eXternal Version and Beautiful Birth Story

April 28, 2011 in Birth, Pregnancy

I was so happy when I reader offered to share her story of her external version for my X day.  I had not thought of a good topic for today.  So here is Sarah’s story of how her home birth was almost derailed by a breech baby, but how an external version helped her baby turn head down.  She went on to have a wonderful home birth. Thanks Sarah for sharing!

I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on January 25, 2011 at home. We named her Nellie Joy. Her birth was intense, exhilarating and beautiful…but it almost didn’t happen the way we planned.


This is Nellie’s story.

My first baby was born in the hospital. It was a typical hospital birth. We had taken Bradley classes and hoped for a natural birth but I was forced into an induction 41 weeks, 4 days. I was given cervidil, then pitocin, had my membranes ruptured, got an epidural, and pushed out a healthy baby boy. Many would call my son’s birth “normal” but I found it to be traumatic in that none of the decisions that were made about my care (or his for that matter) were left up to me. I felt powerless, out of control, and hopeless for most of my hospital stay. I spent many weeks in therapy to help me process the experience which was very healing.

So when I became pregnant the second time, I knew that I wanted something different, and my husband and I decided to have a home birth. We found a very competent Certified Professional Midwife, began prenatal care, and everything went along just fine without any complications. I began the Hypnobabies home study course and felt completely prepared for a natural birth. Then one night at 37 weeks, just before Christmas, while lying on my left side in bed, I felt the baby moving a lot and felt a lot of pressure on my left hip bone. I didn’t think anything of it until 2 days later at my prenatal appt. when our midwife, Liz, was palpating my belly and asked “Has this baby had any big movements lately?” She was having trouble determining the baby’s position with just her hands so we agreed to do an ultrasound. The ultrasound confirmed my worst fear…our baby had turned breech in my ninth month of pregnancy, after being head down all along.

With only 2 weeks until my due date, I immediately began doing everything I could to turn the baby. I did breech tilt and inversion exercises twice a day, listened to the Hypnobabies “Turn your breech baby” track, visited the Chiropractor every other day, and prayed, prayed, prayed.


But after a week went by with no success, we met with our midwife and discussed our options. Proceed with a home birth of a vaginal breech baby? Our midwife was willing to do it, but my husband and I weren’t sure we wanted to risk it. Our baby was complete breech with her feet down and my son had been born with a large head, in the 97th percentile, so that concerned us. And we live in a state where CPMs are technically illegal, so we didn’t want to risk a breech birth and have our midwife be prosecuted for it. Schedule a cesarean? It seemed so drastic after planning a home birth…not to mention it brought with it so many risks.

I decided I wanted to try an external version. Thankfully, we found a doctor who was willing to do one for us. He practiced in another state and our midwife had transferred patients to his practice before so we trusted his judgment. We decided that if the version was unsuccessful that we would go ahead and proceed with a cesarean section that day. I felt that if our birth had to be by cesarean, I didn’t want it to be an emergency, and I wanted this doctor, whom I trusted, to perform it, so I felt it was best for me not to wait until I went into labor.

On January 6th we checked into the hospital. The night before my husband read me the Change of Plans script. It helped me to cope with all of the emotions I was feeling. I needed my Bubble of Peace as soon as we got to the hospital. There was a problem with my paperwork and everybody kept saying I was a “scheduled Cesarean.” I had to keep telling them that we were there for an external version- I didn’t want to keep hearing them say “cesarean.” A nurse came in and put me on the monitor and told me that when she was pregnant her babies were breech, and she had tried versions but they were unsuccessful. Again, Bubble of Peace. I didn’t need to hear her negativity!

Next came an IV. It would have been a nightmare had it not been for my Peace cue. It took 5 attempts to get my IV started. I was so dehydrated from not having anything to eat or drink (I had to prepare as if I might have a cesarean) and the nurse had trouble finding my veins. I just kept saying to myself “peace, peace, peace” and I got through it. The nurse remarked on how impressive my composure was.

The doctor arrived and performed an ultrasound. Our baby was indeed still breech, in the complete breech position with knees bent and feet at the bottom. The baby was mostly on my left side with a lot of open space on the right, so the doctor said he would try to get the baby to do a forward roll into the extra fluid on my right side.  I was given a shot of turbutaline to relax my uterus since I was having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions, probably from dehydration. My husband and I said a quiet prayer together, that my baby and I would be safe no matter what the outcome.

When it came time for the version, my husband and doula stood at my side. I used my finger drop and immediately went OFF, completely loose and limp. The doctor squirted a lot of jelly on my belly and began firmly, but gently, moving our baby with his hands. Within a minute the baby was transverse. He checked the baby’s heart tones and continued. Another minute and a half later our baby was head down. The entire process had taken less than 5 minutes. I could hardly believe it- it happened so easily! I opened my eyes and the first person I saw was our nurse Amy. She winked at me. I smiled back at her with relief.

The doctor stayed and chatted with us for awhile after the version. We decided to keep the baby on the monitor for 4 hours, just to make sure the version hadn’t caused any stress, and then we could go back home. He said that my relaxation during the version was crucial to its success. The doctor said that my “abdominal muscles felt like butter” and “wherever you were, Hawaii, Cancun, wherever, I’d like to be there too!” I was able to be that relaxed because of my Hypnobabies training.

We went back home and waited for labor to begin. Nineteen long days later, at 42 weeks, 2 days, the Braxton Hicks contractions I’d been feeling for months finally turned into labor. It began around 6 in the morning. I took a shower, ate breakfast, and called my sister to come pick up our son. I listened to my favorite CD and walked around the house-it was much too cold to walk outside. When a pressure wave would come, I stopped and leaned on my husband for support. He would whisper relaxation cues into my ear and sway me gently from side to side. It was very romantic. We ate lunch and watched a funny TV show. Around 1 I decided to go try to rest. I put on my Deepening CD and feel asleep for at least 20 straight minutes without a wave, it felt so nice.

When I woke up from my nap we were ready for our doula to come. We stayed upstairs in the bedroom with the lights low. I sat on my birth ball and leaned into a stack of pillows during my pressure waves. She warmed a rice sack in the microwave and put it on my back which felt really nice. Around 5 I had a wave that double peaked and thought “uh oh!” Our midwife Liz wasn’t there yet and we hadn’t made the bed! I was so calm and comfortable that I had no idea how far along I was. My husband and doula called Liz, made up the bed and by the time she got there I was in full-on transition. It was very intense, and I was struggling to cope. I began to feel a lot of pressure during my waves. A few more went by and I realized I was holding my breath and bearing down at the top of them. I said to Liz “I think I’m pushing.” I then had my first and only vaginal exam. Liz said all that she could feel was my baby’s head so I was free to push however I’d like to.

I began pushing on my side but didn’t feel like it was effective. Liz suggested hands and knees so I tried that. With the first push in that position my water broke. I was glad that it had remained intact for so long, protecting my baby. I pushed a few more times and began to feel discouraged. Everyone there was encouraging to me to keep going, that I was doing fine. My husband got in front of me on the bed and I clung to him, drawing strength from him to keep pushing. I looked him in the eye and said “Honey, I don’t think I can do it.” He said “You ARE doing it. I know you can.”


I pushed awhile longer but still felt so discouraged and unsure. I didn’t realize how close I was. Liz said, “Sarah, feel this baby. Push this baby into your hands!” I reached down and felt a smooth round head about to crown. With the next push I was crowning. I began to use my Hypnobabies tools again which allowed me to breathe the baby out. We have it on video and it is very beautiful to see how slowly and gently the head came out. The shoulders came out a few seconds later and the baby slid out. I sat back on my heels and there in front of me on the bed was a beautiful baby GIRL…that part was a surprise J I was so happy and so grateful. I said “Thank you Jesus for this girl!” and clutched her to my chest. It was one of the best days of my life.


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Beautiful Breech Birth Story AND Photos

July 10, 2010 in Birth, Birth Stories, Hypnobabies

Katrina, a mom from the Hypnobabies Yahoo Group sent in her amazing  birth story.  She was pregnant with a breech baby, who just didn’t want to turn.  Luckily she found a midwife who was trained to catch vaginal breech babies.

She ended up having a nice, fast birth.

It was definitely a fast ride. But I remained very calm and peaceful during the whole thing. Thank you, Hypnobabies!

She was hoping to film it, but things went so quickly, she didn’t have a chance.

Her DH did grab the camera and took some amazing pictures.  You can see one with the baby half out and then see how beautiful Katrina looks moments after birth by visiting her blog and reading her birth story, complete with amazing pictures!

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Unexpected Cesarean due to Surprise Breech Baby

September 25, 2009 in Birth, Birth Stories, Births Attended, Cesarean, Doula, Hypnobabies, Pregnancy

I am sharing this story of a birth I attended as a doula, with permission from the mom.

Charlotte’s Birth

Jennifer had a few weeks of pre-birth pressure waves, it was a bit surprising to us all when she kept getting closer and closer to her guess date, as her first daughter was born at 37 weeks.  But this baby was waiting until she was ready!

Jennifer called me around 6 pm on Monday saying that this was probably the day.  They had spent the day enjoying Irvine Regional Park and now were home.  Her pressure waves were every 4 minutes or so, one would be strong, the next would be smaller then the next one strong again.  I suggested a shower and then call back to update me.

An hour later I called Jennifer and asked if it was ok if I came over.  She said yes, so I headed out.  Ryan called soon and said Jennifer was craving Cinnamon Rolls.  I tried our neighborhood Cinnamon Productions but it was closed!  So Ralphs Bakery Cinnamon Rolls would have to do.  I got to Jennifer’s around 7:40 and she was resting in the chair.  She was still having pressure waves pretty regularly.  She ate her cinnamon roll while we chatted.  We decided we should probably get ready to head out and call Grandma to come over.

Jennifer was busy getting things ready, having pressure waves and then her water broke about 8pm.  Jennifer got a little emotional, but we reassured her, she was doing great!  I let her know once she got settled in the car and listening to her CD it would help.  She WAS doing great!

I called the OB to let them know we were coming.  I met Jennifer and Ryan in the main lobby.  Jennifer was in the bathroom and I went into check on her.  She was excited that today was the day!  We made our way up to triage, arriving about 9 PM.   She explained her water had broken and we asked if she could skip triage.  They wanted to be sure her water had broken, so sent her into triage.  They only allow one person back there at a time, so Ryan hung out with her and then after awhile, I went in for a little bit and then Ryan went back in.

Jennifer was doing well, but the nurse would talk to her and distract her and sometimes it would make things slow down, not to mention make it harder to stay focused!  I was getting pretty frustrated that they weren’t getting her settled into a room.  It was evident she was in her birthing time, but they were not able to determine if her water had broken.

Then they did a swab to see if that would help them determine.  I saw the nurse at the microscope examining, for what seemed like forever.  Then the OB was there, looking in the microscope.   Then he came in and said he couldn’t see any amniotic fluid on the swab they took.  He watched her relax through a pressure wave.  He explained that he could tell she was in her birthing time, but he would like to do a vaginal exam to see what was going on.  Jennifer said ok.  This was about 10:30, an hour and a half after getting there!

Ryan and I went out of the curtain area.  Then I see the nurse getting the ultrasound and I was wondering what was up.  I heard the word breech and my heart sunk.  Ryan and I went in and Dr. Winter explained that Jennifer was 6cm and doing great, but the baby was breech.  He showed us the baby’s position with the ultrasound.  I asked if they could do a version.  But because her water HAD broken and she was having pressure waves, it wouldn’t be safe.

He said, had it been 20 years earlier she would be an ideal candidate for a vaginal breech birth, because she had already had a baby and her birthing time was progressing well.  He was impressed at how well she was doing.  But now the hospital doesn’t allow vaginal breech births, because of an increased liability to the hospital.  He said we had time to get used to the idea, it wasn’t an emergency situation.

I read the change of plans script.  I was near tears at the beginning.  It is such a hard situation, to be faced with a cesarean when it is such a surprise.  But by the end of the script I felt calmer, I hope Jennifer and Ryan did too.  Then it was a flurry of activity.   The nurse tried to put in an IV.  The Anesthesiologist was explaining things and answering questions.  Jennifer would have to pause for pressure waves.  Then about 11 Jennifer and Ryan walked to the OR and I went to the room to wait.  I prayed that all would go well and wondered, WHY?

Then about midnight, they came back to the room.  Charlotte was SO cute.  She was 7 pounds 2 oz, which is smaller than her sister had been.  Jennifer was a bit shaky, but once she had Charlotte in her arms she was good!  Charlotte latched right on and nursed like a champ.

That night when I went home, I couldn’t sleep and was up writing and pondering about Jennifer’s experience.  What I came up with was that even though it wasn’t ideal, I could see God’s hand in the process.  I was so surprised and irritated that they couldn’t tell her water had broken.  But if they had, then they wouldn’t have checked her until she felt like pushing.  Imagine the chaos if they determined the baby was breech while Jennifer was starting to push.  They would still want her to have a cesarean and then there wouldn’t have been time for a change of plan script and a much more emergency situation.  So it made me grateful that God knew what was happening and made it so that the OB felt the need to check her.

Though as an educated Childbirth Educator and Doula I know that she was a great candidate for a vaginal breech birth, I also know that sadly that option wasn’t really available to her.  It is FRUSTRATING!

I am in the process of making medals for moms.  You know the saying, “You don’t get a medal for natural birth.”  But I think moms DO deserve medals.  Every mom does, especially Jennifer, who worked hard to prepare for a natural birth, was DOING it and would have made it all the way, but for the safety of her baby agreed to a major abdominal surgery!  She totally deserves a medal!  (When I get them, I will bring one over for you.  You will get on of the first ones!)

Edited to add over at the At Your Cervix blog, she posted about a similar tale.  I wonder how often this happens?

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Freedom of Choice

November 6, 2008 in Birth, Cesarean, VBAC

It is amazing to me that women are not free to choose how they birth. 

Many women are told they MUST have a cesarean, because their care providers or hospitals refuse to allow them to have a vaginal birth.  Seems absurd that women are not allowed the choice.

Here is an article about how women in Iowa must travel great distances to have a vaginal birth if they are VBAC moms.   

Another group of women who are often forced into a cesarean are breech moms and twin moms.  Most moms take what their care providers say as absolute truth and do not research to find out if their are other options.  If they do research and realize they would prefer to have a vaginal birth, it is often difficult if not impossible to find a careprovider who will support them.

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Cesarean for 5th baby after 4 vaginal births

September 12, 2008 in Birth, Birth Stories, Cesarean

I have a dear friend who recently had her 5th baby.  She escaped a cesarean with her first with a patient OB who allowed her to push for 4 hours with a posterior baby. 

Then she narrowly escaped a cesarean with her 4th baby.  This story is incredible to me.  The baby was breech, they turned the baby using external version and scheduled an induction.  (She was on blood thinners and needed to be off them for a certain amount of time, hence the induction)  She goes in and they start pitocin.  The baby was head down, but then turned so she was breech again.  The OB does another version and decides to break the water, so baby will drop down and engage.  When the aniotomy (OB breaks her water) is done, the cord prolapses, a risk with breaking the water, especially with a baby that isn’t engaged. 

So they start scurring around for an emergency cesarean.  The Docor has his hand up inside my friend holding the baby’s head off the cord.  Then he says, “Wait a minute, I think the cord has gone back up.”  And indeed it had.  He stayed around in the room watching the monitor for about an hour.  Things look fine, so they restart the pitocin and she has a vaginal birth.   I have never heard of a situation like this, where a cord prolapse doesn’t end in cesarean.  It was a miracle. 

When she told me that story I was just so in awe that she escaped the cesarean.  Horray!

Well, I got an e-mail from her a few weeks ago, saying her 5th baby had arrived, but she needed a cesarean after a few hours of labor, because the baby was transverse (laying sideways, not head down, or butt down, but back down)  I started crying when I read her e-mail.  I was just so sad for her.  With 4 other little ones at home, I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy recovery.

I called her the other night to see how she was doing.  She is having a harder time this time and is amazed at how much harder the recovery is.  I got a few details.  The doctor broke her water and baby settled into this wrong position, the doctor tried to move her, but she wouldn’t budge.  So she had to have a cesarean.  I am so very sad this had to happen to her. 

We are separated by the whole country, but my heart and prayers go out to her and to all moms who have unexpected cesareans.

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Beautiful Breech Homebirth Story

August 21, 2008 in Birth

Breech Homebirth surrounded by mothers (Dad was away on business!)

            I wasn’t surprised to have sailed past my due date with my 5th baby. Fielding the phone calls, answering the questions about “when are you due?” had become so ingrained in public conversation that even my 4 year old son was wise enough to answer “Oh, the baby will come soon…” when questioned about my round belly. We weren’t rushing. Perhaps that is why my husband and I were at peace with his business travel (2 red eyes to Chicago) during my 41st week of pregnancy. (I had gone all the way to 42 weeks and 2 days with my 3rd son, so I wasn’t overly concerned). I remembered the wisdom of my previous homebirth midwife, Lora Burgess, who caught my daughter 2 years before. Lora had told me that at times, she felt that fathers, as wonderful as they are, sometimes do better when not involved in birth. Now, as I nurse my second daughter, I would have to agree. My husband and I made peace with the possibility that our baby may arrive without him, and we joked as he packed for his business trip. We made arrangements for my mother to stay over for 2 nights “just in case.”

I was talking on the phone with my husband after a whirlwind day that included a visit to my midwife, a trip to the grocery store, and one final ultrasound to confirm what we had known for weeks, that our baby was indeed breech, there was ample fluid, and that her particular position was still favorable for a vaginal birth at home. I had tried all of the non-invasive methods to encourage our baby to turn, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, acupressure, massage, visualization, swimming, inversion positioning. I had even attempted an external cephalic version at the hospital where my midwife has privileges in the case of emergency transfer. All to no avail. Again, I resolved that my baby was breech for a reason, and we all went ahead with our plans for another homebirth.

My water broke with a pop as I was talking to Glenn on the phone. I rolled off the bed and hung up on him. (Unceremonious, I know, but tonight was the night!) I called Evelyn, our midwife, and noted that the fluid was clear. She asked to speak with my mother to give her some preliminary instructions, and I crawled down 2 flights of stairs to toss the phone at my mother and claw my way back up to my bedroom.

I closed the doors of my childrens’ bedrooms, and decided that crawling was best for me. I was swaying with my contractions, pausing to breathe and focus. Meanwhile, my mother turned my bedroom into a chux pad carpeted slippery mess….She laughed at her jittery energy and I remember looking at her sharply and telling her “No more talking!” (It was time to get down to business) She wanted to help me through the contractions, but her touch broke my concentration so she sat beside me and watched as I swayed on my hands and knees. I wanted to push but I didn’t because I didn’t know how dilated I was. My mother, perhaps remembering that our third son had arrived well in advance of our midwives got up to read the sheet on “Birth Without a Midwife” that my husband had left in a bit of a joke to her.

Evelyn arrived shortly and I told her it was time to push. She agreed. She checked me quickly and encouraged me through my next contraction, then resumed setting up her supplies. Christina, our family friend arrived next. She was on hand for the kids if they needed her. Next, our second midwife, Casey seemed to appear out of nowhere. She blended in with the surroundings as I had decided to stand up and find a comfortable position to push.

Once I stood, my mother and Christina both sprang up to assist me in a squat. I didn’t want their help. I started to imagine my husband pacing the floors of his hotel room like a Dad from the ‘50s, waiting for news on his wife and baby. I missed him only briefly, though as the contractions were intense, and I knew that I was surrounded by women who love me, women that I respect and love. I was surrounded by mothers who all labored at one time. With the next contraction, I began thinking of my midwife, the talented Lora Burgess who passed away last year, who worked with Evelyn who always said that there are some births that fathers shouldn’t attend. She was right… With each contraction, my midwives, my mother and my friend would breathe with me, sigh with me, and rest in between. They labored right with me and their support, along with counter pressure from Christina, and her whisperings of support and love made me feel that Lora was right in the room with us, nodding her approval and smiling.

I was still standing and pushing as Evelyn sat next to my feet. With breech babies, there are manipulations that often need to be made on the part of the attendant to help the baby out safely and quickly. Vaginal breech delivery is a lost art, indeed. Many midwives will not attend them, and fewer hospitals permit them unless they take place in an operating room with an epidural. (This was confirmed by the obstetrician who attempted my cephalic version…he was “willing to deliver my baby vaginally as long as I delivered on a monitor in the OR under epidural anesthesia.”….The thought of birth in an operating room as tools for a cesarean laid at the ready, undermining the body’s ability to birth naturally saddened me. I didn’t want a c-section unless my baby was in danger.

She never was. Her fluid was perfect, her placenta was posterior, her cord was adequate, and she merely arrived bottom first in 4 of the most intense pushes that I have ever experienced. With vertex babies (my previous 4 were posterior vertex), the “work” is basically over once the head and shoulders emerge. The rest of the baby sort of slithers out quickly. Not so with breech babies.  I had to work for every inch of my baby daughter’s arrival. The first pushes of her birth exposed her bottom. (She pooped….not unusual for breech babies when their bottoms are exposed to the cool air).  The next brought forth her legs because her hips were flexed and her legs were folded Indian style against her body. I roared with the push that brought her shoulders, and lastly, one enormous push later her head was born and I couldn’t believe that Evelyn was saying, “Carla, take your baby!” in a shocked voice.

Evelyn never needed the special techniques to encourage her arrival. She never needed to help guide her legs down, help free the cord, or reach up to guide her head down by the chin. My daughter and I had done it together, and all my midwife had to do was wait and catch. She later remarked that what was poised to be the most challenging birth of her month ended up being the fastest and easiest.

I was still in utter disbelief as I reached to take my newborn girl from between my knees. She was pink and perfect. I looked into the faces of my mothers, my support. They were all in a circle around me, each one of them with tears in their eyes, smiling. And Lora was there too.

We all laughed and chatted as we waited for the placenta. We had to wait for some time (about 45 minutes) as I was exhausted from pushing. I reclined on my bed, holding my baby who looked at me with piercingly dark eyes. We soaked one another in as I delivered her placenta and my midwife noted that I had a tear that required repair. I really didn’t want anyone near my tender perineum after such a dramatic birth. I felt bruised (I was), and I had never had a tear or stitches before. Christina, Casey and Evelyn all gently urged me to have the stitches, and finally I agreed. My labia were quite bruised, as was the baby’s because of the force of my pushes and the speed of her birth.

Niobe Clarke was born as babies have been for thousands of years: At home, surrounded by women and mothers.  She weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces (my largest baby!), and was 20 ¼ inches long. Rather than resign myself to a surgical birth, I put my faith in my body, by baby, my midwives and my support. My labor was not difficult. I was clearly focused, I visualized throughout my labor and I imagined holding my baby. Pushing Niobe into the world was the most intense sensation that I have ever experienced. More intense than any of my previous births. Again, I had to work for every inch of her arrival and the burning sensation of stretching and expanding that often characterizes crowning, I felt through the entire birth, from bum to top of the head.

The phone rang. It was Glenn calling to “see how things were going.” He was shocked when just 2 hours after hanging up the phone with me, he had a new daughter! He began frantically throwing his clothes into a suitcase and breathlessly told me that “if he had to jog,” he would be home as soon as possible… He managed to get onto a 6 am flight and was home hours later. I remember opening my eyes and seeing him, kneeling beside our bed staring us.

Sometime throughout the night, my 9 year old son wandered in and met his new sister. My 4 year old, awakened to use the bathroom, and hearing the voices, came in to investigate and meet his sister as well. The other 2 children, my 7 year old son and 2 year old daughter met Niobe just before breakfast.

All 5 of my births taught me amazing lessons about the body’s natural ability to nurture and bring forth life when properly supported. I am proud to have had 5 unmediated, vaginal, natural births, the first 2 in a hospital and the following 3 in my comfortable home. All of my labors were intense, though the pushing phases of the first 4 births were comfortable. Each one of my births taught me a bit more about myself and my body’s abilities. Niobe’s birth, however taught me to trust my baby and midwives as much as I trusted myself. I will always be grateful for the lessons of birth, but Niobe’s arrival taught me more about trusting the wisdom of babies than any other.

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Breech Vaginal Birth

July 12, 2008 in Birth, Birth Stories

I found this story from Rixa’s Blog.

It is of a woman who was planning an unassisted birth.  It was a surprise footling breech baby and there are amazing pictures with it!  Here is the amazing story.

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Talking to a mom planning a cesarean

February 14, 2008 in Birth, Cesarean, Childbirth Education, VBAC

 When I find out someone is planning a cesarean, I start by asking, “Why?”  It helps that I can say, “I had a cesarean with my first baby.  Why are you having one?” 

Then I listen to their reasons.  I ask how they feel about having a cesarean.  Some moms feel really good about it, they have already done their research and know it is the best choice for them.   Most are more on the fence and seem to want more information. 

Making choices with limited information or out of fear is not empowering.  If a Mom is open, I share information of what her choices really are and places she can go to do some research.  I offer support and help if she wants it.

There are a lot of great resources for moms to go to.  For instance moms who have already had cesareans can go to ICAN to find a lot of great information about VBACs.  I also have gathered some resources here. For moms given the big baby card, I send them to this page I wrote about it, after having SO many moms say their OBs were feeding them this line.  Here is a great post with information for moms with Breech Babies

I think that the moms who take time to question what they are being told and do research will be able to make the choice that is really best for them!  They also will feel better about their decision, because it is theirs!  They are making an informed decision, rather than a coerced decision.   Many upon doing some research will realize that a vaginal birth is a good option for them.  They may need to change care providers in order to have support in getting one.    

Some moms may still choose to have a cesarean.  They have taken all the information and combined it with their intuition to make the best choice for them.  This should be respected and supported.  Moms know what is best for them (when they have all the information).   At this point as a friend or CBE, I would fully support them in their decision and help them prepare to have the best possible cesarean birth.  

I will admit, it is sometimes a struggle, if I don’t completely understand their choice.  But I think it is important for me to support them, regardless of what I think.  It is their body and baby and their choice!

Here are the related posts…

What if she doesn’t listen?

What can we do to help change the system?

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New Cesarean Rates are not surprising, but are disappointing.

December 6, 2007 in Birth, Cesarean, Pregnancy, VBAC

Cesarean rates are at an all time high and no one in the medical community or women’s groups seem to care. 

But there are women who DO care!  I am one of them.  In the next weeks I will be posting some articles I have been working on regarding worries and fears and how these can effect their births.  The thing is MANY women are being scared into unnecessary cesareans.    This then leads to an increase in risks to mothers and their babies. 

I think that education of parents is key to helping to decrease the cesarean rates.  The medical community doesn’t seem to want to rectify the situation, so parents need to make wiser choices in their care providers and in their birthing education to get the healthiest births possible. 

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Hypnobabies Birth Story of Mauro

November 26, 2007 in Birth, Birth Stories, Cesarean, Childbirth Education, Hypnobabies, Pregnancy

Mauro’s Birth

Mauro is 11 weeks old and I am just now getting around to writing his birth story. He has needed a lot more help adjusting to the world than his older sister did, and I also have had problems with breastfeeding and my breasts, including thrush, and we are just now settling in well.

After our daughter was born 13 years ago, I had tried for 10 years to get pregnant again, without success and without being able to find the reason. I was 33 when I had her, so it may have just been decreased fertility with age, but of course I know many women who had no trouble getting pregnant after 35. We live in a small town in the Patagonian region of Argentina, and had just about given up about ever having another child until we heard a couple of years ago that there was a new fertility clinic in the nearest large city, about four hours from where we live. We went there and began IVF treatments, and after the fourth try, we got Mauro!

Although my daughter’s birth had been very easy, I was very nervous about Mauro’s birth, because of all the trouble I had gone through trying to get pregnant and during the pregnancy, and because of my age (46!). When I got the Hypnobabies home study course and started practicing in my 31st week, I became much more relaxed. I wished I had gotten the course sooner, because the deep relaxation every day would have been so helpful, especially during the first trimester!

I had great faith that self-hypnosis would work for me, because of my personality and the way I usually handle painful or stressful situations, and because of the way my daughter’s birth had gone. I wasn’t so convinced about the visualizations, though, mainly because I didn’t think I was doing them right. I would always get hung up on details when I tried to do it, and often fell asleep before I finished. But several things were always consistent—1) I wanted Mauro to come between 39 and 40 weeks, on a weekday and during the day, because then the obstetricians and pediatricians would be at the hospital (after-hours and weekend births are attended by whatever doctor of whatever specialty happens to be on call), 2) I wanted him to be born in the morning, between 8 and 12, because then I would only have to spend one night in the hospital after he was born, rather than two, 3) I didn’t want the birthing time to last more than about 4 or 5 hours, 4) I didn’t want an episiotomy or serious tears, and 5) I wanted the birth to happen in the labor room, or even in the emergency room when I first came in—I didn’t want to go to the delivery room and have to get up on the delivery bed because I was afraid it would be more difficult for me to control the situation there. I was hoping to arrive at the last minute, after spending most of my birthing time at home peacefully with my daughter and husband.

At 33 weeks, Mauro had turned breech, which is an automatic c- section here, and I got very worried. I started doing the Hypnobabies breech baby script, though, and was shocked that he turned almost immediately, I think after about the 2nd or 3rd time I listened to it, although I continued to do it every day until my next doctor’s appointment. Unfortunately, he turned again at 35 weeks! So, I started over with the breech baby script, and this
time I think he turned the first time I listened to it. After that, fortunately he stayed put.

The other possible kink in my plans was that I was GBS+ and the obstetricians wanted me to be at the hospital in time to get two IV doses of penicillin, four hours apart. For that reason, I needed to try to get to the hospital when I thought I might have a few hours left until the birth. This ruled out the emergency room delivery!

On Thursday of my 39th week, I was having a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions, but this had happened to me other times during the last few weeks. Whenever I had a lot of them, though, I did get a bit anxious about the possibility of it being my birthing time, because with my daughter that was all I really felt until I reached transition. By evening, I knew that the nature of the birthing waves had changed and that it was indeed my birthing time! I told my husband and daughter that Mauro would be arriving either that night or the next morning. I went to bed and slept until about 2:30.

When I woke up the birthing waves seemed more regular and stronger, but when we timed them they weren’t that regular. I listened to the Easy First Stage CD while my husband got dressed and ready to go. When I finished the CD, though, I was very relaxed and the waves had slowed down and I told him I didn’t want to go yet, as it hadn’t been my plan to have to go to the emergency room in the middle of the night. I went back to sleep and when I woke up at 5:30 I knew that now it was really time!

We only live 5 minutes from the hospital (everything in town is 5 minutes away because it is so small!), and I had my bag mostly ready, but it still took us over an hour to get to the emergency room. We had to get our daughter up and take her to a neighbor’s house, and I continued to listen to the CD while she and my husband got everything ready. We arrived at the hospital a few minutes before 7 a.m., and I was having powerful birthing waves. The doctor on call palpated my abdomen during a birthing wave and said they were very strong. He and the nurse couldn’t believe how totally relaxed I was, and were completely respectful of what I was doing. My husband always asked them to wait and do things between birthing waves. I listened almost constantly to the CD with my iPod, taking out the earphones only when I had to answer something that my husband couldn’t.

The doctor checked me out and said to my surprise (and his, too, because of how strong he judged the waves to be) that I was only 4 cm dilated! My confidence wavered a bit, because I was handling things fine at that point, but the waves were already so intense and powerful, and I thought perhaps I was in for a long birthing time and couldn’t imagine at that point being able to stay on top of waves that were even stronger! I did not experience
complete anesthesia.

The waves were overwhelmingly intense sensations of tightening, which I am sure some would have
interpreted as p**n, but for me their predominant characteristic was their intensity. I’m sure that there are few other physical sensations we experience in our lifetimes that are so powerful and intense. What helped me and inspired me the most in the CD was when she says, “I am safe and my baby is safe, no matter how much power
flows through me”. I kept thinking about that when things seemed to be getting too intense.

They sent me to the labor room down the hall in a wheelchair, exactly as I had imagined in my visualizations. In the labor room the nurse had to put in an IV for the antibiotics. She tried four times, and I was so glad I was under hypnosis. I had to send my anesthesia to my arms more than to my abdomen.

After a short while I had to go to the bathroom and my husband helped me in. Then I had a hard time getting off of the toilet, because every time I started to, another birthing wave came. I had left the iPod in the bed and had to work hard to maintain my focus. I leaned on my husband’s stomach with every wave, and was so glad he was there with me then. (He thinks that was all he did during the whole birthing time, but his dealing with the doctors and nurses for me was crucial!) Meantime, the nurse knocked on the door, telling me the obstetrician had arrived and wanted to check me out. I knew I didn’t want to give birth in the bathroom, so after a few more waves I managed to make my way back to the bed.

When the o.b. checked me out I was 9 cm! He said he was going to break my water bag, and that then I could start pushing. I wasn’t entirely keen on that, but at that point, I was just eager for Mauro to come! In the birth of my daughter, I had hardly felt any urge to push, so I was shocked by the power of the waves that started after my water was broken. I immediately started saying “AAAHHH” with each wave, and letting my body do the pushing, and reminded myself that I and my baby were safe no matter how much power flowed through my body! Wow! What a power it was! Even though I had had a child before, I had never felt anything like it.

My husband, the o.b., and the pediatrician who had just arrived went to scrub and dress for the delivery room.
I was lying on my side, but when the doctor came back he wanted me to roll over so he could listen to the baby’s heartbeat (they don’t have a fetal monitor at the hospital). I had to wait through a few more waves because they were coming so fast and strong, and when I finally turned over, he saw that Mauro’s head was crowning! He told me to push with the next wave because the head was halfway out, but I went ahead and pushed between waves and the head slid right out, with the o.b. supporting my perineum. Another push before the next wave and out came the body, and the next thing I knew, there was the most beautiful little baby boy I had ever seen, lying wet and naked on my chest!

It was 9 a.m., so it had taken only two hours to go from 4 cm to birth. And we didn’t go to the delivery room. No episiotomy and only superficial tears that didn’t require stitching up! EVERYTHING that I had managed to visualize, had come to pass!

As he was lying on my chest, the o.b. saw that the cord had a complete knot in it! Fortunately, it wasn’t pulled completely tight, which could have been disastrous, especially in a place where they are unable to monitor the baby very closely. I’m sure that the hypnosis helped us there, as Mauro spent no more than 10 minutes coming through the birth canal. I think it would have been more likely to be pulled tight if he had spent a lot of time in the
second stage.

In retrospect, after seeing how well the visualization worked, I wish I had spent some time visualizing what would happen AFTER the birth, which I’m afraid I was totally unprepared for. For a minute he looked a bit too blue and still, and the pediatrician took him to check him out in the delivery room where the incubator was. I understood that, but the nurse ended up having him in there longer than he needed to be. I had had a lot of trouble during the
first month nursing my daughter, but later went on to nurse her for two and a half years. I suppose because I was remembering those 2 ½ good years rather than the first month, I spent zero time during the pregnancy thinking about or preparing for nursing, and ended up making the same mistakes I had made 13 years ago, getting me off to a bad start again.

Both Mauro and I had complications during the first few weeks, and I was so glad that at least the birth had been
a breeze, and I didn’t also have to deal with recovery from the birth while I was dealing with my other problems. I have wondered if my thrush was related to the one IV dose of antibiotics they managed to get into me before he was born. Talking to the pediatricians later, it probably hadn’t really been necessary, because he spent so little time in the birth canal, which is where he would have been exposed.

I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to use self hypnosis for Mauro’s birth. Not only did it allow me to have the kind of birth I wanted for him and for me, but it also taught me the incredible power of the mind and the value of deep relaxation. I hope to be able to continue to use those lessons throughout the rest of my life. I also really appreciate the Hypnobabies list, which was a great help to me in my isolation down here. I got helpful advice the few times I wrote requesting help, both before and after the birth, and also got a lot out of reading about other people’s situations. So thanks so much from Mauro and me to Hypnobabies, and to Sheridan and all the other Hypnomoms on the list in the last few months!


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