For the last few days I have been trying to come up with new, personally appropriate lyrics for that old song, "Beach Baby." So far I have managed,
Breech baby, breech baby
Please turn head down
Sometime before the end of October.
Okay, it's not so good. But you get the idea. After two months of being head down (and banging on my cervix and/or bladder with each of those odd contractions), an ultrasound on Friday revealed that our baby has flipped and is now head up.
The doctors and the midwife say that they usually don't get too concerned about a breech baby until about 36 weeks. But it certainly has thrown me for a loop. A few days later and I can say fairly certainly that he hasn't flipped back yet! At this point in my first pregnancy, Aaron was head down and had been for several weeks ? and he stayed that way. Plus, Friday's ultrasound also estimated the baby's weight at over 5-1/2 pounds. And his head is measuring pretty big, too. My 34 weeker has a head that is average size for a 37-1/2 weeker. Which makes me all the more nervous about this little guy turning before he runs out of room.
I'm rather stunned, really. For the first time in either pregnancy, I must seriously think about the possibility of a cesarean section. Of course, I've always known it's a possibility. Emergencies happen all the time that require cesareans, and planned cesareans happen with regularity, too. I just never truly considered that it could happen, in any circumstance, to me. Naïve, I know.
Coincidentally, our refresher childbirth class was held the morning after this revealing ultrasound. The staff midwife who led the class gave some very clear explanations of what happens during a vaginal vertex delivery (anterior and posterior) and a vaginal breech delivery. She had a prop baby and pelvis she used to demonstrate all that the baby does and the assisting staff does. She also explained well the tests that would be done prior to planning an attempt at a breech vaginal delivery. All at once this reassured me and scared me.
Given the size of this baby's head already, and the size of the episiotomy (and additional tear!) when I had my first son, would they really encourage me to deliver this baby vaginally if he remains breech? Yes, I've delivered a big head before, and I know the first child essentially "clears the way" for subsequent deliveries, but...?
I've been doing some web research on external versions and have sent off an email to a friend who attempted a version to find out more about it. I don't like reading about cord entanglement, uterine rupture, placental abruption, and slowing fetal heartrates, even though I know that versions are well monitored and are less risky than cesareans. It also appears that version are more painful than anyone likes to say. Sure, the medical staff gives you some drugs to relax your uterus and some pain medication, but I know my friend was pretty sore for a few days after her attempted version.
I've also read that if the version is successful (and I've seen success rates from 40 percent to 60 percent, so not great odds to begin with), one is considered high-risk for the duration of the pregnancy. My doctor's practice doesn't do high-risk obstetrics, so I could be looking at new caregivers, too! Given all the other craziness of this pregnancy, I'm already on weekly appointments for non-stress tests; I've come to really like and trust the practice (well, all but one of them) and we have a good relationship. To have to start all over this late in the game seems really daunting and even more stressful. Probably a lot more tests, too, as they establish their own baseline for me. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I told the mother of one of Aaron's preschool friends about this on Friday and she mentioned that a friend of hers is an accupuncturist who knows about alternative methods for turning breech babies. Although I have never been much for alternative medicine, I must say that I'm willing to look into this!
I know part of my current reaction to this breech news is just my higher-strung personality. I know there is still time for Sprout to turn on his own. But I think I'm reaching some sort of saturation point with this pregnancy. Given every little thing, I've had just about as much as I can handle, thankyouverymuch. My mantra is becoming "just get this baby born healthy!" There is more than one way for that to happen, but it sure would be nice if it happened without anymore of these annoying extra contractions or spotting, and with a vaginal vertex anterior delivery.
While I'm at it, can I order up no back labor, convenient labor timing (so my son doesn't get too freaked out), easy delivery, swift recovery, and my doctor signing my maternity leave papers such that I get the maximum amount of paid time off???