Would you want an unskilled attendant to care for you at your birth? The answer is of course not, nobody would! Today in our U.S. hospitals, many doctors and midwives do not have the adequate skills to deliver a breech baby. This is so sad! Why does the U.S. have this policy? To put it simply, breech birth skills are dying here and in other countries. Like you, I also ask the question, “Why are they dying”. One of the big proponents of this was the ‘Term Breech Trial’ that was finished in 2000 that has since been countered the ‘PREMODA’ study. The concluding evidence says, “A breech vaginal homebirth is possible with a skilled attendant even though it is against the status quo.”
Medical staff that did not heed the newest evidence guided me.
I sincerely concluded I was safest in a hospital for my first birth.In the beginning when my husband and I found out we were expecting, we were so excited. This being our first pregnancy, we did not know what to expect. First, we listened to friends and eventually started reading books, etc. In addition, I knew my aunt had a natural birth in a hospital and she recommended that I read the Bradley Method. I began reading it to prepare for my birth. Initially I still did not know if I wanted a hospital or home birth. “What was the best choice?” I asked. Next, I began researching, calling my insurance company to find out the most economical route. I still remember my Aunt Carol telling me “you can do this, you used to be a BMX rider, don’t worry about it!” Those words of encouragement would stick with me while I continued to research. In addition, at that time, the pain of labor intimidated me and I liked the option of having something to take the edge off just in case it was unbearable, so I thought.
I found out what we are always told by the mainstream is not always the case.
Initially I was not planning a homebirth, but thought a hospital birth would be best for our first baby. I finally decided on the Madison Midwives at Meriter Hospital. At the time, I knew they could give me the most options for pain medication. Later I learned through the Business of Being Born that an epidural and even a narcotic would just raise risk for C-section and avoidable interventions. After some thought I ended up planning to do a water birth at Meriter. I also took Meriter’s water birth class. During the class question time, we covered the regulations and allowances for water birth. I remember it came up that if the baby was breech, you could not have a water birth, but instead needed a cesarean section. This was both surprising and alarming to me at the time because my baby had been breech at all my previous appointments.
My Heavenly Father had intervened all the way for baby, husband and me.
The deciding week came and at 37 weeks, he was still breech so they wanted to set up an ESV (aversion technique) trying to turn him. If he did not turn, they said they would set up a cesarean section for me at 39 weeks. At this point, I was very concerned. I started spending most of my time researching and calling providers to see if there was an alternative. I knew that the Bradley Method book had stated that the current research states that cesarean is not the only option for breech birth as long as your provider is skilled in it. I began my extensive search for provider that would support me and all were turning me away. On Spinning Babies.com I stumbled across a doctor in my state that would attend breech births, but he was a daunting four hours away. What was I to do?
Despite the long drive, we decided to do an external aversion with Dr. Hartung who specialized in breech birth. Seth took a day off work to be at the appointment Monday. The doc did an ultrasound and said baby was in good frank breech position and on the smaller side, which was good for our situation. He told me of the potential need for a cesarean section during or after the procedure. I was concerned and considered not doing it, but decided to give it a go. It did not work.
The whole procedure was uncomfortable and frightening when the monitor gave a false impression that baby’s heart rate was dropping. On our four-hour drive home, I was unsettled the whole way. Seth and I talked and he said he wanted me to try one last time to find a closer provider who would help us. I agreed. The next day I made more phone calls and though I called a midwife for the Amish, Chris. She was willing to work with me!
Trusting God’s strength and not my own gave me comfort, confidence and hope.
My estimated due date was February 8, 2014. My labor started on, February 3, 2014, in the late morning. I waited to call the midwife until they were more regular and I determined I was probably actually in labor. They felt like heavy menstrual cramps. I called my midwife, Chris and told her I thought I was in labor and I would try to take a nap to see if it would go away. The cramps did not go away but got more intense as the day progressed. My mother in law Linda began preparing us dinner because I could no longer walk through my contractions. At around nine at night, we left for the birth center. My doula was following close behind us all the way.
Half way to Dalton, Wisconsin my bag of water broke in the car! I did not know what that meant so I called my doula. She stayed on the phone with me the whole time helping me breath through the contractions. “Will I have the baby in the car?” I asked. Mae, my doula assured me I wouldn’t and stayed on the phone and ended up hitting a deer! Her car wasn’t even hurt and she kept going. I felt so bad! We were glad she was okay. I prayed the whole time that we would make it there! Billie Joe (one of the three midwives who were there) was there to welcome me and help me into the house. At first, I didn’t want to get into the water, but once I did, I felt so much more control over my movements. The water helped me move freely and relax! It seemed like moments later and Cynthia, my other supporting midwife arrived.
During my labor, I was supported by my sweet husband and four wonderful women who knew how labor worked and with skilled help in breech delivery. I was helped through each contraction, but my mind was focused on God knowing He was with me. I had a heart of gratitude the whole time and “God is so Good” was my birth song that kept me focused. Our blessed son Jedidiah Dalton Kauffeld was born breech at 2:06 a.m. on February 4th, 2014 without any complications. He weighed 6 pounds and 10 ounces. Since this day, I will never be the same!
They all told me my baby and I needed a cesarean surgery, but we were so thankful there was another option for us and what I learned through this experience was one of the most transforming events in my life.
How would you feel if you were told you needed to schedule a C-section because your doctor or care provider did not have the skills to help you? Is it fair to put babies and women’s health beneath the doctors’ or even women’s convenience and fear of insurance companies at times? I beg you, we must think again! We must challenge the status quo that says an automatic cesarean for breech without looking at the individual woman and pregnancy. Almost all hospitals in Wisconsin turned me away except one and even there the hospital did not allow it. After all long, desperate scrambled search I found what I needed as a last result. After asking most of the midwives in my area, I found only one team that would help me. My gracious midwives said they would give me a trial of labor. No birth is guaranteed but we must make informed decisions for ourselves. I was so thankful and relieved that someone gave me an option to choose a natural birth. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life!
That decision changed my perspective forever.
I learned that God designed women’s’ bodies to push out babies even in a variation of normal position such a breech! I am forever thankful and changed that I was able to have a natural breech birth while most of the hospitals near me do a cesarean delivery despite the current research. God worked this obstacle out for my good because Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Also, I’m thankful for God’s gift of salvation to me. In the Bible, Romans 6:23 says,” For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” During my labor, I knew that the One who the Father raised from the dead was guiding me and with me the whole time! Romans 10:9-10 says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” My peace and eternal security are based on the previous promise! Will you ask God to give you that same peace and security through Jesus, His Son? He is calling you today, just as I feel He is calling me to be a midwife to help those in need. If you don’t, you have forfeited a free gift. If I don’t, then who else will?