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There are three different types of breech positions; there is the frank breech position, footling breech position, and a complete breech. All of which when aiming for a vaginal birth leads to some trepidation. Some care providers will still deliver babies breech if professionally trained to do so, especially if risks are considered lower. Others however, bear some hesitation which ultimately leads to a cesarean section.

Most babies usually settle into a comfortable fetal position around 36  weeks and occasionally there are some babies that decide to go breech at 40+ weeks. Take heart, there are a few tricks-of-the-trade to help engage babies properly in the birth canal to help minimize a breech birth or a c-section.

1).  Chiropractic Care: especially if Webster Technique Certified. Claiming to have 80% to 90% success rates  “The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment that reduces interference to the nerve system and balances maternal pelvic muscles and ligaments. This in turn reduces torsion in the uterus, a cause of intra-uterine constraint of the baby and allows for optimal fetal positioning in preparation for birth.” (source ICPA Certification program)

2).  Prenatal Yoga: Usually this is initiated earlier on during your pregnancy, but towards the end of gestation if baby is still breech you can try inversion positions assisted by someone. Another position that’s easily defined; try resting on your back with your knees bent and a bunch of pillows under your hips to bring your pelvis above your shoulders… do this for about 15 minutes each day until baby turns. Also try squatting a lot during the day.  Squatting helps enlarge the opening of your pelvis by 15%  making it easier for the babies head to engage. http://www.spinningbabies.com/ is also a great website to get more tips about fetal positioning.

3) An Acupuncturist: This long believed natural measure even during pregnancy can help with a whole slew of gestational related issues, including:  Physical problems, fatigue, morning sickness, heartburn, constipation, back pain and sciatica, edema, rhinitis of pregnancy, BREECH PRESENTATION, induction for post due date,  labor, postpartum depression, mastitis, post operative healing etc

The top three that I mentioned are the lest invasive measures to help coax the breech baby and they all have a “high turnover rate” (catch my joke there!?) Yet here is still one more thing you can consider.

4).  External Cephalic Version: Or maneuvering the baby manually while under the use of an ultrasound. Sometimes given with an epidural or terbutaline to help relax the uterus, but there are some care providers that can do the version without the usage of pain relief.

So there you have it… I hope this is helpful to whoever reads this. Take heart there is no one size fits all when it comes to birth but having many options at your disposal is better than having none. Good luck!

Stephanie’s Birth

It had been 14 years since Stephanie had her first baby. This made her start to question if she would have the strength to deliver a new one. You hear a lot of moms questioning themselves when there’s been a few years between having their babies. They’ll say things like, “It’s feels as though I’m delivering for the first time all over again, I’m worried my body wont remember what to do.” I think Stephanie felt strong after her first delivery. Her 14 year old daughter was born med free, in a frank breech position. But Stephanie still doubted her ability to go naturally this time around because of the time lapsed. Little did she know her same strength would play out through her second baby’s delivery.

Stephanie was Induced at 39 weeks with this new little one. She was 1 cm the night of her induction, I went with her to the hospital to figure out details from the nurses. After Stephanie, Stewart, and her daughter Lindsay (the now 14 year old) were more comfortable we all decided to get more sleep. I went back home because I live close to this particular hospital. At 6am the next morning Stephanie called and told me she was ready for me to come back in because she had made great progress during the night; she was 4 centimeters dilated. I made it to the hospital around 6:30am just after they were wheeled to the labor and delivery room.

Stewart told me he didn’t sleep too well that night because the staff had to come in and out to check Stephanie’s vitals. Stephanie was doing well as she was having contractions every 4 minutes, we were told by her nurse that she was a little ‘hyperstimed’ because of the topical medication (cytotek). Stephanie continued talking throughout contractions. Stewart’s mom brought dunkin’ donuts and everyone enjoyed their breakfast.

By 9 am we were told that Stephanie’s doctor would follow up to her room, and that Stephanie was progressing wonderfully on her own. In the meantime,  Stephanie stayed focus by  moving around on a rocking chair, she tailor set in the adjustable hospital bad, then rested while I gave her a foot massage. Her feet had been swollen for the last few weeks of her pregnancy. Everyone listened to Stephanie’s mother-in-laws recount her birth with Stewart, “He was born in four hours and was nine pounds,” she mentioned with a big smile on her face. Lindsay was texting on her phone while her mother had to concentrate even deeper. During those contractions I reminded Stephanie, “Breath in for the baby, and blow away the tension.” Stephanie was doing perfectly as she set on her birthing ball and contractions picked up in speed.

Around 10:15am, Stephanie was checked again and had even more progression. This made us all hopeful that the use of pitocin would not be needed. All the while, everyone decided to take a little cat nap. I stayed close to Stephanie’s side. Stephanie would wake up during those contractions, a little upset that she too couldn’t get more rest.

The nurse came in and told us that the doctor would be in very soon.  Stephanie closed her eyes during these contractions. We all knew what the doctor was coming in for, to break her waters, which meant contractions would gain even more intensity. Stephanie had made it to 7 centimeters just by remaining in gravity positive positions. We were all delighted with her own continued progression.

At 12:30pm the doctor came in. Her contractions immediately picked up in pace as their was no more cushion between her babies head and the cervix; the contractions took Stephanie’s breath away. As the nurse headed back out to the nurses stationed she reminded Stephanie, “This is usually the point that all mother’s ask for medication.” Stephanie’s family moved closer by her side. Stewart was holding her right hand, her daughter her left, and I rubbed her legs as we all spoke words of encouragement. “Visualize these contractions much like waves,” I said. ” Stay on top of them, don’t let them take you under.” She maintained great control through her breathing and was completely relaxed between contractions. She kept a warm heating pad on top of her shoulders. Her daughter ran and got a wet wash cloth and placed it on her head.

As Stephanie transition Stewart stroked her hair and gave her kisses. At one point she said, “How much longer?” I told her, “Only a few more and you’ll be holding your baby.” She had encouragement all around her as she finished up to completion. I told her, “if it feels good to give a little push at the peak of the contraction…. do so.” She did, and within a couple pushy contractions we rang the nurses station. As soon as they picked up on the intercom Stephanie had another grunty contraction. They hung up the phone and jolted to her room. For the most part the baby dropped pretty quickly, was completely crowed, and ready to go; the doctor came in and noticed the same. As soon as the doctor slipped into her gloves she told Stephanie, “Okay let’s go!” And within one push baby McKenzie was born and placed on her momma’s chest. This pretty little girl was born on October 3rd, at 1:30 pm, weighing 7lbs, 9oz.

After a 14 year passing, Stephanie could still persevere and achieve the natural birth she had anticipated.

Tarrah hired me early on during her second pregnancy. She was bound and determine to have the birth experience she had missed out on. Her previous birth was induced because of gestational diabetes. They started her off with cytotec, gave her pitocin, and in active labor she requested an epidural because of the hyperstimulation being done to her body.

One traumatic thing she had also noted: nurses had to rush into their room (very much in a panic) as her son’s heart rate dropped too low. They had poked and prodded, turned and swiveled Tarrah – letting her know that if they couldn’t see the babies heart rate go back up, they would have to do an emergency c-section. luckily enough, after more than a few scary moments, they were able to get the vitals stabilized and continued on to a vaginal delivery.

After processing this birth Tarrah knew that her body and baby were too sensitive to all the medications…. particularly, the pitocin.

NOTE: A little about pitocin: It’s a synthetic form of oxytocin which our bodies naturally emit during labor and delivery. In hospitals, pitocin may still carry the name “Oxytocin” on the IV bags…but it is NOT. It’s synthetically derived from other mammal’s pituitary glands (not from humans). -Pitocin used inaccurately can have detrimental effects to mother and baby. Including, hyperstimulation to the uterus – causing unnaturally strong contractions, and possibly resulting in uterine rupture. Pitocin will flow past the blood placenta barrier (making it into the baby’s blood stream) – causing alarming/distracting vitals. Pitocin has also been linked to autism, ADD, etc.

Tarrah did her homework early on for her second delivery. She watched: “Business of Being Born,” and “Orgasmic Birth.” She read: “The Birth Partner,” and”The Bradley Method for natural childbirth.” Also, “Relaxation techniques for Labor and Delivery,” and many other empowering birth stories online. She had it set in her mind that there was no better option this time around. We met up several times before delivery. We met her doctor,  and did a private child-birth class with her and her husband, in the comfort of her home.

Once again Tarrah was tested positive with gestational diabetes, but was not insulin dependent. Close to her due date she was examined by her doctor and showed no progression in dilation, no effacing, and baby was still high. Her doctor also decided to go ahead and schedule an induction, just a couple of days after her due date.

Of course we had some tears and frustration at the set of circumstances, but she didn’t allow that to detour her from her path. She drank herbal teas, walked a lot, used her breast pump (helps release natural oxytocin), stayed snuggled to her husband, and even made some labor aide cookies. She was determined to avoid the once harmful medications that were given to her and her unborn baby.

Tarrah had been having various braxton hicks contractions throughout her last trimester. The morning before her scheduled induction, around 6:50 am, Tarrah called me, and was angry at the contractions she was having. She wanted to get more sleep, but didn’t feel like she could do so. We talked on the phone for a while before deciding she would go ahead and walk around her church. (Her church is right next door to her house, and she wanted to utilize its AC.)

I called Tarrah back around 10:57 that morning, and she told me that her contractions were not letting up. They were coming every 8 to 5 minutes apart but were not lasting as long as she would like. Her husband was helping time them using  www.contractionmaster.com. I told her I would start getting dressed, and if she would like, I could come stay the night with her before her induction. She would consider, talk to her husband, and call me back.

She called again around 2:00pm. They would definitely feel more comfortable with me staying the night and that after our last phone conversation her husband Kameron, had already recommended the same thing. They live 2 hours away from me, so I packed my bags, made arrangements for my son, and headed on my way.

I arrived to their house around 5:30 that evening. When I arrived, she was sitting on her birthing ball watching her husband finishing up a video game. I asked where their son Gavin was, and she said he was already at his grandma’s house.  Tarrah had been having pain in her back and was worried that this baby was posterior, like her son. (Posterior presentation is very common in L&D and can cause a prolonged labor, as well as back pain.) She layed down on her couch and I mapped her belly. We tried a diaphragmatic release (abdominal release) to see if this would also help with her back pain.

None of us had dinner and very shortly afterwards we all decided to get a bite to eat. Her husband drove us to a nearby sandwich shop. Tarrah had a couple of contractions while trying to order her food. We told the attendant that she was in early labor, as she said not to worry about it – that her own daughter had been doing the same thing for her last month of her pregnancy too. We all sort of giggled it off as we continued finishing up our orders. Before we left Tarrah used the restroom, and said she didn’t like going because every time she would sit down, it would bring on another contraction.

We made it back to their house and we all ate at their dinning room table. Tarrah wasn’t able to sit in her normal chair, so she pulled the birthing ball up to the table instead. Kameron and Tarrah were showing me their photos from their high school prom. Such a cute couple, and good photos I thought. She would have another contraction in between all of us eating, but continued on with the conversation. After we were all done we went back into the living room.

Tarrah was worried about having her induction the next morning. I warmed up an herbal body wrap and put it on her back – she was on all fours hugging her birthing ball. I told her, “if you keep having contractions the way you are, an induction may not be necessary.” She asked, “Is it going to get worst?” I told her, “it could… but that it wasn’t anything that your body wouldn’t be able to handle.” Later, she went to the bathroom came back and said, “It’s starting to hurt to pee, that it almost feels like the baby is being squeezed against my bladder.” I told her, “that’s a normal thing as the baby’s head starts to drop”, after swaying  her hips a couple of  times she set down on top of her birth ball. She had a couple more contractions sitting there and her husband came behind her and put a dark massager to her back. I put a her rice sock in the freezer. Things were picking up fast, I thought to myself…

I came back into the living room and asked her if she would like to get some sleep. She agreed but wanted to take a shower first then get a nice massage. So that’s exactly what she did. She was handling each contraction with such grace. Her husband showed me where I would be sleeping, and gave me a blanket to lay with. I relaxed down on the couch, closed my eyes, and listened to Tarrah as she was taking her shower. “Ahhh,” I heard. I few minutes later, “Ahhhhhhhhh!” A couple more minutes later, “KAM?…KAMERON!” They stayed in there together for a few more contractions and I gave them their privacy.

Around 9:30pm, she came out of the bathroom drapped in only her towel, and fell over her ball. I asked, “How are you feeling?” She said, “I’m not sure.” I looked over at her husband, we both had our eyebrows raised. I said, “Tarrah, I don’t want us to panic, but I think it’s time to go to the hospital.” She agreed and kameron started getting their car ready. I remember watching how calm Kameron was as I started putting back on my shoes. When he was outside Tarrah said, “I think my water just broke.” I looked under her towel and down at the carpet, where she was on all fours. I said, “No, Tarrah is hasn’t broke but I think your bag of waters is bulging” (Meaning…fixing to break.)

We got in our cars, I followed Kameron. They are from a smaller town and their hospital was 15 minutes away. Kameron was carefully driving the speed limit.  In my car, I started searching for a christian radio station and an old school bible hymn was on. I really wanted to be in the car with Tarrah. I started closely inspecting how Kameron was driving and every couple of minutes he would slightly veer off and speed up… I knew when this was happening… Tarrah was having a contraction.

We got to the hospital around 10:25pm. I parked and went to Tarrah’s side of the car. As soon as I opened her door she said, “Rebecca, I’m getting the epidural…I decided in the car.” I said Tarrah, “We need the nurses to assess you first… you maybe further along than what you are thinking.” She fell asleep after a contraction. I asked kameron to go get a wheel chair and he was back before the next contraction. After that contraction was over I told her, “Tarrah, you are going to have to help me.” After a contraction was over, she forced herself out of the car and into the chair. We took her into the hospital. We were greeted by Tarrah’s favorite nurse, Deven. Deven said, “Well good… I had your room ready for tomorrow morning anyways.”

We get Tarrah into her room. Deven put on the hospital gown, and I helped Tarrah into the bed. She had another contraction….”I can’t do it, I need something for pain.” I reminded her that it was a good sign, and that the baby was probably really close. Very shortly afterwards the nurse checked her and said, “Well no wonder you are in so much pain….you are 9 centimeters and the bag of waters is bulging!” We all had a huge sigh of relief. “Praise God! You are SO close,” I said. Deven started rushing around, gathered other nurses, and called the doctor.

I heard Kameron calling family members and he ran back down to the car to grab his camera. He came back shortly and the nurse checked her again and said, “You have a little cervical lip.” Both Kameron and Tarrah asked me what that meant, as I answered their question, the doctor came in the room… completely garbed and ready to go. She had a few more contractions.

The room was very busy as I reminded Tarrah, “don’t focus on the busyness of the room, instead try listening to your body.” When I said that, her entire body went limp, as if she was excepting it. She started to feel the urge to push. The doctor assisted in breaking the water and very shortly the baby started to crown. Everyone was ready to see her baby now. Including her mom, who came in just a few short minutes before her grand-daughter was born. Tarrah and Kameron’s daughter was 8bs, 1oz and born 30 minutes after their arrival to the hospital.

The doctor put the baby on her chest as Kameron cut the cord. Everyone started getting teary eyed as Tarrah exclaimed, “I did it, I did it! This feels like a dream!” She was smiling from ear to ear because she finally received the birth she deserved. Untouched, unmedicated, completely all her own.

God answered our prayers in so many ways. Tarrah did not have to be induced because she was knowledgable and believed in her body’s process. She made labor and delivery seem so effortless. I’m so incredibly proud of her and her husband’s determination.

Little white house.

My great-grandmother is still alive at 94 years old. She may not be able to remember where she left her shoes, what exactly she ate for lunch, but she can still proudly recount in detail the birth of her children.

My MiMi (or my great-grandmother’s middle daughter, my mother’s mom) was born down a long dirt road in Caddo Mills, Texas. I lived close to this little white house as a child, and always remember passing by it as we would run to the local grocery store. I knew at a young age that birth was normal and would just happen…unfurled… even under the most humbling of circumstances.

My mother gave birth to me at Plano Medical Center, and there she had a doula… who was also my great-aunt (or my great-grandmother’s youngest daughter.) My great-aunt later became a Certified Professional Midwife and was not only there to witness my first breathe,  but my son’s too.

Whether we like to admit it or not, the stories we tell our children will either convey birth as a normal happenstance, or a continued part in the advancement of disrupting technology. Yes, technology has it’s place when genuinely needed but more often than not, normal birth is interfered with. (…for a matter of convience, more money from insurance companies, or routines done for liability issues, etc.) – And then you have to deal the cascading effect of interventions that could ultimately lead to, what was once, an unneeding c-section.

IT IS a rite of passage when a young woman becomes a mother. It’s also our childrens foundational imprint into the world that will be ingrained in them, and pass down to the next generation of birthing mothers.

I’m now a city girl at heart, but those childhood memories from small town USA later impacted the way I would deliver my son, at home, in one the most populated cities in the USA. I knew that if my child’s great-great-grandmother birthed peacefully and uninterrupted at home… I could too.

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