A Birthday Story of An External Version and Intuition
Posted by Kyndal - Birth Journals

17 years ago, my second son, Aidan, like his brother Fox before him, was breech. But unlike Fox who turned head down with just some moxibustion, a light shining low and his dad talking to him, Aidan stayed put through every maneuver I could think of (this was well before Spinning Babies was around) and even through an external version.

That version was painful and I remember it vividly – mostly I remember wanting to put my hands on top of the obstetrician’s hands and get him to gently rock instead of force my baby to turn. I was a massage practitioner and practiced Trager Bodywork but mostly I just KNEW it would FEEL better both to the baby and to me.

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But I did not put my hands on his hands. Instead, I slid them under my bottom so I wouldn’t instinctively/reflexively put my hands on the “surgeon’s hands”. Despite being a doula, a childbirth educator and a MOTHER, I did not trust my intuition.

 

That version was unsuccessful.  Knowing this was my last birth and baby and determined to do all I could to avoid a preventable cesarean birth, I asked for a second external version at 39 weeks. The doctor obliged but warned me it was unlikely to be successful citing all the reasons:   – my first baby was 9 lbs and this one was likely the same, I was already 38.3 and “the baby isn’t going to get smaller”, – there will be less amniotic fluid, – and the thinking at the time (and still today) – if the first version isn’t successful, the second won’t be either.
Here, I trusted my gut and I scheduled the second version anyway.


This time, I decided to treat the entire procedure like labor and asked for a labor room instead of a triage room. I went into the room with my earbuds in – listening to music I loved. I shut the blinds to make the room dark.  I climbed into the hospital bed and assumed the open knee-chest position (again before Spinning Babies, there was Penny Simkin and the Labor Progress Handbook and we train doulas in this and many other positions). I asked the nurse to do what she needed to do while allowing me to remain with my hips in the air. My team – my doula and two of my midwives asked everyone else to wait outside and come in together so there would be minimal distraction. All agreed and all entered quietly, whispering once in the room and waiting for me to let them know I was ready – just like a labor.


That year, (1999) Henci Goer’s The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth had JUST come out – actually it had not even hit the shelves yet – and one of my midwives who had preordered it on Amazon got it delivered to her door the night before the second version. That night, she called Henci (whom she knew) and asked if she knew anything that might increase our odds for success with tomorrow’s version. Henci said yes, and cited some research that showed rocking the baby instead of “muscling” it had shown some better results. Rocking eh? Hmmm…

 

The next day our OB agreed to try it and with one midwife at my feet, my doula holding my hand and one midwife at my head, he took to rocking Aidan. When it didn’t work, I heard him say, “I wonder if he’ll go the LONG way?” And with two more rocks in the other direction, Aidan rolled himself around, taking the long way, head down toward my pelvis. And there was MUCH rejoicing in that room!
Just a few days later, Aidan was born at home with his brother, Fox in attendance.

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My lessons – shared with respect for wherever you are on any part of your journey…TRUST your intuition and ask for what you need/know is right for you. I try to follow that daily (some days with success, some not) and I try to pass it on to both my boys.  And ask the question: “what will it take to….”  because when you do…you might find the long way is just as good, just as satisfying a way to go.

Kyndal Fox and Aidan
Today is Aidan’s 17th birthday. He’s on the right (the tallest in the family now, passing even dad) and starts his Junior year in high school next week.  Fox (on the left) turns 19 next month and is at the University of Idaho.  Whether you take the short way or the long…time flies too fast not to trust your gut every step of the way.

4 responses to “A Birthday Story of An External Version and Intuition”

  1. Sheila Taylor says:

    I’ve heard this story several times, and each time I am again inspired by your intuition and how you create space for what you need.
    With every year that comes and goes, I’m becoming increasingly strong, and trusting myself, with myself.

  2. Kyndal May says:

    Thank you Sheila! Every year we are closely to where we want to be!

  3. Just beautiful Kyndal! Thank you for sharing this intimate experience.

  4. Susan Martensen says:

    Such inspiration in this post – thank you for sharing, Kyndal. The writing and photographs are beautiful. Especially the first one with you and your 2 boys as well as the last one. I smiled when I read Fox’s T-shirt – “Life’s to short to stay stuck” – indeed! That should be a breech birth motto.