Friday, October 24, 2008

[More] troubles

Breech. We’re breech.

Here I was, thinking it was just the dogs and cats who were being naughty, but it was Squish too.

We went in for our prenatal on Weds, and for the first time the midwives weren’t so sure about Squish’s position. They strongly recommended an ultrasound. These are not the type of practitioners to require invasive procedures if they really don’t think they’re necessary, so when I hemmed and hawed about setting up an appt for Monday and they countered and said it’d be a “mistake” to wait, well, I took them at their word. We went in yesterday afternoon. And sure enough--Squish is a frank breech (head-up with feet straight up next to his/her head).

This was the second time we’ve been to Meriter’s sonography department, and neither time has been happy. The first time (miscarriage) was much much worse, and I keep telling myself that. At least this time our baby has a healthy heartbeat and they could see his/her little face and s/he seemed happy. Just upside down.

So. Breech. What now? We met with Anastasia from MBC last night to talk over our options. The birth center doesn’t officially catch breech babies (because of insurance risks). There is some leniency with home births (it’d be legal) but it’s their official policy at this time not to catch ‘em on purpose (if one snuck in there, that’d be one thing. But we know about this one now. Mary (one of the midwives) has caught several breeches when she practiced in Africa, and she seemed more willing to consider attending a home breech... But neither Anastasia nor Aszani would agree to it at this time.

So officially, our options are to try everything to encourage the baby to turn. This includes:

~Laying head-down on an ironing board 3 times a day, 15 mins a time, to move the baby up out of my pelvis and hopefully let him rotate back to head-down when I start walking around.
~Putting cold packs on the top of my uterus and a heating pad on my lower, which might get the baby to move its head away from the cold. (Note: I tried this last night before going to sleep, and Squish did NOT LIKE the COLD. But still didn’t turn...)
~Webster Technique. A chiropractic adjustment that Justin doesn’t put his faith in, but that some people say works wonders. It’s supposed to loosen-up your pelvis, balance it out, and encourage the baby to move up and out of it so that gravity can draw that noggin down.
~Playing a tape of my voice from earphones positioned near my pubic bone, hopefully drawing the baby down there to listen. Or having Justin read Squish a story or something from down there.
~Moxibustion. Which is burning incense (mugwort) while stimulating acupuncture points on either side of my little toes with the incense wands. Sounds a little crazy to me, but there’s data to support it. Maybe crazy-people data, I’m not sure, but it can’t hurt so is worth a shot.
~Visualization. Positive thinking and just plain asking Squish to turn, “seeing” Squish turn, believing Squish will turn.

And finally:
~ECV (external cephalic version). They (either an OB or my midwife--I’m not sure who) will manually try and wrestle Squish into a head-down position by pushing on my stomach and the baby and twisting the baby down. The procedure has good results earlier in pregnancy (34-37 weeks, I think) but not so great at this point (39 and 3/7).  We’ve scheduled this procedure for 2pm this afternoon. There are risks with it, risks that the others above don’t have (so I hope they work and we don’t have to do the ECV!), but we’ll try it. Risks:  cord gets tangled around baby resulting in emergency c-section; placenta is ripped off of the uterine wall resulting in emergency c-section; baby’s stressed-out because s/he’s being pushed on so hard and starts to get irregular heartbeat/dying resulting in an emergency c-section.        ....So, it’s not the ideal thing, really. But it’s either try it now or not at all because later the baby will certainly be too big for it to work.

OK, off to get dressed and go into work for an hour to wrap-up my Friday business, and then it’s back home to start our baby-spinning routine. Wish us luck.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Where do I come up with this stuff?

“If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.” ~Diana Korte & Roberta Scaer, A Good Birth, A Safe Birth

I betcha think I just pull all my birthing ideas out of my hat, right? But no, I really did some research! I suppose it began back when I was still a teenager, reading some of my mom’s books. Other ideas are from ‘official’ sources such as peer reviewed journals and things (Justin has those stats--they vary from epidural info to swaddling to bottle feeding) and the rest has either come from books from the library, birthing videos, or other women who have been ‘in the trenches,’ so to speak, and write in their blogs.

And of course, there were my Bradley classes! For our Bradley childbirth classes, our main ‘text’ was Susan McCutcheon’s Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way. We also had our workbooks and a LOT of supplemental information gathered from various journals and studies by our instructor, Betsy. I enjoyed reading McCutcheon, though I was grateful for the additional info Betsy brought us; it really fleshed-out the classes and gave us a LOT of choices to think about. Very empowering.

Another book I’ve just finished reading (borrowed from the library): The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer So good! Comprehensive information on cesareans, breech births, induction of labor (stripping of membranes, Pitocin, and breaking of waters), food & water during labor, electronic fetal monitoring, slow labor, epidurals and narcotics, episiotomies, OBs vs. midwives vs. family practitioners, doulas, place of birth (home vs. freestanding birthing center vs. hospital). I was impressed by the studies noted and the lists of ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ to various procedures and methods. And not a difficult read at all--the sections are short and to the point.

And a read suggested by one of my midwives: Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation by Pam England, CNM, MA & Rob Horowitz, PhD. England’s book focuses on having healing births--births that not only calm your fears about parenthood, but can issue-in a strength via a successful rite of passage. England suggests that women are often told to ignore their feelings of nervousness about an upcoming labor or to set-aside their disappointment after a traumatic or ill-handled birth, with people telling a mother that ‘all that matters is that you have a healthy baby.’ She counters this idea, saying that the birth experience itself is such a powerful one that its place at the beginning of motherhood should be recognized for its importance. Far more important, she gives example, than the wedding is at the beginning of marriage. Yet, how often do you hear brides bemoaning some calamity during their ceremony or reception, and people lend their ear and understand how upsetting it was? Compared to how often a woman might say her birth wasn’t what she’d hoped for, yet the listeners brush off her concerns, telling her to ignore that disappointment or despair--just focus on the baby? All too common, even in my limited experience.

Birthing from Within calmed many of my fears about how my birth should or should not be (according to my own jittery mind) and included some good exercises about pain management. It has many ideas (many of them via visual arts media) on how women and their partners can explore their fears about childbirth, includes information about how best to avoid the all-too-common ‘necessary’ un-necessary medical interventions, and suggests healing rituals and paths to restoration after unsatisfying births.

And for blogs: check out Joy’s blog, Breast and Belly (now called Housefairy). I started reading it about 4 or 5 months ago, when Joy was pregnant with her 5th child and planning a home birth. She then decided upon a last minute elective cesarean instead, and her more recent posts, while fewer and further between--not surprising since she’s been recovering from major surgery, nursing an infant, and caring for 4 other children--are so honest they grip you and really make you think. Check her out--and go back through her archives a few months--the journey she’s chronicled is so interesting that it well worth the digging.

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