Throughout my pregnancy I had terrible rib pains, my midwife assured me that this was a completely normal part of pregnancy. As I closed in on my third trimester, it became clear that the pain and shortness of breath were due to my baby’s positioning. At 37 weeks it was confirmed, my little baby was breech!
Now, a breech baby isn’t really an issue early on in a pregnancy as the little baby has plenty of time to flip around prior to birth, but past 35 weeks space starts to become limited and the likelihood of my baby flipping became less and less likely. At 37 weeks my little one was still hanging out, feet down and having a grand old time kicking my bladder. Ouch!
Throughout my pregnancy I was tended to by a great group of Nursing Midwives and OB’s; when it became clear that my little one wasn’t heads-down, we made an action plan to see if we could help him along.
This one was not nearly as easy as the ladies on the website made it seem. To begin, I had to heave my very pregnant body up onto an ironing board that was propped up on a couch with my head at the bottom of the board, my legs and feet up at the top and a pack of something cold right on my belly where the baby’s head was sitting.
The theory behind this position is that gravity is used to unlock the baby’s feet from the pelvis area and the cold from the ice pack will convince the baby to “swim” head down. While this exercise may have many success stories I was not one of them.
Swimming, this is something I was keen on throughout my pregnancy but sadly never got around to doing. But with a Breech Baby on board, it was time to make some time – the only issue was that my local pool is only three feet deep at the deepest point and I stand at 5’10” and it was the end of September which meant the pool was freezing cold; not an ideal situation!
Armed with the only bathing suit that sort of fit and a strong desire to avoid a C-section, I walked down to my community pool and stuck one foot in the water only to pull it right out. I think it took me about three tries before I finally bit the bullet and got in the water.
After spending six afternoons by the pool, I decided this wasn’t something I could continue doing. The baby wasn’t flipping and all I was doing was increasing my risk of catching a cold.
3. External Cephalic Version
By this point I was running out of options, It was either this baby was going to flip or I was going to have to schedule a C-section.
At my 38 week appointment, my midwife, doctor and I made the decision to attempt an External Cephalic Version. An ECV is basically a very forceful message given by a trained medical professional, my OB in this case, with the intention on manually (yes, I said manually!) flipping the baby into the correct position for birth.
During my ECV my OB covered my belly with olive oil and with the guidance of an ultrasound machine, proceeded to spend the next 15 minutes pushing and pulling my little one through my stomach in an attempt to get him to flip around. The result, a very tired OB and a stubborn child who insisted on staying feet first. Bummer.
4. ECV Round Two
The first ECV was unsuccessful and I was beginning to accept that a C-section was my only remaining option, but my OB wasn’t giving up that easily! She recommended that I come in a week later at 39.5 weeks to have another ECV, but this time with an epidural.
While an epidural was never a part of my plan, it was becoming clear that there really was no getting around it. The thought was that since I would likely need a C-section anyway, it wouldn’t hurt to try to flip the baby in the operating room before surgery. If the baby flipped, they would send me home to wait for labor to begin. If it didn’t, I would already be in the operating room (OR), prepped and ready for my C-section. To say I was nervous would have been an understatement.
A week later I checked into the Labor and Delivery ward, prepared for a multitude of outcomes. They prepped me for surgery, waited until my legs were numb and wheeled me back to the OR.
My OB began by speaking to my belly, asking the baby to cooperate and help us to get them into a better position. With an ultrasound in hand and a very positive vibes in the room, she began.
Now this time around my OB didn’t hold back, she was putting all of her weight onto my stomach while monitoring baby’s heart rate to ensure he was taking the procedure well. Within ten minutes I had three sets of hands on me and a few nurses cheering the baby on. At the last minute, the baby finally moved!
After they monitored the baby and I for a little while, they stopped the drip on the epidural and sent me up to a recovery room. While I waited for the medication to wear off, I was treated to a delightful hospital salad. Honestly, it was terrible, but I hadn’t had anything to eat since midnight and it was now 3 pm, so I was just happy to be eating something. 😀
After about four more hours of monitoring, I was finally released from the hospital and sent on my way to wait for this baby to make their grand entrance!