Friday, December 17, 2010

Once more unto the breach

So far I have been joking and whining and exaggerating about my pregnancy experience. Truly it has been easy and free of actual complications, aside from slight anemia and thyroid monitoring. The only real problem is that the baby is still nestled comfortably in my rib cage. This is what the baby should be doing right now:

Heading toward the exit and kicking me in the ribs. Instead the baby is transverse:

(Medical images heisted from the WebMD website.) Which is kind of ironic because back when the baby was the size of a peanut, I never imagined him/her as a fluffy ball of cells, but rather like this:

Imaginary baby

As a hieroglyphic style adult standing across my abdomen. And now that I think of it, this is the exact position that Sukey wants to sleep in on our bed.

Sukey napping

Like the crossbar on an "H" between us with her head in my ribs and her rump in Robb's.

Breach exercises

The problem is that all transverse babies must be delivered by c-section. So I did some investigating, and there are exercises that I can do at home to encourage the baby to turn itself around. I will not entertain you with photos of me doing them, although I assure you Robb is getting more than a few laughs out of this. But here is an "artist's rendering" of a few. In the top sketch I would be holding my pelvis 9-12 inches off the floor for 5 minutes at a time. In the bottom one that's supposed to be kind of a chair-amplified downward dog yoga position. And if I had access to an indoor pool, I could do lots of handstands. (I bet I'm wickedly buoyant right now!) You get the idea: trick the baby into thinking that up is down and down is up.

Old wives suggest putting a bag of frozen peas at the top of my belly or a heating pad near the bottom, cold being repellent to fetuses and warm being attractive. Also Robb could sing or speak near my pelvis and perhaps shine a flashlight in that vicinity like a signal flare. We are taking the old wives suggestions with a grain of salt.

What we have decided to try on Monday, though, is external cephalic version or ECV. In short my obstetrician will use a sonogram and fetal monitor to make sure the procedure is safe to undertake, and then she will gently turn the baby with her hands into the correct position. (Here's a video.) There's no guarantee that baby won't simply turn back around afterward, but there is about a 60% success rate. I also realize that people have c-sections every day, and it shouldn't be a big deal. BUT. If there is anything I can try in order to avoid surgery, I'm going for it. So please wish us luck on Monday. Meanwhile I keep humming Disco Inferno but changing the chorus to, "I heard somebody say turn, baby, turn..."

At least that got me to stop singing the milkshake song while rubbing my belly.


Anonymous said...

Wow, all three of my babies were transverse until days before I delivered. There's still plenty of time for him/her to turn around and head toward the exit. From what I've heard, that procedure is very unpleasant, and babies generally are still flipping and turning all over the place, and might just decide to flip again. I know my vote doesn't count, but I say let mother nature take it's course, wait it out, and it'll happen. Best of luck to all of you!!

bbmowery said...

(I'm guessing that comment was from April? Maybe?)

I might be wrong, but the ECV procedure cannot be more unpleasant than a c-section. Having an infant will be difficult enough without trying to recover from surgery at the same time. And so far my baby hasn't been flipping or turning much at all. I'm concerned that if we don't manually turn him/her now, very soon he/she will be too large to do so on his/her own.

I watched youtube videos of folks talking about their ECV experiences. Each of them had no success with ECV, but they didn't really go into what position their babies started in. Transverse is pretty rare (1 in 500 pregnancies). It is the ultimate starting position for external version because baby's rump is not lodged in the pelvis at all. What I took away from watching the videos was that the 40% of women who have bad luck with ECV have better internet access than than the 60% who have good results.

Tmomma said...

one day when i was preggo with #2 who decided he wanted to be head up instead of head down, as we were driving to work, my stomach did this crazy thing as I felt him moving. He decided that it was time to be head down. Good for him. Didn't matter, we were having a c-section with him anyway. I will say that the c-section with him (planned, not emergency) was a far smoother recovery than with #1. What my OB told me when we had to make the decision of whether or not to have #2 naturally or via c-section was that UNcomplicated Natural Birth = fastest recovery, c-section = 2nd fastest and emergency c-section =3rd, but that a complicated natural birth (like with #1) easily falls behind planned c-section. Physically and emotionally, birth #2 was easier, by far; but then again, birth #1 was not your normal delivery. Oh, and I hated the idea that we even had a choice in the matter; that was my biggest holdup to having the c-section, felt I should let nature choose, but then I realized what nature did to me the first time!

I hope baby cooperates and moves for you; otherwise I fear you may have a child more stubborn than my #1 :)

Oh, and remember the old wives tales you've written about...they'll come in handy a few weeks from now figuring out how to get baby to sleep through the night...we've heard spinning them on the kitchen table is helpful ;)

Can't wait to meet baby!!

Anonymous said...

if it's early enough, a midwife or chiropractor can often turn babies too, just so you know.

old dog said...

My dear friend Barb is a Dula. She wishes she could be with you. It helps to have someone just focused on you and your baby and what is best. She feels strongly that baby needs to experience birth, the struggle gets them ready for crying and clearing lungs, ready to eat, ready for sleep after the fight etc.... I am sure a midwife would have similarities. She fears an unsuccessful ECV may have the Dr. trying to sign you up for a scheduled C section. Just like Anonymous said, the baby may when the time is right do it all by itself. So much to think about.
But, be assured of our prayers for a successful ECV.
I vote for swimming. Can you get to a YMCA or something?

bbmowery said...

Cosy - Yes, I had heard that midwives and chiropractors can help to turn baby. Other options are acupuncture and hypnobabies meditations. I feel very good about the fact that my doctor will be checking things thoroughly on the sonogram first (and throughout the process) because there might be a good reason baby hasn't turned yet. Like if the cord is very short or if the baby is wrapped up in the cord. My last sonogram was almost 20 weeks ago, so a lot could have changed in there.

Theresa - If the baby remains transverse, then for my own safety and the baby's I must schedule a c-section. Not my first choice, but like Tmomma said it's definitely preferable to an emergency c-section. If I go into labor before baby has turned, I'm going to be super cranky.

Mo said...

(at least that will be fun for Rob.)

*will sing turning song for you for the rest of the weekend*