Vaginal Birth After Two Cesareans for Breech (Heart Shaped Uterus)
Oh my gosh- I LOVE this birth story. This mom is so strong and made the impossible happen (what some would call impossible.) I love this! A baby turning in labor. A magical VBA2C. And a mother with no regrets.
Before I share my HBA2C, I need to give some background information on my first two births. My first baby (Nathan) was born c/section because he was breech. I found out a few days before his birth that I have a uterine septum, meaning that my uterus is heart shaped. The septum in my uterus causes my babies to turn breech in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
My first experience with birth was very painful. I struggled with a long physical recovery and it was also emotionally painful. I wanted to give birth normally. No one seemed to understand why I was so upset because I had a healthy beautiful baby. That is what every mother wants and expects but I wanted a healthy baby and a good experience too!
When I found out I was pregnant the second time I wanted to do things differently. A repeat c/section was out of the question. I even switched doctors when the first one I went to wasn’t supportive of a vaginal birth after cesarean (vbac). I recalled talking with a friend about her birth and that she had used hypnosis. I did an online search and found Hypnobabies and was immediately intrigued. I knew that this was what I wanted. I loved the hypnosis scripts and did a good job with my practising. I also read a lot of books on natural childbirth. I felt very confident and prepared to have this baby normally. I knew I would have to fight for what I wanted in the hospital because it would be a vbac, but I was up for the challenge.
During my 38 week OB appointment my doctor informed me that my baby had turned breech. My heart sunk. I broke down and cried right there in his office. I went home and tried all kinds of things to get my baby to turn during that week, but when I went back a week later he was still breech. I had felt so ready and prepared for this birth, and I wasn’t even going to be given the opportunity to do it my way. So with a heavy heart I went into the hospital and had yet another c/sec.
I knew that we still wanted more children and I couldn’t face preparing for another vbac to have my hopes dashed. I told myself that I would just schedule a repeat c/sec and try not to feel bad. But my heart ached. I wanted that beautiful natural birth experience. I was angry at the situation, and at my body. Women’s bodies are made to birth babies vaginally and I felt cheated!
A year after Jason was born I started reading more birth books and was put on the path to become a doula. I learned that I could have the birth experience that I yearned for and I would do everything in my power for that to happen. When I became pregnant for the third time I was ecstatic. But soon after was faced with the challenge of finding the right care provider. I wanted a midwife for the quality of care and in the event that this baby turned breech then I could still birth normally. I spent hours searching out midwives and then driving around all of Utah and Salt Lake County interviewing them to make sure we were on the same page. I interviewed twelve midwives.
In the end I chose a great midwife and felt very confident in my choice. I loved her and her assistant. They spent so much time in my home getting to know me; they listened to my hopes and fears for birth and gave such wonderful support. Then eight weeks before my due date my family and I moved 4 hours south of our home in Springville to St. George. Not only did I have the huge responsibility of packing up and moving our family but also finding a new midwife. Luckily I found two wonderful midwives that work as a mother daughter team just one hour from my new home. They were very supportive of my wanting a vbac after 2 previous cesareans. They also had assisted in many breech births. So I felt confident in them, and they were confident in me.
Sure enough, much like my last two pregnancies, when I went to my 35-week appointment my baby had turned breech. I spent the following weeks trying to get him to turn with exercises, chiropractic, hypnosis, energy work and more. I finally came to the conclusion that I had done everything in my power to get him to turn and it would be okay if he were born breech if that’s how he needed to be born.
I went to my last midwife appointment at 38 weeks; a Monday. I was tired but excited that I only had a few more weeks left before I would meet my baby boy. I had been having Braxton Hicks for about three weeks and I was hoping that would make for a fast birth. Tuesday was a very busy day and the Braxton Hicks felt different. They were stronger and more consistent. I was feeling them 10-15 min apart. After dinner I finally had a chance to rest and they slowed down. Wednesday morning I woke up a little disappointed to still be pregnant, but also glad I was because I still needed to fold and put away the baby clothes.
I spent an hour listening to my Hypnobabies Birthing Day Affirmations and putting my baby’s room in order. I was very relaxing and enjoyable. I was really hoping that tonight would be the night, but I wasn’t having any Braxton Hicks or pressure waves (Hypnobabies language for contractions). I took the boys to swimming lessons and then my friend came over and took my oldest son to play for the day. I tried to take it easy, but by the time Mike came home for dinner I was exhausted and cranky. I went to bed at 8:00, and Mike went on a bike ride.
By 8:15 I had two huge pressure waves (contractions) and I knew that something was different. I called my sister Kelly, who was also my hypno-doula at 8:30 and told her that I thought it was the night and asked her to come over. I tried to relax and sleep. Mike got home the same time Kelly showed up and I told him we were going to have a baby. It was so laid back and comfortable. Kelly would time my PW (pressure waves) and Mike and Kelly would take turns pressing on my back. We all got to work putting my house in order; I really wanted it to be clean for the midwives and after the birth.
My pressure waves were coming about every 7 minutes and by 9:30 they hadn’t slowed down so I called Vickie, my midwife. I showered while Kelly and Mike put clean sheets on my bed. We continued to just hang out, relax and laugh. I tried to sleep but couldn’t because my PW were getting stronger, and I think I was afraid I was going to miss out on something. I went into the living room to sit on my birth ball, and have Kelly press on my back. It wasn’t very long when Vickie and Camille arrived (my midwives). I remember feeling grateful when they walked in that I was in the middle of a PW, so they would know that it was for real. After they got everything set up they came and checked my vitals and the baby with the doppler.
Everyone relaxed and we chatted while I did my thing. My pressure waves were so easy that I was worried that I wasn’t really in my birthing time. Vickie wanted to check me around 1am. I was super nervous that I would only be 1 or 2cm dilated and I almost asked her not to tell me what number I was, but I was curious. To my surprise I was 4 centimeters! I was so happy that I cried. Everyone was a little worried when I came out of my room with red eyes but I assured them that I was okay, that I was happy. I was a 4! Never in my life had I been dilated 4 centimeters.
Kelly made me a delicious chicken sandwich loaded with fresh veggies. It felt weird eating so much in the middle of the night, but I knew I needed it for energy later. We all just relaxed, talked and laughed. I spent a lot of time by the kitchen sink, I had just bought a padded mat and it felt so good to lean over the sink and have someone press on my back during a PW. At one point I was in the middle of a PW and my dad made a joke and I couldn’t help but laugh. (both my parents had come over) I was having so much fun. Vickie told him to stay and I would just laugh my baby out.
After a while I decided to try to get some rest. I didn’t sleep but I rested in bed while listening to my Hypnobabies Deepening Track. Mike finished up some work on the computer while everyone slept. I was probably in my bed for an hour when things really started to pick up. I had Mike wake up Kelly so that she could read me Hypnobabies Birth Scripts and Prompts. I sat on the floor next to my bed while Mike massaged my head and my Mom and Kelly sat on the floor beside me. Camille and Vickie were in my room and checking on the baby and me but mostly they just took a step back and let me have my space. The lights in my room were low and we would talk between waves and Kelly would read me prompts. It was so easy and relaxing. My PW were starting to get stronger and I had my mom call my sister Katie to come over so that she could take pictures and video my birth.
My birthing time was so enjoyable. I loved feeling the light pressure of the waves and feeling my body relax when Kelly would read me scripts. I knew that my body was working just the way it was supposed to and that I would see Matthew soon.
After sitting on the floor for a while I started to get uncomfortable, not from the waves but from sitting on the floor. I decided to try the bathtub, and it was awesome. I was in the tub for hours, my body got so wrinkly but I didn’t care, I was so relaxed. We all just chatted and it was so much fun. We would be in the middle of a conversation and I wouldn’t want to stop for a PW so I would try to just relax on my own and keep listening and then the wave would peak and I would have to ask Kelly to read me another prompt and immediately my body would relax and it would be so easy. After the wave would end we would just continue our conversation where we left off.
When the sun started to come up I thought, “Wow, I’ve been up all night!” Vickie checked me again and I was 7 centimeters dilated. That was really exciting. I was progressing so well. I absolutely loved the way I was treated during my birthing time. I was surrounded by so many wonderful women that were all there for ME! I felt so loved. So many times I would just start crying because I was doing it, I was finally accomplishing what I had wanted for so long.
After a long while I got out of the tub. The water was getting cold and I needed a change of scenery. I sat on the birth ball for a while but found that it was more comfortable to stand and sway and then lean over the closest person during a wave. My boys woke up and knew that the baby was going to be here soon. It was nice to have them there but really distracting at the same time.
They wanted Mike’s attention but I needed his attention too. So my Mom made us breakfast and then took them to her house and my dad was so great to play with them. Vickie checked me again and I was complete. I was so excited and thinking I would see my baby very soon. But I didn’t feel the urge to push. My midwives thought that he was still breech and posterior so we decided to try the rebozo while I listened to the Hypnobabies track “Turn Baby Turn.” I loved this, it was so relaxing having the movement of the rebozo and talking to Matthew asking him to turn to make his birth easier. I felt him rotate into an anterior position, but we all still thought he was breech. I tried a few pushes but still no urge so Vickie suggested I rest in bed for a while. Kelly stayed close and read me scripts while Mike pressed on my back.
I slept between waves, which was awesome. I rested for about an hour and then told Camille I was ready to start pushing. I was so tired at this point and ready to get things going. I tried pushing in bed on my side but that was really uncomfortable. I had wanted to have a pain free birth and so far I had, but now I was hurting and exhausted. I got out of bed and tried different pushing positions and that helped so much. I tried to stay upright to help him descend better.
My bag of water was bobbing and not allowing Matthew to descend so Vickie broke my waters, to get some off the pressure off. The first few contractions a little water leaked out and then a huge gush! That was awesome. It felt like the hot water faucet had been turned, and it was coming out with that much pressure too. It would stop and then with another wave more and more water. I felt instant relief. That’s when my pressure waves changed and became more productive. I continued pushing in a squatting position. My pressure waves had picked up so much that I every time I had a wave I would ask Camille to look at me. It helped so much to make eye contact with her. I will always remember Camille’s beautiful brown eyes. She was so patient and loving with me during such a trying time.
Vickie and Camille sat on my bathroom floor in front of me and would press on my knees while I pushed on the toilet. Kelly was there reading scripts to me but at this point all I could concentrate on was pushing and Camille’s eyes. I just wanted to get into the bathtub. Someone started filling it up again. When the water turned off and the bathtub was full Camille said that I could get in after 5 more contractions. I wasn’t keeping track but after awhile it was finally time to get in the tub. The warm water immediately helped relax my muscles. I was feeling a lot of back pressure so I asked Mike to press on my back. It helped tremendously; I even wanted him to keep it up between pushing.
I could feel my baby move down my birth canal, and it was very intense. I finally had gotten into the swing of things and I knew my baby would be here very soon, and then I could stop pushing. I kept thinking that I was feeling the “ring of fire” and any minute he would emerge and Camille would announce that my baby was here, but it kept on going. I was picturing his body coming down through me and I knew I had a lot of work to do. It hurt to push but I knew I couldn’t stop because he was almost here.
I would compare how I was feeling to when you are working so hard with every ounce of your being to finish a really important task and it’s almost complete. You are more exhausted than you have ever been in your entire life but you just have to “push” through all the pain and exhaustion because you know the finish line is right up ahead. You just have to keep going, even though you want to stop, you can’t because you’ve worked too hard for this moment. So yes pushing hurt, but not so much that I even considered quitting. I had worked so hard for this moment, SO much prayer, research, time and tears to have my baby the way I wanted him to be born there was no way I was going to quit. I was doing it. I pushed with every bit of strength I had and Camille would reward my efforts with praise that really helped keep me going.
When Camille said that she could see hair and that my baby wasn’t breech, it took me a few minutes to register or even care what that meant. (Looking back I think he must have turned head down when I did the rebozo and listened to the Hypnobabies Turn Baby Turn track.) First that Matthew was coming headfirst and second if she could see hair then I was almost done!
I continued pushing on my hands and knees for a while when all of a sudden I wanted to sit back in the tub. The room was full of excitement and I wanted a better view. All I could see was a head full of dark hair. I don’t remember hurting anymore, I was so motivated to meet by baby, I only pushed one more time and his head was all the way out, and then a little more to get his body out. Camille handed him directly to me. I cried. It was amazing, Matthew was here and we had done it together!
Matthew’s birth was so empowering. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done physically and emotionally. The past 9 months have been very emotional and life changing. My journey to Matthew’s birth has been long, hard and very lonely at times. Since Matthew’s birth Mike has expressed many times how great it was not to have surgery, and that I am home recovering so quickly.
It has been easier for us to bond with the new baby as a family since I didn’t have a long hospital stay. Mike is amazed at what my body was able to do. He understands more of why it was so important for me to birth at home. A few days before Matt was born Mike and I were discussing the birth and some of his fears. He told me that my first OB had told him that because I had a heart shaped uterus that I would always have to have c-sections.
It was pretty cute the way he announced very shortly after Matthew was born, “Don’t ever tell my wife that she can’t do something, because she WILL DO IT!” I am so happy with this birth experience. It was better than I imagined. And even though my first two births were not ideal I wouldn’t trade them because I have learned so much. I would have never sought out anything different. I would not have become a doula or sought out the care of a midwife or had a home birth. I believe that birth challenges us and changes us. And we can do hard things!