The Birth of Leliana

Jessica with Leliana

Image: Jacqueline Sequoia, used with permission

From Atlanta, back to Asheville

Jessica’s baby remained persistently breech at term, and she was unable to find a provider in South Carolina to facilitate a vaginal breech birth. When she attempted to decline a CS and negotiate a vaginal birth, she was informed that if she came into the hospital in labour, she would be given general anaesthesia and her CS would be ‘a lot rougher.’ (Folks, the ACOG published something just for you: Committee Opinion No. 664: Refusal of Medically Recommended Treatment During Pregnancy.)

This was Jessica’s first baby, in a frank breech position (extended legs), with no additional complexities. Her sister, Family Practice Doctor Jacqueline Sequoia MD, heard about Dr David Hayes and Harvest Moon Women’s Health because they were hosting my physiological breech birth training. Jacqueline includes obstetrics as part of her practice and booked to attend the workshop with some colleagues. Jessica and her husband Brian met with Dr Hayes to consider their options, and once Jessica made her decision, found a rental apartment in Asheville on Craigslist.

Let’s contemplate that for a moment. In order to have support for a physiological birth, rather than the threat of a coerced CS, women are having to relocate to another state and rent temporary accommodation, because the baby is presenting breech.

When Dr Hayes and I arrived at Jessica and Brian’s apartment, Jessica’s labour appeared to be progressing well. As people entered her space, Jessica gradually moved into the tiny bathroom at the back of the apartment, reminding me of Tricia Anderson’s metaphor of cats in labour. I turned off the light. This labour had a journey, as all labours have. Throughout her journey, Jessica was surrounded by people who love her. At the end of it, Jessica beautifully and instinctively birthed her little girl, Leliana, who weighed 7lbs 8oz.

This video contains graphic images of a vaginal breech birth.

Being attuned to the general lack of training in physiological breech birth among health professionals, and the consequences for women and babies, Jessica and Brian were keen to share this video of Leliana’s birth to help others learn. If you would like to read more about the minimally invasive manoeuvres used at the end of this birth, you can read our blog on Shoulder Press and Gluteal Lift.


Thank you, Jessica, Brian, Leliana, Dr Sequoia and Dr Hayes for sharing this video. The link to this blog post can be shared, but the video cannot be downloaded or reproduced without permission.


17 thoughts on “The Birth of Leliana

  1. Corryn

    ❤ Just so lovely. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Normalising Vaginal Breech Birth, one birth, one video, one amazing woman-baby dyad at a time 😀


      1. Carole Dodd

        Cool. It was very difficult to tell how baby ‘was’ at birth. Was that a true knot I saw in the still photo at the end of the video?? Lovely cord – lots of wharton’s gel in the cord. We have 1 or 2 vaginal breech births most months where I work. I work just outside of Brisbane, Qld, Australia. Thanks for the speedy reply. Cheers, Carole


      2. midwifeshawn Post author

        Yes, you saw a true knot. I should also say, of course the cord remained intact throughout the inflation breaths, which undoubtedly assisted her transition as well. Great to connect with other breech providers! 🙂


      3. Carole Dodd

        Glad to hear delayed cord clamping – I didn’t even think that the cord would be clamped and cut to deliver the assistance. Not like a typical ‘hospital’ birth anyway. Plenty of room for you to do your job. Not a Lotus birth? Love breech births – they are just, well a pleasure to see mother nature do what she does best. CD


  2. Amy

    That was incredible! Jessie you are one brave lady! I was so relieved when your baby emerged I burst into tears! Thank you for being brave enough to share with the world what real, raw and authentic childbirth looks like … I could feel your pain and was with you, supporting you every step of the way. What an amazing achievement! Best of all you now have a precious person to nurture and enjoy.


  3. Maryn Green

    Amazing birth, congrats to the mama and to the practitioners who guided her so well, without unnecessarily intervening! What fabulous teaching and learning we have in sweet Leliana’s birth. 🙂 Another tool for keeping the art of physiologic breech birth alive. Thank you!


  4. Leah

    That was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. I agree, I was with you every step of the way, even chanting, affirming and telling one of your birth supports to “shut the f – up and stop laughing” lol!!!! I just kept saying “you’ve got this, your beautiful, your amazing” lol – like I was in the room with you. Thank you for not giving into the mainstream narrative on breech birth and birth in general. You are a hero to me and all mama’s out there I am sure xoxoxo big love from Australia



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