Friday, July 21, 2006

a hitch (maybe)

Well, the doctor thinks our baby may be lying on his side (top drawing), instead of head down (lower drawing) like he probably should be by now. They call this transverse lie. This would not be an ideal situation. In fact, it increases the chances that I might have to have a cesarian birth. I am having an ultrasound early next week to get a more definite idea.

If the ultrasound shows that the Lemmondrop is lying sideways, we have two options:
1. Have what's called an external version. This is where I would go to the labor and delivery department, probably in the next week or so, and they would give me a drug to relax my uterus, then try to maneuver my belly to turn the baby into the right position. (Apparently, this is very uncomfortable!) This works more than half the time. They do it a lot with breech babies, where the baby is head-up, butt-down. However, sometimes the baby turns back again later. And there is a risk that the umbilical cord could get flattened or wrapped around the baby's neck, in which case he would go into distress and they would stop the procedure. If stopping the procedure doesn't bring the baby out of distress, they would have to do an emergency c-section right there. (The upside of this is that the baby will be 37 weeks — considered full term — as of Monday, so he could easily survive outside the womb.)

2. Wait it out and see if the baby turns on his own. There are things I can do on my own, like lie at a 45-degree angle upside down a few times a day, to see if I can get him to turn, but none of them have been medically proven to work. If the baby turns in the next three weeks, great. If not, I would have to get a c-section. Most babies, apparently, find their positions by about 36 weeks, but some wait longer. Who knows what this little guy might do?
It's funny — ironic, even — because all this came up at the end of a doctor's appointment that otherwise had been going very well. We'd showed him our birth plan and talked about our hopes for a birth with as few interventions as possible. And he seemed really on board with that, which made me feel good. He even said he thought we were good candidates for the all-in-one labor, delivery and recovery rooms (which are prime real estate at United Hospital, there being only seven of them).

I was feeling pretty dejected when we left the doctor's office. But this really drives home that the most important thing, more than the "ideal" birth, is that our baby remain healthy. In our birth plan, we wrote that we know anything can happen in this journey, and we will be flexible about whatever direction it takes, as long as we feel informed and kept in the loop. So that's the attitude I want to take. I guess I'd better start reading the chapters in my birthing books about external versions and c-sections, just in case!


Elizabeth M said...

I say Lemmondrop is already an independent thinker. He won't let anybody tell him what to do! He will eventually figure out that he will be best served by turning the right way... I just hope they don't have to push him around. That sounds kinda uncomfortable for you.
Prayers for you and the family.
Elizabeth M.

LutherLiz said...

I suspect he's just taking his time. But I'm sure that things will work out fine whether or not he turns. Hopefully he'll head the right way though, that pushing thing does sound rather painful.
Good luck! I'll keep praying.


Emilie said...

Like father, like son, then, Liz (M.) ... Steve hates being told what to do!

Thanks for the prayers, both of you. It's wierd. I've spent so much time reading and trying to prepare myself for a "normal" birth that I think I will feel a bit of a loss if I don't get to labor and deliver the Lemmondrop the way nature intended. I think it's going to be important to be open and prepared for *either* route, so maybe this is a blessing in disguise -- at least it is causing me to contemplate a cesarian birth as a serious possibility rather than something to dread and avoid. Just in case. Now, maybe all this will be a moot point after the ultrasound, and maybe he will turn. As I am often reminded, it's not me who's in control here!