THE LITTLE STINKER! (Compound presentation – ouch!)

WARNING: Graphic photos to follow…..!!!

I recently had the honor of attending an amazing first birth of a mommy and daddy who worked incredibly together for 2 days to bring forth their son. She was in labor for two full days, fighting for every step forward in her labor. She was a trooper and took things as they came, holding strong against the challenges.

It wasn’t until the head was being birthed that we found out exactly why – and I actually said out loud, “You little stinker!” The baby had been sucking on his arm while inside his womb (he had a suck blister on the forearm)…and in doing so had gotten his little hand caught up beside his head!! Usually we will see what we call a “nuchal hand” (meaning hand tucked up beside their neck), but this is slightly different. His hand actually birthed with his head – which not only made birthing the baby more challenging, but tipped this little fella’s head over to the side slightly (we call that asynclitic).

To get an idea of what this little man did…try and suck on your left forearm as close to your elbow as you can. See your hand floating up by your head? Good…now move your hand up by your temple. See how your head is now tilted so your left ear is closer to your left shoulder? YUP….now you see why I called him a little stinker!!

She got some fantastic pictures of her labor as well (she looks like a beautiful birthing warrior), but of her respect for her privacy I can’t show those as she requested that I keep photos showing her identity be kept separate from those showing the birth.

And thank you to the mom for allowing us the ability to share these pictures!!!

Mom is pushing on the birthing stool. We listen continuously to the baby's heartbeat with our doppler as they are dipping dangerously low and we encourage mom to push.

Here comes the head...and this is where I felt the fingers and said, "You little stinker!"

SEE THE HAND? it was actually up on the head a little more than it even looks in this picture.

The hand swept around baby's face and then slipped out so that the back shoulder was birthed first. The blood is from a tear mom endured during the birth.

And here he in his mother's arms. The umbilical cord did its job and despite his very low heart tones he did not need rescusitation. That poor squished face with swollen caput off-centered on the top of his head was all temporary - in 2 hours we marvelled at how different he already looked.


  1. Trena wrote:

    WOW is all I can say…What an amazing birth! Props to the mama who stuck it out, the baby who made the journey, and to the whole birth team who supported the two. God was watching over you all! Simply beautiful.

    Saturday, July 2, 2011 at 11:39 am | Permalink
  2. Kelli wrote:

    Just amazing and beautiful. Thats a moment she can look back on and truely say, “If I can fo that, I can do anything I work for.” And hopefully she can remember that if she powered through a birth with those challenges, any future births will very likely be quite a bit easier on her. I am so proud of her!

    Saturday, July 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink
  3. Rachel Davis wrote:

    My son was also a compound presentation. Wow, I can relate! You go mama! Congratulations! šŸ™‚

    Saturday, July 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink
  4. Lisa Stahlman wrote:

    We had the asynclitic head too, without the hand. Our baby’s head looked similar to that as well. Congrats!

    Saturday, July 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Permalink
  5. Sharalyn wrote:

    This is how I was born! Only my hand was all the way over my head and came out first. I too was an off-centered cone head for about 2-3 weeks. I also ended up with nerve/vascular damage on the other side of my face (shows itself as a red, hot mark on my cheek when I eat something sour or tangy).

    Saturday, July 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink
  6. Sangee wrote:

    Wow..How marvellous to read the story first and relate it with pictures. I’m learning a lot here (7 months preggers now!)

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Permalink
  7. Shay wrote:

    and this is when a regular OB would have just sectioned. Way to go momma! it is all worth it and a great embarrasing story to any of his girlfriends he invites over in the future.

    Friday, October 14, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Permalink
  8. Emma wrote:

    After 2 days of non-progressing labour after my waters broke and despite pessaries I was finally told I would have to be induced or risk a section as my temperature was starting to go up, the previously bearable contractions suddenly became unbearable as the pain became localised above my pubic bone and I was exhausted. I agreed to the epidural that I’d been terrified of (it was fine and I could still feel the contractions!) and all of a sudden things started moving, within 2 hours and without induction my own little stinker was born with a nuchal arm and cord (the arm was protecting her neck from the cord, clever little thing). Fortunately a lot of perineal massage helped reduce the severity of lacerations from the hand. I can’t recommend getting a physio to help with this enough. Way to go for doing this completely naturally! šŸ™‚

    Friday, January 27, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink
  9. Ally wrote:

    My son born March 7, 2012 was also born with his hand on his head. It was his right hand on the top of the right side of his forehead, palm up so elbow out. His heart rate was also dipping dangerously low and he was born all natural. Very painful, very scary but thankfully my labor was only 24 hours total, 8 hours in the hospital, very little time in a bed. “Little stinkers” for sure!

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

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