Breech freebirth in Germany
My birth story: Unassisted breech birth at 19 days past due date
After one hospital birth and one unassisted birth, this time we plan for a midwife-assisted homebirth. Unfortunately, this baby is breech and in Germany midwives are not allowed to assist breech births. As I don't want to give birth in a hospital (especially after they tell me that they cannot guarantee to try a natural birth since I am already past my due date and I refuse an induction), we are heading for an unassisted home birth again.
One day after the hospital check-up (due date plus 18), I have contractions every 5 minutes at regular pain levels in the evening. These stay regular in the bathtub and so we tell the midwife that we may wake her up at night (not for the birth, as she is not allowed because of the breech position and missed due date + 14, but for the U1 (postpartum checkup). After that, I would like to go to bed so that I can at least recharge my batteries a little bit. I fall asleep. And wake up at 6am-without contractions and without a baby-and am (again) a bit disappointed and annoyed.
Like every day in this "waiting time," I call my mom on the phone after breakfast and report. After that, I actually want to take the dog for a walk, but while I'm getting ready, the contractions come back and get stronger. It's about half past ten. So I send my husband to walk the dog. Before that, I ask him to bring me the birth ball, on which I do a few exercises, knead Play-doh with the children, and watch TV. At some point the children want to go to the gym room and I like to go with them because I can try out a few more positions and exercises there. The contractions come regularly and get more intense. I try my hand at wave breathing and count to 6 as I inhale and exhale, mostly kneeling on all fours.
At 12 o'clock my husband makes pizza and I have no appetite. Instead, I want to take the opportunity to take a dip in the bathtub by myself. I pour in the water, add a bag of dead sea salt, turn on the heater, put a large towel on the floor, and light a candle. I had the presence of mind to also get some fresh clothes. I get into the bathtub, but the contractions are very uncomfortable when I am lying down. So again I adopt a hands-and-knees or knee-elbow stance, while I concentrate on the knobs of the anti-slip mat. I find the wave breathing annoying now.
Again and again I think about when the amniotic sac will burst. Maybe in the bathtub? My husband comes into the bathroom and brings me a glass of soda. He touches my back tenderly. I say that I don't want to be touched and I send him out. I think that's a shame; after the film "Orgasmic Birth" I was able to imagine so well that he would be there this time and give me a massage, for example. But now I really want to be all alone again and not be touched and not speak. I hear how he begins to organize away the children, who both go to the neighbors.
I go through a few more contractions in the tub, then I climb out and dry off. Since my body lotion is empty, I put massage oil on myself, which will annoy me later. I put on a camisole--more is probably no longer worth it--keep looking in the mirror and telling myself the affirmations that I have hung up there: "I leave the birth to my body and take care of relaxation" and "I am strong." I smile at myself and keep telling myself "I can do it!"
So some time passes again, I'm in on hands & knees and on the toilet and at the sink and wash my hands (stupid massage oil!). My husband comes in again and asks me two things, to which I can only answer with a generous nod and a shake of my head. I think one question was whether he should order the midwife for later-the regular check-up is at 3pm. I tell him no-it is around 2pm and the contractions are coming about every minute.
Suddenly the idea occurs to me that it would be great to have my husband's pillow. Such a big fluffy pillow to lay my head in-I usually don't like that one at all. I prefer my little hard neck pillow, but now I long for it. So I go into the bedroom and let myself fall on his mattress. My head sinks into the pillow and I-doze off! I don't know how long I lie there, but a few minutes for sure. I am not in labor and even dreaming some confused (not birth-related) stuff.
After a while I feel a contraction rolling in again and it is unbearable at all while lying down. So I go back the hand and knees position in bed and look out the window into the garden. Immediately afterwards I go back to the bathroom. It's warm and humid here, so I open the window, breathe in two contractions, and watch the burning candle. I close the window and go back to hands and knees. From a child's chair and a large towel, I build a bench on which I can rest my forearms. I press my head against the back of the chair during labor, which feels very good. My husband looks after me, brings paper towels, and puts a disposable pad on my floor towel. I tell him to wait in the playroom and leave the bathroom door open.
Shortly afterwards I feel an urge to push. Is that the baby coming? I notice how something comes out through my vagina and splash!-the amniotic sac lands like a large water bomb on the pad. The amniotic fluid is dark and I fold everything up in the pad. Next, I see meconium run between my legs. I clean it away with the paper towel and get a new pad.
Now some contractions go by, in which the baby and I empty our bowels. I'm sweating and shivering. Then two contractions where I feel the baby enter the birth canal and slide back up. But that doesn't worry me at all. I let my pelvis rotate, whereupon a little amniotic fluid comes out.
With the next contraction, I push harder and the baby's bottom is pushed outside. I take a moment to make sure, but then immediately remember the guide words "hands off the breech." Instead, I call my husband into the bathroom and ask what came out. "The bottom and a foot. And the other leg is coming too, it looks exactly like in the video! ... Legs seem to go on forever."
I tell him to take pictures. Now I can talk again and it's great to experience the birth together. The next contraction brings the second foot outside and the baby begins to kick both legs. She also moves her arms, which feels pretty uncomfortable in the vagina. Nevertheless, I am happy about these blatantly clear vital signs. I wait patiently for the next contraction. My husband comments, "She's coming, she's coming. She has her arms up but she's now fumbling them down." Again we wait.
When both arms are out, I grab her body and pull her slightly towards me. Her head is born without further contractions and at the same time-the placenta! "Okay. Okay..."
I sit down and lean my back against the wall, baby in my arms. "Did the placenta just slip out with you? Awesome! But well, that's already done."
"Yes! ... Is she breathing?"
"I think we have to rub her and suck her nose."
No sooner said than done and only after a while does the baby begin to breathe slowly. My husband is making a video and asks me how I feel now after giving birth. "I'm so glad I don't have to do this again!" The baby came like a shot from a pistol. We note the time of birth: 2:54 p.m.
10 minutes later the midwife arrives. We cut the umbilical cord, which is super short, only 25cm. This is probably the reason why she couldn't turn (placenta was in the fundus). The midwife does the postpartum checkup (the baby actually weighs over 4kg and has a head circumference of 40cm) and looks after me (I only have minimal birth injuries).
Then I take a shower and go to bed with baby. We take photos and spread the good news. The midwife makes me a placenta smoothie and we look at the photos of the pushing stage together. She is absolutely thrilled, but notices that you can see in the photos that the umbilical cord is under a strong tension. The baby's navel and belly were pulled and folded upwards as a result. That is probably the reason why the placenta was born at the same time as the baby. The midwife admits that in this situation she probably would not have been able to stay calm-after all, at the sight of it, risks run through her head, such as premature placenta detachment and undersupply of the baby or the baby getting stuck.
In the next few days, we keep talking about the birth. I am mainly concerned with the fact that despite so many "complications" (breech position, baby over 4kg, head circumference 40cm, due date plus 19, green amniotic fluid, failure to progress in labor, umbilical cord only 25cm short), we experienced a completely uncomplicated and beautiful birth. I am shocked that I would almost certainly not have been able to give birth to this baby naturally in the hospital and therefore an unassisted birth was the only option for us. Again and again, I look at my perfect and healthy baby and I am relieved and grateful that we were so lucky.