I am a big supporter of unmedicated, intervention-free natural childbirth when it’s possible. Getting rid of things that can slow down labor and/or cause distress is certainly a good idea. There are, of course, instances where interventions are necessary and beneficial.
I pursued having a completely natural experience with my third child because of what happened with babies one and two. I learned from their births and decided I no longer wanted narcotics, Pitocin, an epidural, artificial rupturing of membranes, internal fetal monitoring – any of it. I wanted to have him simply by my body contracting and pushing him out. And that’s how it happened. Samuel was born without any medical involvement after laboring at home for a few hours and then delivering him a mere 59 minutes after arriving at the hospital. That’s how I wanted his birth to be and I was thrilled that it played out that way. He was 7lbs12oz, weighing in between his older siblings who were 7lbs9oz and 8lbs1oz.
Elizabeth was to be born the same natural way, but her position changed everything. We were left completely alone (no meds or anything) until the spinal block was being administered in the operating room. We required a cesarean delivery because she was quite literally stuck. Her position was officially called left occiput transverse, which means she was head down, turned completely on her side, facing my left hip. She’d been like this for the entire third trimester (I had a number of ultrasounds at the end because of kidney stones) and she was unable to turn. I’m not even sure how she was able to grow properly as I would think she’d need additional space and position change to do so, but she was born weighing 8lbs10oz (3.91kg) so obviously it didn’t affect her growth.
Labor with her was fine until the pushing stage but then her inability to turn became clear. Or, I should say, after an hour and a half it did. She was ultimately identified as being in deep transverse arrest, and she wasn’t going anywhere without help. I had clearly stated that I would rather have a cesarean than forceps or vacuum extraction, so that’s what we did. I couldn’t believe I was going to have surgery! What a strange turn of events!
But now, looking back, I wonder if I could have done something before June 26th to have helped her turn. I don’t feel guilty (how could I have known?) but I enjoy looking into things like this, analyzing and evaluating. I’m a problem-solver and this whole baby position thing has had me wondering.
During my pregnancy, I found it extremely odd that she was in the same position for months. I said so a number of times, both to my midwives as well as the ultrasound technicians, but none of them gave my concerns any validation. It nagged at me, though. Having had three babies before her, I knew it was strange that I felt her move in EXACTLY the same places for the last 14-15 weeks of the pregnancy. Her feet were up here, her little fists were down there, and her knees were over there. It’s not that I expected her to completely turn or do rolls or whatnot, but there should have been some variation.
To this day, I still have a burning discomfort in my diaphragm/lower ribs from her lingering position in utero. Goodness, I hope it will eventually heal. It’s been almost nine months. :(
Anyway, what if I’d attempted to move her? To “spin” her a bit? Would it have helped? What if I hadn’t had kidney stones, and the near-constant uterine irritation (contractions) they caused? I wouldn’t have had to recline, rest, and generally take it easy. I would have been exercising that whole last trimester like I’d done with Samuel. Would that have changed things? Would exercise have helped her turn naturally?
What about her size? At the end (labor), would it have made a difference in her ability to turn and come down if she’d been smaller? Hmm, would an induction the week before (which had been suggested/offered to me) been beneficial?
…all interesting thoughts but not many that I could have, in reality, done much about. lol I chose not to induce because there was no medical reason to, and the cons outweighed the pros. I couldn’t do anything about the kidney stones. And I didn’t realize the impact of her position so I never looked into spinning or doing special techniques to turn her. I do wish I had, but I can’t live with regret. What’s done is done.
I am just so thankful that she was (and continues to be) healthy.