Out of time

Breech baby is still breech, and has now run out of time.

At my 37 week appointment this week Dr Eminem couldn’t even manipulate her head away from my ribs to get an accurate fundal height measurement. (Fundal height is now measuring 40 weeks but he thinks her head lessened the accuracy.)

He said booboo is well and truly stuck and her chances of turning on her own are basically nil.

He also said trying a proper manual turn (ECV) was going to have a less than 5% success rate based on her position and I would be putting her at risk by attempting it.

He did however say that he was trained in vaginal breech delivery and as he knew how badly I wanted to give birth naturally he was willing to consider this option for me. Yaayyy.

Then…he did an ultrasound.

First of all the baby’s head was already measuring 40+4 weeks. The rest of her measured 39 weeks which is spot on with our guess that I’m two weeks ahead of our original estimated due date.

The obstetrician explained that in breech deliveries the head size was super important to take into consideration because it’s the last thing to exit the body during birth.

When a baby comes out head first the plates in their skull are still flexible and able to overlap to ease the head through the birth canal. But in a breech delivery the skull is unable to flex as the baby is coming out chin first and no pressure is placed on the top of the head. This increases the risk of the baby becoming stuck.

Dr Eminem said with a head that size the risk to the baby is very significant during birth and it would be a high risk delivery. He explained if the baby gets her head stuck but her body has been delivered, they have to cut the hell out of me to try to free her and if that doesn’t work they need to push her back in to perform a c-section. Her chance of surviving is around 1%.

Second of all the baby is footling breech. She has one foot up by her face  (which she happily had in her mouth for most of the ultrasound) and the other down in my pelvis. This is why I still feel kicks top and bottom, which sometimes confuses me.

Dr Eminem said vaginal breech deliveries can’t even be attempted with footling breech babies as there’s no way to safely deliver them when their legs are split.

So basically let me sum this up for you: no vaginal breech delivery for me.

C-section is now absolutely the only way this baby is coming out of me. And let me tell you I am not yet coping.

Yes I know I know the safety of the baby is most important. I’m not a looney I totally get that. I would never do anything to jeopardize her.

But this is it. This is my only baby. The baby I was never supposed to have.

I will never get to experience labour. I’ll never get that surprise as I start to experience contractions. All the books I bought about calmbirth and hypnobirth are wasted. All my research is wasted. The playlist I spent months putting together for the delivery room is wasted.

I’d paid the deposit for a birth photographer and she isn’t allowed to come into the theatre room so I had to cancel and she kindly offered me a refund.

What I really badly wanted was to give birth in water – I mean I picked my hospital because they offer water birth as a standard option.

What I really badly wanted was to deliver the baby up onto my chest and after skin-to-skin and the first feed to get up and have a shower and move around.

Now I’ll be confined to bed for 24 hours and unable to lift my baby out of her hospital crib on my own. As James will be with me I will have no choice but to rely on him for support. That may or may not go badly.

I’ll also need to be given drugs intravenously. I am super anti drugs crossing the placental barrier through an epidural (particularly pethidine) and also through my breast milk. But now I have no choice.

As I’ve put on 20kg this pregnancy I was also super super keen to get up and get exercising straight away. I wanted to get back to the gym as soon as possible. Now the gym is right off the table and I won’t even be able to drive a car for 6 weeks!

It’s all just a cluster of fuckery I wouldn’t ever choose for myself or my daughter.

It’s the hand we’ve been dealt and I’m fully aware that c-sections aren’t a big deal. They’re super common and normal and fine and lots of women have them.

I’ve just waited six years for this event and built it up in my mind for so long. I wanted it so badly to be different and now I have to let go of that dream. Just another way my body has failed me.

What’s actually causing me to be the most upset and has brought on several panic attacks is why my baby is breech.

She has been breech since I was 30 weeks pregnant and not attempted to turn.

Google the reasons babies stay breech for extended periods of time and enjoy your trip down the rabbit hole.

Common reasons for breech

1. The placenta is low and the baby can’t engage. My placenta is high so this one isn’t relevant.

2. Too much or not enough amniotic fluid. My fluid levels are perfect so this one isn’t relevant.

3. A growth in the uterus such as fibroids. Of all the things wrong with my reproductive system this is one problem I’ve never had so this isn’t relevant either.

4. Fetal abnormalities.

BOOM.

There it is.

Sadie has gone straight to DEFCON 1 on this one. Welcome to my anxiety filled brain.

So many websites say a baby turning head down is considered their first milestone. My baby has missed that milestone. Why??

The risk of a baby that never turns head down having an abnormality is triple that of head down babies. Triple. TRIPLE.

Do you know what causes a lot of those abnormalities? A lack of folic acid.

Do you know what I have? A double gene mutation which stops my body properly absorbing folic acid.

I mean is my baby sick or disabled and have I caused it myself?

I spent hours on Thursday night hysterically crying to my mother. I was in such a panic and had totally convinced myself there was something very wrong with my baby.

It got to the point where my mother was shouting at me to calm down because I was just being irrational and not listening to logic.

The next day she did a lot of research of her own (she even went to the library!) and she found a super common reason babies don’t turn head down is maternal stress. The uterine muscles behave differently when the mother is under stress and the baby can’t turn or engage.

If there’s one thing I’ve dealt with in excess this entire pregnancy it’s stress. The James situation is a daily struggle and in many ways I’ve never experienced 9 months under greater stress. Not even IVF can match it.

Oh please oh please oh please let that be the reason.

There’s nothing I can do now and no way I can change or control anything. I have just under two weeks until the date of my scheduled c-section and all I can do is wait.

The main thing for me right now is keeping my anxiety under control and trying to remember I’ve done honestly everything within my power to keep this baby safe and healthy.

I love her. She is my everything. Nothing will change that, no matter what happens. I need to trust myself. Trust my baby. Trust my body (if that’s at all possible). Trust my mind to stay calm enough to get me through these last few days.

As always, I’ll keep you updated.

Sadie xx

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13 thoughts on “Out of time

  1. Oh Sadie. I love your mum.
    I have one issue with this, and that is you blaming yourself if your genetic mutation (I’m guessing it’s the mthfr?)has somehow caused her breech presentation. IF – and this in itself is a stretch – a genetic mutation caused a lack of folic acid which led to a breech presentation, how can that possibly be your FAULT? Your genetics are absolutely 1000% forever out of your control.
    The loss of your birth dream is shit and you go ahead and be mad and sad about it. I would be. Life fucking sucks like that and you don’t have to feel guilty for being pissed!
    Your doc sounds thorough and professional and competent. I like him too – not as much as your mum ha ha.
    So, give yourself time to accept the change of plans and then move into research mode and look into sterile skin-to-skin after caesarean, mirrors to watch the birth, having your mum as your birth partner, all the ways you may be able to bring elements of your first plan into your current one.
    I will have my fingers crossed that you can lower your defcon levels soon cause I know how exhausting that can be.
    And remember it’s a good thing her head is big, if it wasn’t that would be a more reliable indicator something was off. And if it helps, my giant boofa had a head measurements that puts him at higher than 98% so you are not alone.
    Big hugs….lots of empathy for the big changes and know that I will be cheering you on from over here, all the way.

    • I love my mum too she’s a good egg. I would have completely fallen apart this pregnancy without her. Yes I do have mthfr and my fears about causing an abnormality are moreso that I pushed at the beginning of pregnancy to haven’t my homocystine levels checked, the doctor said it wasn’t necessary and so I let the matter slide. I will regret not advocating for the baby at the start if it turns out something is wrong. But I do honestly just hope it’s stress causing the breech!

      • Yes, I know. I’m bloody hopeless at the moment – I write but on paper. I will def keep you updated – if i dont blog is it best via your email?

  2. I’m surprised they are waiting 2 more weeks to deliver if that might really put you at 41 weeks. I understand everything you wrote here about the emotions because that is just how I felt when my baby came c section.

    As for picking her up right after surgery, I was able to lift my baby right away. I also got out of bed before 24 hours and showered. And I drove a week later. There were no restrictions on that for me. I know all drs and hospitals have different policies and rules so they may tell you differently. Listen to your Dr but also, listen to your body.

    I have mthfr too (that’s what you have, right?) and obviously, when my baby was breech from 23 weeks until I delivered at 37, I worried. The Dr even suggested that breech babies may have a higher chance of being Downs and that runs in DH’s family. So that did worry me and I understand your fear. I’d say the stress is more likely in your case though. I know this pregnancy and everything you’ve went through has been horribly stressful for you.

    Hang in there! 2 more weeks!! BTW, would your Dr be ok letting you labor for a bit before the section so your baby and you can get some of the benefits of labor?

    • I’m also surprised they’re potentially letting me go through to 41 weeks without a c-section! I have an appointment in a couple of days and I have a feeling they will move it up as I’m having period cramping day and night now and wouldn’t be surprised if I go into labour on my own. At the hospital where I’m giving birth their policy is to keep you catheterized and in bed for 24 hours after the surgery and no lifting the baby (you need someone to pass the baby to you). The rule about not driving for 6 weeks is a legal thing here it’s got nothing to do with the hospital it’s for anyone who has a c-section for road safety reasons. If you drive in the first 6 weeks insurance won’t cover you. I didn’t even know this was a thing until last week….

  3. I’m really sorry, but I couldn’t finish reading your post. I understand that this is not how you wanted your delivery to be and that your baby’s safety is of the utmost importance to you, but worrying about having a c section over vaginal birth really shouldn’t factor at all right now. I lost my son due to an extremely prem birth. I would have given anything to have him cut out of me on time if it meant there was a chance he’d arrive safely. I’d give up any potential experience to have him and his twin sister born healthy. Please, when you mourn the loss of the experience, think of the alternative. Because let me tell you, it happens more often than you think – indiscriminitive of what you have already been through (4 years of ttc, 4 IUIs and 2 IVFs for us) – and it’s absolute hell. I hope this all makes sense as I’m typing this quick. I hope I haven’t offended you in anyway but I think you need some perspective. Don’t worry about your experience, you’re doing it all for her xx

    • Ps I’m not sure indiscriminitive is actually a word. And if it is, that it’s spelt correctly. But you get my meaning!!

    • Thank you for your comment and I certainly never meant to offend or upset anyone with my words. I use my blog to vent and process my own thoughts and feelings. Of course I completely agree that the alternative is far worse and I’m so sorry for what you have experienced. I wouldn’t wish that upon myself or anyone. I currently have antenatal depression and anxiety which I’m treating by seeing a therapist but unfortunately (as I admitted in this post) my anxiety still often slips my control and I am crippled by irrational thoughts. I find that I cope better with my anxiety if I blog about my fears rather than hold them all inside. This is particularly the case at the moment as I have little to no support from the father of my baby. So whilst I do agree with everything you said but I am glad I wrote this post as it helped me to collect and evaluate my own thoughts and calm myself. I do very much appreciate your honesty and perspective and your words certainly touched me. Regards, Sadie.

      • You didn’t offend or upset me. I just found this post a bit hard to read. You are entitled to feel however you feel, I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise. It’s your blog, say what you want…I’m just along for the ride! I do wish you all the best and completely understand why you are anxious about every thing. Just please understand that for some of us out here, our fears turned into reality.

        I really hope your little girl arrives safe and well, and soon. I’m looking forward to hearing all about her and how much you love being a mummy.

  4. Oh Sadie, I know that this wasn’t the way you wanted things to work and I’m sorry. You have every right to feel all the emotions you are experiencing right now – birth is a huge part of the process and it’s largely been taken away from you.

    But on the plus side, you know when she’s coming into the world, a definite end to your pregnancy, and once she’s here I bet all the worries of natural vs c section will all but disappear because she will be worth it all πŸ™‚

    Don’t worry about not getting up and about straight after birth, you will soon enough and I’m sure you’ll be doing it a lot quicker than 6 weeks.

    I’m so excited that she’s almost here! x

    • Thank you despite all my anxiety I’m also excited to meet her. It’s hard to remember that sometimes and I need to remind myself. It doesn’t feel real yet that’s for sure. I’m hoping all my worries about the birth disappear when she makes her arrival. πŸ™‚

  5. I’m sorry to hear your birth plan isn’t taking the shape you hoped. I can somewhat understand your disappointment. I say somewhat because I never wanted a certain birth but I have had other plans not work out. I was open for any kind of birth as long as I finally got that baby out of me! haha. I can say that after three previous surgeries a c-section was actually a breeze. I was up and walking just hours after surgery, picking up baby from the bassinet and doing normal things at home (in and out of bed, up and down stairs) in terms of working out, when you are in your “new baby bubble” 6 weeks for recovery actually flies by and in the meantime you will be able to stroll with baby. I also had no idea how much strain pregnancy but on your body and working out wasn’t even in the cards for me. It took a solid 8 months before all the aches and pains subsided. Not what I envisioned that’s for sure! I had to slowly build up strength to even be able to workout haha. many women and doctors agree that your body takes a full year to recover. Just passing along my experiences so you aren’t setting yourself up for disappointment sweetie. It’s okay to have a csection, it’s okay to recover, it’s okay to take things slowly. This will not make you feel better I’m sure I have had friends with “bigger” babies tell me they wished they had had csections after what happened to their vaginas and the recovery process that followed. I know birth is so so personal for each woman and you know I care about you and baby and your hopes and wants, so I hope you know I’m not dismissing your feelings and read this in a supporting loving tone xox

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