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. 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.
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.