Amber’s External Version Attempt
I wanted to share my story about our external version attempt on Monday. We weren’t successful in the traditional sense, but I personally consider it a success…I’ll explain.
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Our little one has been breech since at least 31 weeks, though I’m pretty sure he’d been in that position for at least two weeks before. We found at our growth ultrasound that he was breech (and big and healthy! Daddy is 6’5″ so no surprise!)
I immediately began breech tilts, acupressure on my little toes, some swimming, and the Webster technique with the chiropractor. The Webster definitely made him more active, but he just couldn’t seem to turn on his own. By 36 weeks, he seemed to begin settling into my pelvis, making it even harder for him to flip. He was, however, able to flip side to side (he’d face my right side, then my left), so we had hope.
At my 36 week appt, I asked the OB to check placement. He was still frank breech. I asked about an external version then. The OB was really reluctant to do one for the following reasons: 1. This was my first birthing (tighter uterus than someone who’s blessed with 6!), 2. I had ‘OK’ fluid, but not plentiful, and 3. I had an anterior placenta. He gave me a chance of success of 10-15 percent, and said that if I hadn’t suggested it, he wouldn’t have because he didn’t want to put me through the pain of one. I told him I felt that 10-15 percent chance was better than nothing, and I was willing to try. We scheduled the version at the hospital for the following Monday.
Sunday night I did a fear release and listened to the turn your breech baby track. Hubby and I also talked to our baby, telling him that the doctor was going to try to help him turn and not to be afraid. We also told him, like we had before, that if for some reason he couldn’t turn, that would be OK.
Monday morning I did another fear release and listened to some of Deepening on the way (shorter ride than I expected!). The doctor’s office told me to be at the hospital at 10 am, so we pulled into the lot around 9:30 just in case. As we pulled in, labor and delivery called wondering where I was! They had been expecting me at 8 am for monitoring. Thanks for letting me know ;).
Once I got in the room, I got dressed in a gown and had the monitors placed. IV wasn’t too bad, but I have terrible veins from being stuck a lot in past years. When the doctor came in after I had been monitored for awhile, he had to bring in the buzzer to startle the baby – he was just too relaxed as well! My OB asked if I had been having contractions or anything, and I told him I hadn’t. Apparently I was while I was there on the monitor! The OB even commented that I was “as peaceful as a spring morning.” Once we confirmed we had good heart tones for everybody, and the whole group of nurses was there (4 nurses, the OB, and a resident, plus hubby), I got the shot of terb and we were ready.
My husband pulled close to me, and everyone gathered around. I didn’t have a lot of time to relax (I was I had done a finger drop before the doctor got in, but I wasn’t expecting him then), but my husband was able to reach over, put his hand on my shoulder, and say “relax.” That was enough to get me in hypnosis, and I felt myself just release. There was a lot of pressure and I was uncomfortable (I think I would have been more comfortable if I’d been more prepared), but overall it wasn’t painful. The baby was facing my right side, so they tried to turn him that way first. They got him to almost halfway, but couldn’t get any farther. I could feel that it felt like he got stuck there.
They regrouped and tried to back-flip him to the left. This didn’t work either, and they couldn’t get him as far as they had to the right. Sometime during this, the nurse asked my husband how I was taking it so well, and he told her I’d been preparing for this all along. The OB commented that he was amazed that I wasn’t “cussing him out,” and joked that he was a little disappointed.
After they were done, my OB explained that he just couldn’t get a good grip underneath the baby’s head because of my placental placement in the front. He actually seemed surprised that he couldn’t do it, despite what he had said before. Also, at previous appointments, whenever I made the comment that the baby still had time to turn, my OB would say “well, I’ll cross my fingers” and get a look that seemed to say “there’s no way.” However, after the version attempt, he told me that the baby still had time to turn and we’d talk more about everything at my next appointment.
I only had a little bit of pain the whole time – when they tried to turn him to the left, a buzzer started going off and worried me. I don’t know if they lost him on the monitor that way or what, but I lost concentration for a bit and had pain then.
The nurses asked me afterward if I had a “really high pain tolerance.” I told them that no, I didn’t, but I had been using self-hypnosis to prepare for birthing. One nurse almost jumped forward to ask what it was! They were really impressed. One of the nurses also commented that it was really good to see someone who didn’t just want to schedule a section, who understood that vaginal birth was best for baby and mommy.
It took awhile to get released, lots of monitoring and busy nurses. I’m sore now and I’m going to try to go to the pool and see if the bouyancy will help my soreness. We even laughed afterward while I was getting dressed that I had a big scratch at the top of my stomach where they had really been digging into me.
I feel that it was all successful for a few reasons. First, I had a peace going into the procedure, and a peace afterward. I had been afraid that I would be devastated if it didn’t work, but I wasn’t and I’m not now. I also feel that it went really well after seeing my OB’s reaction. Overall, he’s a pretty permissive OB – you can talk to him like an adult (!) and make a case for doing or not doing something and he’s usually good about it. However, he seemed more hopeful, and I think seeing me give it a go showed him that some women are willing to go for the difficult things in order to have a healthy birthing. I’m hoping he’ll be more willing with other women in the future to try. Also, I think it was really great for the nurses. One of the nurses in particular (all of the are surgical, so they only see c-sections) told me that she had two sections herself and didn’t want either one. She really coached me throughout the procedure, and I think it was a big encouragement for her.
My husband told me that it was amazing to see the procedure and see how I did with it. I could tell beforehand that he was nervous. He told me that you could really see the baby’s back and everything as they tried. He thinks now that there’s a chance this little guy will end up bigger than he is, and like I said hubby is 6’5″. Maybe I should start saving money for shoes now. I’m just glad the little one is good and healthy. 😀
sorry it’s so long!
almost 38 weeks with a big boy!