The footling breech homebirth of Nylah

 

LS6A1954WMSkye was just a few weeks from her due date when her beloved father died. She planned to say her goodbyes and work through her overwhelming grief, before tackling the next challenge that lay before her of bringing her baby into the world. But on the day of her Dad’s funeral as she walked into the service, she felt her waters break.

Determined to give her Dad the farewell he deserved, Skye wasn’t going to leave before saying goodbye. Someone passed her a disposable nappy which she sat on throughout the lengthy service, with amniotic fluid gushing with every surge. She gave her heartfelt eulogy from her seat, explaining to the congregation why she couldn’t stand up. And at the conclusion of the service as her family and friends gathered to support one another, Skye, her husband Matt, youngest daughter Tahlei and best friend Kat quickly headed for home. It was at this moment when I first spoke to Skye. I could hear the urgency in her voice as she explained that things were moving along quickly and she wasn’t overly confident about making the 30 minute drive home. A contraction hit while we were speaking and I could hear the heaviness in her breathing, and by the time the contraction passed I was walking out my front door.

When Skye and her family arrived at home, the first midwife Dan, was already in the driveway unpacking his car. I arrived very soon after, followed by the second midwife Maria. We were all moving quickly, there was no time for chats and introductions as all the equipment was carried in and the birth pool filled. Skye was beautifully managing the surges that were rhythmically rolling in.

When the pool was barely half full, Skye asked if she could get in. Dan agreed but suggested that Matt should hop in also to help raise the water level. She knew her baby was just minutes away but it was on the next contraction when things suddenly became interesting. Skye reached down expecting to feel her baby’s head emerging but instead she felt two tiny feet. Dan began talking Skye through this unexpected breech delivery of her baby and Skye became very quiet and calm. It felt as if the whole world stopped in that moment. Dan assured Skye that she would be able to deliver her baby and all would be well but Skye didn’t need convincing. She just confidently replied “I know Dan, I’ll push her out”.

Within 40 minutes of Skye arriving home that day, her baby was in her arms. Nylah arrived quietly and gently, with nobody handling her until she was completely free. She lay against her mother’s breast, gazing at the world around her and her adoring family. They knew why she had chosen that day to join them, she was their sunshine on an otherwise rainy day. Skye’s mother and older daughter Caelan arrived soon after and the emotion of the day was palpable.

Sometimes mothers tell me they are scared of the uncertainty of birth. Unsure if they will be able to manage the intensity of it. I try with all my might to convince them of the strength within them, a superhuman strength they have not yet encountered in their life. To see a woman on the most difficult day of her life, draw on this strength left me speechless.

It was greatness. X

 

 

The birth of Zoe -a natural breech birth!

Mel’s pregnancy was relatively uneventful. Her baby was growing beautifully and Mel was fit and well. It wasn’t until the final weeks that things started to get interesting, when it was discovered that Mel’s baby wasn’t head down all ready for birth, but instead was sitting in a frank breech position (presenting bottom first). Mel was a first time mum so this situation wasn’t ideal, but as a midwife herself, she had enough knowledge to know that she could birth this baby naturally, but she would need to get her head in the game.

She attended the Breech Clinic at John Hunter Hospital where they went over everything and decided that she fitted the criteria to attempt a natural breech delivery. There was a chance this plan wouldn’t eventuate as any number of factors could have arisen, but with the unwavering support of her wonderful husband Ben, she decided to at least try for the natural birth she had envisaged all throughout her pregnancy.

As the weeks and days passed, we nervously waited for this baby to arrive. For Mel to achieve a natural birth she could not be induced and needed labour to begin spontaneously, but she remained calm and trusting of her body and baby as she passed the 41 week mark. Finally baby Zoe decided on the 10th of April, that it was the perfect day to meet her parents.

Mel spent most of her labour quietly contracting under the shower, with Ben tirelessly supporting and encouraging her, and her second support person Denise (also a midwife) ensuring she didn’t doubt her ability to birth her baby for a second. When she hit 2nd stage and baby Zoe was deep down and ready to be born, Mel moved to the bed where she could kneel and safely birth her baby without anyone needing to intervene.

It was only around 30 mins until beautiful baby Zoe arrived in a completely calm and controlled birth, with Mel gently breathing her out and no one touching the baby during delivery (which is the recommended approach for a successful vaginal breech birth).

I can’t adequately express how impressed and in awe I was at Mel’s courage and determination, nor can I thank her and Ben enough for generously sharing these rare and precious images, in the hope that they might inspire a healthier way of thinking around natural breech birth.

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