Film follows local birthing drama
A new and inspiring documentary about a woman determined to give birth naturally despite contrary advice will be screened next week. A Breechin the System follows the story of Karin Ecker’s first pregnancy and her struggle, both emotionally and logistically, to uncover her choices and stand by them after she was told her baby was breech.
Initially wanting a natural birth at the Mullumbimby Birthing Centre, at 37 and a half weeks Karin was informed this would not be possible at this low risk unit as her baby was breech (feet down position, a high risk birth). Referred to TweedHospital, Karin was told she would have to deliver via caesarian section at 38 weeks. Determined to carry her baby full term and still hoping for a natural delivery, Karin dug deeper to find an alternative way.
The real process
Karin, the film’s subject and director, told The Echo, ‘It was clear they weren’t going to support my choice for a natural birth so I asked them, “Will you close the door when you see me coming?” Once I had established that they would help me, even if they didn’t support the choice, that no-one could force me to have a caesarian, the real process began.
‘It was then that I had to look within my own heart and ask what do I really want to do now? I didn’t want to be told what I had to do but of course I didn’t want to make an unsafe decision, and I was getting conflicting advice from everywhere. I was very stressed, I had little time to decide, and in the end I couldn’t decide. ‘I made a decision to remain open and give myself every chance to have a natural birth. So once I found out I did have a choice, I then had to look within and determine my own decision and then finally commit to that, stand by it, and take responsibility for it.’
‘A great model’
Local filmmaker Sharon Shostak was Karin’s support person at the birth. She also filmed the birth itself and edited A Breech in the System. Shostak said, ‘Karin really had to arm herself with all kinds of support outside of the system, and I think had she been anywhere other than in Byron Shire that support may have been harder to come by. As it is, we are lucky enough to be fairly well versed on alternative birthing in the area. The film illustrates the best of it all working together, it is a great model for the hospital system and the alternative choices working well together.’
With friend Sharon and midwife Sue Cookson by her side Karin had the confidence to investigate her options. Karin said, ‘Sue had no agenda. She told me that she just wanted me to make an informed decision. She had such a deep experiential and knowledge base. Both women were there with me at the birth, and as I was so in the moment they were invaluable, making sure my wishes were heard and followed through.
‘I didn’t know what was right or wrong, I just wanted choices. Sharon and I want to use this film as a tool for airing the information surrounding birth. So little information is available to women about available choices and I would like to raise the issues around Australia.’
The outcome of Karin’s story is surprising, something magical happened completely out of left field but you won’t read about it here. A Breech in theSystem screens on Tuesday September 15 at 7pm. Tickets are $10/8 on the door at the Byron Community Centre.
The 40 minute screening will be followed by a panel discussion involving the audience, the midwife, a medical professional, an anthropologist and a lawyer.