Hayley attended my online pregnancy yoga class during lockdown. She then moved to my in person pregnancy yoga class in Dartford once they started. During one of our chats at the start of class we were talking about where to give birth and I spoke about my home birth and how amazing it was. This conversation then inspired Hayley to do lots of research to see if this was the right birth plan for her. Hayley was so focused and dedicated in her birth preparation I had no doubt in my mind that her birth would be everything she hoped. It turned out to be even more incredible than I could have predicted – a home breech birth is incredibly rare and Hayley did brilliant to trust her instincts for a calm and happy birth. Her instincts were so spot on that at her last class, she told me it would be her last class with me. I laughed her off, as at only 35 weeks I told her anything could happen, but turns out she was totally right!
The birth of Tobias - a home breech birth
Previous births –
My eldest was born eight years ago. He was considered premature at 36+5 (same as his little bro) so I had him at hospital with continuous monitoring, a head probe for heartbeat and ended up giving birth on my back. Despite what I know now, all in all it wasn’t a horrible birth and I managed with just gas and air.
Last year, I was induced at 21+6 to birth my sleeping angel boy. The hospital treated me with such kindness given the circumstances but it was still traumatic especially as covid meant I could only have my mum with me (not my husband) and we didn’t get much time on the ward after birth to say goodbye.
This pregnancy –
I was happy to find out we were expecting again but also anxious because of what happened last year. I joined a pre natal pilates & pre natal yoga class and made sure I stayed fairly active throughout. At one of the classes I mentioned that I was curious about home birth and Collen said her own experience was beautiful and recommended me learning more about home births and reading the book ‘why home birth matters‘. That settled it for me, after a few more days reading I knew a home birth was the right choice for me.
As I approached the last trimester I threw myself into gathering as much knowledge and information as possible. I felt confident in my decisions and was in full on prep mode for a home birth! My midwife was supportive (although did mention staffing issues as a possible concern at my 34 week appointment).
My home breech birth –
In the days preceding labour I had period like cramps, back ache and my knees felt like they were carrying a few ton! I was only 36 weeks but knew things were happening. I had predicted to my husband and family that baby would arrive during my 36th week as this was when my eldest was born. It was also when we had a house full as my step-daughter was staying for the week. Hubby just smiled but didn’t really believe me, but somehow I knew! We had lovely days with family on the weekend and then hubby and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary with dinner on the evening of Monday 16th. My mum watched the kids for us. Just as my mum was leaving (around 10pm) I felt my bloody show go. I asked my Mum not to go home (she lived 45 mins away) and instead she went to my sisters up the road.
By 11pm I was having mildish surges (7 mins apart but manageable). Hubby and kids were asleep and bump was wiggling about. I put on my crystal bracelets (onyx, malachite, rose quartz & moonstone) and placed the crystal stones on my bedside table (moss agate, amethyst, unakite & selenite). I tried to sleep but by 1am needed to move from my bedroom downstairs. I called my mum and told her to come round and woke Hubby to say I thought this was it. Put blanket on the floor in the living room, yoga matt on top and used birthing ball (leaning over it on knees) to breathe through those early surges.
My son woke around 1.30am and came downstairs which I thought would distract me but was actually very calming. During some of the more intense surges where I was standing leaning over my dining room table he would come over to give me a hug which helped keep me grounded.
By 2.30am I wanted to let the midwives know things were happening. I was conscious I was before 37 weeks, but had chat with my mum first as knew I didn’t want to be talked into going in to hospital. They were very understanding on the phone, explained why their preference was for me to go in, but respected my decision to stay at home and said they would escalate to ward head (I think) and try to get midwives out to me despite me being before 37 weeks.
By 3.30am the surges were really intense and I was finding it hard to focus on my breath and stay relaxed. I started to zone in to hypnobirthing audio scripts which helped. Mum called them again and they said they only had one community midwife on call but they were trying to find another. They advised for us to call an ambulance if I got to the pushing stage. By 4.30am Hubby decided to call the ambulance (after sending my son upstairs and waking my step daughter so they could watch TV together in our room). I was making all sorts of animal noises by this stage and there was hardly any relief between surges.
My mum set up the birthing area (shower curtain over lots of cushions & blankets on the floor, with towels on top of the shower curtain). I wanted to rest but there was no let up. Thankfully waters went in huge gush at 5.45am which brought light relief before the surges ramped up again & I knew this was it. As hubby was on phone to the ambulance operator the midwives turned up at 6.07am when I was on all fours, feeling like I needed to push. One was a community midwife and the other was a delivery suite midwife (her first ever homebirth) – which turned out to be the absolute best choice for me. There was no time any checks, only 2 rounds to check baby’s heart beat before I felt the urge to push. After 5 mins the midwife realised the baby’s bum was at my entrance which meant he was breech. Hubby couldn’t watch and afterwards my mum told me she was a little nervous at that point. The midwife was so calm though and acted as if it was completely fine and gave me the confidence to carry on pushing. I’ll admit it was tough, but by 6.20 he popped out in what the midwives called a ‘textbook vaginal breech birth’ – bum first, then legs which were up by shoulders, first arm, then second arm, then lips then head. He was immediately placed on me, my mum tied his cord (using a cotton cord tie) after it had gone white then it was cut. Placenta came naturally 20 minutes after baby. Tobias weighed a healthy 5lb 9oz.
No tears, three minor grazes (all to heal naturally), had the loveliest golden hour, he was nursing after 30 minutes and the big kids came down after 45 mins to meet the littlest addition to our family!
Midwives were so encouraging and amazed I managed it all in 7 hours with only my Crystals, frankincense and hypnobirthing techniques! They said if I had gone in to hospital I would have most likely been pressured into a a c-section and they were very happy that I got the home birth I wanted!
I’m so very grateful to my yoga instructor Colleen, and my midwives for giving me the confidence to know my own mind and to trust my body and instincts to know what it needed to do when it needed to do it.
I loved being able to have my own bath after, climb into bed with tea & toast for much needed rest & cuddles with the family ❤