Pregnancy Journal: To Spin a Baby (Week 36)

by Lara on July 19, 2012

July 17, 2012 (36 weeks, 6 days):

I am physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted.  In the last six days, Operation: Flip Baby has taken over my life with multiple acupuncture appointments, early morning swims, and chiropractor visits, as well as home treatments around the clock, but our ultrasound tonight reveals the baby has not turned.  My knees are bruised.  My head is dizzy.  My heart is broken.

July 18, 2012 (37 weeks):

At the hospital by 7:15am for the ECV.  The prepping and monitoring takes an hour.  I am given a hep-lock, a uterine relaxant, and an external fetal monitor.  Our nurse, Lila, had three breech babies herself.  “Breech babies are smarter,” she tells me, with a wink.  I want to hug her.

Dr. G comes in.  I realize now how young and pretty she is.  I somehow overlooked this at our last consult.  She seems softer around the edges today, and I notice her nails are painted a sparkly, Barbie pink.  In a matter of minutes these nails will be digging into me as she forcefully tries to turn the baby for the first time.

This hurts.  Like, holy shit, this hurts.  I practice my breathing and hold Matthew’s hand, and Lila rubs my arm reassuringly.  Dr. G stops and checks the baby’s heart rate.  “I’m going to try again the other direction if you’re up for it,” she says.  “Yes, do it,” I say.

This time she goes clockwise.  “You’re doing great,” says Lila.  Yes but is it working, I think.  Dr. G stops again to check on the baby.  He’s fine, but no dice as far as movement.  “I think I had better luck the other way,” she says.  “Do you want me to go again?”  “Again,” I nod.

I can tell this isn’t working or it wouldn’t hurt so much.  This is nothing like the videos I saw online, where the women are lying there peacefully as the doctor gracefully slides their baby back into place.  This feels unnaturally forceful and tight.

“I think we have to call it a day,” says Dr G with a sigh, and I’m already crying.  Lila steps in and tells me the pain will feel like a bruise for a few days, but it will go away.  She thinks I’m crying from the pain.  If only.  “I really thought it would work,” I heave.  “It’s great when it does,” says Dr G.

We have to stay another hour for more monitoring.  We’re in the birth center, which I suddenly realize is painfully ironic.  A woman in the room next door is in hard labor.  Second stage, pushing, from what I can tell.  I always thought it would sound barbaric and weird to hear another woman pushing her baby out, but this is surprisingly beautiful and I find myself rooting for her silently, caught in a bittersweet trance.

Dr. G comes in.  “Let’s schedule your c-section,” she says.

And the trance is broken as I realize this might be the closest to pushing I ever get.


Read previous Pregnancy Journal entries here.

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Sana July 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Sending happy vibes your way for a healthy and safe baby/birth!


Lara July 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Thank you, Sana!


Lissa July 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Oh Lara … I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear, sweetie. Thinking of you and please know you’re going to be an amazing mama, no matter how little boy B comes into this world. You’ve already moved mountains for him! PS–I was breech (also a C-baby) and believe that adage to be true ;))


Lara July 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Thanks Lissa. I know we will be blessed to have our baby no matter what, and that is what I’m focusing on now <3


Lissa July 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm

You’ve given it 100%, friend!! And on the plus-side, you can now focus on his birth day — picking the date (if you haven’t already). I know it sounds silly, but the little we can control sometimes helps feel empowered. HUGS!


Leah July 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Lara, it sounds like you’ve tried it all. Did you ever! And no one will ever tell you different. Whichever way your precious little boy comes into this world, he will be loved and you are the best mommy for him. x


Lara July 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Thank you, Leah 🙂 I hope you are feeling well!


Heather Eats Almond Butter July 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Oh Lara, I am so sorry he didn’t turn, but yes, of course breech babies are smarter. I can already tell Charlie is brilliant! 😉

Love you sweet friend, and I wish I could be there to give you a huge hug as I know how important your birth plan is to you. I still haven’t given up hope that he will flip. You don’t lose hope either!


Lara July 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Thanks Heabie. Big hugs to you!


Jessie @ Graze With Me July 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm

This was beautifully written. I was on the edge of my seat reading it. I’m sorry you won’t get the birth you’d hoped for. I’m sure you’ve come to a place of acceptance so I’m not going to try to build you up any more.


Jessie @ Graze With Me July 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

(It cut my comment in half!!!)
This bump in the road is just that, a bump. You have a whole beautiful journey ahead of you and you know right when it will begin.


Lara July 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Thank you, Jessie!


Sarah July 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm


This kiddo has decided how he wants it, Lara! Wishing you the very best C-section experience, and cannot wait to see pictures of your stubborn little nugget 🙂


Lara July 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Yep, he’s a stubborn one! Thank you for the well wishes, I will definitely post an obnoxious amount of photos when he finally gets here 😉


Andrea July 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I’m curious to know what Bradley taught you about this situation or was it even brought up (meaning what to do if a c/s is necessary)? And as a c/s mama, it was my experience that the recovery and even the surgery itself was no big deal. My hangup with my birth story is that my baby wasn’t born healthy, so that truly is the most important thing!
I’m still sad for you that you’re heading down a path you didn’t expect or want (I’m still hoping to push a baby one day!), but I’m so excited that you and Matthew will be meeting your precious boy soon!


Lara July 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm

My Bradley instructor teaches that a breech presentation is a “variation,” not a complication. She is really encouraging me to seek out someone who will do a vaginal breech birth. Unfortunately since a study on vaginal breech births came out in 2000, there are fewer and fewer physicians being trained to perform these births. For some reason, Washington seems to be particularly against them, and no hospital doctor will touch a breech birth case in the Seattle area. Without an expertly trained doctor in a hospital setting, it’s just not something we are comfortable with given the severity of the potential risks.

We did learn about c-sections briefly–how to still make them a positive experience, and the situations when they are (supposedly) truly necessary. I don’t know Bradley’s “official” stance on a lot of issues, but I know that our instructor seems to believe there are very few instances when they are actually called for. Although Matthew and I are happy with our overall Bradley experience (no matter how this turns out), we did find ourselves throughout the course doing our own research because we felt it was sometimes strongly biased in one direction.

I’m so glad to hear that your c-section experience and recovery was generally positive…I will have to find B’s birth story again because I don’t remember the circumstances of her birth at all. Thanks for the excitement and well wishes, Andrea 🙂


Alex July 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Everything is going to be okay! Adam and I are visualizing the baby turning very slowly but surely.


Lara July 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Thanks Cub 🙂


Lindsay July 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm

My friend shared this with me regarding her c-section when I was worried Edie wouldn’t flip- “midwife shared with me that you have the birth you are meant to have – that you’ll get through anything that comes your way and be stronger for it.” It really got me thinking about the birth of our baby in a different way- luckily Edie flipped but I am so glad I read these inspiring words. It is true though your birth is exactly what it is meant to be.


Lara July 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Thanks for sharing that, Lindsay. I still have some hope he will flip, but I am definitely taking steps to embrace the birth we have if he doesn’t.


Missy July 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Oh you poor dear 🙁 I just hate that so badly for you. Maybe he will pull a fast one and turn on his own. Either way, I will say a prayer for you and him!


Lara July 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Thank you, Missy 🙂


Wendy July 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm

I’m sorry it didn’t work. I know it wasn’t in your birthplan, but one thing I’ve found being a mom is nothing goes according to plan. I say that humorously and seriously (if that makes sense). You will find yourself time and time again having to go with the flow or against what you planned for your baby, toddler and then child.

I had a c-section. I didn’t want a “natural” birth, but I was prepared for a push birth and it was sad for me. But, the most important thing is your little guy is healthy and is happy where he is.

You can do this! You are going to be a great mom I can tell because you are so caring about him right now. Hang in there! PS: I think there is still time for him to flip, you just never know!


Lara July 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Thank you, Wendy! Gosh, I knew motherhood will challenge my plans but I didn’t expect things to be this challenging while he was still in utero! 😉


Wendy July 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Girl you are going to have a stubborn boy on your hands! lol. Just kidding. He’s going to be a pretty cool kid.


Abby July 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm

The morning after my c section I was walking laps around the labor and delivery floor and broke down in tears because I could hear a woman pushing and I was so sad that I didn’t get to experience that. I realize that its sounds ridiculous to mourn the loss of something so silly but I was also mourning the loss of an event I had been dreaming of since before my daughter was conceived, so I guess my point its that its ok to feel sad about the circumstances. On the bright side however that was my only moment of grieving the loss of that experience because ever since then I’ve been occupied with my little girl 🙂


Lara July 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Thank you so much for this, Abby. So many people (with the best of intentions) are telling me to focus on a healthy baby no matter what, which of course I will and am, but I have felt a little bit like it’s “not ok” for me to be grieving a little. I appreciate hearing that you felt the same thing despite being grateful for your little one.


Elise July 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Well, I’m all for believing that breech babies are smarter! Exhibit A: I didn’t remember this, but my mom told me that I was breech and every week, for four weeks, the doctor would turn me around and I’d flip back breech. My mom said that one time, she no sooner got back in the car after the doctor turning me over and I flipped right back to breech. Strong willed? Independent? Smart? You bet. Ultimately, I flipped before delivery on my own, but was born sunny side up (face up). I was determined to do things my own way! Exhibit B: Sarah. You and I talked about how her birth was everything it wasn’t supposed to be: breech, purple, whisked away to the NICU, not home or nursing for 3 weeks and I think she’s an excellent example that while all of those things are important, they do not make or break your relationship (I can say this with complete confidence since she’s been attached to my hip for the last almost 13 years). Positive thoughts, my dear, positive thoughts. I, too, wished I had that experience of a “regular” delivery but that was before I got wrapped up in just parenting my kids. It really will be fine, I promise!


Lara July 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Thanks, AE. I would add to that, Exhibit C: Me! I only learned recently that I was breech and flipped right at the last minute.


Jenn (eating bender) July 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm

You are such a powerful writer, Lara – reading about your experience was emotional for me and I can only imagine that it’s compounded for you. I love what Lila said and what Abby said above – as difficult as it may be to come to terms with not having the birth you originally envisioned (although I’m still saying prayers for that every day for you), at the end of this your son will still be your son and you will have so much joy and excitement ahead of you. Big hugs and positive vibes being sent your way from Chicago.


Lara July 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Thank you so much, Jenn. It means a lot that you’re sending positive thoughts 🙂 Hugs to you!


Emily Malone July 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Lara, gah! I want to come give you a giant hug. I can’t imagine how you are feeling, but I DO know that your baby is pretty lucky to have a mama that cares about him so much already.

PS – I also love Audrey. She was working when C was discharged, and she was so wonderful!

PPS – I’m going to email you to see about bringing you some food once this little man finally arrives! Please let us help!


Lara July 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Aww, thanks Emily. You are so sweet. Yes, isn’t Audrey great? She’s one of my favorites in addition to Mia, who, if we have to go through with the section, is the midwife on call the day we are set to deliver. I am so grateful.


Niki July 19, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Sending big hugs from SF!


Lara July 19, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Thanks Niki 🙂


Noelle July 19, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Well… ain’t that the shits! So sorry for all of this weeks stress and disappointment. Unexpected changes. My boy has a big ol’ Charlie Brown head and after 17 hours of pushing I had a C-section. Disappointing. Hang in there cutie!


Lara July 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm

17 HOURS OF PUSHING?! You’re a superhero! Thanks Noelle.


Gail in Kent July 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Lara, sorry it hasn’t worked the first time. That always makes it easier. 🙂 Before reading all the responses above, I’m going to raise some points just for thinking on. This’ll be kinda long.

1. I think you just turned 37 weeks, right? You have plenty of time, if you’re interested, to request another go at a version, done by a different doctor. Like a second opinion. It’s important to have reason to believe that your doctor was committed to the idea in the first place.

Did she use an ultrasound to locate position first? That would preclude the need to go first one way, then the other. There’s a best way to do it, and that’s a forward somersault. It should be done gently, slowly, kind of tenderly.

You could lie on your side a few minutes, then return to your back for another go, if the first movements didn’t work.

How much time did you expect her to put into the procedure? Did she give you that much time?

Did she seem to be sensing with her fingers where the baby’s parts were, and did she ‘nudge’ him around?

Did your baby tolerate the procedure well, i.e. did not have any decelerations, only accelerations which are a healthy sign?

It might or might not have been a token gesture on her part. You decide. Another doctor on the team might have more belief in it, and might be more adept at getting results. The majority of times (more than 60%), it does work. If baby wasn’t stressed, it might be worth another go. Just a thought.

2.Do you have any thoughts on labouring and having a vaginal breech birth? How big do you think he is? Ultrasounds can be off by 10-15%+, which is why I’m asking you how he feels to you. They are more likely to go smoothly in a second time mum, but if baby is not way bigger than expected, and your internal pelvis measurements are average, it could be considered.

3. If not desiring to try a breech birth, how do you feel about having a C/S for breech only after you go into spontaneous labour? That is generally thought to be healthiest for your baby (he’s likely to be mature enough), for you, and for breastfeeding success (hormones most responsive for milk production when you have laboured at least some).

4. If you allow the doctor to schedule the C/S, what week do you want it for, considering the higher maturity of the baby the closer you are to your actual due date? Data on early mature babies is not as good as late mature babies, meaning this: though 37+0 days is the earliest day of full-term status, closer to 40+0 days gets a generally healthier baby (research on this is <1year old). You could ask your doctor about this since the baby is breech, if she feels she has any reason for you to deliver before, say, 39+0 days. What's your preference?

5. How do you feel about continuing the activities for breech that you've been doing, or the ones you liked best, right up until the morning you've agreed to have surgery? They will recheck the position that morning, so you never know!

6. Remember that you are in charge of how this goes. Your doctor gives you her professional opinions, you ask for clarification and reasonings, she either gives them or brushes off your queries, etc. You evaluate along the way, and every step should be your decision!

7. Have you looked into normalised cord clamping? Perhaps you have, and already know that premature (or routine immediate) clamping of the cord takes away perhaps 30%+ of baby's blood volume by trapping it in the placenta. Many hospitals will now let the cord stay intact for a minute or so during surgery. Of course, the longer the better (until it stops pulsating, but we're not that far along yet!). But unless a baby is premature, you must ask for this, and you'll probably have to remind them just as the baby is born! The resident who'll be assisting your doctor might be the one to automatically clamp the cord, and once it's on, it's too late.

The National Institutes of Health has an article on doing this in C/S's. (It's already being done fairly widely in vaginal births. I think Seattle's pretty up there in progressive childbirth practices.) Here's the link: Great photos, too!

Facebook/CordClamping is a good page with loads of evidence-based research. Quoting Kate about the above link: "Of key interest is the time for the baby to transition to breathing and active crying before delivery is complete. The baby has access to continued placental circulation to recruit the blood volume to erect lung tissue, clear liquid via osmosis, and achieve adequate gas exchange well before the cord is clamped. No hypoxia or hypovolemia, mimicking a safe physiological transition."

So, those are the things that might be worth considering, that at the moment, your mind might be too occupied to think about. I know you're both stressed out about the version not working, but you're still 3 weeks away from your due date, and that's quite a lot of time, actually!

Have you had anyone at your doctor's office who's readily accessible to you when you have questions? I'm here if you want to bounce anything off me, Lara and Matthew.


Lara July 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Hi Gail,

Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful and insightful comments! Briefly, here are my thoughts:

1. He flipped just before 36 weeks, and I am just past 37 weeks now. The doctor did two ultrasounds before performing the version, and I do believe she did her absolute best. The placenta is anterior, which I am told made things difficult, thus the attempts in different directions. The baby’s heart rate never wavered and he seemed to tolerate it fine, but I don’t think I’m up for a second go round. My thought now is, this baby will turn if HE wants to turn. That said, I’m going to continue the home techniques to encourage him along.

2. We put some thought and research into a vaginal breech birth, but ultimately decided it is not an option for us. Midwives in Washington risk losing their license for performing one, and no doctor at a hospital will even consider it. We would have to go to Canada or Oregon, which is logistically difficult. The risks are just too high for us to take a gamble with someone that is not very experienced and without a hospital setting.

3. & 4. The doctor originally wanted to schedule the section for 39 weeks, but I talked her into 40. I am hoping I will go into spontaneous labor for the reasons you mentioned and so A) It will give him a chance to turn on his own. B ) His lungs can still benefit from the contractions. C) We will know he was truly ready. I am very confident in the dating of the pregnancy, so I think there is little risk that at 40 weeks he won’t be fully developed, but I would still like to give him as much time as possible as you say.

5. Definitely plan on continuing most of the techniques I have been doing. I am also going to start mentally and physically preparing for the section if that has to be, but I will not give up on getting him to turn until I absolutely have to!

6. & 7. Thank you! We are definitely going to try to get as many of our original birth preferences as possible if we have to go with the surgery, including skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible, delayed cord clamping, etc. Our hospital is pretty progressive about these things (except for vaginal breech births!), so I think we are in good hands for the best cesarian possible. We are meeting with our doctor on Monday to go over all of our requests.

Thank you so much for bringing all these issues up. You are a wonderful resource and we really appreciate your help!


Kari July 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Lara, you’re such a trooper! Thinking of you and your sweet little baby.


Lara July 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Thank you so much, Kari.


Ruby @ Focus, Woman! July 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Oh hun, I agree with everyone: you’ve done so much! I remember Brandee going through this ( and it was so hard, dealing with the probable loss of the birth you have been living towards.

Remember that this is not a “failure” okay? You’re doing awesome, and your son is going to be the ultimate reward for the hardships!


Lara July 20, 2012 at 8:22 am

I checked out Brandee’s old blog last night and it sounds exactly like what we’re going through! Thanks for sharing and for all the positivity.


Sarah July 20, 2012 at 6:58 am

Lara, I’m so sorry. I really feel for you and know how devastating that must feel. So much of motherhood is about being flexible/going with what Baby wants… but ultimately, whether you have a vaginal birth or C-section, doesn’t matter. The moment you hold your baby for the first time is the best moment of your life, and I promise you it won’t matter how Baby got there. You’re such a strong mom already!


Lara July 20, 2012 at 8:56 am

Thank you Sarah 🙂


Anne July 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm


They (kids) start in the womb driving you crazy. I have three (8, 6 and 4), that is why I have to color my hair! LOL

All three of mine were c-sections. Not what I planned or hoped for. Far from it.


glidingcalm July 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Sorry for all of the pain and stress 🙁 Baby B will be here so soon though!! Also, I always believe that everything happens for a reason…so just take each day as it is and try to realize that you have done an amazing job preparing, and sometimes we just have to let dharma (the law of nature) do its thang! I love you!

BTW, I was a C-section baby and so was my brother! 🙂


Quail July 22, 2012 at 7:32 am

I am so proud of you for being so brave through all this! I know it is really hard for you, and you are defintely taking the right steps go grow from and embrace this situation. Just like in parenting- every situation is different and you have to learn to take what comes your way and deal with it….I must say you get and A plus so far 🙂 Keep doing what your doing and get ready, he will be here soon! One last thing- there are still ways to have a “personal” birth and be able to bond with your baby when you have a c-section. Though I know it’s different than vaginal- it really is what you make it, and I had great bonding experiences with both my babies 🙂


Laural @ Being Healthier July 22, 2012 at 7:43 am

oh dear Lara… he will have the best of both of you however he comes into this world. maybe he will flip just like you did at the last minute! you are in my thoughts sweet lady, and Matt and Baby too. Keep truckin’


Lara July 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Thank you, Laural! Hugs!


Marie-Sophie July 23, 2012 at 11:40 am

When your baby boy is with you, all will be forgotten! (one of my friends was deeply crushed when her baby wouldn’t turn and she had to face a c-section … not a word any more, just a beautiful baby!)

I have a split uterus so I might actually have problems to STAY pregnant (my risk will stay high up to the end and I might be bed-ridden for long as the uterus might be or become too small for the baby)… I know it really does not help you right now but since I have that birth defect, I always see highly pregnant women as a beautiful, wondrous things!! 🙂


anneliesz July 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Sending you a big hug Lara!


Christine July 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Oh Lara! I’m so terribly sorry your baby didn’t turn. You are probably really scared and disappointed – I was too. As I promised you earlier, if you end up having to have a c-section it will be something that will be a blip in your memory. He will be in your arms soon and that is all that will matter.


Heather @ Fit Mama Real Food July 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I’m sorry it didn’t work Lara 🙁 soon you’ll get to hold your sweet baby and that’s why matters most.


The Delicate Place (@misathemeb) July 28, 2012 at 7:46 am

sorry you have to go the C route but at least you know this will be the safest way for you to meet your healthy, happy baby! best of luck girl x


Lea @ Healthy Coconut August 1, 2012 at 10:01 am

I got goosebumps reading your words, I was visualizing everything you were going thru.

I will be thinking of you.


Erin June 21, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Thank you! Thank you! I’m literally going through the same thing and it feels so good to hear (read) that someone has gone through the same thing… And felt the same way!! Thanks again for writing this!!


Lara June 23, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Good luck, Erin!


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