Tess Anthony shares Remis's Breech VBAC birth story. Expecting her forth baby Tess discovers that her baby is again breech. Mia, Tess's third baby, was also breech. Mia's birth ended as a caesarean even though Tess wanted a vaginal birth. This time around Tess is determined to have a vaginal birth. Enjoy Tess's story about her successful breech VBAC.
Only 10 months after giving birth to my 3rd child, I discovered I was pregnant again, with baby #4.
Mila (baby #3) was delivered by caesarean section (in Canberra) as she was breech. A c/s was something I never wanted, yet the Drs insisted I have one due to her breech position. I was happy to go ahead with a breech vaginal birth, but the Drs were not confident and since they no longer practice breech deliveries I ended up with a scheduled c/s. She was delivered at 39wk 4d, happy, healthy and oh so perfect. Everything went really well thankfully. I still regret not trying harder to get a vaginal birth, as I knew I could have done it. I decided I would most definitely be having a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) for baby #4. We moved to Cowra (in Central West NSW) when she was 8 months old, to be closer to family and a change of job for my husband Lachlan.
My 4th pregnancy was very smooth sailing. I never had any morning sickness, or any problems at all (well not pregnancy related anyway). I was also still breastfeeding Mila, and was hoping that she would continue right through my pregnancy and I’d get to tandem nurse. At 24wks we found out we were expecting our 3rd girl, I was thrilled at the thought of having 3 daughters.
At 24wk 5d I was feeling really unwell and had some mild abdominal pain. I headed to the hospital to be checked out in the morning, but was told I must just have food poisoning of some sort (which I agreed). But I never felt any better, and by night I decided I would head to the hospital again, but this time the emergency department. After some assessing, an on call OB saw me and suggested I head over to Orange. After a few hours waiting at the emergency department, I was seen to and diagnosed with appendicitis; I was to have surgery later that morning. Faced with the possibility of preterm labour, I insisted they give me steroids for baby’s lungs, and if things went sour, to do all they could to save her. Thankfully the surgery went fine with no problems, and I recovered well. Baby stayed happily snug inside and showed no ill effects. Those few days were rather scary!
I continued on with no problems through the rest of my pregnancy, watching my bump grow and getting excited about meeting our new baby.
At 37 weeks I went for a scan to check positioning of baby. Despite her being cephalic (head down) a few days earlier at my antenatal appointment, surprisingly she had flipped to breech. I couldn’t believe it! But figured since she had been head down just a few days ago, surely she would turn back around, there was still time. In the meantime I tried a few baby flipping exercises, but not holding onto much hope of them working as they never did with Mila.
Thankfully, when I found out I was pregnant, I started reading as much information and birth stories on breech as I could. I knew that if I had another breech baby I would push harder for a breech vaginal birth. I never expected it would come in handy.
I saw an OB a few days later, and I informed him that in no way will I consent to a c/s. I insisted I will be having a vaginal birth with this baby, as a c/s was completely unnecessary. He was supportive, agreed that we wait till I go into labour before making any decisions (I was surprised by his reaction, as I was more than ready for a fight). Though he did feel I would end up with a c/s and baby wouldn’t turn. This same OB when I first saw him a few months earlier, had asked why I had a c/s with #3. He was surprised that I wasn’t given a trial of labour with her since I’d had 2 previous successful VB (Vaginal Births), and my babies were only small. But since this would be a VBAC, he was slightly cautious.
Bub continued to be breech at the next few appointments, and as much as I had hoped she would turn, I gave into the fact she wasn’t going to turn head down.
Thurs 26th July & 39wks… I saw another OB (I rotated between 2 OBs, so when I did give birth, I was familiar with whomever would be on call that day), and she performed an internal to see where I was at (She also did this as she couldn’t clearly tell if baby was still breech or not, which she was, and an internal helped her to tell). I was found to be at 2cm, soft and very favourable. She told me that I’d most likely have baby within the week. She knew my thoughts on having a c/s, and that I would be refusing one. As much as they didn’t want to deliver a breech baby vaginally, they also couldn’t refuse care. As bad as I felt putting both her and the other OB in that position, it wasn’t fair that I would be put in the position of not birthing the way I wanted, since it was my body & baby etc.
I had been losing my plug over the last week or so, just little bits. Then on Saturday 28th (at 39+6) morning I found the rest of it had come away, though I knew this didn’t tell me much, as labour could still be a week or more away. I’d also been experiencing painful Braxton hicks contractions over the last week, not too painful, but noticeable. These happened mainly when I was breastfeeding Mila. Though on this day I noticed they were around a bit more, and hurt a little more, not regular though – had some for an hour, then none again for a few hours. I really didn’t think anything of it, especially since they had been bothering me for weeks.
I headed to bed at 12:30am that night (my husband Lach had been unwell, so I decided to let him have a few hours of sleep without me disturbing him), I got nice and cosy and then had a cough. Well as soon as I coughed my waters broke/burst. Totally didn’t expect that! I spent the next 20mins trying to get hold of the maternity suite, when I finally did, the Midwife (Susan) informed me that as it was the weekend and baby was still breech, we would have to drive to Orange Base Hospital. As they had no theatre staff on call, and they wanted that back up should something go wrong. Now Orange was over an hour drive away, and we weren’t too happy about driving all that way, but figured we had no choice. I called my parents as soon as I hung up the phone.
After I got off the phone (just before 1am), I started getting painful contractions. They were coming every 5mins, and lasting just over a minute. This gave me some hope that I may get a VB, as I had never gone into spontaneous labour with my other kids.
My Mum arrived at our place around 1:20am, and saw that I was having contractions. She soon suggested we get an ambulance to take us to Orange, as not only was Lach so tired and unwell, but my previous VB were fast, and we didn’t want to risk birthing on the way. So she called up for an ambo to take us. I was labouring on all fours on my bed at this point, to cope with the pain. I was also worried about a cord prolapse as I wasn’t sure if baby had engaged her bum yet or not. I really wanted to get up and jump in the shower, but didn’t want to risk being up right and possibly having a cord slip out.
The Ambos arrived around 1:40am, and after a check over, he informed me that we would have to go to the local hospital first before making our way to Orange. I felt bad as I had been told to go straight to Orange, but the Ambos said it was protocol. The quick 4min ride to the hospital was fun, lol. I had another 2 contractions on the way, and wasn’t looking forward to labouring like this if we had to go to Orange. I had a canula inserted while in the ambulance in case I needed fluids etc.
At 2am, making our way along the corridors to the maternity suite I had another contraction (I was on my back, ouch!), and we were met by my midwife, Susan. I had to wait for the on call OB to arrive to do a check to see how far I was progressing. When she got there, I had an internal and amazingly I was already 8cm dilated! I couldn’t believe I was that far already, so quickly. This was what I wanted since finding out bub was breech, as the OBs had both said if I arrived at hospital at 7/8cm they would be happy to go for a breech VB. After my internal, my OB said I wasn’t going anywhere (YAY!).
Both my OB & Susan explained how we were going to approach this birth. I had previously discussed with my OB how she would do it, so had a fair idea with how it’d go. I was told once I was fully dilated & ready to push, I’d have to come back onto the bed, on my back with my bum right at the end of the bed. They would be taking the ‘hands off approach’, where I would be left to birth baby without anyone touching her. This was so bub wouldn’t flex her head while still inside me, which would possibly cause her to get stuck. Though Susan said she would have a hard time resisting to not touch baby, as she was so used to being hands on when catching (cephalic) babies.
It was almost 2:30am when I found out I was staying, and I made my way into the shower to labour (boy was it great to be up off my back!). I was in there for about 10 minutes when I decided the water wasn’t hot enough for me (I had it up as far as it would go, with just hot water), so I asked for the gas. Oh that blissful gas, it’s awesome! I only had gas in my 2 previous VB, and found it really helped to ‘focus’ in a way.
2:45am and I was starting to feel pushy and let Susan know. This meant I had to get out of the shower and back onto the bed. I didn’t really want to, and was ready to crawl there, but Lach & Susan managed to encourage me to get up and make my way to the bed. I hopped up onto the bed on all fours (leaning over the head of the bed) and my OB checked me over again. I was almost fully dilated, with a little bit of cervix in the way. I stayed where I was and continued to suck on the glorious gas, fighting the urge to push. I looked up at the clock at this point and saw it was 2:50am.
Finally at around 3am I was 10cm, & ready to push. I flipped over onto my back (half sitting up), got into position, and started to push.
After a few minutes of pushing I could feel bub descending. Out came her bum (and she did a big poo & wee right before her bum emerged), then her feet flipped out from under her (she was complete breech with legs folded). Next I felt her head turn and come out, and she was passed up onto me. My baby girl was born at 3:13am (just over an hour after arriving at the hospital). Susan went to clamp her cord, but I reminded her that I had requested delayed cord clamping as I felt (and knew) it was very beneficial for baby to receive all/as much blood from the placenta as possible. Though a minute or so later the OB asked us to clamp and cut it as bub wasn’t quite responding as well as she’d liked. She was fine though, and I knew this as I could see she was alert and trying to cry, just a little shocked. Lach cut the cord and bub was taken over to the warming try to have a bit of air blown into her, then she was handed back to me where she latched on and began her breastfeeding journey.
I indulged in my new baby girl as I delivered the placenta and I was checked over & given a few stitches. Bub was weighed & measured – 3110gm (6lb 13oz) & 48cm. After I showered, all 3 of us headed to a room to get a bit of sleep. Susan let Lach stay with me since it was so quiet on the ward (bonus of a small hospital), and he took up the bed next to me. I dozed in and out for the next few hours, had some brekky then waited for my OB to get back so we could be discharged. At 11:30am we were finally ready to go, and headed home to introduce our new daughter to her siblings.
Throughout my whole pregnancy we searched high & low for names. It was SO hard! Well if she had of been a boy it may have been easier, but naming our 3rd daughter was very tricky. Finally when she was 10 days old we agreed to name her Remi Violet, and it suits her so well.
I find myself in awe of my birth. I can’t believe I did it! Well I knew I could do it, but I figured I’d end up with a c/s one way or another, I just didn’t think things would go the way I wanted. I now know that if we go back for another baby, and he/she is breech too, I will push again for another breech vaginal birth without question. I won’t let anyone convince me otherwise.
I’m also thrilled to say Mia continued to breastfeed my entire pregnancy, and is now happily tandem nursing with her baby sister. I’m loving it! It really helped in the first few days of my milk coming in, as I managed to avoid engorgement, plus I seem to have a large supply of milk to keep up with both girls. I’m hoping to get to 2yrs with Mila, and then allow her to self wean at her leisure, Remi too.
I’ve since seen my OB again, and she thanked me for giving her the opportunity to attend a breech birth, she told me she was stoked she got to be there (she said my MW was pretty chuffed too).
*I’ve watched my birth video a few times, and it amazes me everytime. I remember my Midwife Susan mentioning that it’d be hard for her to keep hands off, and sure enough, in the video you see her getting her hands swatted away by my OB, she really couldn’t help it, lol. Thankfully she didn’t cause Remi to flex her head, and all was well.
Published 2nd January 2013
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Beautiful story thanks for sharing. I have had 5 kids n am preggers with my 6th. I loved the gas. It helped with the pain sooo much. U did so well with your birth. Congrats. Really enjoyed your story. Cheers.