Anya Cutler had originally planned to give birth at a birth center with midwives, then at 36.5 weeks and after trying practically everything possible to encourage her baby to flip, she ended up transferring care to an OB-GYN that was experienced in vaginal breech delivery. She also shares about her unexpected and extremely challenging struggles feeding her baby. Go listen.
What we talked about:
- “If I read all the books, I can control it.”
- Setting things up for an unmedicated vaginal birth at a birth center with midwives
- Feeling like this baby is not head down
- Ultrasound confirmation at 36.5 weeks – now what?!
- Looking for options and doing all the things (including lying head down on ironing board)
- Trying a version: “This baby is really stuck in there.”
- Finding an OB who knows breech!
- Needing to satisfy a strict set of criteria
- True collaborative care and believing that she could do this
- “I’m not convinced you are not in labor…”
- Getting to the hospital almost ready to go!
- The grounding comfort of music to stay calm
- Small push to break the bag of waters?
- Truly old-school: paracervical blocks
- “I have to be where to push?”
- Sneaking in the music speaker to keep her grounded in the OR
- And then there she was!
- Exclusive pumping is the worst… and mastitis… and dwindling milk supply
- The lessons of a challenging breastfeeding experience
- Finding other ways to bond
Helpful resources, books, and articles*:
- Heads Up: The Disappearing Art of Vaginal Breech Delivery, the movie’s website
- Up against a wall: A patient and obstetrician’s perspective on the mode of breech delivery, by Carissa Hipsher
- This Midwife Is Fighting to Make Vaginal Breech Births a Thing Again, from Healthline Parenthood
- Obstetric Analgesia and Anesthesia, from Science Direct
- Paracervical Block, from Military Obstetrics & Gynecology
- Childbirth: Pudendal and Paracervical Blocks, from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
- Latch: A Handbook for Breastfeeding with Confidence at Every Stage, by Robin Kaplan
- Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why It Shouldn’t, by Suzanne Barston (Anya says this book is not anti-breastfeeding but rather a really wonderful resource for birth workers and women who were unable to breastfeed or want to know more about the options. It is written by someone who assumed she was going to breastfeed and was devastated when she was unable to).
Related Birthful podcast episodes:
- Place of Birth as Your #1 Cesarean Risk, with Dr. Neel Shah
- Baby’s Position and Labor Flow, with Gail Tully
- Getting a Good Latch, with Robin Kaplan
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About Anya Cutler
Anya Cutler currently lives in Atlanta, GA with her 4th-year medical student husband, dog, and 2.5 month-old daughter. She works as a staff scientist in a pollinator research lab at Emory University. She enjoys baking sourdough bread, hiking, biking, reading, playing piano, and basking in the thrills of new mama-hood.
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