Heather had a vaginal footling breech birth with a midwife in a home-like setting. The birth was dramatic and scary, the paramedics were called, and although it was a very fast labor, full of surprise and complications, she and her husband are wholly pleased with the experience. The baby responded to assistance and was completely healthy and healed at 3 weeks.
Heather rejoices in the beautiful, intense experience she was given birthing this breech baby.
When she shared this triumph with the world online, though, few readers agreed or rejoiced with her. People said she was selfish and didn’t care about the baby. Heather strongly disagrees.
Most doctors and midwives who do attend vaginal breeches don’t do footlings because of the increased risks. She knew it was not an ideal situation for a home birth. She also felt peace about having her baby at home.
She spent a lot of time pondering and praying. She says:
“It was about hearing God. It was about His will. And trying to make sense of it all. To walk by Faith and not by sight. It was about the fact my midwife is a very prayerful person and seeks God for each mama she assists and how she hadn’t heard “no” from the Lord regarding mine and Jd’s situation with Elias and instead heard “yes” repeatedly. It was about the fact I hadn’t lost my peace for the situation and having no doubt of my ability to successfully have my son breech. My emotions were obviously heightened and I was scared and nervous and felt out of options just by looking at the situation but I NEVER lost my peace.”
No matter what happens at birth, I hope couples feel confident, at peace, and that they made any decisions they wanted to. Feeling respected and heard and supported is the best indicator that a person will feel good about the birth, no matter how it turns out.
Do we really want to tell a person that what she feels is beside the point? Do we want to say that what you believe God wants is irrelevant? If you tell a couple that what they feel or want or believe is wholly wrong, how will they ever be able to parent?
Heather says, “It was really only “exciting” the last 10 mins or so. I honestly don’t even think people would have the reaction they do if I would have been in a hospital setting.” This is part of the risk of making your own decisions.
Being a thinking, searching person who doesn’t follow directions or do ‘the norm’ is socially dangerous.
Thank goodness we only have to make decisions for our own selves and children. That’s quite enough responsibility for one.
I asked Heather some questions about her experience.
How do you make decisions about your births?
The more I know and learn, I know that I can trust that my body was made for birth. My first two births were inductions with epidurals. After the second, I knew I would never opt for that again. My third was natural in hospital and though it was long, I felt amazing afterward and then KNEW I could birth a baby without pain meds or intervention. My last was a planned home birth with a midwife. We were prayerful about it but knew it would be awesome. I’ve always wanted a water birth and was very excited to experience it.
If you had it all to do over again, would you do anything differently?
I would not.
Why did you decide to tell your birth story publicly?
I wanted to share that breech birth is just a variation of normal. And it can be achieved without c-section. I desired to empower other women who have found themselves in a similar situation as mine. Birth Works and we can trust our bodies.
What kind of feedback did you get from your sharing?
The feedback I received was mixed. But the main portion was negative. I was called names. Ridiculed. Called selfish. I was told my birth desires were more important than the health and well-being of my baby. Which is obviously not true.
What would you say to the people who had negative feedback, if you could sit down and talk to them?
I really feel if I were given that chance, then whatever their criticism was from, I could explain and change their negative opinion. My emotion about the birth is real. And the memories are amazing. I could explain more about each step on our decision. I think it would change negative opinions. At least that would be my hope
Anything else you want to add?
Looking back I wish I would have worded my story differently. I was trying to be raw. I wanted to be real. Birth is a raw and real experience. It needs talked about. It needs shared. It needs discussed. Without judgement. Because there are so many variations of normal. And that needs exposure. If I had been in a hospital and my birth happened this way, the feedback would have been much different. I believe.