After trying everything under the sun from letting baby turn on it’s own and including tips from spinningbabies.com, chiro, yoga moves and cold compress to try and get our third breech baby to turn, I went in today for an ECV. Most of my friends and family I asked hadn’t experienced the procedure but knew someone who had or heard about it. So I thought I would give a recap.
I was instructed not to eat or drink after midnight the night before — so I ate a late dinner around 9pm and drank lots of water leading up until midnight (because if I don’t keep hydrated Braxton Hicks contractions come full force). Naturally they take these pre-surgery precautions on the off-chance that baby wouldn’t tolerate the procedure and I would need to have an emergency c-section.
At 7am (okay, 7:50am – we are always late), I checked into the labor and delivery unit at Bryn Mawr Hospital. There I was told to get nakey and put on a gown with the back open. The nurse hooked me up to two monitors one for baby’s heart rate and the other to monitor contractions, took my temperature and blood pressure and drew blood for routine blood work. I was also hooked up to an IV. They wanted to make sure I was hydrated and baby was happy. In that moment my midwife came over from the birthing center with the most reassuring voice and asked if we had any questions, I didn’t because I was just focused. By this time I was so hungry and was having a few mild contractions.
The doctor came in and introduced himself (he was pleasant with 20 years of performing ECV) he ordered a shot to relax my uterus, which a side effect was it speeds up the heart rate but I have to say I don’t know if it was my anxiety about the procedure or the drug but I felt it. Doctor dimmed the lights, closed the blinds and checked baby’s position via ultrasound. 10-15 minutes later he slathered my belly in sweet oil and informed me he would be rolling baby towards my right side in hopes of somersault. Doc started by lifting the feet up out of my pelvis ( I focused on my deep breathing) his hands rolled and at times his thumb dug in causing some pain (from his fingers) but a lot of tickling because I’m ticklish. I continued to focus on my breathing at one point needing to grab my husband’s hand and squeeze while I breathed through it.
After every quarter turn Doctor would check baby’s position and heart rate on the ultrasound to make sure baby was still happy after about 3-4 attempts and deep breathing through the discomfort, which wasn’t unbearable — the doc joked that after the deep massage I would be taken for my hot rocks treatment. But after about 5 minutes baby was head down, the procedure was a success, I breathed a sigh of relief.
My midwife encouraged me to do deep squats to get baby to move down into pelvis and to get a belly band to encourage baby to stay vertex. After about an hour or two of monitoring and finally eating we were given the all clear for discharge!
That’s all folks! We now pray that baby stays vertex so that we are able to deliver naturally at the birthing center.