Ages ago, giving birth meant having labor within the confines of your home and pushing the baby out while being surrounded by women who had "been there, done that." Women then had no choice because there were no other options available to them.
These days, thanks to medical advances in skill and technology, women have been given choices, and they are taking an empowered stance when it comes to how they want to welcome their bundle of joy into this world. Birth plans now involve a long list of options, and involve a lot of decision-making on the part of the mom-to-be. Take, for example, these two birthing stories.
The term "suhi" refers to the birth position where the baby comes out of the vaginal canal with the bum or the legs first, instead of the head first, which is more common. This breech position is usually one of the reasons why your doctor will recommend to do a C-section, for safety purposes. However, it is certainly possible for a woman to deliver vaginally even if her baby is in breech position.
Maternity, birth, and newborn photographer Karyn Loftesness was able to capture with her camera Raychel's unique vaginal breech delivery, and she came out with vivid photos of the experience.
Raychel found out that her son was in the breech position four days before her due date, and it's a good thing her midwives were skilled in assisting a vaginal breech delivery. "[Raychel] had a great birth team of knowledgeable and experienced midwives supporting her, along with her husband and doula. She is standing up for the rights of birthing women and passionately educating others on the safety of breech birth under the right circumstances," Karyn told The Huffington Post UK.
Karyn recounted the birth on her blog: "First the bum, then one leg popped out, then the next, then the torso, both elbows, then one hand, and then the other hand, and finally the head! It was like watching him fall gently and slowly into a sitting position beneath her on the bed." As soon as he was fully out, the midwives caught him and handed him to Raychel." You can see the photos here; they are graphic, but it's nothing short of amazing.
Natural caesarean, believe it or not, is a real technique. The British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology calls it "walking the baby out," wherein after the incision, the baby's head is delivered with the doctor’s help, then the doctor lets the baby breathe on his own while still attached to the placenta to get rid of excess fluid in his lungs--this is essentially what happens to a baby's lungs when delivered vaginally. After a good cry, the baby then pushes or wiggles himself out of his mother’s womb.
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U.K. mom Sarah Saunders uploaded a video of herself having a natural caesarean birth on YouTube last year. "I wanted to share this video to show that if you are unable to give birth ‘naturally’ that having a natural caesarean is the next best thing!" she wrote on her video caption. "The team at Torbay [Hospital] were phenomenal and gave me a birth experience I will cherish forever," she adds. In the video below, you'll also see how relaxed and calm Saunders was during the birth.
These two birth stories are proof that a woman's choice matters. While a birth plan is still more of a guideline than a direct order--because you and your baby's safety is still top priority--it has become a symbol of empowerment for pregnant women. Birthing experiences now are a fusion of the old practices with the knowledge medical experts have gathered over the years. Anything is possible as long as you have the right information and the right people supporting and helping you.