Two weeks ago there were two couples in the Twin Cities Metro area with plans for unassisted home birth. Both couples discovered their babies were breech. They didn't know each other and I only met one couple. That couple called me suspecting their baby was breech.
This mom had used my web site in the past, so she looked up what she could find on breech position. They stopped over, being local, and we reviewed the inversion technique she was using and modified it slightly. I showed her husband how to do a sacral release (s0mething I learned from Deb McLaughlin in Duluth and Carol Phillips, now in Annapolis, MD).
Three days later her baby flipped head down.
The grapevine brought news of the other couple. They decided to have someone help them. Not having talked with them directly, I do not know who. She didn't seem to be a midwife or anyone we midwives knew. I don't know what her experience with breech birth was. I don't know if she knew what makes a breech birth work and what doesn't. I don't know if she knew how to return the head to a flexed position. I don't know if she memorized breech maneuvers. I don't know if she understood the principles behind them.
The baby got stuck and passed away before the helper could figure out how to free him.
When a breech birth goes well the parents and helpers might wonder what the fuss is about breech birth. Stories appear on the internet and birthing magazines about breech birth at home, sometimes unattended. Breech babies don't always survive a cesarean either.
Head down babies don't always make it either, for that matter.
When I heard that a breech baby died at home recently I rushed to call the couple I met. I didn't say a thing about the rumor. Just, hi, I'm checkin' in. How are you? She still felt the baby head down and kicking. Whew.
Meanwhile there is a family out there somewhere grieving. I don't know who you are, but I'm grieving with you.