Sunday, September 4, 2016

Breech Baby

I'm pretty sure I know the day baby Palmer turned breech. I don't remember the exact date, but one night around 30/31 weeks, I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed pressure up in my ribs. Up until this point, he had been laying transverse (side to side) across the bottom of my stomach, so this was a new feeling! Of course I didn't know he was breech, but I knew he was in a different position.

My midwife checked for his head at my 32 week appointment by feeling around on my belly and told me he wasn't head down. This wasn't ideal, since most babies are head down by 32 weeks, but there was plenty of time and room for that to change. But, being the planner that I am, I started learning more about what that meant for our options and started preparing myself for the possibility of a c section.

Around 34 weeks, I started doing various stretches/exercises to encourage baby to turn head down. This included laying upside down on a reclined ironing board, bouncing on a birth ball, applying a cold compress to the top of my tummy and playing music to the bottom, etc. I also started seeing a chiropractor. Somehow it all felt very futile, he just didn't want to budge. It became kind of frustrating to know that this was all totally out of my control; there was no magic bullet for getting him head down. I also had hopes of at least attempting a natural childbirth through meditation and relaxation, which requires months of practice before birth and it was really hard to make myself practice knowing a vaginal delivery wasn't even possible unless baby was head down. 

As my pregnancy progressed, I started to talk more seriously with my midwives about our options. If we couldn't get baby head down, I would obviously have to have a c section. However, there is a procedure where they can attempt to turn the baby manually by pressing on his head and butt from the outside of my stomach. The midwives refer patients to a local obgyn for the procedure, and this local obgyn does the procedure at 39 weeks, with an epidural, in the operating room. The epidural makes sure mom's abdominal muscles are totally relaxed and being in the operating room helps in case anything goes wrong.

The doctor and my midwife both recommended induction if the procedure was successful, to avoid the risk of baby turning breech again, but mainly because my placenta was in the front and it was likely that it would suffer some trauma from the procedure. I had a hard time with that decision. I felt like my body wasn't ready to be induced and that it would be a long, stressful, potentially unsuccessful experience. I asked a million questions about induction but ultimately felt like I needed to trust their professional opinions. So this baby was likely going to be born by c section or by induction, neither of which was an ideal scenario to me.

There were a lot of emotions that I started processing at this time. Why wasn't my baby turning head down? What was I doing wrong? Why wouldn't I get to at least attempt the birth I always envisioned? My body couldn't get pregnant right and now it couldn't even prepare for delivery right.

It was hard to feel so helpless, but I told myself I wasn't going to let this ruin my birth experience. Baby was doing fine- he didn't care that he was breech. Either way, we were going to get him here, and there was no point getting upset about something I couldn't control.

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