The Birth Story: Foster’s frank breech home birth

Here at the beginning of a life you see the funniest things.

We woke up this morning and both agreed Foster’s face had changed overnight. So, link I better post before time slips away from us… here are a few of his faces right now.

The cringe.

TheCringe

The almost smile– a reflex at this point, order but hey, isn’t it cute?

AlmostSmiling?

The gaze.

Gazing

The cross eye.

CrossEye

Justallaroundperfect

 

And the “Where’s Daddy?”

WithDad2

Foster is as happy as can be. Easy, easy, easy so far… he practically sleeps through the night, aside from waking up to eat – but then he’s right back out again.

xoxo,

Alaina
Here at the beginning of a life you see the funniest things.

We woke up this morning and both agreed Foster’s face had changed overnight. So, adiposity I better post before time slips away from us… here are a few of his faces right now.

The cringe.

TheCringe

The almost smile– a reflex at this point, approved but hey, isn’t it cute?

AlmostSmiling?

The gaze.

Gazing

The just all around perfect.

CrossEye

Foster is as happy as can be. Easy, easy, easy so far… he practically sleeps through the night, aside from waking up to eat – but then he’s right back out again.

xoxo,

Alaina
Here at the beginning of a life you see the funniest things.

We woke up this morning and both agreed Foster’s face had changed overnight. So, visit I better post before time slips away from us… here are a few of his faces right now.

The cringe.

TheCringe

The almost smile– a reflex at this point, approved but hey, isn’t it cute?

AlmostSmiling?

The gaze.

Gazing

The just all around perfect.

CrossEye

Foster is as happy as can be. Easy, easy, easy so far… he practically sleeps through the night, aside from waking up to eat – but then he’s right back out again.

xoxo,

Alaina
Seth and I decided, mind after our 20 week ultrasound with a doctor, look to stop seeing a physician and exclusively see our midwives. The doctor gave us his blessing as I was completely healthy with zero complications anticipated in Foster’s birth. Now, we are torn on whether or not that was the right decision.

Every girl’s dream labor

With everyone telling us how awful labor is our entire lives, it’s hard to believe the experience can actually be awesome. But it can. I can now attest to that. I had been anxiously awaiting mine, scared I wouldn’t be able to handle the pain. After all, I had screamed “epidural” after about twenty minutes of labor with Benjamin, thanks in large part to the Pitocin. But still… could I handle it this time around? In my home? With no medication in sight? Our midwives assured me that my body would know exactly what to do. In fact, all I had to do was get out of the way, mentally speaking.

The day started like every other had for weeks. We made the kids breakfast, packed their lunches and then sent them out the door and off to school. As soon as they left, I felt an incredible urge to clean the house… again. I had been cleaning for weeks but suddenly everything looked filthy. Just a few minutes into the cleaning, my contractions started. I had experienced several false labors so we didn’t officially call it until they were a predictable 14 and then 10 minutes apart.

As I went from room to room, meticulously cleaning every inch of the space– from the walls and the base boards to the cobwebs in the ceilings, Seth started filling the birthing tub. Sweetly and quietly, he went about the business of the expectant father and spared me from any stress. So it was all day. Me cleaning, baking cookies and even dancing in my living room between contractions and Seth preparing everything else, while also timing my contractions and giving me a head’s up when they were about to hit. When they did I would lean into whatever was near. A table, a kitchen counter, and he would apply pressure with both hands to my lower back. Once it was over, I would hug him, breathing him in and choking back tears of pure joy. Honestly, labor was the most natural high I have ever experienced.

By 2:30 p.m. the contractions were five minutes apart and the kids were back from school. As soon as they walked in, we told them the exciting news. Now what? They all asked. When will he get here? After a few minutes, some freshly baked cookies and a new Wii game, the boys lost interest. But Lily stayed near me, watching closely. My sister-in-law Sarah showed up soon afterwards to keep an eye on the children for the rest of the evening. When the midwives arrived around 3:00 p.m. I was five centimeters dilated. As the contractions intensified I kept busy cleaning. And finally, when pushing my back up against the wall or leaning against Seth didn’t help, I got into the tub.

Lily was fascinated and took a position on the bed where she would remain until Foster was born. The boys, however, came and went. Benjamin spent some time in the tub with me. He was so sweet, trying to comfort me during contractions. But soon, they became incredibly intense, and that’s when he ducked out, too worried about me being in pain. The contractions came up around my back and to the front, waves of pain that I knew – thanks to Seth – would soon be over. Even though they were incredibly intense, I never had that moment of hopelessness a lot of women described in birth stories I had read. But, it did take me a few of these transition contractions to figure out how exactly to beat them. Instead of succumbing to the pain I decided to fight back. I mentally decided to kick each contraction’s ass, so to speak. And between them, I would escape and day dream about a new pair of Frye boots I had bought the day before, my post-pregnancy gift to myself. I know it sounds ridiculous, but visions of these boots on my feet got me through the worst moments.

The midwives checked my dilation and said I could push whenever I felt ready. During one of the first few pushes I felt a huge movement in my belly. We now theorize that this is when Foster flipped into a Frank breech position. Dr. Google calls this a “surprise breech“.  A few pushes later I heard the midwives say they felt a hand instead of a head. We found out soon it wasn’t his hand, but his little butt and male parts. Completely wrapped up in my contractions and my Frye boots, I didn’t register what this meant. I also didn’t notice the midwives tell Seth that Foster’s heart rate had dropped to 130 from 150. Between the next contraction they all told me I would have to get out of the tub. Seth lifted and guided me onto a birthing stool. It was here that Kelly, one of the midwives, told me Foster was breech.

“What? What are we doing to do?” I was stunned.

“You’re going to have this baby, that’s what we’re going to do. Now I need you to push really hard on the next one.”

Fortunately, thanks to another impending contraction I didn’t have time to panic. And besides, I could feel he was just a few pushes away from being born.

Sure enough, within three more pushes, he arrived.

After the dust had settled and we were lying in our own bed with our beautiful, precious baby boy completely healthy and safe in our arms, Seth and I wondered what risk we took by having a home birth. Had we been in a hospital, we most certainly would have been rushed to an emergency C-section, as most hospitals and physicians do not have insurance policies that cover vaginal breech births. But how long would that have taken? The midwives reacted quickly and moments later he was born. But had my pelvis been a bit smaller or had I lost strength to push, the consequences could have been deadly and there wouldn’t have been time to get an ambulance to the house and to a hospital.

Our heads were spinning and we felt like we would had we just narrowly missed a catastrophic accident on the highway.

At the end of the day, Foster’s birth was perfect in every way. He is here, he is happy, he is healthy and so am I, with zero tears or other injuries. My recovery has been so fast and I love that we were here in our house. But would I recommend a home birth to others? Would I have another? I’m not sure. Had we been in a hospital, the outcome could have been worse.

We just won’t ever know and now we can only be thankful and just enjoy our little Foster.

xoxo,

Alaina

Other frank breech surprise home birth stories I found while digging on Dr. Google:

Birth Without Fear Blog
Mama Birth Blogspot

 

20 Responses to The Birth Story: Foster’s frank breech home birth
  1. Lee Reply

    Alaina, you had my heart racing! 11 years ago I had a very similar birth scare but everything worked out beautifully – like you! Its easy to think of the “what if”. But the real part is you have your gorgeous baby boy. I am sure he smells delicious :). Enjoy every minute! And thank you for sharing. xo Lee

    • alaina Reply

      Yes, he does!

  2. Abby Reply

    I actually think your birth story is less about home vs hospital, and more about real and useful training of birth professionals. if you had been in a hospital, being seen by a doctor, they would have rushed you in for a C-section, not because it is the safest option, but because it would be their only options. Doctors do not train and learn how to deliver breech babies, frank, footling, or any other way a baby chooses to present. While you and Foster would have most likely been fine after the C-section, you would have undergone major surgery. Instead, you were being cared for by well trained and competent professionals, who realizing the situation had changed, were able to roll with the punches and get the baby delivered ASAP. What a wonderful thing, that they knew what to do, and could do it, for both you and Foster. If doctors could deliver breech babies, and had that as tool in their belt, women would have better care overall, even if the breech delivery was a rare option. But, by limiting the scope of training for doctors, who deliver the vast vast majority of babies, women in general lose out on quality care. Because the doctors only have a sledge hammer as their back up, when sometimes you might need a wrench, or a pliers, or a nice deep breath.

    Mazal Tov!! (Jewish congratulations) I hope he is as delicious in person as he is on screen

    • alaina Reply

      This is absolutely correct. Thank you for adding this comment to the story. It’s funny because – back in the day – my father, a family physician, delivered babies at home all of the time. He would even flip breech babies. Now, doctors aren’t trained in abnormal vaginal births at all. Again, thank you for this.

      • Amy M Reply

        During my twin pregnancy baby A in proper position. Baby B breech. First daughter born and then OB put his hand in my uterus and literally turned my second daughter. Most painful 9 minutes of my life! But was so happy I did not face a vaginal AND C-section! Congrats on your beautiful baby and gorgeous house/property!

  3. farr Reply

    First, congratulations!! Second, thank you for sharing your birth story–I love labor stories, and oddly enough I hated being pregnant but I loved labor! Best news of all though is that things worked out for the best… Perhaps there were some guardian angels at fosters birth in addition to the midwives:)

    • alaina Reply

      Yes, my father must have have been there. I am certain of that.

  4. bonding a blended familyHeather Reply

    Your story had me mesmerized. It sounds like you had some amazingly competent midwives and an excellent coach in your husband. I had never considered that a home birth would mean having your other children at home, too! So sweet that Benjamin wanted to be in the water with you and Lily stayed nearby as well. :) I think having my kids around may have stressed me out, though!

    • alaina Reply

      The midwives were amazing, I think their decades of experience would keep them calm in just about any situation. And they have yet to lose a baby or a mother. And yes, Seth was remarkably calm and steady for me the entire time.

  5. Missy David Reply

    So proud of you for trusting your body and trusting birth! Thank you for sharing your story! I would love for you to share it on my blog! http://www.honeybeemama.com

  6. Holly Reply

    What I find sad is that women have to choose one or the other in most cases: a home birth or a hospital birth. How great would it be if you could’ve had the midwives and tub in the hospital with surgeons and an OR right there, just in case? I know that takes the comforting home aspect out of it, but done properly, it could be the best of both worlds. Today, even in situations where you can have midwives in the hospital, it’s sadly a far cry from a normal midwife-assisted birth.

    • alaina Reply

      YES! You are right, Holly. And in many states – like Iowa, I know because my brother just had his baby there – the midwives and hospitals play very nicely. But, Ohio, is not one of them.

  7. Holly Reply

    Addendum: Not that I think hospital births are preferable by any means. I fully support home birth as an option for those who choose it! I’m just talking about a wider variety of options. And as someone who was considered higher risk and not given the option of a non-hospital birth, it would’ve been cool to have had the option of midwives with doctors nearby to call on if needed.

  8. TexasBobbi Reply

    I am so happy here is here safe and sound. I am glad that everything worked out for the best.

  9. Alli Steen Reply

    Wow Alaina, you had me on the edge of my seat. I’m so glad that things worked out the way they did. Well done mama! Much love to you and yours. x

  10. Heather Reply

    In Dayton, just down the road, we have a great birth center inside a major hospital were CNM’s attend the births (or a doctor depending who is on call) and it is pretty great. Only a few medical practices in the area will deliver there and they have great birthing rooms with huge tubs and real beds! I had my last baby there, and it was a wonderful experience, but it still isn’t the same as being at home! If you want to check it out it is: Miami Valley Hospital, Family Beginnings.

    • alaina Reply

      Thank you for posting this!!

  11. becklist Reply

    Congratulations! You did it! I love the Fry boots part! So funny and I also totally get it. A great visualization exercise! I commented before on how I also had a homebirth. It was also similar in that some things happened during the birth that gave me pause after the fact and the “would I recommend a homebirth? would I have another homebirth?” line of thinking crossed my mind a lot in the months after my baby was born. So I totally get that too. Now, I think that I would be thinking that whether I had a home or hospital birth. I think it’s just all a part of it.

  12. Leah Harris Reply

    I hear you, Alaina. I had my son via a homebirth and it was an 18 hour labor… he was not breech but he was rotated the wrong way…which made it very difficult and intense. I am certain that if I was in a hospital I would have ended up with an emergency C-section. In the end, I had a happy, healthy baby, but had some of the same questions you had. Congratulations on a successful home birth!!!

  13. Val Reply

    The one advantage that homebirth will always have is that, your home is clean!
    Hospitals have dangerous germs. There have been several news articles asking if we are now in a post antibiotic stage.
    I like being barefoot in my own house, giving birth wherever I want and not worrying about viruses/bacteria and if the cleaning crew missed a spot.

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