A Determined Mom Who Avoided a C-section by Helping Her Baby Turn from Breech to a Vertex Position for Birth
“Thank you Yen and Fauziah for all your help! We are very thankful for this little miracle birth and hope this birth story will be an inspiration to others.”~ Esme, mother of 3 daughters
Hi, my name is Esme and I am a mother of 3 daughters. When I got pregnant with my third child, I thought that the pregnancy would be a breeze since I’d be a “seasoned” mother. On hindsight, it was actually the toughest of all my pregnancies.
It first started with 6 weeks of severe morning sickness. It was so severe that I had to lie in bed for the entire period, getting up to only have morsels of food. The nausea continued throughout the pregnancy.
The pregnancy was further complicated by the baby being in a breech position. I had tried all sorts of methods on my own (ranging from homeopathy to yoga to moxibustion) to turn the baby, but to no avail. When I was about 35 weeks pregnant, my doctor advised me to set a date for an elective cesarean surgery as it would be risky to deliver a breech baby naturally. I was very disappointed at such a prospect. As I managed to birth my older daughters naturally and without epidural, I was hoping that I would be able to do the same for my third pregnancy but I was also not willing to subject my baby to unnecessary risks.
I suffered from insomnia and panic attacks for the next 2 weeks as I was fearful of “being cut up” in surgery and I agonized over the type of anesthesia I should use for the surgery. My doctor suggested going under general anesthesia (GA) as around 10% of his patients who used the epidural developed chronic back aches. However, going under GA meant that my husband and I would not be able to welcome the baby into the world as my husband would not be allowed into the operation theatre and I would be completely knocked out for 2-3 hours. Neither the epidural nor GA seemed satisfactory.
Just as I was giving up hope on having a natural birth, a friend asked if I was interested in engaging a doula and passed me her doula Yen’s contact details. I got in touch with Yen on 17 July 2016 and met her the same day.
Yen showed me a series of physical exercises (such as the forward leaning inversion) to help create room in my body for the baby to turn. She also mentioned that 85% of breech babies are a result of an emotional hang-up, mainly fear. I shared with Yen that I had been very stressed during my pregnancy as I was busy preparing for the family’s relocation back to the UK. I was also very traumatized by the labour pains of my previous two births, even though I tried preparing for the births by going for yoga and natural birth classes. To help me emotionally, Yen recommended that I see a hypnotherapist and a Cranio-Sacral therapist.
When I made an appointment to see Fauziah the hypnotherapist (and also doula), I was almost 38 weeks pregnant. Fauziah said that because I was so advance in my pregnancy and that the baby’s bottom was already engaged in my pelvis, I only had a 50-50 chance in turning the baby around. Nonetheless, we did not give up hope. She devised an intensive programme comprising of physical exercises, massage, moxibustion and hypnotherapy for me to follow for 7-10 days. As my doctor was very conservative, I had to negotiate with him to push back my cesarean date (which was due in 7 days) so as to give the programme a chance to work.
I followed Fauziah’s programme diligently on the first day. On the second day, as I was feeling under the weather, I had to take things a little easier, but still managed to do a 20 minute supported shoulder stand. Later that night, I was woken up by a sharp pain at my left hip. The baby was in a transverse position and was trying to turn. I then used my hands to guide her head downwards, and as I felt her head moving towards my pelvis, the baby disappeared into my womb. I could not tell whether the baby had successfully turned.
The next morning, my mucous plug was dislodged, but I did not think much about it. Later that day, I had a sensation of menstrual back ache and had the show. I was in a dilemma. On one hand, I wanted to see my doctor to make sure that the baby was safe and well and that I was not in labour. On the other hand, I was worried that my doctor would send me for an emergency cesarean if baby had not turned and I had gone into labour. My husband was in China then, and I was hoping that he would be there for the baby’s birth. I went to see my doctor with a heavy heart and even brought my hospital bag in case I got admitted to hospital. When I saw my doctor, the first thing he did was an internal examination. I braced myself for the worst case scenario and prepared to get an earful from my doctor for putting myself in such a position. Instead, I was ecstatic when he told me that he felt the baby’s head. The ultra-sound scan on 22 July 2016 confirmed that baby had turned! It was a miracle.
I worked with Fauziah for the next two weeks to prepare for a natural birth without epidural or artificial induction. It was another series of yoga, walking and hypnotherapy. Fauziah also taught me techniques (such as the labour positions, breathing and hypnotherapy) to better cope with the labour pain and to expedite the birth process. Towards the end, I also took homeopathic remedies for a natural birth induction as my doctor was getting anxious and proposed to artificially induce the baby if she was not out by the due date.
On the baby’s due date, I went into labour naturally. I was woken up by a strong contraction at 2am. I labored at home till around 4.30am before we made our way to the hospital. I was admitted to the hospital at 5am. At this point, the pain was so intense that it felt like I was at least 8cm dilated. However, when the nurse checked me, I was only 4cm dilated. I was very flustered as I did not know whether I could hold out the pain much longer. Thankfully, Fauziah was still awake and told me not to be discouraged as progression in labour was not based on dilation alone. Instead, she told me to go into my zone and focus on my breathing. I heeded her advice and labored in the hospital shower room. Within 30 minutes (or 5 rounds of extremely intense contractions), I felt the baby’s head about to come out. The nurses rushed me back to the bed and held my legs down to prevent me from giving birth before my doctor arrived. The wait was agonizing. It was as though I was having explosive diarrhea and was told not to go to the toilet. Thankfully, my doctor arrived within the next 10 minutes.
At 5.48am on 4 August 2016, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl of 3.5kg naturally without epidural or artificial induction.
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