Breech In Labour Caesarean Birth

This is the story of *Jane, one of the members of the Home Birth Support Group UK and how her planned home birth followed a different path after her little one was discovered to be persistently breech. The lack of communication, the lack of support for either a home breech birth or a confident hospital breech meant that an informed decision was made by our member for a planned breech in labour caesarean.

After learning through myself and other group members what was possible a decision was made to go for that unicorn of all births – a planned in labour caesarean, this turned out to be a wonderful, positive experience, after a lot of heartache and heartbreak along the way.

This is her journey – in her own words.

July 16  So I the people I’ve told that I am hoping to have a home birth have been supportive and said things like “how lovely” “how exciting”. No one has actually put it down, maybe more questioned why and I’ve explained my reasons. Then I had my first negative comment. Yesterday, my sister was actually telling someone about it and they said to her “that’s really dangerous having her first at home because the midwives won’t know how she is during labour”. My sister defended it and said all labours are different anyway.

Click HERE for more information on National and Local Birth Pool and Tens hire.

Then today I was telling someone I was hoping for a homebirth with relaxing music and candles , and someone over heard and said to me “when that 100/100 pain kicks in, you won’t care about candles!” I just laughed it off. I find it so annoying that people need to try and put a negative on it. I know they probably don’t realise how it affects me or they are maybe being realistic but it’s like I do a weeks listening to and readings positive stories and affirmations, only for someone to come along and mess it all up with their one comment.

July 28 – Had a private scan on Friday and was told baby is still breech (was told this at 28 weeks and now 30 weeks). The sonographer then said to me “Its nothing to worry about but baby needs to be turned by 34 weeks”. This is news to me, the 28 week scan at the hospital, I was told it’s nothing to worry about, it’s only early and baby’s can turn at last minute.” So why is this private sonographer giving me a 4 week time limit ??

August 21 – Feeling a bit deflated after seeing the midwife today. I’m 34 weeks and baby is still breech. She told me he “might move”. When I mentioned about home birth she said “are you sure you’re going to be able to cope?” I said “well I hope to, I wouldn’t know until I’m in the situation, but I would prefer my own environment than a hospital”. She then said there was no point in discussing my birth plan until 2 weeks time if baby has moved. The last midwife I see two weeks ago was really enthusiastic about it.

August 27 – Can any one recommend any breech baby Facebook pages for other women experiencing the same as what I am. I’ve had my heart set on a home birth but baby has been breech since 28 weeks, I’m now 35. I’ve been on the spinning baby website & trying out different positions but nothing seems to be working  🙁 I just feel a bit deflated that I’m going to end up having to have a caesarean section. It’s my first baby and I know c section can also be a positive experience but when you’ve got your heart set on something it’s really upsetting. I feel like I’ve failed already. 

September 4 – Looks like my home birth plan is out the window. I’m 36+2 . Had a presentation scan & consultant told me he is breech. She wanted to book me in for a ECV tomorrow, I said I wanted to wait til next week (in case of emergency caesarean section) so he will be full term and not classed as premature. She was really pushy and said a few days wouldn’t make a difference and that he would PROBABLY end up staying with me if born early. Hardly reassuring. I said I would rather wait til next week so now booked for next Wednesday. I was given a leaflet about breech babies and it basically said, vaginal birth would be risky to the baby, and a c section risky to me. C section could lead to complications in the future, as in more chance of still births, problems with the placenta and unlikely to be able to have another c section if I needed one. It also said if you have a ECV and it is successful and I labour vaginally, that it would more likely end up involving forceps or suction cups on the labour ward. Which literally sounds like my worse nightmare. My head is all over the place. It’s like I have no control over anything and that whatever I pick, it’s just the shit option . I’m going to try moxibustion and acupuncture before next Wednesday, and I’m hoping the ECV works. But if it doesn’t, I just feel lost. I need some advice.

September 6 – Just needed some advice really.

Was booked in for a ECV next Wednesday 37+2 but my partner realised he has been booked on a training course at work that’s 3 days long and the first day is the Wednesday, it’s a really big opportunity for him, and I’ve told him not to cancel it and I will have to change my ECV day. Anyway midwife just rung and asked how it went with the consultant and I told her I would be needing an ECV but I’ll have to change my day because I want my partner to be there. She told me 37 weeks is the latest they will do it and I need to think of mine and my baby’s safety and my partner needs to think about what’s more important. I didn’t even know what to say I was just shocked she would say something like that. Now I’m sitting here crying because I feel terrible for telling my partner to put his course first and I feel like a bad mum.

September 11 – Having an ECV today as baby is still breech. Writing up a c section birth plan just incase it end up in an emergency c section. Is there anything I am missing ? Bare in mind I want it quite calm and peaceful ?

After a failed ECV yesterday I have now been booked in for a c section for the 24th. The thought of a c section did upset me at first, which is why I tried for the ECV in the first place, but deep down I knew he wasn’t going to move, so i’m not hugely disappointed & I’ve got my head round it now and understand my baby is as stubborn as his mama, and I just want him out healthy and safely x.

September 15 – Feel quite guilty after my unsuccessful ECV last Thursday (37+3). I had a feeling he wasn’t t going to turn and I wish I had listening to my gut instinct. I have a c section booked for 24th sep (39+2) and part of me is telling me not to do it. What if he just is Just is t ready to come out yet? What if he hasn’t finished cooking? My EDD was originally 7th October (worked out by period dates) then they changed it after my first scan to 30th September. So if I was to go by my original dates, baby would be 38 +2 at c section. I just have a feeling I’m rushing things and baby isn’t ready. I know they tend to not to c section before 39 weeks because of breathing on their own, and c section they tend to have asthma/lung problem because they don’t get squeezed through the birth canal , leaving fluid on their lungs. So wouldn’t 39 +2 seem a bit risky ? I don’t know if maybe I’ve got these facts wrong. Just worried I will leave it too long and then Ill go into labour and it will then end in a chaotic emergency c section, as opposed to a “calm” planned one. I just need to think out loud a bit and could do with some kind of advice/reassurance xx

September 16 – Long shot but does any one know what type of breech this is?

The consultant drew it on my notes after my ECV. Didn’t even think to ask him the haste of everything. Was still pretty high off the gar and air and everything happened so quickly. I have a caesarean section booked for the 24th but I am really doubting it. After research I know there are a lot of downsides to a caesarean section and just to book a date for one as though I am getting my hair cut doesn’t sit right with me.

I don’t even know who I need to talk to or contact regarding my options. There’s such a lack of communication between me and the midwives. It was just “OK, ECV didn’t work – c section booked”. No-one actually asked me what I want or I felt or the benefits and risks etc. I feel like I have just been left in limbo with it all 🙁 – feeling quite crap today really.quite crap today really x.

September 18 – On my way to see the midwife today to tell her I don’t want my elective c section that’s booked for next Tuesday. I will be 39+2. My baby is breech, other than that, is there any medical reason I would “need” a c section at 39 weeks? I wanted to wait longer as I feel things are being rushed and forced upon me. I know the midwife is going to try and make me change my mind so just wanted some kind up back up x

September 26th – Spoke to a consultant at Queens. In a round about way he told me yes he would support a vaginal breach birth (vbb) but he couldn’t promise anyone confident or experienced in vbb in the past year would be present during my labour. I said to him well that is hardly reassuring is it? He told me that is the case in most hospitals as vbb are SO rare. I said to him it’s “so rare” because as soon as someone is told they’re baby is breech, you book them in for a c section, like what YOU did to me. I also said there are two other hospitals I know (st Thomas’s & royal London) that have the specialists & training and would support me and it’s very poor that Queens don’t have that service for women with breech baby’s. He asked me to question Shawn Walker & other people on the breech clinics as to how many VBB they have actually attended because it “can’t have been many.”  He then went on to tell me how risky vbb is, that I need to think of my baby’s health (love it when they drop that line), especially where I haven’t had children before, they don’t know if my body CAN have a vaginal birth let alone a Vbb. He told me he isn’t just saying this to me and he would tell his own daughters and family that vbb is far too risky and c section would be best. The consultant made it clear he was anti breech birth so I thought ok let’s talk about c section. I said to him there are benefits to go into labour before c section , stress hormones being released to help with bonding & so I know baby is ready, he said – “Baby doesn’t know they’re ready to come, they can just come, all baby is doing inside u now is gaining weight , he can come now here a no benefit in him staying inside u another day” ? I said baby’s don’t just fall out of u, there’s obviously some kind of communication between them and the body to indicate they are ready.? I mentioned breathing problems and asthma being at a higher rate in c section baby’s, he disagreed and said after 37 weeks “most baby’s r completely healthy and only a small percentage will have fluid on their lung” . I asked him about cord cutting by my partner, this isn’t allowed because of it being in a theatre , ok understandable ?, I mentioned skin to skin, he said they dry baby first because they’ve have a tendency to get cold and then my partner will hold him to me, I said no I want baby ON ME & he said okay the midwife can support u with that. Whatever that means. So yesterday was basically one big polite argument that ended up in him telling me he will phone me with a date for a c section for next week. When a “medical professional” is firing all these reasons at you to not have a VBB and that a c section is the safest and best option, what can you do? ? Shawn Walker (who I met with on Monday) did ask me to get a detailed scan from Queens and she left this request in my notes for him to see, so the consultant offered to arrange this For me, but because I was so annoyed at him I basically said what’s the bloody point if I’ve got to have a c section ?! Wish I had booked one now, but when but he rings me today I’m going to ask him to book one. So then at least I will know if VBB is at least possible. Anyway sorry for  the rant, feel like this page is my diary lol. & thank in advance any one who does bother to read and leave some kind of response ?. But yeah wide awake at half 5 in the morning feeling pretty pants about it all, giving up hope really ? x <<

October 9 – (Baby’s now 10 days old but I realised I didn’t post my birth story on this page, only breech birth, so for anyone that cares lol…)

Hello everyone. Haven’t posted in a while so thought I would update everyone. Met with a consultant at Royal London Hospital and she was more than happy to support my breech birth but she warned me there was more of a risk of brain damage in breech delivery. Went back to Queens (like to keep my options open) where the consultant who I had spoke with before completely changed his tune . In fact he apologised for our previous conversation and said he would support whatever I want to do & he was sorry if I felt he was being “pushy about caesarean section”. The head of midwifery also arranged for me to speak with a consultant midwife. So I sat with them both discussing my options, Queen’s would be happy to support whatever I wanted to do but that there may not be someone’s attending who has been to a breech labour within a year or at all. I told them I didn’t want to risk my baby’s safety, and I would never forgive myself if something went wrong. One thing I did want, was to go into labour.

I wanted to know more than anything that my baby was ready to come into the world. I said I wanted to labour then c section, The consultant (reluctantly) agreed this was possible, the midwife said it isn’t something they usually do but they would support what I wanted.

Sunday 29th September 2am I woke up to go to the toilet and my waters broke, I panicked and literally couldn’t speak , felt like I was dreaming (suppose this was shock), my mum rang the hospital, explained baby was breech and waters had broke and they told me to come in straight away.

Contractions started about 5am, and were coming 1 every 5 minutes until they took me to theatre. I did cry and felt immediate anxiety when going in there, but I just focused on seeing my baby and the fact I got the labour experience I wanted. I got to have delayed cord clamping and skin to skin. It might not have been the quiet non medical home birth I originally wanted but I got my baby here safely when HE was ready.

Thank you to everyone on this group for your support & kind words and giving me the strength to argue my corner & follow my gut  🙂 Really means a lot. 

If you have a life, birth or other story you would like to share, please email me HERE.

Samantha Says

In our Home Birth Support Group UK, it is vital that all our members are supported and that they are given the information they need to choose their birth pathways and a positive birth when the birth does not stray. We will never know why this baby was breech and stayed that way but I like to think the body and baby work together and this baby chose the way and time of his birth, an achievement of which his mother and father should be very proud.

The disempowering way in which *Jane was treated makes her achievement of an in labour planned caesarean birth all the more amazing, rather than having a planned caesarean at a different time.

There are other positive caesarean birth stories on my blog and also my post “Reclaiming Birth For All Women – Planning a Positive Caesarean Birth“.

Congratulations to *Jane and her partner on the birth of their beautiful baby boy.

(*name changed)

[widget id=”text-7″]

[widget id=”text-10″]

Photo of Samantha

About Samantha

Samantha Gadsden walks with women on their life’s journeys. She is an experienced Doula, based close to Cardiff in South Wales, mother to 4 children and wife to Eddie, more information can be found on her facebook page, Samantha Gadsden Doula and her website, Caerphilly DoulaSOS DoulaTelephone and online support is always available.

You can also join one of her network of supportive GROUPS.