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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Breech Birth of Annaka Faith

Shanea and Shane helping me through a surge
      This birth starts at 6:30am Sunday morning. I am laying in bed feeling each surge come and go, thinking "these feel different?". I eventually get up and start getting ready for church stopping every 10-15 mins to breath through a surge. I get the girls and hubby up and start getting them around, make breakfast and have a cup of joe. Sit down in the living room and watch the girls play, waiting for time to go before we leave for church. Thinking as I sit there, "these feel different?". I share this thought with Shane and we go about our day joking about having a labor day baby. On the inside I'm thinking "If I have to go through another day of labor and have no baby I'm liable to completely lose my mind!".

      We get to church and our youth pastor is giving a sermon about "Facing Your Giants"; a fantastic sermon. However good, I really didn't expect it would hit me like it did. At the end, while Burnie is praying and I am going through another very different and strong surge, I start balling me eyes out. Shane starts holding me closely and I just cried, he's looking at me very confused and I'm now thoroughly embarrassed so I excuse myself to the restroom. But alas when I cry I tend to get extremely red faced and swollen so I can't hide it! This sermon made me realize I am facing my giant! It's making me realize that I can't give up and get frustrated, I have to wait on God's perfect timing! This gives me strength and more patience for the day I felt sure was going to be another day of labor and no baby.

      We leave church and go to Target, on the off chance this is real labor I wanted to make sure the house was stocked with food I might want during labor. Meanwhile, I call my best friend Molly and fill her in on what's going on. She suggests that she come and check me to see where my dilation is to see if it's really labor. (She is a midwife, though not the attending midwife she has the know how in this area!) I wouldn't normally get checked but felt in this case of a expected breech it best to have an idea if labor is actually starting. By the time we get home my surges are about 5-6 mins apart and varying in strength, which gives me little hope of true labor. Molly comes over after lunch around 3pm and checks me, I'm a solid 4 and about 75% effaced. But she thinks it's not labor. So, with that disappointing news, I cry again. I decide to not let the day be a waste and we took the girls to the lake and the pool. We packed some dinner and spent the afternoon / evening swimming and sunning. It was great, minus the surges coming every 3-4 mins and being so strong that I couldn't move during them they were still manageable.

At the pool with the girls one last time.
      We left the pool and I called Molly on my way home to tell her what is going on. Thinking all the while "this probably isn't it, but these feel different!" Molly and I decide it is best to come and check me again that evening. I get off the phone and give the girls a bath, while Shane lays the plastic for the floor down and blows the pool up more. We put the girls to bed and I take a hot Epsom salt bath and call my midwife to fill her in on the possibility of a birth this evening??? Molly gets over to my house checks me (this is around 8pm) and says I'm 6 and really soft!! We decide at this point it's full on labor!!! Yeah! I couldn't be more excited! Molly stays and we call my midwife to let her know. Tell her to get some sleep and we will call her around midnight with an update.

      We then start readying the house, making calls and getting people ready to come. I ate some and had a decaf cup of coffee with Molly. Then we all decided it best that we all try and get a few hours of sleep. I'm pretty high energy so the thought of going to bed right then pretty much made me crazy. Then I remembered how exhausted I was after giving birth to Ezra so, I agree to try and get sleep. I fell asleep surprisingly easy.

      I woke with a surge around 1am. The surges died off to about 15 min apart while resting. I decide to text my midwife and let her know I napped and now I'm up and ready to get this labor going. Shane and I go for a walk around the neighborhood. It was SO nice outside. The stars were so bright, the air was so fresh and crisp. It was the prefect late summer evening. The best evening to bring new life into the world. I felt so at peace and full of excitement! I craved this night for so long and it was here and so perfect!

      As we walked I stopped every so often to breath through a surge. I started to notice I wasn't breathing as well standing, but seeing as how I was a ways from home I thought it best to figure a way to breath better than ask Shane to carry me home! I started saying in my head "God is in control!" over and over again as I breathed through each surge and instantly I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and comfort. It was really amazing. All I needed to do was let go of control and release it Him.

      We got back to the house around 2:30 am and I decided I really wanted to get in the pool. I called my midwife and and asked her to start thinking about heading up this way. Meanwhile, I would wait until she got there to get in the pool so that she could check me. In hindsight I realize I could have gotten in the pool I didn't need to wait. Nor did I need to be checked. Just goes to show the deeply ingrained thought process we have of birth! Though with the way the end happened I'm glad I didn't get too much time in the water. I did some laundry, ate a banana and read my bible. I read through a verse my sweet friend Michelle sent me early that evening in Psalms. It was encouraging. Though what was most encouraging was knowing God was right beside me, had been all night and would be the rest of the way. I knew in my soul He loved me and the baby trying to come out. He would protect him/her no matter how it entered the world. I had great peace in knowing He was present for this birth and His will was being done.

Working through surges in living room.
*Note the time on the clock above me.
        Molly, Shane and I were sitting in the living room chatting between surges and I heard the stair gate close. Shanea had woken up and sneakily peeked down stairs like a child on Christmas night. So, Shane decided to go and lay down with her and see if he could get her to go back to sleep. It was very early in the morning. Needless to say, my daughter who I think actually looks forward to the births of her sisters more than anyone, could not go back to sleep. But it gave Shane a little more rest! After about an hour they just got up and she joined the birth team!

      My midwife called me about 3am and said she had to stop off at another birth so she would be delayed a few minutes. We had a ways to go (so we thought) so I decided to have Molly check me so we could call midwife #2 and I could finally get in the water. Molly checked me and I was not yet 7 so we decided to wait on calling the second midwife and see how I did in the water. So I got in the water and the surges didn't skip a beat! They stayed strong and steady. Now coming around every 2 mins and staying a good minute and a half. At this point we realized the labor wasn't going to start slowing like the water can sometimes cause it to. With this knowledge we called the second (attending) midwife and shortly after wards my (original) midwife arrived.

      While my midwife was doing what needed to be done to prepare for the birth and talking with my second midwife on the phone, I was seriously enjoying the pool. I had seen a birth video where a woman had someone pouring water from the pool on her belly so, I started doing this and realized it was very nice. When the surges would start Shanea and Shane would pour the water for me. It was sweet they way she teamed up with daddy. We started my retreat CD, a group of songs that we sang at our woman's retreat the past spring. These are songs I hold very close to my heart. Shanea would sing them to me as they played and we would also sing together. I found every time we sang them together I couldn't stop crying so I just let her sing. It was truly beautiful to see the holy spirit in her on this night of all nights. Singing those songs gave me great peace as the surges gained in strength. I felt God's hand on my belly guiding my sweet baby down.

      Which brought about the water breaking around 5 am. My first bag of waters broke with one surge then the second bag broke and we saw the water had meconium in it. At this point we stopped and checked for a cord, and there was none. Then my midwife did a check for dilation and feet as well as a check on the baby's heart rate. I was about 8-9cm and the baby's heart rate was strong. So, I stayed in the water a few more surges. At this point my midwife shared with me that the second midwife (the second midwife was the one that was supposed to attend this birth) had been called to another birth, another breech birth at that! It was apparent this was a very popular night for births!
        With this and my dilation being so far along she wanted me to get out of the water and start my "hour of patience" . They removed the pool to create more floor space. The original plan was for me to deliver in the water, but without the second midwife my midwife was not comfortable with a breech water birth, so plans changed. Shanea left the room after I got out of the water in case of any complications during delivery. We knew there was a small greater risk involved with a breech delivery. So, we had to call my child care help (my sweet Wendy!) a little earlier than scheduled. Thank you so much my friend! The new plan was that we would get me on the bed and start my hour, then the second midwife would get there just in time!

My Rock

      I got out and went straight to the shower to rinse off the meconium water. I sat on the ball in the shower and had the water directly on the belly. The surges were coming about every minute to thirty seconds by this point, so breaks were fewer and fewer. When the breaks did hit it was like a mad dash to try and get from point A to B! It was kind of comical!

      After the shower I was placed in the bed on my side to breath through surges until the hour was up. I got through about 3 surges with tremendous grace! As these surges were not like the ones in the pool, they were much stronger. Then the baby started to descend without me pushing. My midwife and Molly then began to tell me to breath differently than I had ever been taught or practiced. A sort  of short close together breaths that came quickly back to back out of your mouth with force. It was meant to focus yourself on the breathing and not pushing. When your body is pushing a baby down it's almost impossible to not bare down and push a little. The breathing was meant to help stop that. I don't make it a habit to push my babies out anyway. I know my body does this and it's best for baby if your allow your body to naturally expel the baby as it is ready to. However, when a room of people have told you that you need this hour to make sure things happen safely and your second midwife (the one you thought would attend) has not yet shown up it throws you a bit to say the least. I was a little concerned that I could not stop the baby from coming. My body was so effectively pushing this little one out without my help. When I look back I realize I never said out loud "the baby is coming out", or "I feel it coming down" or anything to warn everyone. I just knew it was coming and was trying to stop it. This my friends is not possible! Ha Ha! 

      I then told my midwife I couldn't stay in that position and I really needed to move. She said she wanted me to move to the floor but to try and get through about 4 more surges before I moved to give the second midwife time to get there. At that I said a few choice words in my head and out loud and expressed my need to be back in the water. Which was gone by that point. This was transition for the ladies who have not birthed a baby just yet. It's hard to word the labor stage just right but the emotions are undeniable. You know you want or need things, but not sure what those things are. It's pure emotions.

      With each surge I felt the baby coming. In fact the last few surges it had come out and gone back in! With the last surge on the bed little baby's bum was coming out pretty far (you see this surge on the video,,you will notice the large amount of meconium coming out with the surge! You can also see that the baby is coming out sideways.) So, my midwife said I HAD to get on the floor now and on my knees because the baby was coming. She sounded so excited that I finally felt like it was ok to allow the baby to come. With one of the surges where I felt the baby go out and come back in I realized that meant in a very short time we would finally meet this baby! I began to get very excited, full of joy and determination to get through the next few surges. It was looking like my hour of patience had turned into about 25 mins of patience! Getting off the bed was a bit of a team effort. Moving your body while another body is coming out of you is as you can imagine not the easiest thing in the world to do! As you can see from reading the second midwife had not yet arrived either so my midwife, the person we had originally chose to deliver this baby, was in the end who did in fact deliver the baby! It is crazy how God works things out sometimes.

       At this point I transitioned to the floor on my knees, my midwife is getting all her stuff closer and I'm repeating "MORE MORE MORE!" to Shane over and over as I am in the middle of a surge and I have nothing to lean on, I wanted more pillows! Poor guy at first had no idea what I wanted more of, but all I could muster out of my mouth was, "MORE!". I'm on the floor and the baby is coming so perfectly in it's time. First the little bottom emerges side ways no less, then one little leg and another plops out (at that point I'm thinking Ah, huge relief!) Then the shoulders pass and then the head, which stayed in the canal for a few seconds. In the end we realized that was a huge blessing, as with breech baby's this is one of the fears; that the head will deliver too quickly and cause problems. But as I have said this whole time, God was there He was guiding this little miracle. The entire deliver of the body happened in about one and a half surges. During which my midwife is excitedly behind me experiencing a breech delivery desperately trying not to touch the baby. You can see in the video she keeps going for it and stops herself! She later told me she practically had to sit on her hands. The urge to touch a baby as it comes out and give it a comforting cup of the hand is great. I can imagine it would be!

Annaka Faith with mommy, daddy and sissy
      At 5:56am Annaka Faith dropped out into my midwifes hands. I have to stop here and say at this moment I felt so much relief and joy and nothingness. I had been warned of this feeling and how very natural it is. After some babies are born it is natural for the mother to feel a sense of relief that allows her to go blank for a few seconds as she regroups from the birth. I had not experienced this with my first or my second so it was a little surreal to experience it with my third. I sit there in these seconds and I hear my midwife say so excitedly "Leslie, Here's your baby, grab your baby!" as she passes her under for me to take. I actually exasperatedly thought "I have to do more?". It was crazy. That thought was quickly erased by, "Praise God!! My baby is here!".

       I reached down and took this tiny, perfect, fragile, pink baby into my arms and held her so close. Shane ran out of the room to get Shanea, Ezra and Wendy and ran back. Shanea then was able to announce to the room that it was a girl. She had a new baby sister which she instantly fell deeply in love with. She asks me with the cord still attached and placenta undelivered, "Can I hold her!".

       The cord didn't get to pulse as long as we would have liked as the placenta delivered its self very quickly after wards. But Annaka didn't let it stop her from attaching herself to the breast within minutes of birth. She had such a strong latch! And she was so full of strength and color. Unlike many babies I'd seen with breech births. I was surprised and overjoyed! As I knew she was so very healthy. My midwife sucked Annaka's mouth because of the meconium in her water, and she was great, perfect in every way!

       After I delivered the placenta, Daddy and Shanea cut the cord and I was helped onto the bed where I and the baby were checked out. I have a history of bleeding a little more than normal after deliveries and this time nothing more than normal. I attribute this to the regime of blood builder and alfalfa before delivery that my midwife suggested. I also have a history of being very light headed after delivery. So much so that I would normally pass out just from sitting up, but that also didn't happen. With my second delivery I ripped pretty nastily but with this baby nothing. It has been the perfect birth in every way! I was up with in an hour to shower and release my bladder, so the uterus could begin shrinking.

      Annaka was 8lbs and 21 inches at birth. She got apgar scores of 9/10. Her head wasn't long and molded like a vertex babies head. It was tiny and perfectly shaped like an adults head. Her little legs were bent at the knee and floppy from being in a crossed position for so long. Upon investigation of the placenta we realized she had a slight Velamentous Cord insertion and her cord was wrapped around her neck. So, had she been successful in turning in utero. Had I allowed someone to manually turn her, she very easily could have not made it. She knew her path and I am proud of her for listening to it.

      All in all this birth, the one that was supposed to be so hard, was the easiest birth thus far. The baby came out with pure ease, and I'm healing better than ever. I feel incredible! Home birth is so beautiful in it's simplicity, and so rewarding in its challenge. Praise God for my body's ability to do what it did just 5 days ago! And for my baby's ability to know what it needs in utero! I couldn't have asked for a more perfect ending to a crazy pregnancy!

      I fear a world where a breech birth will not be allowed at all due to precautions caused by legalities. It is already impossible to have a breech birth vaginally in a hospital and it has become very hard to have one at home. As soon as I realized it was possible for us to have a breech birth I was sadly scared and worried. I wanted so badly for her to turn so that we didn't have to put the baby "at risk". I am ashamed at those feelings now. I should  have trusted my baby. She knew what was going on inside she knew just what was going on and what needed to happen. Who was I to take that from her? Please if your reading this and thinking this birth is an option for you, don't be scared. Know that your baby knows what it needs, and your body is capable of delivering a breech baby. Do the research, find your own peace about it. Don't just automatically sign yourself up for a cesarean. It is possible and absolutely beautiful to deliver a breech baby! As I was preparing for this birth a wise momma said to me, "It is possible that your baby is just supposed to be born this way, it doesn't know any different. It's breech birth is totally normal for it." This made so much sense to me. Your baby really doesn't know any different. We are the ones that know a different way.

      I want to say a thank you to my amazing husband, Shane, whom has been my rock through every day of this pregnancy. I love you more every day! A huge thanks to all those ladies in my life. Those incredible pillars of support that I could not have done any of this without. Thank you for loving me and supporting me all the way! Thank you to those of you who didn't know me and reached out to me to guide my heart as we came upon this birth. Praise God for his love of myself and Annaka. Thank you for keeping her safe throughout this pregnancy and giving her the courage to not turn!

**To understand better how we came to the decision to Home Birth our breech baby please see previous blog post on that journey. **

Here is a video of the birth. Please keep in mind this video shows images you may not want younger viewers to see.
The Breech Homebirth of Annaka Faith from Electra Hutchison on Vimeo.

For more information on Breech Births please click this link.


  1. Leslie! So beautiful! So proud of you Mamma! What an encouragement to others looking at homebirth, breech or not!

  2. Your video and story made me cry. So beautiful, I couldn't wait to read and see it! Congratulations again! You're so blessed.

  3. That moment when the baby is finally out and you hear the midwife say, "pick up your baby!" never gets old. There are tears every time!! Sooo beautiful and precious. Praise the LORD!!! And, you know how much I love a good foot shot! :) Love you, Les, and can.not.wait to meet Annaka!!!

  4. PS You are one amazing lady. You were born to give birth. :)

  5. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! Wish there was another word... but that about sums it up. Congratulations! Can't wait to see you tomorrow.

  6. Amazing Leslie, amazing. You make me want to give birth again. Congratulations on your daughter and your faith in both yourself and God.

  7. Breathtaking account, and such a beautiful addition to your family! I am so happy for you! Love you and miss you!!

  8. Oh my goodness Leslie, your story/video is so empowering and beautiful! I'm so glad you were able to have the perfect birth, letting God and your baby do their thing. Congrats!

  9. That was beautiful!! So sweet when Shanea announced it was girl! Congratulations Leslie!!

  10. Awesome Leslie. God is so good! Thanks for sharing your story. Congrats :)

  11. oh, Leslie, I'm just bawling, watching the video... I can't stop crying ! I've decided babies born bum first are just the most beautiful, sweetest things ever. Born at home, no less, with a courageous midwife in attendance. You hug that beautiful woman who attended you for me, thank her for knowing to sit on her hands, and knowing just when to reach out and catch Annaka's sweet head. And tell Annaka that we were SO honoured to watch her come into this world, my girls & I. Oh, I can't stop crying !! Anna (6yo) and Sophie (3yo) are watching it now with me...
    You are a rockstar, Ms. Leslie ! :D I knew you could do this. From the moment I heard your voice on the phone that day, I knew you and this baby WOULD do this. ♥
    My heart is swelling, overwhelmed with love and JOY for you and your family. You may not understand the political weight of what you & your sweet daughter accomplished here --on Labour Day, 2010 no less !-- but please know that all the breech homebirthing mum-babe dyads to come after you are grateful for your courage and strength, and for sharing this amazing footage.
    All my love,
    -A very emotional ME
    PS I don't know *who* that wise momma was who said maybe she was in the breech position simply because she was MEANT to be there, and that maybe you should honor that, but I reckon she was right ;-) Especially when I hear about that borderline V.I. of the cord...

  12. Absolutely amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing this intimate moment of your life.

  13. absolutely BEAUTIFUL. isn't it AMAZING when we give it all up to Him? i cried too, just like E... bawled actually. :)


  14. gosh- my new mama hormones struggled to handle that!!! *wipes eyes*

    what an inspiration you are- congratulations xxx

  15. What a beautiful and inspiring story! Thank you for sharing all of it with all of US!

  16. Good show. We just had another hands/knees birth at the Montfort hospital here in Ottawa. It went great, although not quite as quick, as the cord was around the neck twice and there was 1 min. and about 10 seconds before I reached in and did what we have coined in an upcoming article as "Frank's Nudge" to flex the head. The downer was an unnecessary episiotomy provided by a nervous physician who came in from left field. We are all learning.

    I just have a question for the midwife about why she was trying to stop you from pushing when you could already see the bottom "rumping?"


  17. Good show. We just had another hands/knees birth at the Montfort hospital here in Ottawa. It went great, although not quite as quick, as the cord was around the neck twice and there was 1 min. and about 10 seconds before I reached in and did what we have coined in an upcoming article as "Frank's Nudge" to flex the head. The downer was an unnecessary episiotomy provided by a nervous physician who came in from left field. We are all learning.

    I just have a question for the midwife about why she was trying to stop you from pushing when you could already see the bottom "rumping?"


  18. Trusting birth is such an awesome thing!

  19. Leslie that was amazing. It made me cry watching it. You did an amazing job.

  20. Amazing! Beautiful breech birth. I felt your joy! This gives me confidence that it CAN be done naturally, and at home. Thank you for sharing your story!

  21. beautiful! I am proud to know you!

  22. WOW what a beautiful birth! This video is SO inspiring, thank you for sharing such an intimate moment with the world proving that a breech baby CAN be delivered vaginally AND at home no less!

  23. To Betty -Anne: I think it has more to do with the "hour of patience" we were trying to achieve. Last I was checked, which had only been minutes before maybe 15 I was only 9cm so she was trying to make sure I had progressed enough to allow the baby out. I am going to add a link about the hour of patience so it is more clear. But also, after wards I was told she was trying to get the room ready and get all her things in order and honestly didn't at first realize the baby's bottom was coming. I hadn't expressed the feeling well, as I was just trying to breath. :) I hope that explains it. It was a really quick 25 mins from the pool to the bed! A lot happened in that small amount of time. I think had she realized the baby was crowning then I would have been on the floor sooner, but it all happened in just the right amount of time. :)

    To everyone else:
    Thanks for your support! I hope this helps someone else!

  24. love and prayers and praise to the lord, dear mom, baby and fam!!!!! ofcourse this helps someone else like 5 months pregnant mom like me!

    trusting births always help many women!
    much love and llllllove!+

  25. Wonderful birth - thanks so much for sharing! Gorgeous work, momma! Breech birth is beautful.

  26. GREAT story! Thank you so much for sharing. :]

  27. I'm so emotional, this is so peaceful, amazingly empowering, thank you so much for sharing this...I will share this story with any doubtful mommas, may babies be born as they are supposed to.

  28. amazing story and video.... thank you so much for sharing this, I am going to share this with my fellow student midwives xxx

  29. Wow what an amazing story and video. I love your faith in God and your body.

    I would love to have your video featured on my birthvideos web site. Please email me!

  30. i just found your blog through We are planning a breech home birth for baby #2 due in just a couple of weeks. Your story is very encouraging and timely for me and my husband! It's funny that after we tried everything to get him to turn, and it was apparent that he was going to stay put and wouldn't budge (though he is still very active, just has his little butt all settled in my pelvis) we felt complete peace that this is how he is supposed to be born. We always had a feeling this is how it would happen, but now that we have completely surrendered our efforts, we feel such a great peace. My husband actually said a few days ago "maybe he (baby) knows something we don't know" and this is the best way for him to be born. We're praying for a smooth, successful, peaceful, birth for our little one. I believe it's going to be a prophetic act for the kind of person he is and the call on his life.
    Thanks again for sharing your story!!!

  31. what an amazing blessing!! thank you so much for sharing and inspiring!