Left Hospital to Deliver Breech Baby at Home

 37 weeks pregnant with Lochlan

Below is the original birth story I wrote a few days after Lochlan was born for Squat Magazine's first issue, Hello World - Summer 2011 seen here.

Reading this, looking back on that day and thinking about the events that took place I definitely had birth trauma mixed with pride and gratitude. I can't say I would not make the same choices again to bring Lochlan into the world but I'm grateful I don't have to. After publishing this a lot of people attacked me and I allowed it to stifle my voice but, no more. I believe in my actions even if they were scary. I believe in natural birth. I believe women are powerful and we are being made to feel otherwise. We are being made to fear what our bodies are naturally designed to do. Not all births are traumatic. Not all births are peaceful. Birth is raw and real. There are highs and lows. Each woman deserves a choice on how she births. This was the choice I made with my first son.

On March 20th around 10:30pm I had a contraction; having had multiple contractions in the previous weeks I did not think a whole lot about it. However, when it came I said to my body, “Keep it coming.” I had prayed several times that day that my son would be born on March 21st, which is a special day because my little sister Emma was born on that day. Around 11:30, 12:30, and 1:30 I had more.

David came home around 1:30am from work and I told him I had been having contractions about every hour for the past four hours.

He said, “What can we do to keep them coming? I’m ready for our son to be here.” I told him to do some reflexology on my feet, which he did for a little under an hour. At 2:00am I had another contraction that was much stronger than the previous ones.

A little while later I called my Doula, Naomi O’ Callaghan to let her know I was having contractions about every twenty minutes. She told me to take a shower or bath, drink a glass of wine and try to get some sleep because if it was time for him to come I would need as much energy as I could get. I got off the phone with her and immediately had an intense contraction. David went and got me a glass of wine that I tried to drink. I could not drink it and ended up throwing up the wine, so then I tried to sleep.

I was so excited and the contractions kept coming every 10 minutes, then every 7 minutes and then they got down to every 5 minutes. I had to have David call Naomi to let her know because I could no longer talk through them. David called Naomi and she decided it was a good time to come over. I got in the shower to relax. I’m not exactly sure what time this was but I think maybe around 5:30 or 6; after my shower I continued laboring in my bedroom.

Naomi showed up at the house around 7:30. She came into our room and I immediately felt more relaxed and excited knowing my son was on his way. She told me her apprentice Stephanie was sick and would not be coming but asked if her other apprentice Sheree Edwards could come; I told her of course. The contractions kept coming on stronger and stronger and the best way for me to relax through them was on my hands and knees spiraling my hips or standing up with Naomi doing hip compression (these made the pain decrease by about 70% it was amazing). After each contraction I allowed myself to relax and enjoy my down time. I thought about the journey my son was taking and reminded myself he needed me to be strong and brave.

At one point Naomi, David, and I went on a walk around the block to help my labor progress. We passed by a man that was watering his lawn and I had to stop due to a contraction. You could tell he had no idea what was going on; I remember the look on his face…shock and awe. When we got back to the house Naomi checked me and told me I was at a 4. She said if I wanted to get the most use out of the birthing tub that we should head to the hospital.

We got to the hospital around 10am. I walked in alone while David parked the car and Naomi got her supplies ready. I was going through the doors when a contraction came; a nurse rushed over to me and yelled for someone to get a wheel chair. I told her I was fine and she insisted. I said, “No! I prefer to walk.” She looked at me and said, “You’re a warrior woman I can respect that.”

I went up to the labor and delivery floor where they checked me in to a triage room to monitor the baby and check my dilation. The nurse had me put on one of those awful hospital gowns and into a bed. I immediately felt nervous and uncomfortable. It was not a welcoming environment. A nurse came in and started asking me all sorts of questions, which was very confusing. I was in labor mode and anyone who has been in labor knows your brain does not work the same as in your “normal” state. The nurse checked my dilation and said she could not feel the head of the baby so she ordered for me to have an ultrasound. Before they did the ultrasound they informed me that my Dr. was out of town and so the on-call Dr. would be doing my delivery and she was not comfortable with water births. I felt so much disappointment at that point I could barely breathe.

Then the ultrasound technician came in and discovered the baby was a frank breech, another rush of panic. She immediately said, “Your baby is breech I’m going to order an epidural for your caesarean.” I lost my breath and felt tears swelling in my eyes. I had such a healthy pregnancy and he was turned down the whole time. I could not get my head wrapped around this. I asked her to wait a minute. Then the on-call Dr. came in and said she would be doing the surgery. She then said, “We need to get your epidural going.” I again asked her to wait and she said, “For what?” I responded, “To get my head wrapped around this.” She said, “Your baby is breech do you know what that means?” David and I looked at each other, aggravated that she felt the need to talk to us like we are uninformed parents. David asked me what I wanted to do. I asked him to get Naomi so I could talk to her. I did not want to have a cesarean but was not sure what my options would be. I asked the Dr. if I could get up and move around and try to adjust him myself and she said no I had to stay in the bed.

When Naomi came in I was crying. I could barely think through the contractions and being in the bed was making them so much worse. The nurse had been standing there staring at me, obviously wanting me to get a move on it. David asked Naomi what my options were and told her we did not want to have a cesarean. She saw that I was very upset and started calling Dr.’s to see if any of them would do a vaginal breech delivery at the hospital, none would.

I wanted to run away. I did not want to be at the hospital anymore. I had the strongest urge to get the hell out of there. My maternal instincts kicked in. I felt like if I stayed there my child and I would be in danger. Naomi then started calling midwives to see if any were available that had experience in breech deliveries. She finally was able to get in touch with one, Marvelys Lopez, who had actually delivered Naomi’s last child.

Naomi informed Marvy of the situation and asked her if she felt comfortable and confident in delivering a frank breech. She said yes but wanted to talk to use about the risks. David spoke with her and got all the pros and cons. After weighing them I decided I wanted to leave the hospital and deliver at home. We informed Marvy that we were broke and would not be able to pay her right away and she said, “The most important thing is that this baby is born into the world with love and care.” David and I could not have agreed more.

I told the nurse I was leaving and immediately asked to get unhooked from the machines. I had to sign an against medical advice form to leave. As we were walking out you could have heard a pin hit the floor. The nursing staff was in shock that I was leaving the hospital. I was so sure everything was going to be okay with the delivery. I knew it was a “risk” but I felt in my heart it was the right decision, even if it was against medical advice. As I was walking to the car I had another very strong contraction a nurse that was on break ran up to me and asked if I needed a wheelchair. I said, “No thank you I’m going home.” I will never forget the look on her face. It was priceless, one of complete confusion and disdain.

On the way home David called his parents, Gene and Diana and told them that we were coming home to deliver and that we were going to set up the tub outside. Once we got home everything after that became a blur because I was in active labor, but what I can remember is we arrived at the house and I immediately went outside and laid over a chair to labor while waiting for the midwife.