BIRTH STORY: A Breech Delivery and a Home Alone Birth

BRIANA SANTORO: NUTRITIONIST & MOM OF 2 boys, Austin (2 years) and Kingsley (3 months)

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Becoming a mom has taught me many things, one of which is being able to go with the flow. I am a mother of 2 boys. My first son Austin was born 12 days early on May 31st 2015. Aside from severe morning sickness for a number of weeks at the beginning of my pregnancy, things went great. Right up until my 34-week checkup with my midwife when I learned that Austin was in a frank breech position. This was upsetting because my husband Steve and I had planned for a home birth. We even had a pool rented that was sitting in our dining room ready to be blown up.

Learning of my son’s breech position was my first lesson in going with the flow. It didn’t matter what I had planned, he had his own ideas of how he would enter this world. For the few weeks leading up to his birth we tried everything we could to flip him. This included chiropractic, acupuncture, lying upside down on an ironing board, summersaults in a pool, moxibustion (burning a Traditional Chinese Medicine herb near my pinky toe), 2 un-medicated ECV’s (external cephalic version) which were incredibly painful, and even shining a flashlight and playing music near my pelvis to encourage him to turn and check it out! Nothing worked.

Then one day I woke up and felt different. I turned to Steve and said, “I don’t know why, but today is different, suddenly I don’t care how he comes, I’m just excited to meet him”. My water broke later that day at 7:30pm.

When we got into the hospital our midwife spoke to the OB’s on call and one of them was willing to deliver him vaginally in a breech position as long as I agreed to having an epidural, an IV, delivering in the OR in stirrups (which were more like huge black ski boots that went from toe to knee so I couldn’t move), the baby showed no signs of distress, my labour never stalled, and I dilated at least 1 centimeter an hour. It was a long list but I agreed to her terms. I trusted my baby and felt that if he wasn’t supposed to come this way he would let me know. Everything moved along smoothly and at 4:05am he was born to a room full of observers. I will forever be grateful to the OB for believing in Austin and I, and supporting us the way she did.

My second son Kingsley arrived 5 days past my due-date on the 7th day of the 7th month (July), 2017. This was another great opportunity to learn how to go with the flow. I had woken up in the night at 12:45am feeling a bit crampy. In my half-asleep state I thought I just had to pee so I went to the washroom and went back to bed. A few minutes later I felt it again. At 1:10am I decided to wake Steve up to help time the contractions to determine if we were in labour. Three quick contractions later we decided to call the midwives to come because it appeared to be progressing very quickly and I felt the need to push. They told us to call 911 if I had to push since the emergency teams may be able to beat them to the house. After hanging up the phone, Steve started to blow up our birth pool that we had rented, yet again. I started hollering from the bathroom that there was no time, he needed to call 911, my water had broken, and the baby was coming to meet us.

Ten to fifteen minutes after realizing we were in labour and calling the midwives, Kingsley, weighing in at 9lb 5oz, was born on our bathroom floor, delivered by Steve, with 911 dispatch on the phone. It was a wild few minutes. Shortly after he was born, my bathroom was filled with firefighters, followed by the paramedics and our amazing midwives who jumped into action making sure the baby was okay and helping me deliver the placenta. Thankfully my mom was staying with us and was able to help put Austin back to sleep after he woke up to the commotion of the emergency teams booming up the stairs.

It was lucky that we had planned a home birth because Kingsley would have been born at home whether we had planned it or not! We figured he was determined to make sure his story was as exciting as his brother’s.

After delivering the placenta we climbed into bed and enjoyed a candle lit room with spa music playing for a couple hours as we were getting to know our new addition. We also were snacking on mint cucumber water and my mom’s homemade banana bread. I felt like I was at the spa!!!

While neither of my births turned out the way I had planned, nor did we get to use the birth pool we rented, I wouldn’t change a thing. What I realized is that you can plan for the birth you want, planning is good, researching your options is great, informed consent is a must, but then you need to accept with open arms the birth you get. By going with the flow I was able to bring two amazing boys into this world, all while feeling powerful, joyful, and proud of how we did it. Who can ask for anything more!

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