Norah’s Birth: A Breech Birth Story

Norah napping with Daddy

Baby Norah is here! Our beautiful third baby arrived right on her due date last Thursday, February 5th.

I would have never imagined that each of my births would be so completely different from one another. While I haven’t shared my first born’s birth story on here, I did share my second birth. I’m sure I’ll write out my son’s birth story 6 years later but today I’m writing about my beautiful Norah and how she chose to come into this world.

Breech Presentation During Pregnancy

But first I have to share a little about my pregnancy and how it relates to her arrival. You see… little miss Norah was breech. And big. So our situation was a little unique. After seeing that she was still breech at 33 weeks we started to research and look into ways to turn our baby head down.

We also met with Dr. Lac Vu just in case Norah didn’t turn in time and we wanted to do a vaginal breech delivery. Since we originally were planningo n birthing at Best Start Birth Center as we did with my daugther, a hospital birth was the farthest thing from my mind but we needed a back up. And very few OBs these days are accepting of attempting a vaginal breech delivery.

Trying to Turn Baby

Over the next few weeks we would try the Webster method with our wonderful chiropractor Dr. Joe at Good Vibrations, Moxibustion accupuncture and Pulsatilla treatment with Nick Olow, inversion positions from Spinning Babies, swimming, sommersaults, and headstands in the pool, peppermint oil on the top of my belly and many, many more suggested techniques to getting baby to flip.

With nothing working I met with Dr. Vu again. This time I brought my husband to discuss a vaginal breech delivery and our game plan moving forward. Including scheduling an external version with Dr. Vu.

By 39 weeks she still hadn’t turned so we went ahead with a scheduled version. This, too, was unsuccessful. Once he started to turn the head I could feel her butt hit on my pelvis. And then when her butt moved a little, her head would stay lodged underneath my right rib. She was lodged.

Making Decisions

An ultrasound was done after the version and we found out that our daughter’s body was measuring in the 97th percentile and her head was “off the charts”. We were expecting this since she was already estimated at 6 pounds 8 ounces at our 33 week ultrasound (97th percentile across the board at that time). One thing we were certain about was that she was a big baby.

But the one thing that worried Dr. Vu was that her head was, in fact, larger than her body. And with a larger head comes complications with a breech vaginal birth. The biggest complication being that her head could get stuck in my pelvis after the body comes out. This would compress the umbilical cord and cut off oxygen to her. If her head was the same size as her body then Dr Vu would feel confident going into a vaginal breech delivery. But his recommendation would be to go forward with a c-section.

After much thought, talking, and research, my husband and I decided that we would like to go into labor naturally and then move forward with the c-section. I still was holding out hope that she’d change her mind and flip at the last minute even though she was so big. So I continued going to the chiropracter and doing the exercises I had been doing to ensure she had room to turn.

Another week passed and by my due date I was just done. I had been having braxton hicks contractions as well as regular contractions daily but they never amounted to anything. I basically just told Norah that she could be born however she’d like as long as she just came sooner rather than later. Being a bigger baby than my other two children, I knew that another week or two in the womb would make for a very, very large baby.

Our Birth Story

Later that evening, shortly after my husband came home from work, I started to feel contractions come on a bit more regularly. This is when I started to time them once I recognize a pattern – they were around 4-6 minutes apart lasting about a minute each. After timing for an hour I decided to take a shower and see if they subsided or kept going. At this point I was in no pain and simply felt minor cramping very similar to my contractions with my first daughter.

After my shower I started to time the contractions again and they were regularly 4-5 minutes apart so I called Dr. Vu to see if I should come in to the hospital. Since I was dilated to 3 centemeters at my last appointment that Monday he suggested I come in so that we could figure out our game plan. I quickly agreed due to the fast progression of my labor with my second birth after regular contractions started. I know that once my body gets going it can be a rather quick transition. We sent the big kids off with Grandma to spend the night and headed to Sharp Grossmont.

The nurses were quick to get me in a room and my nurse started monitoring the contractions. She checked me and I was at 4 centemeters. We went through the admission process as I answered all of her questions and then they called Dr. Vu in. We were going to do one more ultrasound to confirm where the baby’s head was at to make sure she hadn’t decided to miraculously turn. Once he got to the room we confirmed that she was still breech and my husband and I made the decision (after getting support from both the nurse and Dr. Vu that they’d proceed with whatever I wanted – including attempting a vaginal breech delivery). We decided to move forward with a c-section and discussed the whole procedure and our wishes with Dr. Vu. I had come to the hospital prepared with a vaginal breech birth plan and a c-section birth plan just in case. I felt as if we were able to thoroughly go over our plan with both my nurse and the OB before we got going. This gave me total peace of mind moving forward.

Shortly after, the anesthesiologist was called to talk to us about administering the spinal and after that we were ready to get started. At this point my contractions were 4 minutes apart and lasting 60 to 90 seconds. I still was in no pain and walked over to the OR. Before I knew it I was on the OR table and the anesthesiologist was administering the spinal. My hypnobirthing breathing helped me get through that hurdle.

Norah birth prepped in OR

Things really got moving and soon I was prepped and we were ready for my husband to come in, camera in hand. I didn’t need my hands tied down and was kept a part of the conversation the whole time so I didn’t feel left out or alone at all throughout the procedure. My husband was also part of the whole experience as well. And after confirming my husband was ready to go with the camera (I insisted he take photos of everything since I couldn’t see) they got started. The only thing I felt was a bit of pressure and pulling. A bit weird but not at all uncomfortable.

Since the baby was breech she came out feet first and it was confirmed that she was incomplete breech vs. in the frank breech position she was in a few weeks earlier. The doctor got one foot out and she pulled it back in!! He then got it out a second time and then the second foot. Then came the butt and arms. After that I felt a bit more tugging and found out that they had to do a bit of a sommersault with her to get her head out. Everyone was laughing as she came out. She definitely made an impression! And she was every bit as big as predicted although we wouldn’t find out until later that she was, in fact, 10lbs and 22.5 inches long. She was born at 10:30pm on the dot.

Norah birth on warmer

After waiting for the cord to stop pulsing, she was moved to the warmer to be checked while my husband stayed right by her. They let us know she got a 9/10 on the Apgar. Whoo! The anesthesiologist showed me that I could move the screen a few inches to watch her as long as I didn’t go too far due to the sterile field. I was so grateful for him telling me this. Then she was brought to my face. This whole time she was crying but my husband said as soon as they put her near my cheek she stopped completely. Oh that sweet baby.

Norah with Mom

As I was being stitched back up, my husband went into the baby room with Norah and the baby nurse to enjoy some skin to skin time since I wasn’t able to do skin-to-skin just yet. Once I was wheeled out to recovery Norah was brought to me and placed on my chest. She started rooting and latched on right away. Before they’d take me to our room upstairs I had to either wiggle my toes or legs so I simply stayed there and relaxed with my little bundle right on me nursing away.

Norah 1 day old with Daddy

Recovery has been a bit different than I’m used to but luckily I had amazing nurses and nurses assistants at Sharp Grossmont to take care of me (thanks Devon!) and great friends to give me advice and share stories of their c-section recoveries to help me out. Most women stay in the hospital for 3 days after a c-section but my doctor knew how much I wanted to go home as soon as possible and would have let me go home the next night on Friday. Since the kids weren’t allowed to meet their sister in the hospital due to a hospital wide decision because of how bad the flu was I decided I’d stay one more night (for the pain meds… not the poking and prodding) and leave on Saturday. Dr. Vu made sure all of the paperwork I needed for me was signed off so I could leave whenever we wanted the next day.

Norah coming home 2 days old

We arrived home mid-afternoon on Saturday and Norah was able to meet her brother and sister for the first time. They were pretty excited to finally be able to see and hold her. We’re all so in love with this little girl!

You can find more photos of our little angel’s first few days by following us on Instagram.

*Friends and family – as I mentioned we have photos of the birth. If interested in seeing these photos just let me know! *

Norah with siblings

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  1. Congratulations! She is beautiful!

  2. Ooooh she is 10lbs of pure adorableness! I loved reading your story! Big brother & sister look so proud holding sweet Norah <3 I was a little disappointed that I missed you at discharge & didn't get to say bye. I'm so glad that you had such great care there. I look forward to following your thoughts on what it's like going from a family of 4 to a family of 5. Congrats again Mama she's beautiful! 🙂

    • Thanks! Yes, we’re sure to share exactly how adding this new little one to our family goes. So far so good! As soon as we said we were ready to go it was a very quick discharge. We were surprised too!

  3. Congratulations! Wow! She is an adorable big baby! I hope that you are recovering well. Big brother & Big sister look like they love her already!

  4. She is beautiful! Congratulations!!

  5. You have beautiful children!

  6. congrats! I’ve been wondering about you… a beautiful family!

  7. Awwww, CONGRATS, Danielle! She is absolutely adorable and I love how much love you can see in the pictures with her siblings. She is certainly a very lucky baby 🙂

  8. Hi there! Your story was inspirational, especially since I am in such a similar situation as you. I am 38 weeks pregnant and my little girl is still in a frank breech position. Like you, I’ve tried virtually everything from chiropractic, to spinning babies exercises, to acupuncture, moxabustion, and also an external cephalic version. None of these worked and I’m coming to peace with just accepting that she just may stay breech for some reason, and that may be the best for her. However, I’ve had a very difficult time with my providers as they have been pushing for a c section as early as possible, even though I have no pregnancy complications, except that she is breech of course 🙂 If I have to have a c, my desire is to wait to begin to go into labor naturally and then have the c, instead of just forcing it upon my baby at 37 weeks or even 39 weeks. I heard that Dr. Vu does perform vaginal breech births, and I’m sure it depends on each specific situation, but was wondering if it still may not be too late to at least try to contact him and see if I even have that option. Otherwise, this is my first birth, so I know that plays an important role in deciding as well. If you have any words of advice or feedback you can share with me about my situation or whether you think it’s worth a try to get in contact with Dr. Vu, even this late in the game, I would so appreciate it. Here is my email address: Thanks for sharing your beautiful birth story, it was so touching and comforting. and by the way, your children are absolutely gorgeous. All the best, Deborah

    • Yes! Please try and get in touch with Dr. Vu! I don’t know how late it is to transfer over but he was absolutely amazing and definitely considers everything when letting you know if he believes a vaginal breech delivery is an option. He definitely would have let me attempt it if I was adamant but made sure I realized the risks (with her size). And once I went into labor we did a final u/s to make sure she was still in the breech position. Way better than having to schedule a c/s before baby is ready in my non-medical opinion!

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