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Guest post from new mother Michelle Dodson.

My name is Michelle Dodson.  I am 27 yo.  I work as a self-employed Registered Dietitian in Bloomington, Indiana. This was my first pregnancy. We planned to have a homebirth and hired a wonderful midwife.  We had a Dr. agree to being on backup in case I would need to deliver in the hospital.  Unfortunately, I had to have her in the hospital because my midwife will not deliver a breech baby at home if it is her first pregnancy. 

My pregnancy was really easy I felt great for the most part other than the occasional heart burn. At about 34 weeks I found out my baby was frank breech. I was told I could try a few different approaches to get the baby to flip, and if it didn’t flip by 37 weeks, then I had the choice to have an external cephalic version performed. Me and my husband tried everything to get her to flip (Moxibustion, chiropractic Webster technique, spinning babies exercises, Ice pack at top of uterus, music at pubic bone, cranial sacral therapy, maya massage, visualization, hand stand) but nothing worked. At 37 weeks I went to the hospital and my doctor tried an ECV but baby didn’t flip. At this point I was pretty emotional since we had tried everything and nothing worked.

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At 38 weeks I finally accepted the fact that the baby probably wasn’t going to flip and that I was going to have to have a hospital birth.  I really wanted to have a vaginal breech birth. Since my doctor has experience in breech births and felt confident, I made the decision to attempt a non medicated vaginal breech delivery. Everything went well and I delivered a beautiful healthy baby girl with no meds! I had a beautiful baby girl on February 23, 2013.  Her name is Josie May. 

Michelle is a brave woman. She found me via an article I wrote in regards to the breech position of babies. Michelle replied to my article with an awesome story that I wanted her to share and elaborate on so others could hear in the BirthFIT community.

What made your labor and deliver a littler unique compared to the norm?

I labored at home with my midwife and husband until 5cm.  Once we arrived at the hospital I was already in the transition phase and only had to labor in the hospital for about an hour until I started pushing.  Once I started pushing I was wheeled from the laboring room into the OR room in case something would go wrong.  There were 12 people (Dr, Midwife, Husband, Intern, Anesthesiologist, Pediatrician, and many nurses) in the OR while I delivered Josie May.  After pushing for a half hour Josie May arrived butt first.

Did you do research in regards to vaginal breech deliveries?

LOL yes tons! Spinning babies website and Ina May Gaskin share some great info on vaginal breech birth.  Be careful with the internet though because there is a lot of misinformation towards breech delivery that can scare you.

When you found out your baby was breech, how did you decide what to do from there (as in deliver breech vaginally vs. cesarean section)?

Since I met certain criteria (frank breech position and baby was small) my doctor said it was my choice to either deliver the baby vaginally or have a cesarean.  After researching and speaking with my midwife, my husband and I decided to try having her vaginally.  The doctor did mention that there is a 1% chance that something could go severely wrong.  His comments  and many others did scare us but I decided to trust my gut and go forth with the decision I made.   

What steps did you take throughout your pregnancy to ensure that you and your body were fully prepared for birth?

  • Ate mostly a paleo whole foods diet.  (It is very important to eat well when pregnant)
  • Hiked in the woods everyday with my dogs
  • Attended prenatal yoga the last trimester of my pregnancy Screen shot 2013-04-08 at 2.09.46 PM
  • Read many birthing books and took a few tips from each that I thought would be helpful (Birthing without fear, Birthing from Within, Hypnobirthing, The Birth Book, and The Bradley Method)
  • Monthly midwife prenatal visits
  • Childbirth classes
  • Went to a chiropractor the last month of my pregnancy
  • Went to a massage therapist once a month and had cranial sacral therapy performed a couple times

Did you add anything or change anything when you decided to deliver breech vaginally?

The plan was to have a homebirth using a birthing tub.  Once I found out that my baby was breech I had to change my birth plan because my midwife does not deliver first time births if baby is breech at home and my back up doctor that I chose said I would have to push laying down in bed.  I did have a doula for my homebirth but decided to not have her attend my birth anymore since my midwife became my labor support person. 

Who was on your birth team or part of your support crew and why?

My Midwife and Husband.  I knew that I would not want a lot of people around.  I keep more to myself when I am in pain.  My husband and midwife knew the kind of birth I wanted and respected my wishes.  I knew having family or friends around would cause more anxiety.  Especially since my family really wasn’t on board with me having a birth at home in the first place.

Can you tell the readers about labor and delivery?

It’s exciting.  Labor for me was hard at the beginning but once it progressed I felt that it was easier to manage.  Labor feels like an intense amount of pressure.  The good thing about labor is that you get a break in between contractions which I felt really helped out.  My labor  started at 4:30 am.  I found that being on my hands and knees the whole time was the best position for me.  When a contraction would come I would get down on the ground, breathe and ride it out.  Around noon the contractions started to fade so my and I husband went on a 1.5 mile hike with the dogs.  Once we got back home around 2:30 the contractions started to pick back up and become more intense and closer together.  At that time we called my midwife and she came over around 3:30.  I labored until about 5pm at home and then when I was at 5cm we decided to go to the hospital.  Once I arrived at the hospital I labored for about an hour and then felt the urge to push.  The hardest part with labor is the transition phase.  But you just have to tell yourself it is almost over.  I felt that pushing was the easiest part.  You get a little break before pushing and pushing for me was a relief.  Your body tells you when to push.  That is if you are undedicated.  During delivery the Dr. did an episiotomy which I was not happy with but since I was having a breech delivery they wanted to make sure there was enough room for the head to come out.  Right after my baby was born she was placed on my chest immediately and was never taken away until the next day.  Right after delivering a baby your body shakes.  This is normal and only lasts a short bit. 

Any advice for new mamas especially in regards to breech babies?

Go with your gut.  Don’t let others make choices for you.  Do your research.  Remember to Breathe.  Choose a doctor or midwife who has experience in delivering breech babies.

I love this story. It gets me choked up every time I read through it. I’m so proud of Michelle Dodson for believing in herself and listening to her soul!

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WORKOUT

Chipper

Advanced (95#), Intermediate (65#), Beginner (45#)

10 Deadlifts

20 lunges

30 Double Unders (or 90 Singles)

10 Clean and Jerks

20 Push ups

30 Double Unders (or 90 Singles)

10 Front squats

20 Hollow Rocks

30 Double Unders (or 90 Singles)

*Modifications

  • Push ups- Knees, from plates, or off the wall.
  • Barbell movements- can be done with KB, but be sure to rotate between R and L.
  • Double Unders- 200m run or 250m row
  • Hollow rocks- hollow holds or plank holds for 30s