Wednesday, January 14

Breech No More! My External Cephalic Version...

Ok so a little update after my last post...

First of all, thank you so much for all the comments, emails and text messages I received in response to my last post. You guys are the best!

This morning I was booked in the delivery room for the Ob-Gyn to attempt to manually turn the baby (called an external cephalic version, or an ECV). I was crazy nervous and didn't actually expect it to work.... BUT IT DID!!! It worked!!!

There's still a chance that the baby will turn back to breech position, but here's hoping all stays well!!

I decided to put all the chances for success on my side, so I booked myself a 1 hour prenatal massage last night so that I could be as relaxed as possible before the ECV (thanks, mom, for encouraging me to do that!). The massage therapist was amazing and taught me some great visualization techniques to use during the version.

And last night I lay in bed and talked with the baby....
 I explained to him out loud that we would be trying to help him turn into a head-down position, and that we needed his help in order to succeed. But if for any reason this new position was dangerous or uncomfortable for him he could let us know, refuse to turn, or turn himself back. I really think he was listening.

So this morning I entered the hospital feeling relaxed, still nervous, but confident.

We started with some basic fetal monitoring and then an ultrasound. The Ob-Gyn said I had the minimum (but still normal) amount of amniotic fluid, so that would be working against us. But since it was a small baby, and my second baby, it was still worth a try.

The actually version was definitely uncomfortable... more than I anticipated. They tried twice. The first time was unsuccessful - I was shocked by how painful uncomfortable it felt, and I clenched my abdominal muscles tightly in response, despite my brain's best efforts telling myself to relax and breathe.

On the second attempt, I regrouped, closed my eyes and focused on my breathing. I kept visualizing there being tons of SPACE inside me for my baby to turn, and I took very slow, deep breaths. About 20 seconds later I heard the doctor say, "ok the head is down", and I opened my eyes in disbelief! I had barely felt a change at all! I must have been really focused internally because the nurse told me later that it had been so cool to watch my entire belly changing shape as the baby's body turned 180 degrees.

After the version, they monitor the fetal heart rate tracing for about an hour, to make sure everything is ok with the baby in his new position... it was mostly ok but my little guy wasn't having enough heart beat accelerations to be completely reassuring. I figure he was stunned by the whole procedure and fell into a deep sleep. After about 2 hours they told me to take a break and go get something to eat and then come back for a reassessment. This sounded right to me because I was STARVING by this point. And after a delicious sandwich and a smoothie, my little head-down baby was awake and active again, and I was finally discharged home. Hooray!!

So this is all good news, of course, but me being me, I now have new worries on my mind.... what if there was a reason (like a short cord or a cord around his neck) that was preventing him from turning naturally, and now that I've gone and forced him into the "right" position he's going to suffer. Or what if he turns back and I don't notice? etc etc. I'm neurotic, really!

Neuroses and nervousness aside, I am really happy I decided to try the ECV. I would definitely recommend giving it a go if you have a breech baby yourself (especially if it's your second baby). I guess I'll only be able to fully recommend it if it works in the long run.... if I get my uncomplicated vaginal delivery that I am so hoping for.

But for now, I will revel in my success. I feel like we all really worked as a team, the medical staff, myself, and my little baby, and that's the real reason it worked.

Thanks again for all your support this week. It really meant a lot to me.

(Top image via)


Julia said...

Such good news, happy for you :)
My baby was also breech until late in my pregnancy, what a relief when he flipped! My sense is that if baby isn't happy in a position, he'll get out of it pretty quickly or will refuse to move in the first place, so try your best not to worry. Wishing you a beautiful and peaceful birth xo

Lady Grey said...

Thank you, Julia. That's exactly what I need to hear :)

Catherine said...

Yay! This is great news! :)

Nicole R. said...

That's wonderful, Vanessa! <3 So happy to hear that it was successful! Sending lots of love and positive vibes your way during these next few weeks! xox Nicole

Amanda Kemp said...

My dearest Vanessa,
I just saw your posts tonight and sat here reading them both in awe of your strength. I am so relieved for you that the little one was able to turn successfully and I hope that he stays that way. I guess it is easy enough to say, from where I sit, that everything happens the way it is meant to. However, having never been pregnant, I cannot possibly understand the worry you are going through. I am sending you lots of love and hope to see you, meet Zac and your new baby boy in the coming months that you are in Montreal.
Amanda xoxox

Lady Grey said...

Thank you, Amanda, you are so sweet. Lots of love to you as well xoxoxo

Vanessa said...

So glad it went well. I remember seeing a version during medical school and remember distinctly the look on the mother's face as it was happening. Fear, hope, anticipation, worry, relief. It was quite amazing. Equally amazing to see the baby move .... Here's hoping the little one is well behaved and stays head down.

Lady Grey said...

Vanessa, yes, I'm pretty sure my face must have looked like that too! xo

Lauren L-S said...

great news! sending you positive vibes,

Chelsea said...

Some weigh-in from a total stranger who has no idea how I found your blog like 4 years ago! I'm 10 weeks pregnant with our first and am totally shocked how little I'm actually doing to actually form this little one, and how resilient these guys are. In a way, especially in the earliest days, your best efforts at eating right, doing right, can be completely for naught and you can have a miscarriage. On the other hand, people do such terrible things to themselves and their bodies when pregnant and the little one turns out a gem of perfection. That can be hard to hear, but should also bring some peace. Little babes somehow know what they're doing, and are guided by Life in a miraculous way that is totally outside of us. It's pretty amazing that as women we get to be so close to it.

Lady Grey said...

You're so right, Chelsea :)
We really have to sit back and trust the whole process (it's so much bigger than us!). Thanks for your comment. Xo

Emily said...

I had missed your previous post but was glad to see this one! Not that you need another person saying this but - I'm sure all will work itself out in the end.
Good luck with the coming weeks!


Anonymous said...

Hi there,

You don't know me but I am really glad I came across your post...not sure hownt happened though. I am currently 35 weeks along and my baby is in breech position. The OB thinks I have a good chance at ECV helping to turn my little one head down. I am scheduled for ECV next week. I have been really worries and nervous and your post has been very reassuring. Thank you so much for sharing something so personal with everyone. I am glad things went well for you and I crossing my fingers and hoping things go well for me and my baby too. If you don't mind me asking, what kind of visualization techniques did you use to help you relax and focus during the procedure? I will also go get a massage and talk with baby about the procedure. Thank you once again! I really appreciate your tips and post. Thank you.

Lady Grey said...

Hey there, I totally understand, ECV's are definitely a bit scary... especially when you hear so many stories about them being really painful and not working.
This is just my experience, and it was a positive one.
Before the procedure, I tried to visualize my baby turning inside me. I visualized my baby floating inside my uterus surrounded by plenty of space to move around in.
But to be honest, the discomfort of the actually procedure was really distracting - and it took my full concentration just to keep my muscles relaxed. It's such an unsettling feeling that your first reaction is to clench up and resist the pressure the doctor is using on your belly.
The massage therapist I spoke about in the post had told me to repeat the mantra "I am safe, we are safe" in my head, and I did that while taking deep breaths and trying to relax. I think it really helped reduce my anxiety.
Good luck with your ECV next week, Anonymous. I really hope it works! xo

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10 weeks pregnant