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Ninety-seven percent of babies are head down by the time labor sets in, but of the remaining 3 percent, the vast majority are delivered via planned c-section. Soon-to-be-mom-of-four, Britt, however, was determined to buck the trend.
Britt was 28 weeks pregnant with twins when an ultrasound revealed that one baby was breech and the other was in transverse lie. It wasn't exactly what she was wanting to hear, particularly since she had been hoping to deliver the babies vaginally.
She had already had to abandon her plans of having a home birth - she'd welcomed her second child at home after a traumatic hospital experience with her first - when she was unable to find a midwife who would be available to assist. The thought of having to delivery via a c-section, she says, "terrified" her. She tried chiropractic care and other techniques in hopes of turning the breech baby, but had no luck.
She was just entering her third trimester and still struggling to come to terms with the thought of a cesarean when Britt found a health care provider who was willing to assist with her twins' vaginal breech delivery.
"Finally, there was hope!" Britt says. "I felt a new sense of energy that I had lost with the previous weeks."
At 38 weeks, having "hit the multiple pregnancy wall," Britt had her membranes swept. One week later and still pregnant, she was induced. The Pitocin also had little effect, though. Those babies seemed to be staying put! Finally, they decided to manually break her water - that seemed to kick-start things.
It wasn't long before the first twin arrived - bum-first!
Doula and birth photographer Jennifer Wakefield was on hand to snap photos of Britt's long-awaited arrivals. If you've ever wondered exactly what a breech birth looks like, you're about to find out.
Despite baby Daniel's unusual position, Britt says he arrived after only a few pushes, born at 11:49 a.m. weighing 7 pounds, 5 ounces: "He came out butt first. I was surprised that this birth did not feel any different from my other babies. I expected it to be a bit more intense. While of the ring of fire was a lot more intense than I remembered, that could have been because I did not give birth in the water this time."
Daniel's little brother, meanwhile, was still sideways in the womb. It didn't take long for Britt's contractions to kick in again.
"I was then told to get on my back to check Samuel's position," she recalls. "Now this, by far, was the worst part of labor. At this point, I was in agony and screaming. They soon found that Samuel had flipped transverse, so the OB suggested that he manually be moved to a breech presentation. When she reached in, she could not feel the baby, only the water bag. So, she reached in and broke the bag and immediately he flipped head down! I was thrilled!"
"He pretty much came out in one push! It was done!"
Samuel was born at 12:02 p.m., 13 minutes after his brother, weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces.
While Jennifer has attended many births during her career, this one definitely stands out.
"Being a part of this experience was incredible. The persistence and confidence [Britt] had while the rest of us reserved concern. I’d be lying if I didn’t question the possible outcomes and 'what if’s.' But she did it!" she writes on her web site, MyDoulaHeart.com, adding, "Be persistent! Exhaust all options! Find peace with whatever birth you choose or need to choose due to medical reasons."
I love birth stories, and this one is particularly inspiring. Whether c-section or vaginal delivery, home birth or hospital, if a mother feels heard and informed and empowered to make choices, that's what makes a birth experience a positive one.
Thanks to Jennifer Wakefield for sharing these amazing photos with us. Be sure to follow her on Facebook and on Instagram to see more of her work.
Was your baby breech?
All photos from Mydoulaheart.com Photography.
This post was originally published in November, 2016
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.