Honoring Parents' Choice

Last-Minute Breech Homebirth of Jeffrey John Hunt

Written By: Julianne Hunt, a Mama of 3, and Dorothy Bauman, a Doula & Homebirth Midwife

Julianne and I have both written out our side of the story, and have pieced it together in chronological order. I hope that other mothers can find this story to be inspiring and faith-building as they forge the tempest of motherhood, pregnancy, and birth, through the pressures of our fear-driven society and modern medicine, and find a strength and peace in trusting God. Birth should not be traumatic and fearful, but rather calm and peaceful, even if your baby is breech! Names have been changed to protect individuals' identity with the exception of the individuals involving the birth team.   -Dorothy Bauman, DEM, CD(DONA)

Julianne: My pregnancy came as a surprise right after relocating. I started my care with the Nurse Midwifery Team of the local hospitals' OB/GYN group. It had been almost 10 years since I had given birth last, and the idea of a home birth was quite more appealing to me. My group did not provide that service, and my midwife discouraged me, stating home birth was too risky and dangerous when I had the luxury of the local hospital. I decided I would start my search for a home birth team by 32 weeks.

My pregnancy was much less enjoyable than I desired and compared with my previous two. I struggled with things that I didn't think I should have a problem with like drinking and eating enough, maintaining energy levels, and nausea. I saw how the additional stress in my personal life and lack of peace affected my health and pregnancy. I was really struggling to trust God.

Wednesday, September 22nd - 26W: I checked into triage and received fluids after not being able to eat for over 5 days or consume liquids in over 24 hours. I overheard a conversation between the nurses on the floor that didn't seem relevant until months later: A woman had just checked in at 32 weeks along. After communicating this woman's vitals and reason for visit, a nurse interjected, "Well, what's the catch?" and the other added, "Oh, and baby is breech." I could sense the complete change in tone and concern. I remember feeling compassion for that momma I never even saw, but I didn't think anything more of that situation after I was discharged.

Monday, November 1st - 31W5D: I went into my provider's office for an ultrasound after several weeks of requesting one. My most recent ultrasound had been at 18 weeks, and I had a feeling something was wrong. I was mostly concerned about low amniotic fluid levels like my previous pregnancy, but those were normal. The complete surprise was that my baby was in a frank breech position. I left the office that morning feeling like I was on a 4-week timeline to flip naturally. If at 37W the baby was still breech, we would try an external version (ECV). If the baby was still breech at 39W we would schedule a cesarean (C/S). We all agreed it would be unlikely I'd make it to scheduling a C/S as I previously delivered at 37W3D and 38W2D. I would end up in an urgent or emergency situation no matter how I tried to plan. My medical group could promise one of their doctors would be at the hospital. I felt crushed.

Word from God through Charity (a dear friend that leads a bible study group):

Pray & Remember: God created me and this baby. Talk to the baby. Talk to God. Worship.

I spent the next several weeks trying everything I possibly could to naturally flip this baby: Chiropractic Care w/Webster (received through entire pregnancy), Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Prenatal Massage, Spinning Babies, Stretches, Yoga Ball, Stressing and Worrying, and some but not enough Prayer. I was also asking anyone I knew about the possibility of vaginal delivery. I just couldn't find peace with my situation and the options I was facing. I learned vaginal breech births (VBB's) used to be much more common. My midwives said things like "even if you find someone who will deliver breech, no hospital will let them."

My journal during this time was filled with prayers asking for God's forgiveness and for help to turn this baby and allow me to have a natural birth. I kept struggling with what I could not control. I was grateful for the opportunity to carry another child, and I would be grateful for a healthy baby no matter how it may arrive, but I was sad and conflicted, watching my desires disappear. Just a few weeks after birth I began piecing together the trauma I briefly walked through. I heard it best summarized from another momma: "Having a breech baby is a unique kind of stress and fear. The only other time in my life where I felt so trapped, and like I had no say over what happened to my body, was during a sexual assault."

Tuesday, November 16th - 33W6D: One of Charity's friends, Maranda, had joined our bible study and also just happened to be a midwife. We briefly discussed my situation and she expressed concern over my need for peace, as well as invited me to join the virtual Birth Class she was teaching. I didn't think I needed a birth class having been through the process before, but I was completely unprepared for anything other than a natural vaginal delivery.

During class Maranda mentioned Dr. Smith, a provider that delivers breech in our area and has a great reputation within the home birth community. During my months long search, this was the only doctor I found within driving distance that would deliver breech. I called his office that next day and he was able and willing to take me on as a patient, even though I was so far along. While finding this doctor was a huge relief and an answer to prayers, we wouldn't meet until the end of the month, and I was still determined to flip my baby before labor. Changing providers also meant my new hospital drive would increase from 10 to 40 minutes, and I would only be allowed one visitor instead of three.

Friday November 26th - 35W2D: I checked into triage for increasing contractions combined with decreased fetal movement, which I attributed to the baby's position as well as the stress that was taking a toll on me. This was my wake-up call... protocols were going to be different, now that I was breech, and considered high risk. I also realized I was going to be at the mercy of the resident and doctor available at the hospital, none that were comfortable or allowed to proceed with anything other than a C/S. I needed to make it to my appointment to meet Dr. Smith so I could be in his care!

Monday, November 29th - 35W5D: Appointment with Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist Dr. Smith. He explained why breech deliveries were no longer common, and why he still does them. Factors that made me a good candidate, included having a previous vaginal delivery, and that the baby's size was ideal, not being too late/large or too early/small and unproportionate. Although I contacted his office with the desire to deliver breech, Dr. Smith would be performing the C/S himself if that was my option or became necessary at any point. I was relieved to have a chance to establish a relationship beforehand and share my desires. I was informed of all risks and options, and the decisions were left up to me with full support. If I wanted to proceed with an ECV, I needed to decide and schedule that for the next week. While I really did not want to resort to any intervention, I convinced myself if an ECV avoids a C/S I should try it.

Wednesday, December 1st - 36W: I shared the most recent updates with my chiropractor during my appointment. The husband-and-wife team that cares for me had just had a baby, and strongly encouraged me to hire a doula. We shared the stereotypical view that doulas were more of a luxury service, but I saw how convenient one would be with a change in circumstances during labor and delivery even if you have had previous or medical experience.

Charity checked in with me to see if I was going to go forward with the ECV in a few days. She wisely, and without knowledge of my chiropractor's recommendation, encouraged me to hire a doula to bring along as both an advocate, and for peace.

Thursday, December 2nd - 36W2D: Later in the evening I reached out to Maranda and received a recommendation for a doula, Rebecca. Rebecca was wonderful to connect with! In our brief discussion I could tell she really cared and wanted to help me, but she already had quite a busy schedule and would need to confirm with her backup.

Friday, December 3rd - 36W3D: In the morning I heard from Rebecca. Her backup, Dorothy, was not only available but very excited to hear about me, and has received breech training. Dorothy also had better availability and would be able to accompany me to my ECV in 3 days. Although all of this news was exciting, it was also exhausting. I did not connect with Dorothy until late Friday evening. We would meet in person on Monday and she could be at the hospital with me for any remaining appointments as well as labor and delivery. I was excited to find someone who could advocate for me, and who also shared my faith and understood my wishes for a calm and peaceful environment.

Dorothy: I first met Julianne on Monday, the day before she delivered her delightful little son, Jeffrey. A colleague of mine had phoned me on Friday in hopes that I might be available to cover for her over the following week of her daughter's wedding. She was asking if I would be available to back up her primary back-up as a doula for two of her clients. Once she had finished informing me of each scenario, she proceeded to tell of a phone call that she had received earlier that day from a mom desperate to find support during the birth of her third baby, who is breech. This mom (Julianne) had switched care providers at the beginning of the week in hopes of having a vaginal birth, and avoiding a C-section. The doctor she had found was the only one known in the whole area that would allow a mom to have a vaginal breech birth in the hospital. The drive to this hospital was a bit further than the first where she had planned to deliver, but she was willing to make the drive. As my colleague relayed this to me, I became quite excited and exclaimed, "I love breech birth! I have taken training specifically for physiologic breech birth and I would be delighted to help her!". She was equally excited, and in her very tender and caring heart, she did not at all want to turn this client down only for reason of her business! She didn't know what else to do, but to try her best to support her. In learning of my interest, knowledge, and experience, she was confident to give her over to my care.

Julianne first contacted me via text message that evening. I told her that I wish to converse with her before we go much further. She agreed to call the next day, Saturday.

Saturday evening came. I still had not heard anything from Julianne, and began to wonder how things would go. I sent her a text message inviting her to give me a call, which she did shortly thereafter. We talked for a good half hour as she relayed the last-minute changes that she had made with her care, in hopes to have her baby naturally. I disclosed my own position, training, and experience level to her, sending her some links of resources to help fill her in, including a link to Breech Without Borders website, of which I had received training from this previous Summer. Julianne seemed very committed and excited about our connection and also informed me that she feels like she will just go into labor as soon as she gets past Monday, the big day to get her baby turned. During the course of our conversation, I ventured so far as to ask if she had, or would, consider a home birth. She shortly dismissed this idea and I wondered if I should've even mentioned it. We planned to meet Monday morning at her house before driving to the hospital for an external version to turn the baby and for an ultrasound scheduled thereafter.

Saturday, December 4th - 36W4D: From my quiet time journaling in the morning: God loves me and desires good for me. I will be excited and peaceful about God choosing me to carry and have another child. Received a word to prepare for what I pray for. That this time of delay is my preparation.

I had a wonderful morning of fellowship. My girlfriends laid their hands on me and spoke beautiful and bold prayers. I felt so loved and encouraged. I told the ladies I was leaving to receive a prenatal massage, and another coincidence it turns out to be the mother of Esther who just prayed for me!

During my prenatal massage, Sandra could sense I was trying to control my body and the process, and she spoke great truth and wisdom over me. I was really beginning to understand the need for a peaceful birth experience. I was also beginning to see just how large and experienced the home birth community is that we are in. Look at these connections I have made!

Monday, December 6th - 36W5D: Dorothy arrived at my home to meet me for the first time before we headed off to the ECV together. I was relieved how we instantly connected, and with her wonderful balance of knowledge, passion, and wisdom. She was incredibly easy to communicate with, and I was able to confide in her and receive honest and unbiased advice.

Monday morning arrived. I had been at a birth all the previous day and night, and did not feel very prepared for this meeting. I intreated the Lord to be my Protector and to guide my steps for the unknown events that lay ahead. It seemed anything could happen at this point. I felt such a yearning in my soul to be there for Julianne no matter what she faced, and yet, in all faith, I foresaw that this baby was meant to stay breech, and to be born at home. Of course, I did not share this directly with her, and I wondered myself why I should feel so strongly that this was meant to be, doubting my own heart - it seemed presumptuous. Nevertheless, regardless of this insight and inner assurance, I looked ahead, with the version in mind, of the delivery to assuredly happen with this kind and generous doctor who is also quite popular in the home birth community. I strongly admired him for his courage to take on a last-minute patient, and with that, be willing to attempt a vaginal breech birth.

Julianne and I did not have more than twenty minutes to talk in person at her house before it was time to head in to the hospital for her ECV. Our connection was immediate... Julianne fully trusted me and confided her greatest fears and honest circumstances with me. I knew she was committed, and had confidence in me. I encouraged her to tell the doctor to quit the version if it would cause her a lot of pain. I cringed at the remembrance of all the stories I've heard and the things that could go wrong during a version. Inwardly, I wished to convince her to cancel this appointment, but knew our connection was too fresh for this option to be mentioned. Thus, we went forward. I encouraged her to listen to her body; there is purpose for pain and she should respond to this.

Once at the hospital, we had a conversation in the labor and delivery room, where the procedure would take place. Although I knew medication for the uterus to relax is common for this procedure, I had not yet discussed it with Dr. Smith, and I preferred not to take any. Dorothy reminded me, "Intervention usually leads to more intervention, and pain is a sign from our body."

Dr. Smith came in with a resident, they went over strategy, I signed a few forms and they began. My breath was taken away at just how painful this was. I immediately had to ask them to stop and restart. As they resumed, I gripped the side of the bed and tried to endure all the pain I could. When I couldn't take much more, I asked them to stop, and it seemed the baby's heart rate had taken quite the drop as well. We were done. Procedure unsuccessful. I felt so defeated and discouraged. Part of me completely believed that if I could just tolerate enough pain, my baby would flip. I really thought I would do better.

After the procedure, Dorothy asked Dr. Smith what breech labor and delivery in this hospital would look like. I would have never even thought of such a question, nor have foreseen any problems. Dr. Smith explained the hospital would allow me to start in a labor and delivery room, but I would need to transfer to an operating room for delivery. I would be on an operating table, laying on my back only and likely strapped in. A large medical team would be present for the birth, be ready to operate if needed, as well as be there for the baby. My heart sank hearing all these details.

The doctor brought his resident in with him to teach her the version. It was intense and very forceful. This made me extremely uncomfortable. Julianne wrenched in pain. I looked at her and remained quiet even though I felt like jumping up and screaming "STOP! This is not right!". I could clearly see, as the Lord had opened my vision beforehand, that the breech was not to budge. When the baby's heartbeat dropped significantly, the doctor called the shots. Before he left the room, I had the opportunity to ask him about his protocol for breech deliveries, and how that would practically be worked out. Although I was very impressed that he is willing to go against the flow of modern medicine as locally practiced, to perform breech deliveries, teaching his students to keep their hands behind their backs during a breech birth, it did bother me, that, for the sake of the students, he requires all moms to birth on their backs (lithotomy position), feet in stirrups, continually monitored, in the operating room, prepped for a C-section. This didn't only bother me, but was also very disturbing to Julianne who then turned to me and said, "This is the opposite kind of birth that I pictured having". After the doctors left the room giving some time to monitor baby, I approached Julianne, and taking her hand, I told her, "You still have the option of home birth". She burst into tears. This is what she originally had wanted all along, but having recently moved in from out of state, she had not found a midwife, and had dismissed this idea, when, at around 31 weeks of her pregnancy, she learned that her baby was breech. She altogether did not know that midwives would deliver a breech baby at home. With her consent, right then and there, I phoned a midwife I knew of, by the name of Brenda Newport, who served her area. She was in the middle of appointments but took my call anyway. I briefed the situation to her and asked if she'd consider taking her on. Her response was, "Of course I can take her! I've done a lot of breeches and would be happy to help her out at home. Have her give me a call when I'm done here." This was God's hand! I relayed this to Julianne and she was amazed. She still did not know what was best though.

When just Dorothy and I remained in the room, I looked at her and shared, "This is the opposite kind of birth I pictured having." I knew I would need to be in different positions, especially for the baby's heart rate not to drop too low again, and I couldn't see myself feeling peaceful at all in a room of people prepared for me to fail. "You still have the option of home birth" she gently reminded me. Dorothy shared more about her training with breech deliveries and that there are midwives that absolutely would help me. I wasn't sure if it would be too late. She immediately began making calls on my behalf, and shortly thereafter sent me contact information of a local midwife, Brenda.

The rest of the day, while we waited on appointments, etc., we discussed in depth her options, and the potential reality of either direction. Julianne did not seem ready to throw all hospital off and quickly embrace home birth. She couldn't bring herself to make a decision that day. I did not want to push her either way and felt it was important that she be fully persuaded with her decisions. I reminded her that I am here to support her in whatever she decides and in whatever may happen. I left her that evening, not knowing what the outcome would be, and honestly, I fully expected her to give up the idea of home birth and to stick with the original plan. Yet I knew that deep inside she longed to be free of the hospital routines and protocols.

My heart was heavy that night. I went to bed committing it all into the hands of our Heavenly Father.

I didn't fully understand my choices until this day. Home birth remained my first choice. It also ended up being the only choice to avoid a C-section. I still wasn't sure if it would really be possible. I didn't have much time, and we were in the middle of a holiday season and pandemic.

I was sad driving home, and the tears didn't stop. I felt exhausted emotionally and physically.

Tuesday, December 7th - 36W6D: I hadn't had much to eat or drink, or much sleep since Saturday and Sunday before the procedure, on Monday.

I woke up in the early hours of the morning in terrible pain.

8:13 am: I messaged Dorothy about the pain I was in. "It almost comes and goes like a contraction, but has gotten worse and much lower. It is bringing me to the floor in tears and my legs almost feel like they are starting to go numb - I'm not the best at explaining, but this might be the most pain I've ever been in."

Tuesday morning, at 36 weeks and 6 days gestation, Julianne texted me saying that she is experiencing severe pain and unable to cope well in any way. She didn't get much sleep, had eaten almost nothing in the last day, and didn't know what to do with herself. She thought it might be labor, but only much more painful. I offered to come check her out and wondered if she had contacted Brenda. She had, and yes, she wanted me to come. Brenda said she could see her as soon as Wednesday morning, but was also aware that she may be in labor. Julianne had also called her doctor and he recommended that she come in and get checked out.

We decided I would definitely be fine until after Dorothy's afternoon checkups. She encouraged me to reach out to Brenda. If I was going to have a chance at homebirth I should contact her sooner than later. I never did call Brenda. I was in so much pain that I didn't use my phone outside of reaching out to Dorothy, and for prayer.

11:45 am: Dorothy arrived. I continued vomiting and having pain. A cervical check put me dilated at about 2cm, which was no change from when I was in the hospital a week and a half prior. It did not seem like this was true labor. Dorothy departed for her afternoon checks. I did not improve, but only continued to struggle. I was getting sick, still could not eat or drink, and was becoming scared. I could not take much more and crawled between my bedroom and the bathtub trying to get comfortable.

When I arrived, Julianne was indeed experiencing terrible pains, and they came as irregular contractions that were extra painful. I linked this discomfort to all the stress, anxiety, lack of fluids and nutrients, and the external version that was attempted the day before. After a warm bath, some bites of food and sips of liquids, things calmed a little. She desired to be checked and have the baby listened to, which I did. Upon examination, her cervix appeared to be quite posterior and not open more than 2 or 3 centimeters. No other signs of labor were noted. Baby sounded very healthy. I told her that I thought that this may not be true labor and that if she went into the hospital now, they may do a C-section due to the intense pain that she was experiencing with her contractions and making little to no progress. (She told me that she was at 2 cm two weeks ago... same findings.) I left her to go do checkups on some other moms, and instructed her to keep herself nourished.

4:25 pm: I messaged my friends, "Please urgently pray for me. I have been in the worst pain of my life since last night. I pushed it too far yesterday and am at the point I almost want to give up. It's so painful. I do have my doula here and I think we are switching to a home birth (not dilating more or enough to call this pain labor). I have just been crying in pain, begging God for help."

4:26 pm: Message received back: "Lord, we ask that your presence and peace would give Julianne and Dorothy your complete wisdom and direction right now. Praying that you will have wisdom to know the next steps and that He will sustain you and give you the strength that you need.

4:59 pm: I was in so much pain I simply did not know what to do. Dorothy arrived fully prepared with supplies to help me stay hydrated and become more relaxed. I didn't think we needed to prepare for labor or birth, but I also felt confident that if I ended up in the hospital, even just for fluids and pain, that I might end up not being discharged, but rather heading for an induction, or an immediate C-section.

Upon arriving back at Julianne's, having made some other stops, I found that she had done almost nothing since I had left. Rather, contractions were considerably closer and more consistent. She really had had me fooled for a bit, as I figured this was not real labor, but now I began to wonder if it was. I gave her some things to help calm her and hydrate her, and spent the first hour just working her through each contraction. Before reaching her house, I had called Brenda to discuss details with her. I felt at a loss with how to help her since this just did not seem normal, (thanks to the ESV and all the stress/dehydration). I had stopped to pick some things up at the store that might help her. I knew that serious steps had to be made if we were to stay home.

My plan to calm things down did not work concerning the contractions, but did help her to embrace them and to get necessary fluids down. After a stop in the bathroom, there was a significant amount of show in the toilet which she totally had not noticed due to her inner mode of coping with labor. It was then that I informed her that "this is indeed labor, and that she is getting close". I also called Brenda to let her know.

8 pm: As I finished using the restroom and had not noticed, Dorothy excitedly stated "Julianne, you got your bloody show!" I remember looking at her and saying, "Oh no," as I continued back to bed. I suppose I really didn't think it was labor up until this point, and it still took me a moment to piece together this was really it. All of a sudden, I was no longer sure if I was ready. I asked Dorothy, "Can we really do this?"

This information shocked Julianne. She asked about going in to the hospital and said that she doesn't know how she could make the drive at this point. I reassured her that we can do this at home if she has the faith for it. She thanked me and acknowledged that she does. Ten minutes later, her water broke and she began feeling the urge to push! I called Brenda again to tell her to come quickly.

Now, up until this point, I was still wondering where we were going to end up with this birth as Julianne kept asking about when we should go in to the hospital, or what they might do. I was also feeling very exhausted of ideas to help her if this was only prodromal labor, thinking that we might need medical intervention if she could not have the strength and vitality to birth at home. Not to mention, no birth kit ready, nor any time to prepare the room for a birth, and after all, she had only hired me to be her doula! I grabbed my birth bags and some disposables that I had in the car and ordered Dad (Jack) to get some basic supplies in the room such as towels, paper towels, and bowls.

I was only in bed for another 15 minutes when my water broke. Though part of me still didn't quite feel ready, I could no longer deny that my body was about to deliver this baby. Dorothy really guided me through every stage in such a graceful way. I was feeling the need to push, but still in unbearable pain. She kept me breathing and calm, coaching me as I transitioned to my hands and knees. As the urges to push increased, it seemed there was a change or concern in possible change of baby's heart rate, and I was encouraged to transition up on my knees to continue pushing. I could tell this was it. Baby will be here soon!

This was also the moment that, had I been in the hospital, the transition might have been for immediate surgery. My worry of being unable to successfully push in the only allowed position on my back, had been confirmed. I am so grateful that Dorothy knew what to look for, when it was time to make a change, and what would be best to continue.

Pushing went quickly, but how different from a head-down birth where you can instantly hear the baby. I did remember hearing someone say "boy", and then apologizing. Turns out the excitement of finding out right then was just the adrenaline I needed! I also remember glancing up between contractions and focusing on one of the beautiful birth affirmation cards that Dorothy had placed around the room. This one specifically read, "Your body is designed for this."

As Julianne's body spontaneously pushed gentle pushes with each contraction, I felt a confidence and calm that all would be well even if the other midwives wouldn't make it there in time. I supported her through each contraction, and matched her dance as we transitioned into the second stage of labor. I got the basic things set up, periodically checked the baby's heart tones, and jotted things down on my chart. I also gloved up and checked for any cervix that may still be in the way. She was complete and butt was in the vagina descending slowly with every gentle push. The lights were dim and the music soft. The cats and dog came to visit off and on, and dad stood nearby. Mom flipped to hands and knees from her left side, and soon a little bit of baby was visible.

I headed into the final stretch. I remembered the breech birth videos Dorothy had just shown me the day before (being something I would not typically choose to watch.) Having only birthed head down babies, these helped me not to panic about not hearing my baby right away or worry about the total time for pushing. Instead, I could still breathe. I trusted my body, the process, and these incredible ladies that really didn't know me but somehow showed up. I was finally trusting God again like I needed to!

Urges became stronger and so did pushes. The first butt cheek began to emerge and Shelly, Brenda's helper, walked in the door. I smiled at her and told her how glad I was that she was here. Five minutes later Brenda arrived. The rump was almost out by this time, and I exclaimed to mom that it looks like she has a little boy! This gave her more courage to finish. (In head-down births, I usually never announce the gender, but I figured this one was an exception!) Brenda snuggled up onto the bed beside me and told me to continue on with it. I attentively watched as each bit of baby emerged. Once the butt was out, the rest of the body was born fairly quickly minus one arm that was hung up... just a little. That soon followed. The slight delay in restitution of rotation gave me a clue that something else out of the norm might be following. I waited for the next contraction and noted a lack of creasing in the chest. As she began to push again the head remained inside. I noted that the whole body was very extended/deflexed. I began a shoulder press gently. This did nothing. I began the rock and roll maneuver which also seemed to not be as effective as I had expected. This head was hyperextended. Baby was very stiff, but did slight crunching, indicating good muscle tone. I looked at Brenda for a moment. Upon her suggestion, Brenda then lifted the feet upward to help flex the whole body as I rocked the shoulders with more force. The head then slipped down, bulging the perineum. "Beautiful", I thought. I released my grip and the rest of the head was born, releasing the baby into my waiting hands. A vigorous little boy! He gave a triumphant cry and pinked right up as Mom embraced him! Julianne pushed for half an hour, and it took only three minutes to birth the rest of baby once the rump (bitrochanteric diameter) had been born... with no tears. The placenta then followed shortly thereafter, and all was good.

9:15pm: I could not believe that it happened. I just delivered my baby, my breech baby, at home! Holding my new little boy was amazing. He immediately latched and fit perfectly snuggled against my chest.

My placenta was delivered, then saved and encapsulated to be dropped back off to me the next day.

My older boys were able to immediately see me, meet their brother, and they each enjoyed some skin-to-skin time with their new brother.

Julianne was totally elated!! She did it after all! It was only the day before, that having her baby at home looked so impossible, so unattainable.

About an hour after birth, the cord was cut by my 9-year-old. This was his desire all along and it had been hard for everyone to make peace with how separate we could be during birth and after.

Those first hours were pure joy! Being home with my family was so nice. I was cared for in such a gentle and peaceful way. Two hours after birth I got to take a shower, three hours after birth the team departed, four hours after birth I was eating pizza in my own bed, and within five hours of giving birth my baby and I were sleeping next to each other.

(L-R: Shelly, Brenda, Julianne with baby Jeffrey, and Dorothy, the night of the birth.)
(L-R: Shelly, Brenda, Julianne with baby Jeffrey, and Dorothy, the night of the birth.)

I see this as a special miracle from God. All glory to Him! Bless Brenda for her willingness to attend her in birth as the care provider responsible, having never met her before. Her faith and experience level meant the world to us. I would not have consented to take this birth on alone, but she made it possible. Thank you for letting me be a part of your story, Julianne, Jack, and family!

Jeffrey (Divine Peace/Gift of Peace)

John (The Lord is gracious; The Lord shows grace)

Like Elizabeth, I have overflowed with joy that the Lord has shown me great mercy (Luke 1:58)

A few thoughts afterwards:

December 17th Message from Dorothy: "I think God blessed you with a special baby that is so content! He wants you to know how much He still cares about the little things...the details of your life!"

Pain is important and not to be ignored. It is also different from suffering. Dorothy reminded me of this during labor.

I was chosen to personally carry this baby and recognize the Lord's amazing provision. God meets not only our physical needs, but our deepest spiritual needs. This pregnancy exposed my spiritual need to trust God in more areas of my life and allowed me to experience God's faithfulness and sufficiency.

Home birth is incredible! I truly wish every woman could have this experience. Everything was so much more peaceful than the hospital, even with the little time we had to prepare. It might not have looked like a birth plan on paper but it was beautiful.

My team was amazing. We didn't have an established relationship, or even mutual acquaintances. I met Dorothy the day before and Brenda and Shelly arrived as I was pushing. I was led to these women one recommendation at a time, all by the grace of God. They answered a call and didn't say no. Then they answered another call and quickly showed up. These women trusted and respected me, and they wanted the best for my family even though we were strangers. They are educated, experienced, and passionate, and gave me such a beautiful gift. I will treasure these moments and memories in my heart forever. I wasn't just given the opportunity to have a home birth or a VBB and avoid a C/S, but I feel I was spared from trauma and depression I know I would have experienced.

I am heartbroken over the realities of options and resources for pregnant mamas of breech babies. While breech is a variation of normal, our journey is different. We all deserve the opportunity to be evaluated as candidates for vaginal delivery, to hear our options and risks, and to make that decision ourselves. Forced C-sections are real and the effects are devastating, lasting long beyond birth.

Thank you, Dorothy, Brenda, and Shelly, Dr. Smith, the women I get to study the Bible with, my friends and my family!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

- Julianne Hunt

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