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I began my maternity leave on February 1, even though she wasn’t due, according to the ESTIMATED due date (EDD), until February 15. I relaxed a lot, continued my yoga practice and kept getting regular massages. I also began my weekly prenatal appointments with Corina. Everything was progressing perfectly and as planned! I just knew I would have an amazing natural water birth. As the EDD approached, I felt myself and everyone around me growing more anxious and impatient to meet my baby girl. At each appointment she had been in proper position for a vaginal delivery. I kept hearing stories of all these women whose babies turned breech or never turned anterior. They were all scheduling C-sections at the advice of their OB. Most of them reluctant to do so, yet, felt their doctors knew what was best. I talked to a few of these women and pleaded with them to try alternative approaches such as pelvic tilts, homeopathy or acupuncture.
On Tuesday, February 17, 2 days after Kiran’s EDD, I went for my weekly prenatal appointment. Corina wanted to check me. She took quite some time and had some look of concern. “I think she turned breech” Corina said to me. I knew she wouldn’t joke about something like that. I couldn’t believe it. My heart dropped to the floor. I felt completely devastated. Tears of sadness and despair filled my eyes and cheeks. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would need to apply those techniques I described to other women to turn MY OWN breech baby. Corina and I discussed all of my options. I could try all of the techniques I discussed with the women to see if she would turn. I could see if Ina May Gaskin would be available last minute at The Farm to deliver her breech or I could go to the only doctor in town who still delivers breech babies. I wanted so desperately to experience the miracle of childbirth naturally, however, wasn’t sure I wanted to deliver her breech. I knew in my heart that she would turn with a little help from her momma.
That afternoon, I went for an ultrasound which confirmed that she was footling breech. Corina ordered me some Pulsatilla from a local homeopathic pharmacy. Lynn had some moxa sticks at home. I wanted to begin working to turn my baby that evening, so, I gathered my birthing team. I cried throughout the day in disbelief that I was going through this at 40 weeks. On Wednesday, I took the Pulsatilla all day, used the moxa sticks, prayed, chanted and visualized my baby turning. I requested all my friends do the same. On Thursday, I definitely felt a difference. I felt her more active inside me. After lots of research, faith and prayer, I decided to go to a midwife who would try to turn her manually from the outside. The experience was beautiful and pain free. Friday morning I went for an ultrasound. She turned back!!!!
I decided to rest for the next few days and enjoy the knowing that once again, I could have my perfect home delivery. I was almost 41 weeks into my pregnancy, so, Corina and I began discussing ways to naturally induce. I was so nervous at the thought of her turning breech again or the thought of having her in the hospital just because I was 42 weeks pregnant according to ACOG standards. Corina recommended I begin taking blue and black cohosh. I decided to take it on Sunday and if nothing happened, I would take a break and spend Monday connecting with my baby girl…filling our hearts and souls with light and love.
Tuesday morning, February 24, I woke up around 7:30. I began taking the blue and black cohosh remedy again and took it throughout the day. Around 5:00 p.m., I used my breast pump to stimulate my nipples in hopes of getting the oxytocin flowing. I took my dogs for a long walk. It was a lovely evening. Around 7:30 pm, I began having irregular contractions. How exciting, I knew it was only a matter of time before she would arrive. I couldn’t believe the day had finally come! I called to let Corina know. She seemed just as excited and relieved as I was. She told me to try to get some rest. I decided to journal a bit and sit on the birthing ball. It was so comfortable and really helped ease the force of the contractions.
I spoke to Joe around 11 pm and noticed that I could no longer talk through my contractions. I decided to stay on the birthing ball while connecting with my daughter before her arrival. I was alone and felt that I needed this time to travel deep within to gather the strength and courage I knew it would take to bring miracle into fruition. Around 2:30 am, I called Corina and told her it was time. I told her if this was early labor, I don’t know if I would be able to handle active labor. I woke Lynn up because I needed her comfort and support. Corina arrived about an hour later and checked my cervix. I was 4-5 cm. She was impressed and told me that she had been chanting about it on the way over and had hoped I was at least 4 cm.
Lynn and Corina started filling up the pool that had been aired up and sitting against my wall for 3 1⁄2 weeks. I labored on while sitting on the ball next to my bed and leaning over on a stack of pillows. Around 5 am, I got into the pool. It felt wonderful, but, after about half an hour I felt too hot and decided to get out. I labored on the ball for another hour and a half then asked Corina to check me again. 7 cm…WOW! I was progressing perfectly. I wanted to have this baby in the water so I got back in the tub. The all fours position was what instinctively went for, my hips swaying to relieve some of the pain from the contractions that were 4 minutes apart and lasting 60-70 seconds. This was perfect because it allowed for time to rest in between. I had been up now for 24 hours without any rest and was beginning to feel very exhausted. There were times when I felt I couldn’t go through with it. Corina reminded me that there was no possibility of turning back. I continued to talk and laugh between contractions. There was one point before Mary arrived that I even asked my birthing team if she would have somewhere to park her car. They all laughed at my concern for others at such a time.
Around 8:40am, I was feeling the urge to push. Corina told me that I was 9 cm with a lip and bulging bag. I pushed for a short time and groaned loudly. It didn’t feel like it was time yet. Mary instructed me to refocus the energy of my voice into my baby’s bottom pushing her out my vagina. I labored on for an hour more with contractions that were 5 minutes apart. I pushed while on all fours and my bag of waters finally broke around 9:40am. I felt so relieved and knew that she would arrive soon. Corina and Mary encouraged me to switch positions, so I got in a semi-sit position and her head was visible. I felt her furry little head and tears of joy filled my heart and eyes. I gave a few more good pushes and my beautiful ray of light entered this world at 10:11 am. Thank you my beloved daughter for your profound lesson in trust and surrender.