I had a very good pregnancy, apart from being off food, I loved it. I swam most days, did regular antenatal yoga, received Shiatsu on a regular basis (I am a shiatsu therapist) and planned for a home birth. When I went for my 33 weeks scan, my baby was still head up, by 36 weeks I went to check again and I was told that she was still breech. Hmm that didn’t sound good for my home birth plan, especially when the woman in charge of the scan talked at me about c-section, the risk of natural birth, suffocation and that I needed to do an ECV, where they try and turn the baby manually. I didn’t have time to say anything or ask anything, I was sent out with an appointment for the ECV. I came out very upset!
Sudddenly I felt that the race against time had started. I didn’t want to have an ECV and I was going to do everything to try and turn my baby. I had received acupuncture whole through my pregnancy and my acupuncturist saw me every other days even Sunday, I went to a chiropractor, received more Shiatsu, did inverted positions, headstand in the swimming pool – yes the lifeguard did give me funny looks! Spend lots of money… but no budging…. Monday came, I was 37 weeks and 5 days and I went for that ECV. I was calm as I felt I did all I could. I put together my hospital bags, just in case things didn’t go to plan. Well, the doctor was nice, I breathed, she tried to turn but baby didn’t turn!!!! They , then, wanted to sign me in for a c-section. My husband was my great advocate and told them that I didn’t want a c-section until I had a full assessment. It was agreed that I would meet the obstetrician on the Wednesday to discuss my case. I wanted a proper risk assessment that took into account the baby and I.
The next day, I felt a little emotional and bruised and continued with my exercices to get my baby to turn. In the evening, I went swimming, more headstands. Then I remember , it was 9pm and I was lying down talking to my baby, telling her that she could come whenever she felt like it, that I was aware that which ever way she was, she would need to come out, that her crib was in storage but it was ok, we could get it…When I got up, I felt water trickling out and the next thing I knew was that my water had broken and I was running around the house on the phone to my husband panicking and finishing my hospital bag.
After calling my midwife, we headed to the labour ward, my contractions only started a couple of hours after my water broke. Because of the breech presentation, we had to discuss the situation with the consultant who told us about the danger of a vaginal birth. We were told that we could have a C-section in the next hour. That prospect horrified us, we wanted our baby to know when she was coming to the world. I was scanned to check her position and to make sure it was her bottom presenting and not her feet because in the case of feet, you have no choice but a C-section as it would be very dangerous. The consultant left the room and Rory and I didn’t have to discuss it, we both knew that I would push her out. It was a difficult decision because we had been scared but we felt strongly about it. I trusted my body, I knew I could do it and I felt on good form. There was no room free, so we were told to walk around the deserted corridors of the hospital. On our way to the cafeteria, I had to stop at each contraction and start humming as I was taught in my yoga class. My husband stood by me, un-phased by it all!
The labour progressed quickly, and soon I was on all four on a bed. it started at 11pm and by 6.19 am our beautiful daughter Luna Clementine took her first breath. My 2 midwives from the home birth team were amazing, they were like two angels. My husband encouraged me all along and let me crush his arm, the obstetrician was very discreet and stayed in the background all along.
I had an immense control over my body, which stopped me pushing her out too soon. I was doing downward dog on the bed during intense contraction to be able to not push her out. My midwife was pretty impressed by that one! Off course I did go hysterical at times because I was so scared to push her out too early and that her head would get stuck. I used gas and air which helped me to concentrate. I pushed her body out nicely but her head was stuck. The senior obstetrician was called in and used the forceps for the head. It was pretty traumatic for my husband to witness the breech birth of our daughter, watching her body unfold while her head was still inside and the use of forceps. I was eyes closed concentrating on getting her out and breathing. They gave her a little help and she was soon in my arms. I am very proud of my little Luna and my husband who stood by my decision. My midwives were amazing and helped me take the right decision for Luna and I.
Vanessa is a Shiatsu Therapist and she practices in South London Camberwell, her website is www.healthandwellbeing.org.uk .