weeks of pregnancy and Jane had actually ended up catching my baby too when the NHS failed to provide the care I needed.
Labour began early last Wednesday morning with gentle surges that mostly went away for the day while dh was working and I had our 3 yr to care for. Lovely day playing on the beach, walking, humming/moaning through about one surge per hour. Husband home at 8pm and suddenly everything ramped up so that they were coming every 3 mins and intense. Set up birth space on bedroom floor: clear, lovely waters soaked everything at 9pm-ish, baby felt high still, I was unsure on presentation but could not visualise baby head down at all, even asked dh to get a picture to help me but it still felt all wrong to see her coming down that way. Labour stalled at this point, mentally blocked I feel, perhaps worry in the way, but giving me a long ‘rest and be thankful’ of about 30 mins. Sorted wet birthing space, dh read a little to me (Laurie Lee), centred thoughts after asking dh to leave me alone in room, intoned ‘open’ over and over keeping lips open and loose, tried a few different positions – standing, hip circling, rocking, walking on spot – gently, gently, not stressing, just experimenting, laying down to rest as I felt the need. Took homeopathic remedy caulophyllum and with two gentle surges things began again.
On floor, all fours. 15 minutes later one very, very long surge where at the top I heard my sounds change – less moany, more grunty and my body began pushing. Dh heard too and came back into bedroom, two pushes and I could feel the baby at the vaginal opening, but knew it was not the head. Reached up to feel with my fingers to find a loop of umbilical cord alongside an angled limb. Felt scared – pain came in. Asked dh to call 999 and midwife (we were not booked in as such but had informed local SOM of pregnancy and intention to freebirth and asked for phone numbers just in case). All fours still, bottom in air to take pressure off cord, feeling my body push – wondering what would come out – could I have had it so wrong and baby is transverse, will an arm come down first? Yes, it may, breathe, breathe but this is still my baby’s birth and oddly that phrase ‘Peace on earth begins with birth’ kept repeating in my thoughts – relax, stay peaceful, calm – birth is what it is, trust, trust, trust.
Ah ha! A leg fully extends, moving, white with vernix, toes towards me so: posterior baby, knees/feet first. Now I know, now to push! Huge, powerful surges, storm waves overtaking me, bellowing. Two kicking legs out. Ordered dh off phone – ‘It’s fine, it’s all fine but I NEED YOU, STOP TALKING ON THE PHONE!!!!!’
Baby out to chest, dh: ‘Can I help?’ me: ‘No, no, remember hands off! Do NOT touch. Let it hang there, rotate.’ Baby rotates, arms flop down, dh: ‘theres only the head in now’. Bottom low to floor, using floor to support and move baby, to tuck chin, head needs to come out, easy, easy. Almighty pushes, one huge surge or no surge at all – I am powering this, out baby, out. Small, carved from soap baby on towels beneath me. I crouch over her, talking to her, pick her up, rub her back – ‘come to me baby, we love you, we love you’. Bubbles from her lips, small mewing sounds, breath, a shout. She breathes: a daughter.
Placenta arrived 30 mins later, ambulance another ten mins again, midwife about an hour after the birth. No problems, all well.
Still processing this powerful, amazing experience but wanted to share our story, as raw as it is, with all you wondrous, birthing women as, hopefully, an encouragement and maybe an inspiration. Birth, breech or otherwise, is what it is, trust it, trust your body. You CAN do it and don’t let anyone tell you, intimidate you, bully you, pressure you, scare you into believing anything else! xx