Finding out our baby was breech completely rocked my world. I couldn't believe that my perfect home birth was not going to happen. I was so committed to having a home birth that I started to research everything that I could about natural breech birth. I found out a lot of things in that research and the most important was that the reason most hospitals in the western world recommended a c section for breech babies was due to the findings of a 30 year old Canadian study. I then discovered that the Canadian study was flawed in its design. The women used often had other conditions such as pre eclampsia or placenta praevia and that the women were in a hospital situation, being monitored, lying on their backs and not being allowed to move around. All factors that are contra indicated for a breech birth. It is any wonder that a C section turned out to be the safest option. I couldn't believe that no more recent or better designed research had been undertaken since this one flawed study. As far as the medical profession was concerned, this was a definitive study and 30 years later, trainee obstetricians were accepting its validity without question or exploration. I had the pleasure of meeting one such trainee obstetrician at Guys hospital in London. He was trying to convince me that I should have my baby in hospital. I responded with "As soon as I walk in these doors you will have me on my back and on the way to theatre for a c section before I can even draw breath" He spluttered and then said indignantly, you can try and have your baby naturally and then he quoted the Canadian study. I told him what I knew of the study and then he threw in his trump card, "Well if you are willing to risk the life of your unborn child....." At this I nearly exploded in rage and stormed out of the hospital, more determined than ever to birth her at home!
I also read from cover to cover Maggie Bank's book, Breech Birth, Woman Wise. Her incredible wisdom and experience convinced me once and for all that I could birth my breech baby at home. The only issue was that I had to hire independent midwives. I feel so incredibly grateful that we were financially able to afford two very experienced midwives, who offered us the most wonderful support from the moment we hired them @ 36 weeks to several weeks after the birth.
Their confidence, calm demeanor and wisdom in birth allayed all of our fears, even my mother's. I then just had to grit it out while friends from all around offered all manner of judgements, fears and "just you wait until you are screaming for an epidural". I metaphorically put my fingers in my ears and went la, la, la, la, la.
Interestingly, Zenya's birth was my most text book, everything progressed just like all the books said and she was born safely at home in "normal" time frames for a first baby. At no stage did I feel the need for pain relief or other interventions. Even though I had never birthed a baby before, my body instinctively knew what to do. Second stage (pushing) was a little long at 2 1/2 hours and I know now that was due to me holding back. The energy and power of the contractions so blew me away that I felt that I couldn't completely go with them in case my body ripped in two. Once I decided to really work with the energy then everything happened and she was born 20 mins later. The difference with a breech delivery is that you have to birth ALL of the baby as the largest part, the head, comes last, however as my midwife told me, there is an advantage to having the smaller part pave the way and create the opening just like a wedge.
The Moral of this story is DON'T just accept what you are told at face value, do your own research. The truth is you don't have to have a lot of knowledge about natural birth to know more than most of the physicians and obstetricians out there. Remember their expertise is trauma and surgery!