I have asked each of my doula-sisters in the Houston Doula Cooperative to share a guest post with me for something near and dear to their hearts. Trina is my first featured doula-sister. She is amazing! I was honored to meet her about a year ago and, right off the bat, I fell in love with her straight forward, no-nonsense, tell-you-like-it-is attitude. She is a wonderful doula, and a breath of fresh air. Her topic? Breech Birth.
I never really thought about breech birth, until I was faced head on with it in 2010. I think for most people, the concept is foreign, and often means cesarean. It wasn’t like that for me. For me, it was a rollercoaster of emotions and a hurdle I had to overcome. My journey to breech birth was full of stress and heartbreak, tears and fear, and empowerment.
I was pregnant with my second child. I was planning a home birth. I anticipated an easy and fast labor with my husband and midwives by my side, while we welcomed our daughter. I never felt fear or anxiety until 36 weeks.
At 36 weeks, my baby was breech. My heart sank, and I immediately started to feel anxiety and fear. I was terrified at the thought of a cesarean. I didn’t want to have my baby in a hospital. I didn’t want to spend weeks healing from a birth. My first birth was easy, healing was a breeze and I expected nothing less this time.....until that day.I don’t think anyone can truly understand the feeling that comes with such shocking news, unless you have experienced it. I was devastated. I was terrified. I was confused. My husband didn’t truly understand it, how could he?
When I met with the OB he gave me the option to have a vaginal breech birth, or a cesarean. My baby had engaged, so he wasn’t able to manually turn her. I am not sure I would have opted for that anyway, in my research, it sounded painful and risky. That appointment left me even more confused, now I had to decide if I wanted to opt for surgery.....or have a vaginal birth, and take all the risk that came along with it.I spent hours researching. I read stories, I read articles, I researched ways to encourage the baby to turn...but ultimately I had to go with my gut. My gut said that I couldn’t sign up for a cesarean. I wasn’t going to have someone cut my baby out of me without at least trying.
Everyone around me told me I was stupid, I was putting my life and my babies life at risk. They told me that I should just have a cesarean because it’s easier and no big deal. They told me there was no way I could have a vaginal birth, and asked why I would even try. It was negative, and emotional and stressful. No one asked me how I felt about it. No one asked me why I was making the decision. They just told me I was stupid and careless.
I had all the support I needed. I had an OB who was willing to deliver breech. I had 2 midwives who said they would support my decision, whatever it was. I had a husband who believed in me. That’s all I needed.
I tried to let the negativity role off my back, and to ignore the comments, but it was hard. I was in a lonely place where I felt no one really understood. I did have my doubts. I did consider just signing up for surgery. There were times I let the negatively around me get the best of me. There were times that I thought maybe I was being selfish.
When I look back at it now, I can't recall all the details of what happened during the month leading up to my daughters birth. I know I was emotional, and stressed out. I know I took much of that out on my son, who was the only one with me most of the time. I know I had a hard time talking to people, because I was afraid of what they would say to me. My husband was working away from home, and I had little support as it was. I had less support planning for a vaginal breech birth which people deemed as a death trap.
In all the research I did, I don’t recall anyone talking about how people around you would react. I feel like this is an important topic in birth. Not only in breech birth, but in any alternative birth plans. There always seems to be negativity. I experienced a lot of negativity for my decision. What I didn’t experience negativity for was my choice to induce my labor. Interesting!!
When we decided to induce our labor, more for convenience that anything, no on batted an eye. No one questioned my decision to use medications to force my baby from my body. They only questioned my choice to birth her in a breech position. It’s become such a social norm to get induced, that no one even considered the risks that came with it. Far more risk than birthing a breech baby with a medical team who had years of experience.
I was lucky, my induction was relatively low intervention. I used cervidal, and needed no further augmentation. I had none of the complications that can come with induction, other than a longer labor than I would have had if I had let my body go into labor on it’s own. Now, we chose induction because of my history of fast delivery, and the distance from the hospital. I wouldn’t do it again.
The day I had my baby, I was anxious. I wondered how things would play out, I hoped for a vaginal birth, and I knew I would not get pain medication unless I needed surgery. It took my body from 8am-5pm to get into active labor. I had my daughter at 10:13pm. She was born breech, vaginal and without Pain Medications.
There was negativity in the room that evening. The nurses were nervous, and I could feel it. I could sense the tension every time they walked in the room. They kept pushing me to take pain relief (laughing gas), which finally was moved across the room so they would stop shoving it in my face. When they spoke to me, I could feel the negativity towards what I was doing. It was unsettling, and unwelcomed. I did not need negativity in my birth room.
I had a great support team, my husband and midwife, who kept me calm and reminded me to let go, to release the tension and to ignore the negativity. It got me through without a doubt.
Negativity does not belong in birth rooms. Remember that! Pregnant woman do not need your negative stories, they do not need your negative comments. I did not make my decision to have a vaginal breech birth lightly. I researched A LOT. I did not do it to rebel or to prove a point. I honestly felt like it was the right thing to do, and it was. I experienced a lot of negativity. I was strong enough to move on, many are not. Many women take that negativity to heart, they question themselves, they change THEIR PLANS because of the fear placed on them by the people around them. This is not fair. It is not right.
Women were made to birth, I wholeheartedly believe this. They are not all going to choose to birth the same way, and they shouldn’t have to. Each woman is going to make decisions that they feel are best for them, and you as the friend, co-worker, family member, need to accept that and support their decisions. I didn’t get support from my friends, co-workers or family members. I was strong enough to know my own capabilities. I was able to power through with the doubt, the fear, and the negativity placed on me from the people around me. Not everyone can do that.
I had a vaginal breech birth. No one will ever take that from me! I made decisions. I fought the fear. I let go of the social negativity to get a birth that I will forever be proud of. I owned my birth. Every woman needs to own her birth. It’s empowering!
For more information on Trina, visit her on FB, her business site Moonlight Doula, or visit our co-ops FB page or website. You can also read her birth story on BWF
For more information on breech resources, check out the following:
- A Breech in the System - a great movie, and you can watch the trailer here.
- Breech Options - a list of breech options, including information on how to turn a breech baby and how to make proactive choices that are right for your needs.
- Caring for a Breech Birth - HAND's OFF
- The Coalition for Breech Birth - a wonderful resource on breech birth and advocacy for it