Week 20, ultrasound: Baby’s in breech position, nothing to worry about.
Week 24, midwife appt: Baby’s in breech position, nothing to worry about.
Week 27.5, midwife appt: Baby’s in breech position, nothing to worry about.
It’s yesterday afternoon — I’m at 29 weeks, 3 days according to my primary midwife, Georgia. I’m lying on my back on the table in my midwife’s office, maternity jeans pushed low around my hips, shirt tugged up to my breasts. Chris is sitting to my left, tapping his foot the way he does when he’s antsy (I tease him about Restless Leg Syndrome). Georgia’s standing over me with her VERY COLD HANDS on my belly, palpating my uterus to determine Maia’s position. “Hmm,” she says, “Where have you been feeling the baby move?”
“Last night, here,” I say, touching just above my belly button, “and today, here.” I touch just below my ribs on my right side, where there’s been little flutters of movement all day long, almost tickling me with how gentle they are. Georgia’s definitely not tickling me, as she squeezes and prods at my body fairly low with one hand, where the baby’s feet were on my last visit, and with the other examines the top left of my uterus.
“She’s in breech position, I think,” Georgia murmurs. “Here’s her head, and I think her feet are –” she stops poking around down low and moves that hand to where I had showed her the movement happening today. As if on cue, I feel a sudden movement and my belly button POPS up. Her eyes flare wide.
I laugh nervously at the look on her face. “Why are you looking at my belly button like that?”
“She just jerked away from me, and that was a really strong movement.”
“She’s kind of a brat,” I admit. And it’s true. If this child comes out of my womb with half the attitude she has IN there, we’re going to have one of those ‘high maintenance’ kids to deal with. Or, in other words, she’s going to be just like me, with a solid dash of daddy’s stubbornness to boot. “But I mean, I’m okay?”
“Oh yeah, you’re okay, it was just strange looking. Like POP! There’s your baby under your belly button!” Georgia grins at me. She has wide, dark eyes and clump of white in her otherwise dark hair where she parts it. My smile becomes genuine. She pushes down on the top right of my uterus and nods. “Her feet are here, you’ve felt little kicks all day. And her butt is…” she taps near my belly button, “here.”
We listen to the baby’s heartbeat, the strong swishing sound that I love hearing so much suddenly interrupted by another POP and a hollow thump sounding as she smacks the microphone. Attitude. Total attitude. Georgia and I start giggling.
But then she pulls away the microphone and, as she’s wiping the gel off my belly, asks, “Do you two know when you’ll be getting OHIP?”
I look over at Chris; this is too delicate a subject for me to think about when he can handle it instead. “No idea,” he answers. “Government is jerking us around.”
“Well…” she says, “I am just feeling the baby via palpation, so there’s the possibility that I’m wrong, but it seems like she’s in breech position right now. And we don’t recommend a vaginal delivery for breech, especially for first time mothers, which means you may be looking at a caesarean, if she doesn’t move.”
This seems appropriate to me. I mean, it would only make sense that once I’ve vaguely accepted the idea of having a home birth for monetary reasons that my baby would decide she isn’t going to cooperate. Honestly, the next thing I think about a caesarean is Would I want to schedule it for Valentine’s Day?
Georgia and Chris are both looking at me. I sit up, tugging my shirt down over my belly, as the baby continues to move. “Okay,” I say. Simple. Baby’s coming into the world one way or another and there’s no stopping her, so why worry about how that happens? If I have to get a caesarean, then I have to. If I don’t, I don’t.
Georgia nods. “The baby will generally move when she wants to, and I wouldn’t really start to worry until week 34. If she’s not head-down by then, we’ll need to schedule you for an ultrasound to confirm breech presentation and then there’ll be consultations with an anesthesiologist and surgeon. They like to do caesareans around week 38, but that’s probably negotiable.”
38 weeks would be before Valentine’s Day. Do I have to? I think. Chris asks, “Well, can’t we make her move?”
“There’s really no proof that you can. You can try things like rocking your hips back and forth while sitting down, but that’s not guaranteed. You know the newest thing I heard — and it worked! — is a woman who took a warm bath, but put a bag of frozen peas on top of her belly. The baby moved away from the cold and went head-down.”
“Tatiana can definitely try that,” Chris answers, and I can see the mischievous gleam in his eye already, how he’d probably want to put the bag of peas on my hot belly and watch me squirm.
“Oh man…” I groaned. “I mean, if I have to…”
Georgia chuckles. “Her baby probably just wanted to move on its own anyhow, but it’s worth a try. You do have awhile to go yet before you really need to worry about this, it’s just that she’s been in breech position since the ultrasound and I want you to be prepared if a caesarean is necessary.”
I don’t want to be sliced open. I don’t want my baby’s delivery to be any more surgical than absolutely necessary. Everything has been so easy and perfect so far that the very last thing I’ve worried about is having to get a caesarean. I’m positive the baby will move on her own anyhow, but isn’t this just the icing on my stress cake?
In other news, I’ve had a ‘growth spurt’; my uterus measures 30 cm now. This puts me up in the 75th percentile. The irony is that yesterday, Chris and I were both remarking upon how I feel like my size is plateauing… I guess not, and we’re just so used to seeing the belly that we don’t even notice it growing anymore.
Maia’s moving lower now, which I’m pretty sure means her head isn’t down there since heads don’t really move like that. But then again, she’s moving EVERYWHERE. There’s movement up near my ribs and I can feel something — head, butt, back? — near my belly button. I love that, when I can tell where she is, even if I don’t know what part of her it is quite yet. She’ll move. Really, who wouldn’t want to nestle their head in my coochie?
I’m going to put off this frozen pea bag gimmick for as long as possible!