Adventures in late-term pregnancy

38 1/2 weeks

It was last Tuesday, the day before we were officially 39 weeks, and I’d gone into the clinic, where I’ve gotten my parallel care since the beginning of my pregnancy, before we’d even really planned on having a home birth. The midwife I was scheduled to see that day felt around my belly, feeling the very same hard lumps I spend all day petting and poking, measured the height of the fundus (yep, that’s my public bone, thanks!) and pulled out the doppler to listen to the heartbeat.

Bear in mind that I had already had my home birth midwife visit that morning, so most of this was a re-run, but at the end of the pregnancy, I figure you can’t be too careful. If both my midwives and the clinic want to see me on a weekly basis, that’s fine with me. Better to have that extra set of hands each week to sense if something might be amiss.

So the morning midwife visit was cake. She pulled out the fetascope, found Peanut’s heartbeat in the same basic place we’d been finding it over the last few weeks, and while Peanut wasn’t exactly head down, what we thought was going on was that the kidlet was kind of diagonal, with his or her head in the lower left quadrant, and the booty in the upper right. But something about the afternoon visit told that provider that the lump we’d been thinking was a booty, was really a head. Then she found the heartbeat in the upper right quadrant. Shoot.

She left the room to make me a quick ultrasound appointment upstairs, and told me to [waddle] up there, then come back down and let her know if she was right about the head placement. I called my sweetie, who was waiting in the parking lot with my stepdaughters, and told him what was up, all the while trying to keep my composure. The ultrasound tech brought me right in, scanned the upper belly lump and confirmed that yes, that was Peanut’s head. Defeated, I wandered back downstairs to the clinic and told the midwife, who said “I hate when I’m right!” “I hate when you’re right, too, Carolyn,” I responded, but better we figure this out now, than when I’m in labor.

So I was ushered back into an exam room (where I was met by my favorite assistant who asked what I was doing back there, then saw the look on my face and asked “Breech?” to which my eyes started leaking) and the midwife got on the horn with the birth center, where one of the clinic’s high-risk doctors was working, and who would talk to me about an external cephalic version. This is where two people (doctor and helper) lube up the belly and literally try to pick up the “lumps” and rotate them to where they should be, from the outside. This is all done with an ultrasound tech on-hand, who checks the fetal monitor regularly and re-checks the baby’s position just as often.

Long story short, everyone’s schedules fell into place, Gabe called the girls’ mom to come pick them up, and they got me right in for the version. Which didn’t work. I left the birth center that night with a sore belly and a bruised attitude, and directions to come back on Monday for attempt #2, that time with an epidural.

To be continued…


About rokchike

I'm Monica Topping: Mom, artist (Rock Chick Designs), event promoter (North Coast Open Studios), '09 HSU journalism grad, photographer, writer...etc.
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