Today, I have some good news! Binary Boy flipped. He is now head down the way he should be.
So, what worked? Well, unfortunately, nothing I had been trying for the past 2 weeks did, so I asked the midwives for a referral to an OB that could perform an external cephalic version. They referred me to Dr. Uribe. So, yesterday, Kevin and I went in for a consultation to see if I am a good candidate for the procedure.
Side note: If you live in Austin and need a doctor to do a version on a breech baby, Dr. Uribe is the guy to see. He’s been doing versions for 20 plus years and really knows what he’s doing.
He checked the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby via an ultrasound and felt for the amount of “give” and wiggle room available. After a few dozen other questions and filling of paperwork, he deemed me a good candidate, especially since I am between 36 and 37 weeks pregnant.
Before I made the decision to get it done or not, we also went over the risks. The most major one is the placenta detaching. If that happened, I would have to have an emergency cesarean section to deliver the baby. Which is why it’s good to be between 36 and 37 weeks pregnant – the baby is still small enough to turn, but developed enough so that we could take him home with us if it came down to an emergency cesarean. Scary thought, that one.
Since there was a very small chance that would happen, I couldn’t eat or drink anything past midnight last night. No water even. That was the toughest thing about it for me. I usually drink water throughout the night when I wake up.
Anyway, after we discussed all the risks, I made the decision to get it done. It wasn’t an easy decision for me to make, but I know that a version is much less invasive than a cesarean and I just had a feeling that Binary Boy wasn’t going to be able to flip on his own. I was told several times, by a few different people that I was somewhat small and it might be tough for him to fully turn around without some assistance.
So, first thing this morning we drove to the hospital. We went to Labor and Delivery (again, in case it happened that I would need an emergency c-section) and after some more paperwork, I was sent to my room to change into a gown.
The nurse assigned to me was awesome. She’d been a L&D nurse for 10 years and it showed in everything she did. She had me lay down in the bed and strapped a fetal heart tone monitor around my belly, as well as a monitor that measured any contractions I was having. She also inserted an IV in my wrist to deliver the muscle relaxant needed to relax the uterus.
So, after another round of 20 questions, she took my vitals, took some blood and then injected the relaxant into the IV in my wrist. Unfortunately, in addition to relaxing the uterus, it also makes you feel like you’ve just drank 10 cups of espresso… all at once. She then paged the doctor. He works next door to the hospital, so it didn’t take him long to show up. His nurse came with him, too.
After saying hello, I started feeling so dizzy and started shaking. Then my heart felt like it was going to pump right out of my chest. All a normal side effect from the relaxant. So not fun. Little did I know that was nothing compared to what was coming up.
After the initial shock of the medication wore down and I felt a little better, they removed the monitors and slathered mineral oil all over my belly. Then the doctor felt for the baby. After figuring out which way he wanted to turn him, he forcefully pushed down around the outside of the baby and turns him, using his fingers to keep him from turning back around.
Apparently, there should be very little pain involved, but I was warned that it will most certainly be uncomfortable. Yeah… it was uncomfortable.. and also painful. I have an extremely high pain tolerance, so this pain.. it was bad. My nurse grabbed my hand and got right up to my ear and kept having me breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. Kevin also whispered stuff into my ear.
It hurt so bad at one point, I swear I didn’t hear a damn thing anyone was saying, I was just trying to get through it. I couldn’t, though. I just couldn’t deal with the pain. “Stop!” I yelled. And he did. Apparently, Binary Boy was almost flipped when I yelled that. The doctor said that “he (Binary Boy) wanted to move” and that he had almost been done. He asked me if I wanted to try it again, because, my pain is their barometer on what is okay and what is not okay. They offered me pain medication, but I refused. I could do this, damnit.
I collected myself, repositioned my hips so that they spread out a bit more (a yoga move thing), took a deep breath and told him to try again. He did and it worked the second time. It was just as painful, but I knew what to expect.
When all was said and done, only about 3 minutes had passed. And that was including the time it took for me to collect myself again.
The doctor apologized. Twice. I could tell he felt bad that it hurt me, but it had to get done. He knew it and I knew it. And truly, it was much less invasive than having a cesarean section, for both me and Binary Boy. After the doctor left, the nurse strapped back on the monitors and we stayed for almost another hour to make sure the baby’s heart rate went back up. It dropped pretty low right after the version. His heart rate rose back up quickly, thankfully, so we were discharged with a clean bill of health.
Now, we were warned that there is still a small chance Binary Boy could turn back around. A 5% chance to be exact, but it is rare. The only problem is, now, I’m paranoid, and I swear I feel like he’s right back where he started. Thankfully, I have my weekly prenatal appointment tomorrow, so they’ll be able to check via ultrasound if he is still head down they way he should be.
I have hope that he is, but honestly, when you’re in that 3% of women that have babies that are breech so late, it’s hard to not think you’ll be in that rare 5% of babies turning back after a version. I’ve heard that being a parent can drive you a little crazy, but, seriously, even before the baby is born? Oy.