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Episode 326


In episode 326 Hayley takes us through her first pregnancy where her baby was in a frank breech position (bottom down) at 36 weeks. She listened to the breech episode with Dr Andrew Bisits that features in The Birth Class and promptly arranged to see him for a consultation. After an ECV to turn her baby was unsuccessful, Hayley confidently prepared for a vaginal breech birth with the support of her partner and her midwife-in-training sister. Baby Pippa needed breathing support in the NICU for five days after birth but has made a full recovery.

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Hayley has PCOS and amenorrhea (she doesn’t menstruate regularly) so her pregnancy was both unplanned and a lovely surprise.

“I had a feeling that I was pregnant and I got a positive pregnancy test and also confirmed it through a blood test with my GP. I was listening to Australian Birth Stories before I conceived so I knew to email my local hospital as soon as possible to get into the MGP program. Unfortunately my midwife resigned when I was 18 weeks and I went into the mainstream system and saw a different midwife at each appointment and I just found that I was repeating myself which wasn’t the best feeling.

“I really wanted to have a vaginal birth and I did The Birth Class which was really great. I also did hypnobirth with my partner and he also listened to all the modules in The Birth Class. Pippa was breech at 36 weeks and I think I always had an inkling because I didn’t really feel kicks but more of a push towards my diaphragm. She was quite comfortable there.

“When I got home from my 36 week appointment I went on a rampage to learn all about breech and the first thing I did was listen to the breech vaginal birth module in The Birth Class. That’s how I found out about Dr Bisits who works in my local area. I also did spinning babies to try and get her to turn; I was quite obsessed with trying to turn her to begin with. The ECV at my local hospital was unsuccessful and the next day we went to the Royal Womens where Dr Bisits tried to turn her as well but it was unsuccessful.

“Pippa was a frank breech which was ideal for a vaginal breech birth. Dr Bisits went through all our options, he’s so amazing and he really reiterated that it was our choice. He said it was best to go into spontaneous labour but if I went over 41 weeks he would break my waters. With a breech vaginal birth you can be in active labour for 12 hours and you can only push for one hour instead of the recommended two hours with a cephalic (head down) birth.

“At 4am on a saturday morning I woke up with light period pain and I presumed that it was nothing. It went on for 12 hours and I was in denial but I just tried to relax as much as I could and not overthink it. I watched a funny movie and laying on the lounge. It was about 6pm, and my waters broke. We called Dr Bisits and he encouraged us to come straight in. I got a bit stressed then because I just wanted to get to hospital but it was a 45 minute drive in. That stress did slow my contractions down, I think the flow of oxytocin was definitely affected.

“The next day I went back to hospital and when I got into the birthing suite I was only 2cm which was disappointing. I really didn’t want to be induced but within three hours I was 8cm and I felt the urge to push. It was so nice to hear that I’d progressed so quickly. Dr Bisits wasn’t there and I had the feeling that they weren’t confident enough for me to birth without him. The midwife told me to suck on the gas and not push but I couldn’t help it. I was on all fours on the birthing mat and I felt comfortable there. Dr Bisits got there five minutes before Pippa was born and at one point she got a bit stuck and Dr Bisits had to stretch my perineum and put his finger in her mouth. It was only a couple of minutes that her body was out and her head was still in but it felt like forever, it was a bit nerve wracking. She had a bit of trouble breathing when she came out so they took her to the resus table and did some CPR on her and then helped her with her breathing for a bit. She needed CPAP after that and they took her to the NICU.

“It was really hard watching from a distance and not being able to do anything. I birthed the placenta after having the syntocinon shot and then I had my second degree tear stitched up. I went to the NICU after about an hour. Naturally I was thinking of the worst case scenario but before I went in my midwife told me she was doing well and showed me a video of her so I knew what to expect.

“It was really hard to be separated from her. I’d done some antenatal expressing thank goddess and they gave that to her until it ran out and then topped her up with formula. She was in NICU for six days and on the fifth day she started to latch. She came up to the ward for one night before we were discharged from the hospital. It was so surreal when we finally got home.”

Topics Discussed

Amenorrhea, ECV, NICU, One breech vaginal birth, PCOS

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