At 36 weeks and 4 days, I found out via ultrasound that my little babe is breech. Initially I was sad and a little disappointed that I might not get the chance to have a natural birth and that I wont get to go through the marvellous experience of labor. I was sort of kicking myself for not getting the ultrasound done sooner than 36 weeks. I received the ultrasound requisition for the growth and anatomy scan around 34 weeks and I put off the appointment until I was 36 weeks and 3 days for no good reason. I saw my midwife at 36 weeks and 6 days and she confirmed that my baby is breech.
The plan: go to the hospital so an OB-Gyn can perform an external cephalic version (aka ECV, or version). Basically the OB-Gyn is going to manually turn my baby! My midwife explained the risks and what my options are if the procedure is unsuccessful. I could either have a scheduled Cesarean section between 39 and 40 weeks or deliver vaginally at BC Women’s Hospital.
My midwife made the consult on friday afternoon and by dinner time I get a call from the hospital asking if I could come in that night to have the procedure done. The midwife mentioned the risks and complications associated with ECV’s, one being that I could go into labor or it could harm the fetus in a way that would require an emergency C-section right then and there. Since my baby shower was happening on Saturday, I asked if I could get it done the day after and they accommodated me to have it done first thing on Sunday morning.
I prepared for the ECV the night before by not having anything to eat or drink after midnight. I could have brought my hospital bag just in case but I decided not to (because I thought that might jinx it haha!). I got into a hospital gown, an IV was inserted, blood was drawn and IV fluids were started. Because there is a chance that a C-section is warranted after an ECV, I had to go through a little pre-op preparation (questionaire, blood work and consent to have a transfusion if warranted). The anesthesiologist also popped by to say hello and to watch the ECV. A fetal monitor was placed on my belly and I had to press a button every time I felt the baby move. The OB confirmed the baby’s position via ultrasound one more time before beginning the ECV. They said the procedure was going to be uncomfortable…and no it wasn’t! Period cramps are uncomfortable… the ECV was painful! The OB started with pushing baby’s bum up from my pelvis (7/10 pain) then once the bum was lifted she attempted to push the baby’s back up as she lifted the bum up some more (8/10 pain and increasingly more with each try). She tried to do this 4 times with a rest after 2 tries. The baby only moved a little and after the last try she decided that that was enough. I stayed there for another hour just to be monitored. Baby wasn’t even in distress!
I decided to go for a consult to have a vaginal breech delivery at BC Women’s to weigh my options. The OBGYN who talked to me about vaginal breech delivery was very thorough and allowed me some time to take in the information and to ask questions. In the end I decided to opt for a Caesarean section because I felt it was the safest option for my baby since I was a first time mom. The risks and the complications regarding the baby scared me and if anything goes wrong, I would have had to have a C-Section anyway (the breech delivery happens in the operating room so that an emergency C-section can be carried out a.s.a.p.). Part of me wanted to attempt the breech delivery. I thought about how awesome it would be and what a great feat it was to overcome. Since vaginal breech deliveries are unusual and require a lot of skill and experience, it had to be done at BC Women’s because there are more practitioners there that have that (although I was told that all OBGYN’s learn the skill). I didn’t stress about the benefits of a vaginal delivery over a C-Section. I just wanted to deliver my baby the safest way possible. I kept my baby safe and undisturbed in my belly for that long I didn’t want to risk it.
So anyway, that’s how I ended up with having a scheduled C-Section for 39 weeks and 3 days. It was definitely not part of my birth plan or how I envisioned delivering my baby but it gave me a peace of mind and making that decision made me feel like I had control over my situation.