#126 | Giana's Shoulder Dystocia Birth at Home

September 27, 2021

Giana is one of our Down To Birth Show listeners whose OB had told her to get an induction at 38 1/2 weeks due to a large baby. When she declined, her OB offered a scheduled Cesarean section as an alternative. Giana noticed the OB emphasized the importance of getting the baby out, but ignored the risk factors associated with induction or scheduled Cesarean.  She took matters into her own hands by hiring midwives and planning a home birth. But then doing her home birth, after the baby's head was out, they were facing a clear case of shoulder dystocia. When all was said and done, her baby weighed 10 lbs, 12 oz.

Listen to Giana's story about having to move around with just her baby's head out, and why she wouldn't do anything differently if she could plan her birth again from the start.

Giana is happy to speak to any listener who would like to connect regarding home birthing.

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Connect with us on Instagram @DownToBirthShow to see behind-the-scenes production clips and join the conversation by responding to our questions and polls related to pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. You can reach us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com or call (802) 438-3696 (802-GET-DOWN). We are always happy to hear from our listeners and appreciate questions for our monthly Q&A episodes. To join our monthly newsletter, text "downtobirth" to 22828.

You can sign up for Cynthia's and Trisha's "Fourth Trimester Workshop" or Cynthia's HypnoBirthing classes and weekly postpartum support groups at HypnoBirthing of Connecticut

Please remember we don’t provide medical advice, and to speak with your licensed medical provider related to all your healthcare matters. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, and see you next week!

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View Episode Transcript

Hi, my name is Gianna and I'm really excited to share my home birth experience. And the reason why I like to share it is such a unique experience. Because we experienced a shoulder dystocia situation with my son, he was almost 11 pounds. And when people asked me if I would do home birth again, because of that I answer yes. 100% Yes, I would do it all over again. And if we have another baby, that baby will also be born at home. And here's why, no matter what happened at that time, even though he got stuck, even though there was there was some urgency there, I still felt empowered. And I still felt like my body was respected and by midwives were so amazing and skilled at what to do in that situation, that I felt the most safe here in my own home. So let me just take you back. We found out we were pregnant pre pandemic, and I started my care over at the obstetric clinic right next to my house hospital close to my house, and went along until about 20 weeks. And the reason why is because things were such at such a standstill, and really up in the air with hospital policy and protocol when it came to labor and delivery. You know, what, who was allowed in the room who wasn't and testing and all of that. And so because of the amount of uncertainty and the nerves and anxiety it was kind of causing my husband and I we really had a good conversation and just decided, You know what, let's take it home. And we went through the process of looking for a midwife, and we found one that we fell in love with. And long story short, we ended up switching care about 23 weeks into my pregnancy. Now, talking about Humbert home birth with people that weren't super familiar with the idea, you know, we got a lot of opinions about it. And I feel very proud of myself and my husband, having pushed through that and really making the decision for ourselves to take our Mike hair and the baby's care into our own hands. So my due date was a quote unquote, estimated due date was September 25. And my son ended up coming on October 6. So we went along all through our care, it was a drastic difference from the obese office. The first thing that I noticed is that our prenatal appointments were like an hour long. And my son and my head, my older son and my husband were allowed to be involved. My son helped with the fundal measurements, my husband did the Doppler like it was just such an inclusive environment, and I got to be here on my couch or my bed wherever we were comfortable. And it was not just prenatal care, but it was prenatal care. Plus, there was so much education that went behind talking to me about what was going on with the baby and me and then talking to my son, and including my husband in the conversation like this is an experience for all of us. And the days and weeks went by leading up until the day we decided to drink the midwife's brew, if you don't know what that is, it's the castor oil smoothie. And so leading up to that day I did, I started having minor contractions and then my mucus plug came out. So this was about two days before actual delivery. So we knew just by my previous pregnancy and delivery, my first son was 9.6 pounds at delivery. Now we were measuring this baby a little bit, slightly bigger. And the reason being is because before I had switched to midwifery care, my OB had told me this baby is measuring very large, I want to schedule your induction for 38 and a half or 39 weeks to avoid him getting bigger. I did not want to be induced. It gave me a lot of anxiety to think about going through an induction and knowing the cascade of interventions that can occur. I, you know, was another large reason of aside from the pandemic and protocols there that we ended up switching. I pushed back and I said no, I didn't want to be induced and then they said okay, well we can schedule a cesarean for you just you don't have to worry about you know, delivering you may not be able to get him, you know to pass through the canal effectively and you know, they were giving me all of the risk factors of not being induced and or having a cesarean but they weren't giving me the risk factors of being induced and having a cesarean if that makes sense. So anyway, just to kind of give you a little backstory there.

So we were expecting this baby to be on the little bit bigger side. So a day before actual delivery, I was having contractions on and off, I can kind of stalled and I was taking Homeopathics to keep things going. And we got to the point that evening, October 5 2020, my midwife came and she said, Okay, it's going to feel it's it see it seeming like things are getting close. So we're going, I'm going to hang out here for a bit. Everything kind of stalled. And then she decided to go home and then come back the next day. So cool. Everything's fine that night. The next morning, is where things kind of started kicking in, she came over about mid morning. And I took the midwife's brew, I drank that and I was on some Homeopathics to keep things moving along. So by the time that I ended up feeling some serious contractions, it was about mid morning to I would say afternoon like about noon, one ish. And things I felt going through, you know, I was having to take some breaths, and I was having to stop walking around sometimes, and I was having a contraction, and I would sit down and stand up and just kind of move and meanwhile I'm home. So I'm feeling so safe. I don't feel like people are crowding me everyone's respecting the space. And I felt the most empowered when I was able to navigate through each contraction, the way that I felt most comfortable. Now got to the point where I felt like the water would really help. So I popped in the pool. Well, I got in the pool gently and just kind of moved through some of the more intense contractions there. There was a lot of you know, a counter pressure happening and my husband was there, my son was there and my mother and then my best friend ended up coming so that she could take some pictures and record. So things move pretty quickly. To be honest, after that point, I felt myself go through transition. And I began to start pushing, I felt the urge and they said okay, as long as you feel like pushing go for it. I started pushing and I could feel him descending, his head came out very slowly. And I think this is something that the midwives were actually keeping tabs on and watching although at this point, obviously, I have no idea. You know what that indicates. So his head comes out and I feel his head come down, and I reached down and I feel like he's got so much hair and we're all super excited my son's clapping. And then I start to feel his body trying to rotate the baby. So the baby's trying to rotate, but he's not like he can't, like I can feel I can feel him getting stuck. So I take a couple breaths, wait for the next contraction and I start gently pushing again and he's just not coming out. So one of the midwives, the another one that came to assist my primary, she said, Okay, Gianna, I'm going to need you to get out of the pool very gently, very commonly. And I said, Okay, his head's all the way out. I get out of the pool, and they put me into what I know now as to be those maneuvers to help get a shoulder dystocia be released. So I next thing I know I'm on the floor, my knees are going all the way back, my legs going up, they flipped me to the side, my knees going back. And then all of a sudden, within a span of nine minutes, I'm standing up leaning on one of them one of my midwives and the other one is down with her hand she reaches in rotates him and he pops out. And meanwhile this baby comes out very, very placid. He is not breathing as well as he could as he could be. And so they immediately start respirations they put the pulse oximeter, and she looks at me and she tells me Gianna, he's gonna be fine. Put your hand put your finger on the cord, do not deliver the placenta, just put your hand on the cord, you can feel it pulsing. He is getting all of this oxygenated blood to his body. He's not losing oxygen. So I'm keeping my eyes on the cord. I'm feeling it. And I'm feeling his little hand. He's warm. I'm watching the number on the pulse oximeter and I'm feeling very at peace. And it's bizarre because everyone's you know around me is like, oh my goodness, you know what's going on? And I feel just this, this, this overwhelming amount of peace. That so much so that I didn't even notice the paramedics came and they're all just standing there. No one's upset. No one's like panicking nothing. It was in an incredibly peaceful kind of mesmerizing moment that even the paramedics are just honoring the space and the next contraction came the baby, the cord stopped pulsing and I delivered the placenta. And we went to the hospital shortly after, just to make sure that he was okay. And he was. And this baby is completely resilient. He was 10 pounds 12 ounces at birth. So no wonder he got stuck a little bit and needed a little bit of help coming out. But to be honest with you, despite all of that, we had an amazing, amazing experience. And yes, I would totally do it again, all of the fear and all of the doubt that anybody might try to, you know, impose on me if this if we ever had another baby at home. It just doesn't compare to the amount of peace and the empowerment and making your own decision and having the ability to build a care team, a birth team that is completely on your side. So I am happy to talk to anyone that is considering homework or has had you know, previous birth trauma when it comes to making your own decisions and really just kind of taking things back into your own hands and bringing birth home.


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Between episodes, connect with us on Instagram @DownToBirthShow to see behind-the-scenes production clips and join the conversation by responding to our questions and polls related to pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood.

You can reach us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com or call (802) 438-3696 (802-GET-DOWN). 

To join our monthly newsletter, text “downtobirth” to 22828.

About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

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