Tuesday, June 26, 2007

External Cephalic Version: It worked!

After trying everything under the sun to get my second breech baby to turn head down, I went to the hospital this morning for an ECV. A lot of people aren't familiar with this procedure, so I thought I'd relate my experience for family, friends and all the pregnant women out there who are researching their options.

My midwife advised me to spend the weekend and Monday drinking lots of water so that I would have plenty of amniotic fluid, which I did. I had my last meal and drink before bed last night on the off-chance baby wouldn't tolerate the procedure and I would need to have an emergency C-section.

At 8am, I checked into the labor and delivery ward at West Suburban Hospital. There, I was told to get naked under a hospital gown and pee in a cup. The nurses attached me to fetal and maternal monitors, took my temperature and blood pressure and drew some blood. I was also hooked up to an IV. After about an hour, the staff determined baby was happy and healthy and I was having a few mild contractions.

Dr. Tong ordered a shot of a uterine relaxant, which made my heart race (and undid the relaxed state I'd managed to get into by listening to my Hypnobirthing script), but Josh helpfully massaged me back to a calm state. Fifteen minutes later, Dr. Tong took a look at baby's position on an ultrasound. He predicted turning baby toward my right side would be most successful and they got started. Dr. Tong's hands did most of the pushing, pulling and prodding, with some assistance from Hillary, my midwife. Or so I'm guessing. I was focusing on relaxing my belly and breathing through the discomfort, which wasn't unbearable by any means--more like a really rough massage.

After every quarter turn, Dr. Tong would pause to check the head's position on the ultrasound and the baby's heart rate with the heart rate monitor. After a few checks, it became clear to all of us that this was really going to work. I opened my eyes and grinned at Josh through the last few motions.

Hillary and one of the nurses put on an abdominal binder (a post-natal support belt I'd purchased at Babies R Us) to help keep baby down, and Josh and I stuck around for an additional hour of monitoring.

As we were leaving, a nursing assistant said to me, "So, did baby turn?" I answered yes and she replied with, "Really? I've never seen one work before."

So that's it! We're keeping our fingers crossed that baby stays vertex and we're able to have the VBAC we've been hoping for.