Hands off the Breech

Azrael’s Birth Story

Azrael was a new moon baby, just like my son Ernesto. We all went to sleep early the night he was born. That day I had been feeling particularly sad and called my midwife and told her I didn’t think I could wait to go into labor. The obstetricians at the hospital wanted me to have a surgical birth. My heart felt this was the wrong choice- I wanted a natural birth for my baby.

The negative phone calls from Magee were making me feel hopeless. My husband, Eric, knew I had a rough day and helped me fall asleep by doing a meditation on gravity and thinking about our baby dropping. Our baby had been in a breech position for weeks and sitting high on my hips. That night I woke up at 2. I felt a strong kick from the baby and it felt like a contraction. I got out of bed and started browsing internet. The contractions seemed close together, so I started timing them. They were about 5-6 minutes apart. I woke Eric up and told him something might be starting and we should set up the birth pool. Around 3am I wanted to take a shower to see if it would help me relax and slow down the contractions. The contractions were getting stronger and I started moving my mindset and rolling through them. It was nice being in the shower by myself so I could concentrate. I was trying to smile through each contraction and imagine like a smile, widening my body. I was looking forward to the part of labor where between contractions I felt to focused and strong. Our bathroom is large, so we set up the birth pool next to the bath. Our son went and got his trains so he could play and still be near us. I got out of the shower and told Eric I might rest up a bit, however from that point I didn’t leave the bathroom. Eric called our midwifes Michele and Maribeth. I asked him to call our friends to come and watch Ernesto. It seemed like things were getting more serious. I noticed amniotic fluid when I got out of the shower. Eric called our midwives back again and explained my water broke. Still thinking I was going to be in labor for hours, I asked Eric to run to the car to get my plastic straw and special cup (a very important part of our first son’s birth). I went to sit on the toilet. I had read that squatting on the toiled helps widen the pelvis. Upon sitting, I realized my body was getting ready to push. I got in the birth pool and put my weight on the side of the pool and I was in hands and knees position. Eric was on the phone again calling our friends to watch Ernesto and he heard me scream for help. I was pushing! I could only think – No! I’m not ready — wait. A foot came out first with a burst of amniotic fluid. Eric and I knew not to touch the baby so we wouldn’t startle he/she. Our midwives reinforced “hands off the breech!”. I asked Eric to lay down under me and see if he could see a cord. He said it might be a cord, but no it was a hand. He told me it’s a beautiful baby. Hearing that gave me so much confidence.

The next contraction a hand and bottom came out, then another hand. Our midwife Michele showed up and Meribeth was on the phone. Eric was dictating to her what was happening. The shoulders were next. Eric kept reminding me our baby was healthy and beautiful.

Ernesto was standing next to me asking me what I was doing. There was a pause, I became worried about Ernesto. I was vomiting from pushing and it scared him. I started comforting him, telling him I was okay and we were having a baby.

Eric noticed I wasn’t concentrating on my body and told me I needed another good contraction. I knew not to push and needed to focus on my body. Pushing could distress a fetus, I needed to wait and let the baby do what he/she needed to do. Wait for my body and trust my self.

Eric carefully gave me back rubs and kept talking to me. About 30 seconds went by. I tried nipple stimulation to have another contraction. With one more contraction Azrael joined us. We had a perfect baby boy! He was blue. Silence. Michele gently reminded us to talk to him, rub him. With amazing clarity I watched the cord pulsate – the organ that connected Azrael and I was so beautiful and strong. Our friend showed up and took Ernesto down stairs to watch a movie. I delivered a 2 lb placenta. We learned Azrael was probably breech because his cord was so short. We all walked downstairs around 5am – we lit a candle and took a nap. It was so peaceful and quiet.

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