Interview with a Birth Mama pt 1

After making this post, I received an email from Christie, the star of the breech video I linked back to. She was amazingly driven to educate women to their options in birth when faced with the possibility of birth with a breech presentation.

I then asked for an interview, to help her in her pursuit to educate the public. Read on...

Christie - you had two breech babies born via cesarean before you opted for a homebirth with midwives for your 3rd baby - a vaginally born breech baby. What changed between babies 2 and 3 that made you able to claim a vaginal birth?
In a word, empowerment. I finally took ownership of my births. In my first pregnancy, I had been told that I had a breech baby, and that I wouldn't find an obstetrician on the East Coast who would deliver a breech baby vaginally. Even though intuitively I didn't understand the need for a sweeping recommendation for a cesarean, I accepted this as truth. I was not at all internet savvy at the time, and when I inquired about a support group for cesareans, I was practically laughed at. For my 2nd pregnancy, I put all of my focus into finding VBAC supportive providers and *avoiding* a breech baby, as I had been told that my unique uterus (septate) likely did not cause my son to be breech.

About a year after my daughter's birth, I stumbled upon ICAN (the International Cesarean Awareness Network). Finally, I was surrounded by women who understood my grief over how my children were born. Moreover, those same women were willing to ask the hard questions about modern obstetrical practices. No longer could I dismiss home birth as a reckless choice, and furthermore, I finally had an avenue to explore the safety of vaginal breech birth.
While you were researching your options during your pregnancies, what resources helped you the most in deciding to have your breech baby vaginally?
Without a doubt, the most influential source was Henci Goer's "Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth". I read the chapters on out of hospital birth, VBAC and breech over and over. I also scoured the internet, including pubmed, for research on breech birth, and came to believe that with a competent and experienced provider, a breech birth was a reasonably safe option.
You mention you had home birth midwives. Were they CPM, LM/DEM or CNM? Why did you choose them?
... The most senior midwife was a [DEM], preparing to sit for the licensure exam to become a [CNM] (she is now licensed). I called every home birth midwife I could find and asked questions about their comfort with VBAC after multiple cesareans and breech birth. Only my midwife had enough experience with breech. She was also incredibly supportive and conveyed a belief in my ability to birth my baby.
Why did you choose a home birth rather than a hospital birth?
Over time, I came to have serious concerns about hospital protocols. I believe that many of them have more to do with provider convenience than about mother/baby safety. Additionally, the hospital practice I found that would attend a VBAC after 2 cesareans would only do so if the baby was vertex.
What, in YOUR estimation, is the predominant reason why women across the US have cesareans for breech presentation instead of vaginal births?
Lack of requisite skills for breech birth on the part of maternity care providers.
If you had the chance to do it all over again, would you do anything different with any of your children's births?
I regret not taking the lead in doing the research myself regarding the safety of breech birth. I particularly regret that my daughter was born surgically, as she was in nearly the exact position as her younger brother. During that pregnancy, I can claim ignorance about neither the possibility of a cesarean, nor its physical and emotional impacts. I have *no* regrets about my youngest son's birth. It was an incredible experience.
Any closing thoughts?
I believe that in order for the culture of breech birth to change, women must start demanding that their care providers are skilled in breech. If women make it clear that this is expected, more practitioners will seek training in this important skill set.
For more information / support for breech births:
Thanks, Christie, for your continued passion and pursuit to educate the public.

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