Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
All too often women are whisked off to surgery because their baby is in breech position (bum first rather than head first). It's true that some breech babies are in need of surgical rescue, but more often than not, they can still be born naturally, or at least through the birth canal rather than abdominal surgery.
Unfortunately, many doctors are not confident in the body's ability to birth a breech baby. They would prefer to take control by turning to Cesarean surgery right off. As one senior obstetrician once told me, "The skill of breech birth is being forever lost to the skill of the knife."
This is a refreshing story, told by a doula in Dubai. It's so promising to read of birth attendants who value the doula's role and who encourage the mother to birth her breech baby without much intervention! I wish they all were as trusting in the woman's ability to birth her baby.
I hope you enjoy this story and will share yours too! Now on to the story...Natural Born Breech!...
I have to tell you it was the best experience as a Doula I have ever had. Her waters broke a week before her due date and her husband wasn't even in the country. She called me and said that her waters were not clear.
Next she called the hospital. The Midwife over the phone said, "Come in; you will need a C-section immediately!!"... nice.
We went in expecting some theater action. However, the same midwife from the phone came in and had obviously read the notes (which stated she wanted a natural birth). She said, "We'll see how the baby is doing. If he is ok we'll let you labor!"
When the obstetrician arrived the baby was doing okay so she said, "A little bit of poo is expected due to the pressure on the baby's bum. I'll give you the night to get the contractions going. But if nothing progresses, then we will C-section in the morning, or before if the baby is distressed." We felt a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel!
When the fetal monitoring was done, we moved to another room. I pulled out all the Doula tricks to get her into labor and it started to work!
It was a very very long night! This was my first labor without her partner present. I actually thought it was better, no nervous jokes or comments, total silence at times, generally calm. It felt right!
From 1 cm at admission, to 3 cm, then through the night to 4/5 cm, and the early morning she progressed quickly to 8 cm. We were moved back to the labor room where she started to get the urge to push! I could even feel it when she was contracting as she liked my hands on her lower back. I could physically feel her pelvis enlarging!
The obstetrician came back and was concerned. She stated that she must have an epidural to take away the urge to push as the baby's bum and body was already through the cervix but the head was not...potential disaster!!!! So the epidural was done; she was fully dilated; but the doctor wanted to slow everything down.
So we waited. My lady was happy and relaxed and was giving me updates on which parts of her body she now couldn't feel. She has only rated her pain at 4 out of 10 just before the epidural so she felt it was crazy that women take it as an option so quickly.
Anyway, finally Hubby arrived (flew in from Africa over night) just in time for the grand finale!!! Typical.
The obstetrician arrived and the theater was on standby. The head midwife was directing proceedings really well and giving my lady loads of encouragement about trusting her body. (I loved to hear it). She was directed to push and slowly her little man emerged.
Scrotum first, then bum, body, legs flicked out and down, and then the head. It was superb!!
As the baby was Frank Breech I was not prepared for his legs to be all over the place which was a little shocking to see initially, however all was ok.
The doctor had been really welcoming of me as a doula and at no time did I feel like she didn't want me there. She even give me a quick lesson on the golden rules of breech birth: totally hands off, cervix must be fully dilated, the mummy's body will know what to do, etc!
She did mention however that she has come across some Doula's here in Dubai, who have overstepped the boundary of their role as a Doula, so something for us all to take onboard.
Overall it was physically and emotionally draining for me as a Doula, knowing that the risks were so high. However, it was all well worth it and the baby boy is beautiful!
P.S. After a check and double check by the doctors, mum was given her baby boy, skin to skin and he started breast feeding. :-)