on receiving unfortunate news from the midwife: she’s breech!
I feel like I’ve had my fair share of burdens to carry through this pregnancy. I’ve had a handful of moments that felt otherworldly, lovely and made me glow. But for the most part, it’s been a long, hard haul.
“Well, looks like her head is right down here,” the student midwife says.
“No, no that’s an organ. Sometimes those are mistaken for the head. You have to look for calcification of the skull,” the senior midwife says.
They are both calm and warm, and I’m excited to see my baby again on the ultrasound machine. They move the ultrasound doppler up and down and around the lower part of my belly, looking for baby girl’s head. Silently they move it upwards, creeping every so slowly to the top of my belly. And there it is. A round, white head.
“So, it looks like your baby is sitting in the breech position right now,” she pauses and looks at me, gauging my reaction.
I don’t quite hear her, because I was told that she was head down only a few weeks ago. I’m looking at the ultrasound machine, zoning in and out. I feel fine. I don’t feel like I’ve received terrible news. But I have. No pregnant mother really wants to hear the B word. No mother wants to research the terms, frank and footling and complete.
I feel powerless as they go through the motions of explaining the issues with carrying a breech baby. I know what it means. A C-section if she doesn’t turn, or perhaps an attempt at a vaginal delivery, since the hospital I’m delivering at has a team in place for that. But it won’t be easy and it won’t be routine. It is a teaching hospital after all, so I imagine lots of lights, hands, and OB’s present.
I walk back to the student midwife’s warm little office and feel myself start to lose it. The reality sets in, cold and heavy. She stops what she’s saying and looks at me.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes. No. No. Oh God…” and I’m crying while trying to wrap my head around this news.
I leave a few minutes later, feeling comforted and loved, but still mourning the loss of a easy pregnancy from this point on. I was just hoping to coast through the next few weeks. But now I have to fight.
I walk outside and the cold air hits me fiercely in the face. I call my husband and through big, gulping sobs ask him to pick me up. He leaves work, and within a few minutes he’s wrapping his arms around me as I wail in the car.
“I don’t want to be cut open again! I don’t want to, I don’t want this. Why is this happening to me?”
I’m looking my greatest fear in the face. Another surgery, a section, a complication.
I have to mourn, although there are warm flickers of hope that she will turn. I imagine going in for a C-Section, I imagine her turning. I don’t know what to think because I’ve never been here, nor have I known many women who have. This is one of those freak things that happen, for no apparent reason. Sometimes it’s the length of the cord, the woman’s pelvis, or simply random. In any case, it is not supposed to happen to me.
And yet, it is. I look at the list of treatments for breech babies feeling slightly overwhelmed, but comforted by the to-do list. Jay takes the afternoon off work, and we head out, in search of homeopathic remedies, moxa sticks and information. I hungrily research all that I can handle on my phone, feeling sick and tired, feeling like giving up.
I knew something may have been off a few weeks leading up to my appointment, but really thought nothing of it. I felt these peculiar movements down low in my belly, like little fish swimming about. There was a big bump at the top of my belly, but I assumed it was her bum. Sometimes it felt really hard and mobile. I could place my hands around it and move it to and fro. Just in the last week or so, I’ve also started to feel movement on the middle of my right side, like punching fists. For the life of me, I could not figure out how she was lying.
My baby girl just wants to rest her head close to my heart. I feel a tenderness towards her like never before. She is helpless and happy in the womb, feeling secure in the position she’s in. But I am far from feeling secure. I am battling with my mind every hour. I am visualizing and talking to her all day long. Turn baby, turn. Head down, bum up. Please, please, please…
To be continued…