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Turn Baby, Turn

Sorry, this ultrasound is from 3 weeks ago. They couldn’t get a good face picture today, he wasn’t really cooperating.

We’re getting close people. I’m 34.5 weeks, and for those of you keeping score at home, we are a mere 2 weeks away from being considered Full Term. I had a couple of doctor’s appointments this morning (ultrasound at hospital, regular checkup at OB) and here are the findings…

Baby is BIG. He’s gained 2 lbs in 3 weeks, and weighs in at an estimated 5lbs, 15 oz. It sure as hell explains why my stomach has been so freakin tight and itchy this past week or so, and also why I can no longer roll over without some serious protestations from my lower abdominal ligaments. I’m also starting to get punchy from the lack of sleep, and my sad inability to nap under my desk at work.

Baby is BREECH. He turned wrong-side up 2 weeks ago (note that in above picture he is head-down) and has evidently decided he likes the view of my rib cage way better than that of my hip bones. The irony being that he spent most of this pregnancy with his head wedged so deep down that every doctor who’s seen it has commented (and has also been very very frustrated while trying to get head measurements). On 2 different ultrasound occasions I’ve been sent out to walk around in the hopes he’d wiggle loose a bit to make things easier. Once they adjusted the table like a see-saw and my feet were a foot above my head. It was very uncomfortable AND generally futile. Doctors would then say, well, that bodes well for you, he obviously likes being head down.

No. He obviously likes being contrary.

He’s got 11 days to turn head-down again before my doctors will present me with some hard decisions:

1) At 37 weeks try to manually turn the baby in a procedure that could ultimately result in an emergency c-section.

2) Schedule a c-section for 39 weeks and hope to hell he turns on his own before then.

3) Fight for the option to try to deliver him breech, naturally. This wasn’t even presented as an option today in my discussion with the doctor, but I do know I could press hard for the option if I felt strongly about it.

Here’s the fun part. I am openly soliciting for your thoughts, opinions, advice… for you to share your experiences, and I promise I won’t be offended. (As long as you can promise not to be offended if I respectfully disagree.) I want to hear what you all think of all this.

I’ve got a week and a half before I will know whether the decision needs to be made, but once we know, we won’t have much time to actually MAKE the decision (i.e. Option 1 would be scheduled for within a week of us finding out that he’s still breech.)

And, if nothing else, please think good turning thoughts for me.

21 Comments Post a comment
  1. Melissa #

    I’ve never had a kid so don’t have any suggestions on what to do, BUT I will send lots of good turning vibes your way!

    October 24, 2008
  2. Manise #

    These are my thoughts. Turn, baby turn-yes! Versions don’t always work and with mixed results, not always good ones. My middle child went from a breech to head down at 36 weeks- landed me Labor and Delivery due to pain and found on ultrasound that he had turned himself in very tight quarters. Fortunately no intervention was needed. I too was offered a breech delivery before all of this. Having said that and knowing what I know now, I would not recommend a breech delivery. One’s crotch is never really the same again and the risk of a third degree tear is just not worth it. I would go for a scheduled C-section at 39-40 weeks. Ultimately it’s a decision you and E have to make that feels is right for you. Have you tried getting on all fours and letting your belly hang and rocking your hips side to side? Helps to get some pressure off and gives your baby a wee bit more maneuvering room. Best of luck! And happy baby turning thoughts to you. :-)

    October 24, 2008
  3. Lora #

    Well, here’s my opinion/story, for what it’s worth. My baby was breech also along with HUGE (he was 11#, 12oz at birth). We turned him at 37 weeks. They will do it at the hospital, in case you do go into labor (which can happen but the % is low). You are given an IV and something (I don’t remember what it is called) that makes you feel like you drank an enormous pot of espresso – it really makes you jumpy/jittery. They shouldl also give you something to relax your uterus a little to make it easier to get a little room to maneuver. Once you are good to go, the doctor just applies an amazing amount of external pressure on your stomach until the baby, hopefully, turns around. After he turns (if he turns), they will monitor you for contractions and the baby for signs of stress for an hour or two before they send you home. I had some very mild contractions later in the evening but nothing came of it. I was induced 3 weeks later because my uterus apparently liked having him in there – I was 5cm dilated and 100% effaced when I went in for my induction and, other than the day they turned him around, I never felt a single contraction. I ended up having a c-section anyway because, even though he turned around so he was head-down, he then rolled over so he was face up. A baby can be delivered in the face-up position (although it’s a little more work) but my doctor was concerned since they thought he was a “good size”, in his words. He was afraid that, even if I could get his head past my pubic bone (which I never did, even after 4 hours of pushing), his shoulders would get stuck and then I’d have a really unpleasant c-section to dislodge him.

    My doctor, all along, wouldn’t give a size estimate. He said that the majority of the time, they were wrong and it did nothing but stress out the mom if they said the baby was big before delivery. I didn’t know until after John was out and weighed that he was so heavy…I just assumed all along that I would have a 7-8 pounder. So take your doctor’s estimates of the baby’s size with a grain of salt.

    And finally, after other women found out I had a c-section, so many of them said they were sorry that I had to have one. You know what? I’m not sorry one bit. I have never felt “deprived” by my birthing experience. The only goal the entire 9 months was to have a healthy baby and healthy mom at the end and that’s exactly what we got. Please don’t let the thought of a c-section worry/scare you. I wouldn’t change one thing about the last month of my pregnancy, from the version to the induction, to the delivery. He’s a great, healthy boy! Sorry this ran on a bit – I could go on and on!

    October 24, 2008
  4. donna #

    Rich and I will keep you and Eric and baby in our prayers.
    My only slightly similar experience was that eric was laying at an angle at 3 wks before birth and the dr had me sleep & nap on my side so the baby would hopefully shift to a head down position.
    I was also 5 cm dilated 2 wks before my due date. Induced labor was scheduled for the following Friday because the dr felt the baby “was ready”. Guess this put a notion in Eric’s head that if he was being forced out of his warm, cozy spot, he may as well come out on his own. I went into labor the day before the scheduled inducement. Seems like my grandson may be contrary like his father.
    I will send my “vibes” to him to – turn, baby, turn.
    You can count on me if you do need a c section and need any help during your recovery after the hospital.
    Love and best wishes to all.

    October 24, 2008
  5. OK, I’ve only lurked up until this point but will give you what happened to me. I went into labor 4 weeks early (so we thought, turned out only to be 3)anyway after about 17 hours of labor they decided to “pit” me and they realized he had to be turned (keep in mind this was almost 17 yrs ago)so I had to get up on all fours and he turned on his own and was born moments later. Not a pretty scene but it can be done and it all turned out well.

    So I say if you are set on delivering vaginally (sp?)go for it, women have been doing it for centuries w/o all the mod cons…plus if the baby goes into distress you’ll be in a place where they can help you out.

    Good Luck and welcome to the mom club!

    October 24, 2008
  6. My experience: I have had three (complicated) vaginal deliveries and one c-section. The section was the easiest of the lot, and left me with no long-term complications. If it were me, I would schedule the section and do the exercises Manise suggests in hopes that the boy will turn on his own (I think there’s an acupuncture thing, too, but have only heard stories). There is a good chance he will turn on his own; WB was breech, but turned a week or so before her birth at 38 weeks when I went into spontaneous labor, but delivered by section for other reasons (see complicated vaginal deliveries, above).

    Ultimately, you have to do what feels right for you.

    October 24, 2008
  7. Believe it or not, the scariest part of your pregnancy is NOW. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Nothing really that YOU can do. Most of the major changes (hormonal & physical) have already happened and been noted. You’ve probably read as much about childbirth as you can stand. Your friends have told you their breathtaking/horrifying/incomprehensible and IRRELEVANT stories until you are spinning like a top.
    Your job is to stay healthy and rested. Mother Nature’s pretty smart about this business, even if it seems like she plays tricks on MD’s, Moms and in-laws. You’ll do the best you can, take the help that’s offered (in whatever form), and ask for the help you need. And it will amaze, stun, surprise, humble and change you .
    I’m rooting for you!

    October 25, 2008
  8. I have no personal experience with this but I can tell you that my friend Lois tells a story about her 3rd child being breech during delivery – and the turned. She said it hurt like hell but he did it on his own and had been flipping up and down for weeks. Good thoughts for you that the little bugger will turn now and stay that way!

    October 25, 2008
  9. I’m de-lurking for this one. I’ve had 4 successful deliveries, all different. First one was a 10 pound 11 oz vaginal birth with the aid of epidural. Very Long labor, very painless birth (that is until the day after when I tried to pee for the first time). Second was premature (10 weeks early). No time for drugs. All natural 2 hour labor OW! But I felt like a million bucks 10 minutes after having him since I had no IV’s or epidurals. I was up walking around to go see him at the NICU minutes after giving birth. Third one was THE BEST! Midwife induced (stretching of membranes) at 39 weeks because I couldn’t stand being pregnant another minute. I then cheerfully drove to the hospital with my husband, stopping for coffee on the way. Had an epidural from the nicest best looking, most gentle anesthesiologist on the planet, then proceeded to laugh the baby out. The nurses were cracking jokes and she was crowning every time I laughed.
    The fourth and last one was scary. I went in to labor 10 weeks early again
    and barely made it to the hospital on time. When the doctor checked me he made a funny look and I knew right away he was breech. I could feel it wasn’t right. He was butt first and on his way out that way. The doctor actually suggested that since he was going to be fairly small ( he ended up being 4 lbs 11 oz)that I could probably push him out breech. In the end I actually opted for the C-section because there is less chance of major complications for the baby ie: dislocated shoulders etc…although I never thought I would ever have or want a c-section it turned out to be the right thing for me. He is now a wonderfully healthy 3 year old. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It all boils down to what makes you feel the most comfortable. Trust your instincts! Pregnancy hormones are a very powerful thing. You will know what’s best for you in the long run.
    I wish you all the best, and can’t wait to read about your beautiful little bundle.

    October 25, 2008
  10. Thinking turning thoughts…
    My neighbor’s baby was breach, and she got him to turn by putting her knees up on the couch and her hands down on the ground. Not very comfortable, but she did it for a few minutes throughout the day and he turned at 38 weeks.
    That said, I ended up finding out at my 40 week checkup that my babe was 9 lbs (not the 7.5 they estimated earlier), and I was not making any progress (I had been 1 cm for 4 weeks), so I was scheduled for an induction. I ended up with a c-section after being on pitocin for 12 hours and only making it to barely a 3. Recovery wasn’t great, but I have a healthy happy baby, which is the most important thing. I really didn’t want to have a section, or be induced, or have an epidural, and I got all three, but she was worth it!
    Good luck!

    October 25, 2008
  11. I’m a big fan of “wait and see” combined with “nature rules.” Having recently left Las Vegas, I still feel pretty comfortable laying odds that nature + the baby will put things right and he’ll turn on his own–but there are positions and exercises that can encourage things in the right direction, and I’m sure your doctor/midwife can point you in the right direction there. Just my 2 cents, and since you don’t know me from Adam, you get a 50% discount and you can have this thought for a virtual penny….

    October 25, 2008
  12. I find that idea that you are having a contrary baby quite shocking.

    Not really.


    I’ve got nothin’ else.

    October 25, 2008
  13. DeAnn #

    From reading your blog, (which I enjoy) sounds like you are a very busy woman, with little time to just relax. Your baby is in the same mode. Both of you need to relax…and let nature take it’s course. Give him time to settle and get ready to be born. Get off your feet, sit still (I know that’s hard), knit something…uncomplicate and mindless. Let gravity and nature take control of your life (just for a little while). You can have your life back (after a fashion, as it will never be the same again) give in and allow nature to rule.
    With nesting: you are waiting for something that may or not happen. You will probaby have a burst of energy the day before the arrival, (if you are going with nature). However, getting your stash organized is always a good thing. :-)
    Try to RELAX! Best Wishes are being sent your way, along with lots of positive energy.

    October 25, 2008
  14. I was breech and when I was born they thought I was a boy… apparently my ‘down there region’ was so swollen from the natural breech birth they thought I had a penis… might explain some of my issues :-) Just think how proud Eric could be of his son if he was swollen from a breech birth. HA HA!

    I have no advice other than to try to make you laugh with my cute, yet true, story. No matter what you choose I know it will be the right decision. Love and hugs to you and Eric, I can’t wait to meet the newest member of your family!

    October 25, 2008
  15. Hi Jackie,
    I am *definitely* thinking good turning thoughts for you and sending lots of positive vibes your way!

    October 26, 2008
  16. I didn’t have boy breech, so I don’t have personal experience, but I did have a friend who tried to have a vaginal delivery with a breech baby and she said it was complete hell on earth. Now everyone’s experiences are different… but I know that I tore like crazy with boy and he was head down… can’t imagine what would have happened if he had come out ass first.

    *huge hugs Jackie!!!*

    October 26, 2008
  17. kelley #

    I’m an Ob/Gyn and delurking to comment. Hope/wish/pray for the baby to turn. External cephalic versions are cool and all but realize someone will be push on your abdomen to cause the baby to basically do a forward somersault or a back flip.

    By all means, do not push for a vaginal breech delivery. The govening body for the speciality only recommends them in two situations, neither of which you meet (delivery of second twin and patient in active labor with baby’s butt on perineum). This is your first baby. Your pelvis is untested. You will need to go into labor on your own and progress adequately on your own, without medication. Should the baby’s aftercoming head get stuck, you are completely f*cked.

    My professional advice: schedule the cesarean and hope for the best. Turn baby turn.

    October 27, 2008
  18. I’ve got zero in the advice department, but I’ll be sending turn, baby, turn vibes from now on!

    October 27, 2008
  19. I would opt out of #1. Not to scare you, but my coworker said having them try to forcefully turn the baby was very, very “uncomfortable”. But uncomfortable is not the word she used. She’s breech again (time 2) and already informed the doctor they can just schedule the C because she is NOT letting them try to do that again.

    October 27, 2008
  20. Frances #

    Had to delurk for this. My first was breech and had to be turned at the hospital at about 37 weeks. It hurt more than I expected, since they are pushing HARD, but it was only for a minute and it worked. Everything from then on was totally straightforward. So I would tell you to go ahead with that if that’s an option.

    Good luck!

    November 1, 2008
  21. My advice – delete all the comments. Go with your gut. You know what you need. Take a very long walk and meditate on it a bit. You will find the right answer for you…

    November 3, 2008

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