As I walked into my 37th week doctor’s appointment.  Okay, who am I kidding I was waddling and had been for a few weeks.  Everything seemed normal, pee in the cup, get weighed, and get an eyebrow raise over my low heart rate & blood pressure. When my doctor came into the room she was dragging the ultrasound machine.  I wasn’t expecting another ultrasound but assumed it was standard procedure.  As we chatted about nothing, she lubed my belly and turned on the ultrasound machine.  She immediately had a painful look on her face as she announced “we need to have an entirely different conversation, right now.”  Of course, I thought oh no what is wrong with my baby?  She said that baby K was in the frank breech position http://www.americanpregnancy.org/labornbirth/breechpresentation.html and not head down like she had predicted all along.  She said that I had looked extremely huge and out in front when I waddled in so wanted to double check with an ultrasound.  Funny thing because she was out of town a few weeks ago and I saw a different Doctor from her clinic who pushed on my stomach and confidently stated baby K was head down.  I didn’t know much about breech babies because I was spending my time reading pregnancy books and researching Doulas and labor positions.  She apoligized multiple times and told me she would give me my options in a minute.  While doing the ultrasound she took some measurements to predict the current size of the baby.  She told me at that time the baby was around 7 1/2 or 8 pounds.  Wow, that sounded really big to me, considering that we had another 3 weeks to go.  She mentioned that it could be a pound off on either side.  She said it’s possible he was breech all along or that he had turned recently.  There was a chance that he could turn head down but if he stayed in the breech position it’s a scheduled C-section at 39 weeks.

At that point, she apoligized and gave me four options.

Option 1: external cephalic version http://www.babycenter.com/0_breech-birth_158.bc

Basically, you go to the hospital, take a drug that makes your uterus relax and let your Doctor push on your stomach in hopes that she can push the baby around to the head down position.  Of course, the risk is emergency C-section from complications or the possibility of losing the baby. I cringed hearing that and knew that wouldn’t work for me.  For me, it seemed a bit selfish to risk the health and life of the baby so I could have a vaginal birth.  AND, she needed to do it tomorrow because how far along and big I was.  The risks were slim but I wasn’t willing to take any chances. I said I definitely wasn’t interested in that option.

Option 2: Moxibustion with Acupunture http://acupuncturetoday.com/abc/moxibustion.php

Burning an herb near my baby toe while receiving accupunture sounded more up my alley.

Option 3: Music and light therapy

Basically, the baby is attracted to light and music so playing music down low near my vah jay jay and shining a flashlight down there are two other ways to encourage baby K to turn around.

Option 4: Breech Tilt http://www.spinningbabies.com/techniques/242-breech-tilt

Similar to bridge pose with a board.

After reviewing the options, my Doctor told me that the likelihood of such a big baby turning so late in the game was pretty unlikely. Possible but unlikely.  At that point, I started crying from the shock of it all.  It wasn’t that I was so attached to a vaginal birth but more in shock of hearing the news.

I left the office in a fog and planned to still go shopping for my rocking chair.  On the way, I pulled over and called Sean to tell him the news.  He said to come home and forget about the chair.  When I got home we talked about it and he was onboard with the natural options as well.

My Doula: My Doula suggested trying to go into labor, telling us there were huge physical benefits for mom and baby to labor for any amount of time.  Meaning that if we went into labor but baby K remained breech at least we had a little time to labor before a mandatory C-section.  She actually knew a mama that the birth weight prediction was off by 2 pounds!  Obviously, it would be sad to have a scheduled C-section only to find out the baby wasn’t big enough or ready to be born.  She also referred us to an acupuncturist who performed moxibustion.  I called and made an appointment that day.  We jumped in the car and headed to burn the herb around my baby toe.  On the way, I played music from my iphone around my vah jay jay. On our way, Sean and I talked about how we would try a few natural things but only wanted a healthy mama and healthy baby.

My Doctor: On the drive, I called my Doctor who told me how dangerous it would be to go into labor with a frank breech baby.  She also said if that were my intention she wouldn’t be able to see me anymore and would have to refer me to a specialist, which she didn’t even know of one who would try and deliver a frank breech baby vaginally.

The acupunture and moxibustion was cool.  I could feel a lot of movement in my belly.  Sean had a few needles put in his head for fun.

A few days later, I had a huge moment where I made peace with the situation.  I felt really good about letting  baby K be where he wanted to be.  I felt calm and  happy as I talked to him and told him I only wanted him to be healthy and he could lay anyway he wanted.  I truly wanted a healthy baby first and foremost.  And if the little guy wanted to do yoga in my belly who was I to try and stop him…

Friday, April 30, 2010: The morning of our scheduled C-section we did a mini spin workout with some light yoga. Waking up at 4am was tough but figured it was worth it to get a little “somethin somethin” in.  I felt calm and happy as we drove to Good Sam to have our baby.

In the end, baby K stayed in that yoga position with his butt down and legs up by his ears.  We had an ultrasound right before surgery which confirmed his breech position.  We also found out that I was having fairly significant contractions that morning which I didn’t notice. When we had scheduled the C-section a few weeks prior we had the option of  April 30th or May 3rd.  We chose to have the baby on a Friday vs. a Monday for a couple of reasons.  First, I didn’t want to wait the weekend and risk going into labor.  Second, I prefer Fridays over Mondays-who doesn’t?

Kai Elliott Keener was born at 8:15am, weighing 8 pounds, 8 ounces!

Healthy, happy and crying like a baby the moment he entered this world.

My Doctor told me after the surgery that she was relieved that I didn’t try the external cephalic version because the cord was wrapped around his neck when he was born. She said it most likely would have been an immediate emergency C-section and pretty stressful.  Also, because of my contractions on Friday there was fair chance I could have gone into labor during the weekend.

Ahhh, listening to my instinct never felt so good.

Doula Update-What about my Doula? Well, that part was pretty disappointing. We had prepaid $600 and asked to receive a partial refund because we were having a scheduled C-section due to a breech baby.  Initially, they said that there are no refunds, no matter what.  They told us with the elevated rate of C-sections, they can’t do refunds.  Hmm, I could understand if it were a planned C-section or if we would have labored for awhile and then had a C-section.  But our situation seemed unusal. (Breech babies are less than 4%) Sean sent the Doula an email reasoning why we should get some money back, not all but some.  After a little back and forth, they ended up giving us $200 back.  I think $400 was a lot to pay for a one hour house visit and a couple of emails.  I suppose it was better than nothing.  All in all, it’s a good lesson to learn about hiring a labor Doula-No Refunds, No Exceptions.