EEK! I’m currently 38 weeks and feeling all the things.
Nerves, excitement, anxiousness and cannot wait to meet baby girl! So soon! This pregnancy has been a wild ride and I haven’t shared an update since February… much has happened since then. Where do I start?
So at 30 weeks I found out baby girl was breech. My midwives told me not to worry because it’s still pretty early but I should start doing inversions and spinning babies. I didn’t think much of it because they were not concerned and never in a million years did I think baby girl would stay breech. Of course she would flip and cooperate. Right?! We had a plan you know? A home birth!
So then we traveled to Florida for 2 weeks and I had a virtual midwife appointment while we were there. I didn’t worry about baby being breech… but I really should have been worried and I should have been trying all the things. I had not been checked again until 34 weeks when I met with the doctor who I would transfer to in case of emergency during my home birth. She did a 15 second ultrasound and told me baby is still breech. She said if baby does not turn by 36 weeks you can schedule a external cephalic version (I had no idea what that was at the time, but its a procedure where a doctor manually turns the baby from the outside, using their hands), or you can schedule a c-section. She also handed me a spinning babies worksheet and our appointment was over.
BAM. My home birth plan blew up in my face and this is the moment I entered complete stress mode for the next 4 weeks. Once in my car I immediately started crying. What on earth? What do I do now? I felt numb. Only 3-4% of babies remain breech after 36 weeks. I cried and prayed every single day. My midwives are not comfortable with delivering breech babies at home, so this would mean a hospital birth. Maybe it’s different where you are and I know a breech baby is just a different variation of normal but where I live, no midwife will do this at home.
So I got to work. I tried LITERALLY EVERYTHING to flip her naturally. Everyday, for the next 4 weeks. I did:
- Spinning Babies
- Daily Inversions – twice a day
- Laying on an angled ironing board with a flashlight on the bottom of your belly
- Chiropractic Adjustments 3x per week
- Acupuncture 3x per week
- Homeopathy (pulsatilla 30c) twice a day
- Visualization and Prayer
- Talking to her and playing music at the bottom of my belly
- Handstands in the pool
- Body code and emotion/energy release work
Everyone made it seem so easy which allowed me to have high hopes. SOMETHING is bound to work, right? Those 4 weeks taught me a lot and I have never felt so out of control. Baby girl has taught me that she has her own plans and as much as I try to change them, as a parent, you really have to go with the flow and accept what is. Babies are smart and have their own plans! My entire third trimester has felt like a never ending rollercoaster of emotion and it makes me teary-eyed just thinking about it. Of course I would rather deliver baby girl in the “optimal” position and at home where interventions are less likely. But would that be my reality? I had to come to terms with the fact that anything could happen and I had to mentally prepare.
At 37 weeks, she was still breech. Nothing worked. So now I had two options. I found an amazing doctor in our town actually, who is known for delivering breech babies. What are the odds? He’s the coolest doctor I’ve ever met and coming from me, thats saying a lot. I am miss holistic and like to avoid doctors whenever possible ha. What we liked most about him was his demeanor and attitude, how he’s keeping the art of delivering breech babies alive (it’s a lost art these days) and going against the grain. It’s rare to find a doctor like him. He was so calm and cool. So I could plan to deliver her breech with him, OR I could have him perform the external cephalic version so I could have my home birth. He prefers all his patients to try the version first. There are risks to this procedure of course. Baby girl could go into distress and result in an emergency c-section right then and there. My blood pressure could drop. Or the procedure could not work and I would be back at square one.
The amount of anxiety I had about making this decision was through the roof. There are risks to both.
But ultimately, I still wanted a peaceful home birth. So Terry and I made the decision to do the external cephalic version last week on Thursday. He was very supportive throughout all of this and I think he had some fears as well but this felt like the best next choice.
The morning of the procedure I was pretty calm. I couldn’t eat or drink anything. I also chose not to do the epidural and just power through. We walked into labor & delivery and they first started me on an IV in my hand, just in case of emergency. They gave me a shot of terbutaline to relax the uterus and make sure it’s in the right spot. They monitored babies heartbeat for a while and we could hear the doctor delivering a baby next door! 15 minutes later, the doctor walked in with about 8 other nurses and it was time. I felt a huge lump in my throat. They adjusted the hospital bed to have me laying down flat. The doctor applied lube to my belly and did a quick ultrasound to find her head and spine. There was a nurse on the other side of the bed and she asked if I wanted to squeeze her hand. Terry was standing next to her but the nurse had to be directly next to me. The doctor asked if I was ready and I closed my eyes and nodded. He started to turn her with his hands and I went to a different place… I could hear the doctor panting and sweating… the nurse kept reminding me to breathe as I squeezed her hand so freaking hard. After about 2 minutes he stopped to check and sort of mumbled something. I asked “did it work?”. He replied with “No, she flipped right back, we have to try again”. UGH are you kidding. So this time he tried flipping her a different way and I could feel EVERYTHING. My organs were being moved around and I was just praying that baby girl was okay. It felt like my uterus was being separated from my skin… yikes. It was an immense amount of pressure and pain. Within a minute he was done. He checked on the ultrasound and it worked! Her head was down. THANK GOD. What a freaking relief. I seriously never want to do that again but if you have it as an option, do it. If I can get through it so can you. But it is not pleasant by any means.
The nurses and doctor stayed in there a while to monitor baby’s heart rate because she was a bit stunned and her heart rate dropped… I was so out of it at this point and could not believe I just went through that. I had my eyes closed for the next hour. The nurse came back to bring me water and give me a shot of rhogam (which now I’m glad I did because I had major bruising afterward… which means there could have been a blood mixing). They monitored her for another hour and her heart rate went back up to normal so we were allowed to go home. My poor baby girl. I’m still processing it all I think? Even though it was terrifying, I know this procedure was our best option. If I had to deliver her breech I obviously would have (over a c-section) but I feel way more comfortable delivering her head down. Especially being a first-time mama and not knowing what to expect.
We went home and I rested for the next few days. The recovery was pretty painful and my belly was so tender, sore and bruised for about 4 days. But I’ve also been on a high because now I can have my home birth!! With my hubby, doula and midwives. So I’ve been preparing for that and trying to enjoy these last few weeks. I will do a home birth supply post and a postpartum essentials post as well. Now that I can breathe again and think about what comes next. For that whole month I was just trying everything in my power to help her turn naturally, but it all worked out in the end, as things do. For now I’m just trying to eliminate stress and rest as much as possible. Her due date is May 16th!! I’m already experiencing cramping and contractions, eek!
Thank you for your endless support over on instagram! It really has helped me get through. I documented the entire process on there in a highlight titled “breech baby” if you want to check it out. The lesson here is that things always have a funny way of working out 🙂 love you all and I’ll be back soon!