Friday 26 January 2018

Breech baby birth preparations

I start posts and then don't finish them and they feel out of date after a few days. I finally have a slack day, and can't concentrate on anything else, so here goes, I'm going to start and finish a post.

We've done our best to keep our options open with Sprite and she is happy to keep us guessing! I think we have a plan now....and I'm ready for her to be here. I hope my body gets the message my mind and emotions are sending.


  • Last week (just last week??) I met with the breech birth team at New Hospital. They did a detailed ultrasound that showed Sprite still footling breech. That meant we were not candidates for breech birth, but they offered to 1) continue to monitor with weekly ultrasounds 2) attempt a 2nd ECV with spinal anesthetic. We decided to try the 2nd ECV. (We'd already tried ECV without anesthetic at my regular hospital and the OB was not able to turn Sprite all the way). I was super busy that week finishing up at work, and the decision was made quickly. I am not sure what I expected, but generally I thought this ECV would  be easier. Yes....and no. I did not feel pain but the procedure was both physically and emotionally intense and I struggled with the spinal anesthetic: I positively hated the feeling of being paralyzed and not feeling my body.  I was fighting panic throughout it. I had an epidural when AJ was born and I do not recall having that overpowering icky feeling, but an epidural is not quite as strong I suppose. Mr. Turtle observed that I handled the pain and discomfort of the first ECV much better than being anesthetized. As for Sprite, they turned her head down successfully....twice. And she turned herself right back to breech....twice. So that was that. However, it provided some information: 1) Sprite isn't keen to turn for whatever reason, and 2) I know what I have to prepare for if I do end up in a c-section with another spinal.
  • Sprite continues to be breech at 39+ weeks, BUT an ultrasound yesterday showed she has moved into frank breech position (bum down feet up). She is around 7 pounds, healthy, has a normal amount of amniotic fluid, and chin is tucked in (flexed). So that made us a candidate for vaginal breech birth at the newest hospital in our city. At present that is plan A. 
  • I had a c-section scheduled  for the due date mid next week, but after breech birth became an option, we decided to put that off a few more days.  I could schedule as late as 10 days after due date but I'd rather not: I don't want to rush this birth but don't want to wait a really long time either. Personal preference/gut there.
  • I continued chiro/acupuncture this week. We have an active, mobile baby but she doesn't want to go head down. However, my pelvis is nice and mobile apparently!
Heh, so how am I feeling? I really feel ready to have this baby one way or another. I am a bit sorry it is not a conventional vanilla birth. When it comes to this baby stuff, boring is better in my view. But we have been getting great support from everyone and I feel good about the decisions we are making. I am glad we have actually been given options. It is not super common to try a breech birth, but it is good to have an option other than surgical. They are very strict about whom they allow to try and under what circumstances, so we are in good hands. If there are issues we can still have a c-section (in a nicer hospital environment, so that's another plus).  Of the people whom attempt a breech birth at New Hospital, overall 50% have a vaginal birth and 50% have a c-section. However, with second time moms it's more like 70% have a vaginal birth and 30% have c-section. So, the odds are it can happen.

The hospital bags are packed...mostly, finally. The laundry is all done. We're ready! (Except Mr. Turtle has another cold/sinus thing going on. Bleah.) I'm not totally freaking out. I had a lot of braxton-hicks today and they did a membrane sweep at New Hospital. Not sure if that will do anything but I'm ready for action and ready to be done speculating. And ready to meet someone very special!  Fingers crossed.

Sunday 14 January 2018

What am I doing

I keep updating the blog in my mind, but actually finding the time to put mind data into actual's just hard!

I am almost at the end of this pregnancy. The really important part: baby is healthy, far as anyone can tell.

The curveballs:

  • I've mentioned the gestational diabetes. I am diet-controlled, and lately, I seem pretty good at it. No sweets, no sugar (that was sad over Christmas, but bearable), no fruit juice and no fruit with meals though I can have fruit after meals. Lots of protein and fiber and vegetables. Basically, when Mr. Turtle cooks good news, because he does lots of protein and we use whole wheat pasta and have found a quinoa recipe or two that is not too boring. When I cook, bad news because I like comfort food and my instinct is to make everything carb-a-licious. Eating out is generally bad news too, even if I try to get the healthy, protein-heavy option. But my two ultrasounds since diagnosis show Sprite growing just fine so I guess I get a B+ or something on this.
  • At 36 weeks I went for my regular appointment at the maternity clinic. Dr. VE (same who delivered AJ, coincidentally, or I guess  tried because she was actually delivered in OR) measured my belly, palpitated and did brief internal exam. She said she'd like to send me for an ultrasound, because I was measuring a centimetre small (and AJ was small for gestational age so I have a "history" of smaller babies), and when I asked her if the head was down she said, "I think so" but then she hemmed and hawed and said it was unclear and she "doesn't like surprises." Still, I didn't read much into that so it was a surprise when the ultrasound (@ 37 weeks) showed Sprite as incomplete breech: head up, one leg curled under and the other up by her nose and arms doing God knows what.
The ultrasound threw us into a "what the hell to do about breech baby" frenzy. That's been what the last few days have been about. I'm over 37 weeks, so the likely answer to the question is we can't do much and will end up with scheduled C-Section. However, we've decided to try some other things first and see if they help.
  • regular inversions (anytime I can find time and a couch to turn upside down)
  • Breech tilt once a day (I find this so comfortable and easily stay upside down for 20 minutes or more)
  • External cephalic version last weekend, which failed (They got Sprite about 3/4 of the way, but could not get her head into pelvis). I got lots of compliments on my ability to endure pain however.
  • Webster protocol (chiropractor) several times in the next few weeks: the idea behind this is the back part of the pelvis can get out of line and twists the uterus, causing less room for baby, so they avoid going head down.  Webster attempts to correct this by re-aligning the SI joints
  • Acupuncture...haven't done yet but scheduled.
  • Possible consult with the breech delivery team. There is one hospital in my city that will attempt a breech vaginal delivery if certain conditions are met. I don't know if we meet those conditions (probably not with incomplete breech) but I said I'd still like to know for sure, and my maternity clinic has been supportive of this.
This is, obviously, making the weeks leading up to the birth rather more stressful than they could have been in an ideal scenario, and I am disappointed in that I would prefer a birth with as few interventions as possible. Also, all through the pregnancy people have been telling me that the second child is easier to birth and obviously I hoped that was true or that I would at least have the chance to find out. Plus I have that great pain endurance and labouring technique! All for naught? But on the other hand we have been approaching the matter quite logically and I think I'm comfortable with trying All the Things to turn baby and if it doesn't work, accepting that we did our best and so did the people supporting us, including medical team.

Next week is my last week at work.  I am mostly confident I will  get all the stuff done there too, though it's a bit insane. I am taking some time off for appointments but will also be trying to get work done when I'm off. Yep, taking time off work to do work. Whatever. Dr. Clarissa Estes tells a story of a woman who made sure she scrubbed the kitchen spotless before she blew her brains out with a shotgun. Gruesome, and I'm not comparing mat leave to violent suicide, truly I'm not, but I am definitely the type that scrubs the floor before blowing my brains out. Nobody's going to come in and say I left a mess, whatever happens.

Preparations at home: going pretty well! AJ now has her big girl room, and we have a nursery with baby clothes and diapers and furniture in it. It's a real thing not a room full of junk. Not a Pinterest nursery by any means but it was never going to be, even AJ didn't get that FFS. We got this. In an alternate universe I would include some pictures but in this universe I have to get to bed.

Have a beautiful week!