Upside Down Birth Story
My second pregnancy was going perfectly, no complications until the 35th week when we found out that the baby was in a frank breech position. My husband and I were not sure what to do. Our OB told us that she would be unable to do anything but a C-Section to deliver the baby. But that didn’t feel right to us. I had given birth to our son vaginally and we felt like this was a situation didn’t require us jumping right into a C-Section.
Our OB referred us to Dr. Barry Brock. Dr. Brock is one of the only doctors at Cedars Sinai who will perform vaginal breech deliveries. We made an appointment with him for the following week and in the meantime, I started doing everything that I could to get our baby flipped. I went to Dr. Berlin and Dr. Frank for chiropractic adjustments every other day, and I went to their acupuncturist as well for Moxa treatments. I also did inversions on an ironing board at home and on the treadmill at my gym. I went to the pool and did hand stands and front flips until I got dizzy. I watched “Heads Up: The Disappearing Art of Vaginal Breech Delivery” and I spoke to several mothers who underwent breech births themselves. After all of this research, my husband and I came to the conclusion that a vaginal delivery was right for us, and it was what we were going to try to do.
At our first appointment, Dr. Brock couldn’t have been more reassuring. He is one of the best in his field and we felt so blessed to be in his hands. He advised us to try an ECV to flip the baby and if that didn’t work, we would go ahead and do a vaginal delivery. It was music to our ears!
The ECV didn’t work. He tried four times to flip the baby but to no avail. In discussing the plan for a vaginal delivery, Dr. Brock told us that he had a vacation planned to Cabo the following week!! I panicked because those dates fell right into the week before my due date! My son was 9 days early…if I delivered early this time, I’d have to go to the doctor on call and I would have to have a C-Section!
Dr. Brock assured me that he didn’t think that would happen, that I would not go into labor until he came back to LA. He gave me his flight itinerary so I knew exactly when he was taking off and landing, and all I had to do was keep our baby in until he came back! Before he left, we scheduled a date to induce; February 3rd. It was 2 days before my due date and it would ensure that the baby wouldn’t be too big. I was happy to set an induction date because it gave me something to think about and focus on while he was out of town.
So for the next 5 days I held my breath, I used essential oils to keep myself relaxed and every time I had a Braxton Hicks contraction I took a deep breath and said “I will not go into labor until Feb 3rd, I will not go into labor until Feb. 3rd.” Dr. Berlin and Dr. Frank were very helpful during this time as well in keeping me calm and relaxed.
I made it! Dr. Brock landed back in LA and I heaved a huge sigh of relief. Then, my plan was to try to go into natural labor myself before the induction procedure. For the next 48 hours I did everything I could to start labor…I ate the salad at that place in Studio City, I exercised, my husband and I had lots of sex, we tried everything, but it didn’t work.
So on Friday Feb 3rd at midnight we went to the hospital. It was an absolutely magical experience from start to finish. They started me on Pitocin and very slowly I started to feel contractions. By 7 AM they were strong but not horrible. I asked for an epidural, and at 8 AM I was very comfortable. Dr. Brock came in then and checked me and broke my water. Over the next 4 ½ hours my labor progressed perfectly. My husband and my mom were in the room with me and we spent that time watching golf on TV and taking bets on if the baby was going to be a boy or a girl.
At around 1 PM my contractions got to the point where I felt pressure in my bottom and so I knew that it was time to push. I called in the nurse who got Dr. Brock and he confirmed that it was time. Suddenly about 25 people filed into the room, they were doctors and nurses and residents and interns from all various departments and they all wanted to observe my delivery. I pushed for about an hour, between contractions we continued to watch the golf tournament. The mood was extremely relaxed and laid back. Lots of times we were laughing, and at no point did anyone or anything get intense or frantic. At 2:04 PM our baby was born. I felt the baby in the birth canal the entire time and my husband and mom watched as the little bum came out first, then both legs, arms and finally the head. It was the most relaxed, peaceful and beautiful moment of my life.
Dr. Brock held the legs together and then he said “Ok Dad, what do we have?” he opened her legs and my husband shouted “it’s a girl!” which was another amazing moment. I burst into tears and was speechless for the first time in my life.
After she was checked by the pediatric team, I got to hold her and nurse her… it was incredible! We named her Birdie (after the golf score) and we were not prepared for how much she and her birth experience would change our lives.
Our team of Dr. Brock, Dr. Berlin, Dr. Frank and Jason Starr was incredible. We could not have done this without their support and the support of the entire breech community in Los Angeles. We will forever be grateful to all of them.
About The Author: Marion Campbell Kammer was born and raised in Ohio. She moved to Los Angeles 17 years ago to pursue work in entertainment. She and her husband are talent agents and happened to meet at work. They now live happily with their two children, Charlie and Birdie.