It turns out that we…

It turns out that we need to make a medical decision in the next week; baby is still breech right now (at 36+ weeks), and if she doesn't turn around by my next appt. on Monday, we have to decide whether to try 'external version', which essentially means they give me a shot to relax the uterus and then my doctor tries to push the baby into the right position. Lots more info on the procedure here.

My doctor says that it's usually about 70% successful, but that my fibroids may well be too big and too much in the way for it to work; she says it's up to us whether we want to try it, but that she'd probably be inclined not to, if it were her decision. (Presumably because she thinks it won't work, so it's some discomfort and effort to no purpose.)

I'm pretty waffly on this. If we don't try it, we'd probably be going ahead and scheduling a C-section as the next step, since there are all sorts of problems with breech vaginal deliveries, and in the U.S. at the moment at least, most medical advice seems to be that C-section is much safer all around. (One website I was reading referred to breech vaginal deliveries as a 'lost art').

I don't have a *huge* emotional attachment to a vaginal delivery, the way some women do. I don't think I'll feel that I've 'failed as a woman' if I have a C-section. But you know, part of the point of doing the whole pregnancy thing was to experience all this, from the minor discomforts of pregnancy to the intensity of labor and delivery. It's a writerly impulse, as much as anything else, I think -- I want to know what it feels like. I'm an experience junkie. I do think I'll feel somewhat disappointed if we do C-section instead. I mean, yes, C-section is an experience too, but somehow it seems more in the general class of 'experience of surgery' rather than 'experience of childbirth'. Is it stupid to feel that way?

None of my experience-desiring is important, not in the grand scheme of things -- healthy mom and healthy baby are much more important, so if the doctor says C-section is the safer, smarter way to go in this case, I'm more than willing to do that. But if it's more a matter of enduring some discomfort in order to try for a vaginal birth...hmm...I just don't know. Advice?

(Side note: apparently if we schedule the C-section, it's usually scheduled for 38 or 39 weeks. Which means we might have baby in less than two weeks, instead of the four weeks we'd been thinking. Eep.)

4 thoughts on “It turns out that we…”

  1. Hmmmm…. Lots of food for thought: Lynn K. was breech, and she had the external thing, which she described as much more than a little discomfort–quite painful for her, apparently. So, with all your fibroids, maybe that’s part of what your doctor’s thinking. But you might ask for clarification on her opinion rather than try to second-guess; if her concern is simply possible pain and effort for a slim chance of success, maybe you’ll decide it’s worth it to you to face that potential pain for the potential experience of vaginal birth (not necessarily a pain-free process itself!). But it does sound like your fibroids can sometimes be quite unpleasant for you even when they’re not being squeezed and contorted…. Also know that, for various reasons, Lynn ended up with a c-section anyway. But if you want the chance to try for a vaginal type of birth experience, maybe you want to give the external adjustment a shot. And, of course, as far as “early” delivery–you don’t necessarily have until 40 or more weeks until this baby’s coming anyway; you could go into labor tomorrow, if your body decided that was the way to go — I had Lyra at 36.6 weeks. I certainly wasn’t expecting that…. You’re so close! Time to brace yourself 😉

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    That’s interesting — the websites I was looking at said that it wasn’t generally painful, but I suppose there’s a lot of variation in that ‘generally’ range. And at least one of the fibroids is usually painful to the touch anyway, which can’t help.

    Kevin I think thinks that we should just go ahead and schedule the C-section, but he also says that if I want to try this, it’s really up to me, since I’m the one who would be dealing with the discomfort/pain. I just don’t know. Ugh.

  3. Yes. Let me weigh in. It was _extremely_ painful. There was no drug to relax me or my uterus. It was way more painful than when Ross turned the first time. AND it turns out, Ross was never going to turn around anyway (of course we didn’t know it at the time). I’m sure part of why it was painful was because it was more like week 39 and Ross was 9 pounds. But the doctors put all their weight/muscle into it. They tried. And it hurt like hell.
    And I also didn’t feel like I had missed out on anything. It wasn’t entirely pain free, but I never went into labor, as my recovery time was quite a bit shorter than many other women’s.
    Also (a side note that people have pointed out to me) it didn’t mess up my hoo-ha. (I’m always trying to look on the bright side).
    Obviously you have to go with your gut feeling. I think if there is a chance they can turn the baby, you might take it.

  4. Hey! I am just dropping bye and haven’t been keeping up. Wow, you’re really close! Woo!

    The only thing I’ll note is that, having coached one birth in Switzerland and one in America, the US medical approach seems to be that birth is largely a medical emergency, like appendicitis, which might occasionally go right in the hands of rank amateurs, but only by blind luck, while the Swiss attitude seems to be that birth is essentially a natural and normal event, like puberty or menopause or something, which can be painful and you might occasionally like to have a doctor nearby for, but which should basically be interfered with as little as possible.

    The birth experiences were very different.

    Americans tend to be cavalier about C-sections as just another way your doctor might want to get the baby out; Europeans are rather horrified at Americans’ enormous rate of C-section, like 25%-30%.

    Obviously, you should do whatever is good for mom and baby, and make use of the medical advice you have, and you have to understand your own tolerance for discomfort. But I just wanted to add a cross-cultural grain of salt, that where a US doctor says, “well, you can try this, but otherwise we’ll just have a C-section, so, you know, either way”, I expect a Swiss doctor might say “you should try this, because otherwise you might need a C-section”

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