Well, here we go again. Gina of The Feminist Breeder has made her opinions very clear on breech vaginal birth. As a woman who has never been put in that position I find it interesting that she has such strong thoughts on it and feels the need to tell other women how they should birth. And of course having been banned for my last disagreement with her I am unable to respond to her directly, so you all get to hear the response of a woman who’s son was breech and chose (yes chose proudly) to have a c-section.
I have zero regrets about my choice. I know it was right and I made the decision with all of the information and education I could get on the subject. Despite what many natural birth advocates would have people believe. If you sign up for a c-section that does not mean you are uneducated. It does not mean you love your child less because of it. It doesn’t make you a bad mom and it doesn’t make you any less of a mother either. The fact is breech happens in 2-3% of women. That’s it. It’s not a variation of normal, not with that small percentage. So I just want to start out saying to The Feminist Breeder, when you have been faced with the terrifying thought of a breech birth then and only then can you have a say in this. Until then, keep your misinformation to yourself.
My Story Is Five Years Old
Five years ago today I was trying to keep my mind off of the planned c-section. The knowledge that in less than 24 hours I was finally going to have a son, but to get him it meant major abdominal surgery. It had been a month to six weeks leading up to this final decision. When around 32 weeks my doctor noticed that he hadn’t turned yet she began discussing things with me. Assuring me there was still time. Every week I went in and every week he hadn’t moved at all. Finally at 34 weeks we seriously began discussing my options. I had two. We could turn him at 36 weeks and hope for the best but expect the worst or we could go ahead and schedule the c-section.
So I began doing some research. Talking to people about different ways I could get him to turn on my own. Trying exercises. Music played on my lower stomach. A bag of cold peas on the top of my belly. Anything to just get him to move on his own. The version meant two doctors pushing on the outside of my stomach with lots of pain and the possibility that we could end up with a c-section anyways, only an emergency c-section. If all went well I would have walked out of there and we wouldn’t have to be back until he decided it was time for his grand entrance. A planned c-section meant things were controlled, we could make sure he was born closer to his due date and we could plan my husband’s vacation so he could be there to take care of the kids and help me recoup while I was in the hospital.
But hey, women have delivered babies vaginally breech before. I know I’ve heard about it. My mom has often told me that I was breech right up until she delivered me and that she had to tell the doctor to leave me be I would turn. And I did. I discussed things with my doctor. I talked to nurses at the hospital. Delivering him breech vaginal was not a safe option. The doctors weren’t trained in it, the hospital wouldn’t allow it, and this is where The Feminist Breeder has issue because women don’t have a choice. But this is where my story becomes important for that. Because if I had that as a choice and I chose it, I might have a very different story to be telling you today.
Let Us Say Vaginal Birth Was An Option
Suppose for a minute that at 35 weeks or so I could have found another doctor to take me and deliver me vaginally. Suppose that any doctor would take another doctor’s patient that late in the pregnancy who has Gestational Diabetes (controlled with diet) and who has chronic high blood pressure (controlled relatively well with medication). Suppose we lived in a parallel universe where all of this stuff was allowed. Suppose that I wouldn’t also need loads and loads of cash to be able to do this because insurance is not going to pay for this. Face it people, this is truly not a viable option for most people unless you are Kimberly Van Der Beek with unlimited resources like a world renowned doctor, as The Feminist Breeder likes to call him, Dr. Fischbein. Let us not mince words, my blue collar butt will not be getting any world renowned physicians who are willing to take me with no ability to pay. But let us say all of the stars alined and this was a possibility.
Had I even attempted to deliver my son vaginally, well lets just say I try not to think about it too much. As soon as my doctor got in there she said it’s a good thing we didn’t try to turn him, he has the cord wrapped around his neck twice. Now, I know what you’re going to say, the cord around the neck is a very common and babies can be delivered vaginally with that. Okay, sure when they are coming down head first. How long do you think a baby can sustain the pressure of a cord wrapped around his neck going through the birth canal? What is the first thing the doctor does when a baby comes out head first with the cord around his neck? He takes the cord off from around his neck. So a baby who comes out feet first is left with that noose around the neck.
Even without that, even though I had two almost nine pound babies before my son with a proven pelvis the risk and complication with a breech birth was more than I was willing to take. And honestly, I have to say a woman who chooses to do that and do it at home it scares me. If I were going to deliver my son vaginally, then it would have to be in the most controlled situation with constant monitoring. Not in a home setting.
I think that’s what people don’t understand about why people get angry when they hear about a woman who talks about this like it’s no big deal. It is a very big deal and it’s life and death. If I couldn’t be monitored, then how would the doctors pick up on an issue like the cord wrapping tighter and tighter around my son’s neck? These are very real and very scary scenarios. What if the baby doesn’t come down right? What if he gets stuck and all of the techniques learned do nothing for him?
So you see, I have thought about this a lot. I did enough to educate myself on my options. I chose to put my life in greater risk so my son could be here. Yes, even with two other children at home.
To The Feminist Breeder, doctors don’t do it here in the US because it is not a safe option. Because it cannot be taught in a classroom. Because it doesn’t happen enough that a doctor in residency would get enough training in it. Because of the 2-3% of women who present as breech when told of the risks to their baby in a breech vaginal delivery and the risks to their baby in a c-section a large percentage of those women would choose c-section. I was faced with that choice 5 years ago and I don’t for one minute doubt that I made the absolute right choice for me and my son.
Just like I’m sure Kimberly Van Der Beek is sure she made the right choice for her child. But what a famous person with unlimited resources manages to do and what a typical woman without a lot of resources can do are two different things. Lets not make women feel like they are less of a woman because they weren’t able to have a vaginal breech birth. And certainly lets not put a woman on a pedestal who had more resources at her disposal than most women in the US ever will have.
And lastly, why is it that Dr. Fischbein is only doing homebirths or birth center births now? Why is he not practicing in a large hospital with all of his helpful expertise? Is it because of his conviction of sexual exploitation of a patient? Not lies or rumors here Gina, it’s public record. His license is revoked, but the revocation is stayed following a 7 year probation. He has no choice but to do homebirths if he wants to continue to attend births because no hospital is going to take that risk. This is the world renowned saint of a doctor who gives women birth choices. He also takes advantage of women who are in weakened conditions. I’m hard pressed to believe that anything he has to say is not him taking advantage of a situation. His heroing acts of being the only homebirth doctor who also delivers breech babies in the US come off simply as a man who has a God complex.
I strongly believe in mother’s intuition, but it needs to also take into account reliable sources. Not a quack, not the words of someone who is uneducated on the subject and has never been faced with that choice, and not by the untrained. Getting a 2nd opinion is one thing, but going and going and going until you get what you want to hear from someone is something else entirely.
And that ladies and gentleman is the real truth behind vaginal breech birth with Dr. Fischbein. So who’s ready to jump in and have a vaginal breech birth when faced with these real life consequences?