A surprise breech birth


I wanted to share my lovely experience with you from a birth I attended. G3, P1. Her first pregnancy was a miscarriage and one year later gave birth at home (in a different state with a CNM). Her first labor began at 41.3 weeks, was 3 days long, she pushed for 3 and a half hours with a vertex 7 lb 4 oz baby, hemorrhaged with a hospital transport. Her breastfeeding experience was interrupted and didn't last very long. 

Fast forward 4 years, she moved to my state last fall and began care with me at approximately 23 weeks. She was very diligent about her health, supplements and chiropractic care. There was a lot of emotional stress as her husband traveled back and forth from here to another state for work until her last few weeks of pregnancy, along with some other outside stressors. 

Around her 39th week I suspected that the baby was breech and I made an instinctual decision not to tell her due to the amount of stress she was under. Baby had been vertex. I saw her the day before labor began and I knew in my heart that this child was breech. 

Labor began spontaneously when she was 41.6 weeks (based on LMP, though she suspected conception was so that it made her EDD a little later). Random, mild contractions in the early morning along with some bloody show. Active labor began around 9:30 a.m., spontaneously, declined vaginal exams (fine by me), sporadic pushing with every other contraction around 3:12 pm, pushing with every contraction began at 3:48 when rupture of membranes occurred with clear fluid. 

She instinctually got on her knees by the bed to push. When I looked to see if she was opening with pushing, I noticed that it did not really look like a head. She moved the baby well, and around 3:58 could definitely see toes. She moved to hands and knees at 4:00. I let my apprentice know that the baby was breech at that time and then I told the mother that I needed to tell her something and that I didn't want her to worry because her baby was almost born. I then told her that he was breech and his foot was about to be born first. She said ok, composed herself and pushed. 

Surprise breech: 4 months old
Surprise breech: 4 months old

Out popped a leg--which she told us she could see, and it invigorated her. Then the other foot as he rumped. From birth of the first set of toes to head was 3 minutes. He was born at 4:06 pm. For this baby, I merely applied a little counter pressure to mom's perineum when she began to have a little tear, then I caught her son. I asked for her forgiveness that I didn't shared my prenatal suspicions--both she and her husband were very appreciative that I had kept it to myself. 

Thank you for the work that you're doing. It's truly a meaningful art.

This story is shared by a midwife who took a Breech Without Borders workshop previous to attending a surprise breech birth.