Thursday, August 26, 2010

Breech Birth: Turning Her Plans Upside Down!

This is the story of Zoe's birth at French Hospital in 2009 and a mother's difficult decision to let go of her vision of the birth and growing into acceptance of a scheduled cesarean birth.

For me, there was no better choice than to have my baby naturally, no drugs and as few interventions as possible. That was the plan. But as most women who have a baby, ‘the plan’ is rarely followed. You can prepare for birth but not plan, I know that now.

My husband and I decided knowledge was the best tool to being prepared for our daughter’s arrival. So we took a very extensive, thorough birthing class. We learned about nutrition, the history of birth, birthing options, physiology of birth, pain management, interventions, and the newborn. These classes made me feel positive, ready and prepared.

I wasn’t entirely comfortable with a home birth. I would have loved to have a birthing center, but that option did not exist, so we opted for a hospital birth. Because of this, we felt hiring a doula was even more important for ‘game day’. Our doula was someone we felt could help us navigate the decisions we inevitably would have to make but did not know what they would be yet.

Week 36 of pregnancy rolled around and I was feeling ready, prepared, but anxious about all the unknowns. We were about to run into our first big ‘unknown’. We went to my weekly doctor’s appointment and as my doctor felt my baby bump, she decided she was no longer convinced that what she thought was the baby’s bottom, up by my ribs, was in fact her bottom. Yep, this baby was breech. What does this mean? What do I do now? What are my options? Could this have been determined earlier?

For the next two weeks, I dropped everything else in my life and put all my energy into trying to convince my breech baby to turn. I researched breech babies and the possibility of having a breech baby vaginally and decided that was not an option for me. So I set out to try to convince my baby to turn. I was in the breech tilt for most of the week. I took warm baths and put cold peas at the top of my belly. She moved, she didn’t like the cold on her head, but she didn’t turn. I did acupuncture and worked on relaxation. I tried a homeopath from my chiropractor. I did hand stands in the pool. All of this encouraged movement, but not turning. My last attempt was a manual version, where the doctor tries to manually turn the baby. Nope, this baby was set in her ways and was going to stay breech.

For a while I felt defeated that I could not get my baby to turn. This was just another piece of evidence that birthing stories are not in our control. I had about 2 weeks to process the fact I’d be having a c-section, I was thankful for that time. After all this time of preparing myself to NOT be in control (which is hard for me, but I was ready to just give myself over the process), all of a sudden I was picking my baby’s birthday and working around ER and doctor schedules. It felt weird, wrong, and inorganic. Luckily I have a very supportive husband, family and friends who helped me process this very drastic change of events. I had one friend list all the things to look forward to with a c-section (some silly, some serious).

When December 18th finally came, we had an appointment to have our baby. I never really got past the fact that in was really weird to schedule a birth, but the excitement of being able to meet my baby overtook any lingering disappointment I may have had. The c-section was flawless and in a moment, a scheduled moment, I became a mother, we became a family. At that point, I didn’t care how Zoe arrived, because she arrived safely and was healthy. I was able to have her with me in the recovery room and she nursed within a ½ hour of being born. It wasn’t the birth I planned for, but it was the birth that we got, and that is a-ok with me.

To me the moment Zoe's mom became a mother was when she chose to do what she felt was right for her baby and put aside her dreams for herself.


  1. Good title! You're right about the moment I became a mother. I'd give up the world for Zoe!

  2. What a great story! Thanks for sharing, Colby. That's a mother - willing to do anything for that little blessing we call our baby.

  3. Yes, Colby, your story is a great inspiration for those of us who wanted a natural birth but the nature of our babies made us choose the surgical route. I'm happy you are sharing your experience. Zoe is beautiful and you are a wonderful and happy mom!

  4. I talked to a mom yesterday and recommended she read your story to help give her peace of mind about her birth.