Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oral History...A lost art of sharing birth confidence.

Once upon a time there was a woman and she was going to have a baby, and she was glad.

She had knowledge. Her knowledge came from a life time of experiencing birth. The first time she saw a baby born was when her little brother came into the world. It was also the first time she experienced death, as this wee child was soon gone and had never made it to the mother's breast. But she learned. She learned over the years that birth can take many turns and it is not always the glorious event it is deemed to be. As time passed she saw more sisters and brothers born and nieces and nephews and a few neighbors enter the world and she was there to witness. She wiped brows, she tore cloths, she ran for the midwives and some times she went for the doctor. But she was witness and now it was her time and she was aware. She saw the ups and the downs. She knew when the first pains came that "the women" would be there and she could turn to them. She knew them and she knew they had wisdom and they had kind hands. She just had to let happen what would happen and the support would be there to guide her. She would hope for the best.

Fast forward to now. Women have the option to inform themselves or not. They have the Internet to find information. Too bad there is a lot of bad information as there is good. They can post on question boards and get answers that are so wrong it makes any birth advocate cry and want to post the truth, all the while knowing the date of the birth is long past, hoping that the querant did not return to read the advice of someone who was so wrong in their information. and standing in horror that some other women may read such misinformed information and act on it. Many women birth without even having seen a birth (THANKFULLY we have Youtube! where the oral history has turned to visual history). The birth outcomes in today's culture are dependant on where you birth and your primary caregivers and not on your desires. Women leave the hospital with cuts that drive deep into their bodies and sometimes into their souls. Women leave feelings ranging from "who cares how the baby got out" to births that lead to PTSD. For many women, the American Way of Birth is go to hospital as soon as possible, get your epidural, get pit, and hope for the freaking best! If you choose to not expereince any intervention then you got a big fight ahead of you and labor is not the best time to advocate for your birth desires with people you have never met before. It really is just not a good thing....not unless you are me and can tune it all out and get on with birthing that baby.

So this all leads me to the oral history of birth. When I first began to post stories about breech birth my intensions were to help women understand the mind set and choices that lead women into the births they eventually experienced. Without hearing the good stories you can never know that birth can be amazing. We need to know how to get from point a to point B and we need to understadn what can interfer with a normal trajectory.

So here they are, the surviving stories from the Heads Up! site. I hope it helps.

Home Breech Births

Psalm and Zoya are born - "This was easier said than done. We interviewed several yet ... most of the midwives had fear about the birth of the second twin and I did not feel comfortable having that attitude around me during birth. We decided to simply go it alone."
Morgan's Birth - "if I wanted to go to the hospital...I would probably have a c-section since Morgan was breech. If I wanted to have the baby here at home, I would have to face the demons (you know, those of my own birth) and work for this baby."
Home Breech Birth of Baby Jeremy - After one really strong push I asked ‘is the head out?’ The midwife said ‘soon it will come’. Then I looked down and saw two tiny legs dangling – to my surprise my baby was breech!
Breech Birth on the Families for Natural Living website- "My husband and I had been apprehensive about having a home birth, but we felt we had no choice. "
James' Birth - "I don't think there was anything risky about it. In fact I believe that home is the safest place of birth for most babies."
Planned Breech at Home - a midwife's story about a mother's birth at home.
Samantha's Birth - "About three weeks before my due date we realized that the baby was breech and started trying to turn her...".

Hospital Breech Births
Blair Vaughan - baby Blair is born after all the right cards fall in this mom's favor. Un-medicated breech birth with an audience.
Mark's Birth - the birth of a 9 pound 8 ounce breech, a story with an edge. (Baby is transported to NICU)
Miss births her surprise breech - "No one could believe it. The doctor was walking on air for the two days I was there, and we were the talk of the hospital that week. I love sharing this story with people." If you want to chat with me about this or anything, feel free to e-mail me.
Delia births breech - "At 32 weeks, my midwife said she could feel the baby's butt deep down in my pelvis. I thought "Oh god, no!" ".

Courtney's birth - "I had been examined the midwife said I was 7cm dilated and that she felt something like peas. I went into panic mode. I kept repeating "that's my baby's toes, it's upside down". (gas, stirrups, and episiotomy mentioned)
Colin's Birth - "The dr. arrived and checked me. He looked shocked and angry. I wondered if I was still just 4 cms and they called him early. He announced that I was 10 cms and breech!" (membranes ruptured, pitocin, epidural, forceps mentioned)
Mitchell's Birth - I believe that God allowed me to find the only doctor in town that assisted breeches to be my doctor when I just happened to be carrying a breech baby. (Induction with pitocin, epidural, birth in OR).
Birth Story of Alessandra Jeanine -"everybody I told about this looked at me with incredulity because most people seem to think a C-section is automatic with breech babies." (epidural, urinary catheter, stirrups, forceps, second degree episiotomy, painful recovery)
Mark - "When I got to 38 weeks, she did a vaginal exam and told me she thought that the baby was presenting breech... a few days later I felt the baby turn again ... Then, I felt him turn again (!!), so he was once again vertex... now 40 weeks, he turned again (!!!). " (very interventive birth, baby to NICU).
Jim - "a beautiful 10 pound, 22 inch rounded head boy" is born breech"

VBAC Breech
VBAC Breech Birth- "My husband left me to get on his scrubs thinking he had plenty of time, because they would do a C-Section. At this point I told my doctor I had to push really bad. He said, "We're going to deliver this baby vaginally."

Twins With Breech
Psalm and Zoya are born - "This was easier said than done. We interviewed several yet ... most of the midwives had fear about the birth of the second twin and I did not feel comfortable having that attitude around me during birth. We decided to simply go it alone."
Birth Surprise in Jerusalem (twin breech birth) - "I had had no labor, no warning. I couldn't fight the urge to push, so I quickly put a towel on our bed, lay down on my side and simply let my body work."
Double Breech Twins - Their birth was really the fastest of all my labors, ..., I don't believe the birth would have been any "better" had I gone to a hospital.
Twins born (second is breech) - "I look at Cathy and say..."Nicki's coming breech" and I begin to push, long and hard and not stopping. I don't feel anything. " (this starts at the beginning of the whole story use the site links to get you to the birth story)

Losing the domain name for the site meant that a lot of stories I had on the server that were not links are not listed here. I will post them on the new Facebook group I'll be creating later today.

Thank you all for your support over the years. You are the ones that made Heads Up! all it is and give me the desire to carry on sharing after it was gone.

I tip my hat to you.


  1. Patricia, I loved your web site. I had it linked on my web site. I loved the work you did collecting the stories... I'm so sorry you lost some/many, but perhaps with this new blog and a facebook page, you will be able to get some of those back, and many many more to add to your list of stories! :-) Great work! Glad to see you back, and I will link to this now for others to read.

  2. thank you very much for this blog
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