About a month before baby girl’s due date, I went in for a routine checkup. To my surprise, the doctor said she felt like she was breech. After an ultrasound, it was confirmed that her head was in my ribs, while her tail was sitting between my hips.
In order to get her in the proper orientation for delivery, we were told to schedule an external cephalic version where our doctor would try to manually rotate her. It has a 50/50 success rate, so we figured we may as well try. In the meantime, I did as much as I possibly could to get her to turn, including exercises that had me standing on my head. Nothing worked.
When the day for the version came, we went in with optimism and feeling very at peace. We checked into the hospital’s maternal center, I changed into a gown, and then proceeded to get hooked up to a heart rate monitor for baby girl. From there, my doctor came in and confirmed that baby girl was still breech, and ordered a muscle relaxant for my uterus to aid with the version.
Ten minutes later, I was laying on my back with Dr. Johnson moving her hands on and under baby girl’s head and bum. I could feel baby girl kicking inside, resisting being turned. We checked baby’s vitals and she was still doing fine, so Dr. Johnson proceeded on.
About five minutes into trying to move baby, Dr. Johnson suddenly, but calmly, signaled the nurse to strap the heart rate monitors back on, give me oxygen, and turn me to my left side. Baby girl had suddenly gone into distress, and the version needed to be stopped immediately.
For the next half hour, I laid there with oxygen till baby girl was stabilized. Then I was turned to a different position to see how baby girl would react, and waited another half an hour. Meanwhile we discussed with the nurse and Dr. Johnson that this was the first time they had seen a baby react so strongly to a version. They both said it is most likely due to the placement of the umbilical cord, which is probably why baby girl didn’t turn herself. Babies are incredibly intelligent that way.
At the end of the appointment, after making sure that baby girl was going to be fine, we set up our next visit to the hospital. This time, for a C-section. In three weeks, we were going to meet our baby!
Looking back, I remember a river of emotions flooding in. Nervousness for my baby from the events of the morning. Excitement that I was going to meet her soon! Anticipation for the surgery. And heartache over losing the natural birth I had been looking forward to. But, this visit was a reminder of how life, especially with a baby, never turns out like you expect. In the end, as much as I wanted something, I needed sacrifice that to do what was going to be best for my daughter. And isn’t that what parenting is all about?