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That's Not a Head! An Accidental Breech Homebirth Story

Chelsea and Martin were super excited to find out that after two boys, they were expecting their first girl. Chelsea’s previous births had been vaginal deliveries with the use of pitocin for augmentation and epidurals for pain management, so she was planning on a natural birth in the hospital this time. She had seen her OB just days before delivery and baby seemed to be head down and ready for labor. Chelsea had even been experiencing some prodromal labor for a few days. Her body was getting ready!

On the night of March 25th, Chelsea started feeling true labor contractions around 10pm. At 12:20, she called me, feeling pretty certain it was time for me to come over. I arrived at Martin & Chelsea’s house shortly before 1pm and found Chelsea upstairs in her bed, laying on her left side. She was laboring beautifully! When I walked in, I could hear by her breathing pattern that she was in the middle of a contraction. I waited quietly. At the end of the contraction, she rolled over to face me and said, “I think I want the epidural!” with a big smile on her face. I giggled a little, and told her that most women say that when they’re in active labor but that she was the boss and I was there to support her in whatever birthing options she chose.

Chelsea got up from the bed to get dressed and to gather last minute things for her hospital bag. Their friend arrived to take her

older two children, and we were able to capture one last family of 4 photo. Chelsea laughed in between contractions and kissed her big boys before they left. As we were making our way downstairs, I asked Chelsea when was the last time she had eaten, knowing that she wouldn’t be allowed food once we arrived at the hospital. It had been over 5 hours since her last meal, so she wanted to cook eggs before we left. While cooking, she would pause for contractions, rocking and breathing deeply… in and out… in and out.

She continued to laugh and chit chat in between contractions, so I honestly thought we’d get over to the hospital (which was only about 5 miles away) and she’d be around 6 centimeters, she’d get the epidural, and we’d all rest. Boy was I wrong!

When the eggs were done, Chelsea asked Martin to put them in a container so that she could eat them in the car on the way, and she ran to the restroom. From the restroom I heard that well-known-to-birthworkers sound… the GRUNT. I hurried down the hall to the restroom to find Chelsea mid-push on the toilet.

We made eye contact, and she told me that the baby was coming. I agreed with her and asked her to stand up to see if I could see the baby. It was evident that the she was very close, but I couldn’t see any of the baby from the outside yet so I suggested that we try to get her to the couch to lay down. Martin called 911 and was able to give the dispatcher their address and a summary of the situation. On the way down the hallway towards the couch, Chelsea told me that she didn’t want to lay down on her couch because it was new! We got to the back of the couch just in time for her to lean over it for the next contraction. With this one, her bag of waters (which was still intact) started to bulge. I called Martin over and told him to trade with me - I would need to take over communicating with the dispatcher so that he could catch his baby. Chelsea instinctively started to bear down, and her bag of waters ruptured, exposing the tiniest baby bottom.

Trying my best to remain calm, I told the dispatcher that the baby was Frank Breech. I could hear her flipping through the pages of her manual trying to find instructions for delivery, but the baby didn’t give us time for instructions. Martin held her little bottom as she made her way down. Her legs came out and she was dangling there for a second or two, supported by her daddy. With her mama’s next big push, her shoulders and her head slid out in to Martin’s hands. Alecia Marie was born at 1:52am on March 26, 2018.

Baby Alecia was a little floppy at birth, so we stimulated her with towels and her mama (an RN) gave her a few breaths. The dispatcher was pretty insistent that I find a “string or something” to tie the cord with, but I let her know that as the doula, I didn’t feel comfortable doing that and the parents just wanted to wait for the paramedics to arrive.

Colorado Springs Fire Department was there within minutes of delivery, and they were absolutely wonderful. They let Martin cut the cord and did a great job keeping mama and baby skin-to-skin on the strecher and in the ambulance. They took them both over to the hospital, and thankfully, both were healthy and glowing. I put my Homebirth Birth Assistant training to good use and stayed behind for clean up! After the house was back in order, I met the family at the hospital.

Birth is so unpredictable. It is raw and it is real and it is powerful. It can be fast and furious, but it can also be an “unexpected, beautiful home birth experience,” in the words of sweet Chelsea.

Congratulations Martin & Chelsea!

Amanda Smith, CD(DONA) amandasmithdoula@gmail.com

601.818.6718

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