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"There are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths."-Mark Nepo

Most babies are born head first. In fact, it only happens an estimated 3-5% of the time that a baby is born in the breech position, or butt first. Because breech presentation is not the norm, it is becoming increasingly true that obstetricians and midwives are not skilled in the techniques that may be necessary to employ in order to assist a safe and healthy delivery- so much so that most doctors recommend an automatic C-section to any mom pregnant at term with a breech baby. In most cases, a vaginal birth is not even attempted for fear of potential complications. However, there are small groups of practitioners around the world who have a completely different perspective of breech birth- who respect breech presentation as a variation of normal, however rare the occurrence, and who wish to renew that sentiment through education of techniques that have become almost extinct due to lack of knowledge and fear surrounding this dying art.

As part of my Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential, I am required to complete 25 hours of continuing education in order to apply for recertification every three years. There are lots of options for continuing education credits, but the breech workshop being offered was quite extensive and would award 12 credits upon completion. With two businesses and a family to run, I needed to get the biggest bang for my buck and the most credits in the quickest time possible, and this workshop met my needs quite nicely. I had no plans to start delivering breech babies. That was just an added risk I had never been willing to take. I had seen a couple breech babies born on accident, meaning we didn't know the babies were breech until they were coming out. Luckily, they came out easily with no complications, though I was sure that was just luck. To my surprise, however, the more time I spent watching the videos of breech births and listening to lectures on the normal mechanisms of delivery and learning maneuvers to rectify an abnormal delivery, the more I understood that it wasn't necessarily that breech births were scary or risky, it was just that so much fear had been built up surrounding the breech because of lack of knowledge and skill. Even still, I had no plans to start delivering breech babies. While I was glad for the experience of the workshop, I was not interested in getting any hands on experience. Life had other plans.

"It is strange, but true, that the most important turning-points in life often come at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected ways."- Napoleon Hill

Exactly nine days after earning my 12 CEUs for completing the breech workshop, I was called to my first birth of 2021. I was excited to attend her birth. She had delivered her first child with me six years ago and although they had since moved out of state, she chose to travel back and rent an Airbnb while waiting for labor to begin in order to birth with our practice. She called early that morning with some sporadic and manageable contractions. At noon, things were still the same. At 1:00PM, her water had broken and by 2:30PM I arrived at her home to find her in very active labor. So active that she was pushing within 15 minutes of my arrival. As she was pushing I began to see the baby emerge. However, what I was seeing wasn't typical. I assumed it was a piece of the water bag that was still intact and pushing out like a small water balloon in front of the baby's head. Or at least that's what I was trying to convince myself of. A couple more contractions in and there was no denying what I was really seeing- TESTACLES!!!!! After a moment of disbelief at how quickly things had taken a different direction, I steadied myself for what I knew I had been trained to do