Why I had an unassisted breech VBAC

Sorry, its not a joke.  I am an obstetrician, but to this day I cannot believe how I delivered my last baby.

My third child was a complete surprise.  After two complicated pregnancies, we had decided that our family was complete.  When the morning sickness started, it actually took me a few days to figure out what was going on.  I learned first hand that birth control is not 100% effective.

My other two babies had been delivered and gone straight to the NICU – one following a cord prolapse and the other septic due to chorioamnionitis.  I was definitely not the first to hold either baby.  I don’t even think I made the top ten.  Didn’t mater, they are healthy now and we are bonded just fine.

Now I was pregnant with a surprise pregnancy, severe morning sickness and not sure what to expect.  I told my OB that I just wanted to get far enough along in pregnancy to be the first (or at least one of the first) to touch and hold my baby.  It wasn’t just a sentimental thing, it would mean that my baby was alive, healthy and not necessarily looking at a long NICU stay.  They might even be able to come home with me on my discharge from hospital.

However, like most things in life, very little goes according to plan.  I was admitted to hospital at 22 weeks with abruptions, transfused on two separate occasions and had PPROM (again!).  Somehow my little one flipped to breech AFTER her water broke.

When I finally went to to real labour (as opposed to all the times I was just threatening), my little one was only at 29 weeks.  We tried to stop the labour, but it didn’t work.  I asked for an epidural for the pain, but was told no – I might deliver in the bead without anyone knowning.  I asked for morphine, and finally was given the shot.  During this time, my little one was happy as can be.  Nobody thought she would really deliver, she was just 29 weeks, with ruptured membranes, breech and growth restricted.  Surely, she would have some changes in her heart rate and then we would do the C-section.

Four hours later, something changed.  I wanted drugs and I wanted them NOW.  The nurse called the resident, who sheepishly said that she wasn’t supposed to check me.  We were just waiting for the baby to give a sign, and we would do the c-section.  I told her I would give her a sign if she didn’t get me more drugs.

Finally, after coaxing from my wonderful nurse, she examined me.  She went WHITE as a GHOST, and mumbled something about going to talk to the consultant.  The nurse looked at me and said, we are going to the OR.  She guessed right, I was fully dilated and the her little bum was one its way out.

After a frantic scramble to her me on to a stretcher, they moved me to the c-section room.  The on call consultant met me at the door and said “I guess it is time” .  I looked at him and said “Its time to push, NOW!”  An out came my little 1210 gram 29 weeker. 

Nobody had gloves on, nobody had touched me.  I looked at the team, looked at my baby and then picked her off the stretcher and put her on my belly.  Surprise, surprise, I actually got my wish, I was the first to hold my baby!

She ended up doing very well.  Eventually, they cut her cord.  It was delayed clamping, before the evidence recommended it for preterm infants, mostly because that is how long it took them to find a cord clamp.  She was taken to the resusitation room, where my whole delivery team was watching her, wondering how to resusitate such a noisy little baby.  The NICU team showed up five minutes later, and took her to the NICU.

My youngest daughter is still a little crazy, always doing things her own way.  I should have known from the little girl who bypassed an IUD and then delivered herself breech in the hallway.



4 thoughts on “Why I had an unassisted breech VBAC

    1. And I was planning on a C-section. It definitely was not my first choice. I did have a VBAC for my second, but with an epidural from 4cm onwards because I don’t like pain! However, my daughter made the choice for me. Although, so did the staff on call that night, and even to this day, I have some issues with what happened. Thankfully a very good outcome, she is totally healthy, you would never know she is a preemie.

  1. She is amazing. What a corker. What a story. I don’t know how you get though all those complications being a doctor and having ob be your field. In any case, pretty awesome, and funny telling of the story!

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