what it takes to spin a baby: my external cephalic version at 36 weeks.

February 2, 2012, Michaela Evanow, 20 Comments

We arrived at the hospital at 8:15am for the external cephalic version. No food or liquids in my body, no hot cup of morning tea. I was definitely not a happy girl. We wait, and wait, and wait. I stare at the clock, eyes droopy, knowing that there is so much more to come, and it’s already 9:30am. Lo and behold, what midwife was there to walk me through the procedure? None other than the spunky Aussie, raised in the outback, the oldest of six siblings. The one who gets her knickers in a knot over weight gain. And you know what, she was fantastic. She was kind, she was generous with her time, even though other mums we coming in and out, delivering babies. She kept dropping by, making sure everything was alright.

At 9:45am, the sweetest nurse came and got me and Jay, and led us back to a hospital room. I changed into a gown, and sat in bed, waiting for her to set up the IV. She strapped on an electronic fetal monitor, and I started to feel really funny as she got things ready. I realized I was shaking like a leaf, clammy and nervous as heck. Some old fears crept up from my past surgery, and I found myself afraid of the hospital. Afraid of what was going to happen, the smells, the claustrophobic white walls. She attempted to get an IV in, and all seemed well until I started to moan and squirm with pain. She looked a me with a funny expression and checked my hand again. Sure enough, the vein had collapsed. She got the charge nurse, and this nurse was all bubble gum and clean laundry smells. She couldn’t get in another IV, and fluid began to swell inside my tissue, which was also really painful. I was starting to feel like a baby. On a third attempt, they finally got a line in, but it was still really painful. Turns out my veins have strong pain sensors and are very dainty, especially for a pregnant woman. This was almost the worst part of the whole procedure.

An ultrasound tech came in, confirmed she was still frank breech, and then the doctor and a resident came in, all pumped up and eyeing my tummy like it was a piece of cheesecake. I started to tremble all over again, and apologized. They told me it was up to me if I wanted to proceed. Of course, of course, just remind me to have my next baby at home.

The resident got to work, grabbing her little bum down low, and then wedging her palm right underneath it, holding it there. Uncomfortable. She began to turn, putting enormous pressure on my lower uterus. Her fingers dug into my flesh so deep, I started seeing stars and cursing (if this is a sign of what’s to come in labour, I better prepare my mother). They laughed and said they’d heard it all before. But the pressure increased. It felt like someone was pressing their fingers deep, deep into a big bruise. It was the type of pain that gives you the shivers. I was gritting my teeth and taking tiny little breaths, trying not to expand my diaphragm. I heard the doctor say, “Ok she’s out of the pelvis and turning, there you go, now she’s lying transverse.” I knew what that meant, and it’s a good sign, however, really painful.

I found myself suspended in a moment of surrender and terror, and exclaimed, “Dear Jesus help me.” Just saying His name brought me strength and grounded me.

I wasn’t sure how much more pain I could take, but they brightened my spirits and said the worst was over. Before I knew it, baby girl was spinning, and then settled, head down, bum up. They removed their hands. Five minutes had passed.

“That’s it? Did it work?” I asked.

“Yes, it was very successful and rather easy!”

I began to bawl my eyes out, overcome by such weird and wonderful emotions. It’s over. She’s turned. That hurt. We did it. My baby just spun around inside my womb. Everyone was smiling, patting themselves on the back. As a first time mother, I had a 30% chance of this maneuver working. It was euphoric.

Right away I asked if she could turn back. Turns out, she can. There’s only a 3% chance of it happening, but it does happen. If that’s the case, they will attempt to turn her again, and then potentially induce labor to try and birth her head first.

It’s an odd sensation having your baby turn completely. Knowing her little head is nestled down low, and her feet can now kick me in the ribs is comforting to say the least. I’m starting to experience her first movements, and I must say they feel a little unnerving. I still feel movement down low, but I know she’s still very mobile and bouncy inside that roomy womb.

As I’ve learned before, all I can do is trust everything will turn out fine.

Post feel good cry: feeling sick and starved after 16 hours with no food and drink.


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  • Reply Teresa Vou February 20, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    Thanks for sharing your story!! Although it seemed excruciating, I’m so happy and glad she turned. Good luck with the delivery!

  • Reply Pauline S February 10, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    So glad to hear that so many prayers were answered that day Michaela! I pray the Lord will continue to keep you in His care. Lots of fun ahead!

  • Reply Bev. Nash (Grandma) February 8, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Well, now that I am back from India, I am catching up on all your blogs and news on facebook. Oh my darling, count it all joy when you fall into many trials and testing. This is all for your deliverance from past experiences (surgery), I believe. We all have to face our fears, overcome them, and send them away, knowing that Jesus is there bringing us victory, planting love. Give thanks in everything, not for everything but in everything, for this is the will of God for us, because we are in Christ Jesus. Thank you Lord for helping this girl move and get into position, now ready to come into the world give or take a few weeks. You did awesome honey. So proud of you! Let the tears come. It is healing! Thanks for sharing your journey with us all. Tons of love and prayer. Mom

  • Reply Rivka David February 5, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    Wow, Micaela, what a story 🙂 Glad you guys managed the spin! I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the beautiful story as it unfolds … xxxR

    Ps: Waterbirth … nothing like it!

  • Reply The Laundry Lady February 3, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    Wow! Good for you. I’ll be hoping and praying that she likes her new position so much that she stays put. The fact that she’s measuring large percentile wise is in your favor as well. Big babies have a hard time turning late in pregnancy. (Or so I’m told. My eight pounder was still moving between head down and transverse while I was in labor, but I also had a lot of amniotic fluid so she was essentially swimming around until the last few hours). I’m so happy for you. Hopefully you can have the natural, complication free birth you were hoping for now.

    • Reply Michaela. February 3, 2012 at 10:37 AM

      Thank you so much! You know, sometimes I swear she does move to the transverse position, because there are two large bumps on either side of my uterus…maybe I’m just not used to carrying a head down baby!

  • Reply Miriam February 2, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    courageous woman! That is no picnic! (btw… the IV was seriously the worst part of my labour, I feel you on that one!!)

  • Reply Telsey February 2, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    So wonderful! You are such a great momma Michaela! So sorry you had to go through the IV drama. I can relate. My veins are hard to see and everytime I’ve had an IV put in it takes the nurse about 3 tries. It really is so painful. Praying baby girl engages & doesn’t even think about turning back around! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Blessings!!

  • Reply Mrs Loquacious February 2, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Tell me that after that ordeal, you feasted on something absolutely decadent and delicious! You deserve it momma 🙂

    • Reply Michaela. February 3, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      I didn’t know what to eat, so I drank some orange juice, tea, had a donut (?), and then we went to Lucy’s for breakfast!

  • Reply Garry Nash February 2, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Good news, you two!!

  • Reply Ang Walsh February 2, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Ohhh YES!!! I have been following all your updates closely, and oh my gosh I’m so happy to hear this! Praise Jesus!

  • Reply NannaMLou February 2, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    when you hear your adult child is nervous, concerned, experiencing pain, feeling confused, and just plain afraid, then the savage bulldog in you begins to form and you have to take a deep breathe and force yourself to turn it over to Him who you trust above all others – a terribly hard thing to do for a control freak like most grannies are – but I did that – and here you are – with just a look of love back in those beautiful baby eyes – peace reigns – phew Michaela – phew………………………………

    • Reply Michaela. February 2, 2012 at 5:09 PM

      Aw, you’re so sweet! I appreciate all your prayers and words!

  • Reply Holly galpin February 2, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Best! I have been checking Facebook for the last hour hoping this little treat would appear! I’m so happy for you that she turned, and that you and baby are doing well. That’s to bad about your IV… it’s funny that the last thing you would think of caused the most pain! Poor little veins:( love you girl! Xoxox

    • Reply Michaela. February 2, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      Yep, IV’s really do suck. I really hope I don’t need one for labor.

  • Reply gerg's February 2, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Yaaayyy!!! You did it, Mic. You did it!!

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