Wyatt’s Birth Story

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On Wednesday, March 2, at 1:26 p.m., we welcomed little Wyatt into our world. It’s taken me a while to get around to writing about the story of his birth…but after four or five (or more) tries, here it is!

I have to preface this by saying I was not looking forward to having a c-section. And that’s putting it mildly. In fact, after learning mid-way through my pregnancy that the baby was breech, I tried everything in my power to get “it” (at that point, we didn’t know what the sex was) to flip naturally – from swimming and inversions to acupuncture and moxibustion.

After all, my original hope was to try for a natural birth. But after an unsuccessful version there was simply no other option because our hospital won’t deliver breech babies vaginally.

It wasn’t so much the surgery aspect that freaked me out, though; it was the fact that I’d be awake for all of it…and that I’d be confined to an operating table, unable to move, while everything was happening around me.

Plus, I had concerns about it not feeling like an actual “birth” without the labor aspect. Would I still be able to create that bond with the baby that happens when you get to enjoy those first few moments of skin-to-skin contact?

I do believe everything happens for a reason, however, and it turned out to be a pretty positive — I’d even go so far as to say fantastic — experience. So future c-section mamas, take heart!

At 39 weeks and two days, we were scheduled for surgery at 12:30 p.m., so we needed to show up at the hospital to check in at 10 a.m. I was a bundle of nerves that morning, so Ben suggested we hit the gym early to work off some of my nervous energy. There’s nothing like 30 minutes on the elliptical to get your mind right.

After a quick shower — no breakfast because you can’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery — it was already time to head over to the hospital. Time was passing too quickly, and walking into the labor and delivery ward was absolutely surreal knowing, “Well, we’re going to have a baby in about 2-3 hours.”

After we got settled into a spacious room with a nice view of Northwest Portland, the nurses quickly went to work prepping me for surgery. There was a lot of activity, but the three things I remember most were getting my IV, meeting with the anesthesiologist to go over what would be happening and being put in a paper suit hooked up to what sounded like a blow dryer to warm me up before surgery.

I closed my eyes and tried to enjoy the warmth, but it wasn’t too long before it was time to get down to business. I remember thinking that I should be walking as they were wheeling me in my hospital bed down the hall toward the operating room.

As we went past the waiting room, I got to say hello to Ben’s folks and pause for a quick photo op. It was a relief to see family and get a final few words of encouragement, plus it was a nice distraction!

Despite doing everything I could to mentally prepare myself beforehand, I was dreading the next 10-15 minutes. There’s a great explanation of it here, but basically Ben wouldn’t be allowed in the OR while they got everything set up and started.

Meanwhile, they rolled my hospital bed into the OR, and I fought the overwhelming urge to RUN. Instead, as instructed, I climbed out of bed and up onto the operating table, which was (again) surreal. Those tables are surprisingly tiny!

My doctor was amazing, though — she held my hand and talked to me as I hunched over a pillow and got my spinal. I had been worried about how I’d react to it because I’d never had one before and heard some horror stories, but everything went very smoothly. First came an injection to numb the area (they said it’d feel like a bee sting, but it wasn’t that bad) and then an injection into my spine to numb me from the chest down (I didn’t feel anything).

As the spinal kicked in, however, it did feel a lot like that pins and needles sensation when your legs fall asleep. And as it took full effect, I could still feel pressure and movement (again, surreal!) but absolutely no pain.

From there, things continued to, again, move swiftly. In order to create a pleasant atmosphere and try to add some warmth to what can feel like a very sterile situation, my OB told me in advance that I could make a playlist for surgery prep. So I chose some Motown music to play in the background as the doctors and nurses chatted and got to work.

They draped me with a surgical screen, which was a little claustrophobic because it hangs so close to your face. But there’s a small window in front of your face — yes, really — that you can open to see what’s going on.

The cover to mine kept flopping open, and even though my bump was in the way, seeing anything specific was not in my revised birth plan. So, fortunately, a nurse kindly taped it shut until the big reveal. I was really glad we’d waited to find out the sex because the anticipation and excitement outweighed my nerves at this point.

By the time Ben walked in, he said that surgery was already underway. I’m not sure if it was the medications or the adrenaline, but either way it seemed like only a minute later that they were tugging around a lot (a really weird feeling, but totally tolerable) and then announced that we were about to have a baby!

Again, surreal. 

There were another few tugs, which were forcible enough to rock my whole body back and forth, along with one strong push on my abdomen. I heard a nurse say to Ben, “Alright, are you ready, dad?”

“I’m ready.” he said, as the doctor had her assisting doctor give one final tug to pull the baby out of me.

“We have a baby!” Ben exclaimed, and as the doctor flipped Wyatt over he said, “It’s a little boy!” The doctors joked around about the grumpy face he was making after leaving his cozy confines from the past nine months and held him in front of the screen so I could see.

From there, they cleaned him up and took a few initial vitals before bringing him over to me so I could check him out and sneak a quick snuggle. He was so tiny and soft…all six pounds, nine ounces and 20.5 inches of him.

After that, things were pretty blurry as the pain meds kicked in. This is both good and bad – good because I felt no pain from the surgery, but bad because I would have liked to have been more coherent in the first few hours (and days!) after our son was born.

Ben said I was completely lucid with everyone, and I remember bits and pieces of conversations and moments…but didn’t retain information or have much of a short-term memory. Like when I asked the next day if we’d had the baby yet. Oops…oxycodone is no joke.

I do remember initially hanging out in the recovery room getting to do some skin-to-skin to bond with Wyatt, but the following days of recovery were fuzzy between the drugs, the sleep deprivation and the sheer excitement over growing our family by one tiny human.

Ben pitched in like a champ and was not only on diaper duty but also brought Wyatt to me for feedings because I wasn’t mobile right away. They did get me up and out of bed the day after surgery for a shower, and the pain at my incision was present but not overwhelming.

The worst part of the next few days was probably the frequent fundal massages! If you’re not familiar with ‘em, Google the term. Every nurse was apologetic and as gentle as possible, but my whole abdomen was super tender.

Aside from that, the hospital stay was really enjoyable. The staff was kind and helpful, the food was great, our room was comfortable and, as a friend told us beforehand, the best part was that time simply does not exist in there; you just get to enjoy your new addition and forget about the outside world for a few days.

All good things must come to an end, though, and by Saturday morning we were packing up and watching the mandatory newborn care videos. A lot of good those did, though, as we ended up taking out first ER trip a week later when I was worried Wyatt had caught my flu bug!

He shot us more than a few suspicious looks (his go-to face, as we’ve now learned) as we dressed him in his first outfit – a newborn one, which he was swimming in at a mere six pounds at that point (babies lose up to 10 percent of their body weight before they leave the hospital). We secured him in his car seat, loaded him up in the car and were off as a family of three…

Despite the fact that we are his parents, I couldn’t help but feel that we weren’t qualified to be taking this little man home with us. Sure, we did fine in the hospital under the guidance of the doctors and nurses, but being the sole people that he’d now be relying felt like an enormous responsibility (and, quite frankly, still does).

But babies are born each day, and people figure it out. And we’ll likely make a lot of mistakes along the way, but we’re excited to see where this ride called parenthood takes us.

So far? It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. We’ve had highs and lows when it comes to deciphering his cues, getting the hang of breastfeeding (still a work-in-progress), troubleshooting gas and reflux issues and navigating life on very little sleep and even less free time.

Foolishly, I thought that perhaps my endurance background would prepare me for the marathon that is the first few months with a newborn, but I learned a valuable lesson: There is no training plan when it comes to an infant.

Not only are they their own individual little people with distinct personalities, but just as pregnancy and delivery can be a total crap-shoot, it’s the luck of the draw when it comes to what kind of baby you’ll get, too.

Fortunately, though, even in their toughest moments they’re still lovable (and adorable). Although I may be eating those words when it comes to the toddler or teenage years!

Interested in learning more about my journey back from baby? Read about a few of my favorite tips here.

 

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April Goal Check-In

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April showers may bring May flowers, but apparently they also brought an early summer to Portland this year. We’ve enjoyed more than one day in the 80’s this month, which made for some lovely outings to combat my nonstop-couch-sitting-cabin-fever from the past eight weeks.

The good news is that I’ve managed to make a bit more progress toward my goals this month…although the downside is that we’re still in “newborn mode” so the zealousness which which I usually like to attack projects has been somewhat tempered. Sleep deprivation will tend to do that to you.

Although I’m not complaining, having our cute little bundle to love on all day 🙂

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working in 2016.

Here’s where things stand currently:

1. Health & Fitness

At my six-week follow-up appointment, my OB officially cleared me to resume regular activity. Well, within reason, that is.

Aside from a few leisurely walks, my first official workout was a 30-minute kickboxing session which kicked my butt. My brain was ready to get back in the game, but there was a huge disconnect with my body.

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It’s not so much that pregnancy set me back — I worked out pretty regularly throughout, up to the day of delivery, in fact — it was the six straight weeks of doing nothing except trying to keep the baby alive after you give birth that really takes a toll.

So after prying myself out from between the couch cushions, I’ve been dabbling with barre and strength training to try to build back a base of fitness. Specifically, I’m working on reconnecting with my long-lost ab muscles, regaining my balance now that I have my old center of gravity back, challenging myself cardiovascularly and working to develop muscles that have since atrophied.

2. Training

My first official post-baby race is on the calendar! Wanderlust 108 asked me to help lead the 5k at their “Mindful Triathlon” (running/yoga/meditation) on May 15, and I’m thrilled not only to be a part of this great event but also to have something to aim for as I ease back into running. Sign up and join us!

Speaking of — I haven’t run since about week 26 of pregnancy, which (when coupled with postpartum recovery) is the longest non-running stretch since I started the sport more than two decades ago. Quite frankly, I had no idea what to expect during my first few forays, but it wasn’t as horrible as I had anticipated.

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Sure, I’m slow as heck, out of shape and super sore…but over the course of the past few weeks I’ve already seen some progress with my pace and am feeling stronger. But it’s going to be a long road back to racing shape, people.

I’m eyeing a few summer events on the calendar but nothing’s set in stone except for the Portland Marathon this fall. More details on the game plan for that very soon!

3. Community

Our second season of Team LUNA Chix Portland Run is underway, and it started off with a bang! We’ve had fantastic turnout for practice each week; it’s clear that this crew is pumped for another year of bonding while we sweat it out on the track.

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In addition to our FREE Monday night workouts (6:30 – 7:30 pm) at Duniway Track, we’re also planning a community week in May to help spread word about what we do, as well as highlight some of our favorite local businesses, so if you’re in the Portland area and want to join in on the fun, like our Facebook page for details.

You can also follow along on the fun via our Instagram and Twitter accounts, as well. We’re all over social media trying to recruit women to get involved; not only do we sweat together, but we do a lot of good, too, by raising money for the Breast Cancer Fund.

4. Career

Learning that juggling work with a baby is simply not possible at this point, so I’m likely staying on maternity leave through May unless Wyatt magically starts sleeping through the night or taking longer naps during the day…

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I’m stealing in a few moments where I can, though, to keep Pulse Creative moving forward. It’s the double-edged sword of working for yourself, although I’m grateful to be able to take the extra time for Wyatt as he needs it.

5. Life

Remember my big goal of utilizing “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” to overhaul our apartment?

Pffft!

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At this point, I’m getting used to our new state of total disarray. When there’s a newborn in the house, it’s almost impossible to take on organization projects let alone keep things tidy.

I do, however, try to get a few minutes of cleaning done here and there while I wear Wyatt. He sleeps pretty soundly in his wrap at this stage, which buys me precious time to wash bottles, do a load of laundry and get ready for his next round of feeding!

How are your 2016 goals coming along? 

March Goal Check-In

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Between a new baby, c-section recovery and getting hit with a nasty flu bug that’s been circulating around Portland a week after Wyatt’s arrival, this month was about one thing and one thing only: Survival.

Sometimes it’s less about looking forward and more about living in the moment — or just getting by from one minute to the next.

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working in 2016.

I’m still not sure where March went; quite frankly, it’s a blur of dirty diapers, newborn cuddles, sleepless nights, non-stop breastfeeding, pediatrician appointments and a whole lot of staring and smiling at this new little man who has now made us a family of three.

Workouts and training are on hold for at least a few more weeks until I’m cleared by my OB (more on postpartum fitness in a coming post). I have managed to sneak out for a handful of walks when the weather’s nice, which helps me manage the inevitable cabin fever that comes with caring for a newborn ’round the clock.

Work is also on hold for the time being until we can find our groove; Wyatt’s on the gassier/fussier end of the spectrum, so I anticipate it’ll be at least a few more weeks until we get an uninterrupted nap or extended stretch of zzz’s at night (hello, sleep deprivation).

Prep for Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season two, however, has been in progress and I’m happy to announce that our first workout will be on Monday, April 11 at Duniway Track from 6:30-7:30 p.m. As always, it’s FREE and open to women of all levels and abilities (not to mention we’ve got yummy LUNA bars and great LUNA swag for participants), so follow our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for details.

Until then, it’s just one foot (or feeding…or diaper change…or snuggle) in front of the other…

How are your 2016 goals coming along? 

February Goal Check-In

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And, just like that, my last month before baby is a distant memory…

Despite the desire to squeeze as much as I possibly could into the past four weeks, my body (thankfully) kept me in check. Waking up at two-hour intervals to pee pretty much every night and getting contractions when you exert yourself with more than a gentle stroll will tend to do that to a person.

So, yet again, we are adjusting goals, resetting expectations and wading into what appears to be the “new normal” — at least for the foreseeable future. And this is all pre-baby, so I can’t imagine what March’s recap will be like!

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working in 2016.

Here’s where things stand currently:

1. Health & Fitness

February was all about listening to my body. And, boy, did it have a lot to say. 

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This extra 30 pounds I’ve gained earned over the past 10 months really started to take their toll (in the form of back pain, hip pain, foot pain…see a theme here?), and I could tell my body was getting prepped for the main event (contractions!). So while workouts remained consistent, I’ve definitely tapered things off in the past two weeks.

I credit regular movement, however, for helping me stave off a host of other pregnancy-related conditions (swelling, and other random maladies, etc.), so I’m thrilled to have been able to be active well into the home stretch. Especially since it’ll be a while before I can resume my usual activity levels…

2. Training

Nada at the moment, but I am making tentative plans for a half-marathon relay with a mama runner friend, Tiffany, later this summer. We may not be the fittest or fastest out there, but we’re determined to put one foot in front of the other and just keep moving.

Getting my 2016 Coeur Sports team kit in the mail was another major highlight this month. It got me super excited for when I can ease back into some kind of training schedule. Eventually.

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In the meantime, I’m so thankful to be working with a company who supports women of all levels, abilities and stages of life! This really is the year of the #coeurbaby, and I love how we can show that healthy mamas = healthy babes.

3. Community

While our Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season hasn’t officially kicked off (stay tuned — April!), our planning sure has. The team’s 10 leaders gathered on February 20 for a retreat, which included some movement and food in addition to the business at hand.

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We’re really excited about going bigger and bolder this year, so keep an eye out for all kinds of great sweat sessions, events and activities. We’ll be resuming our FREE Monday night workouts (6:30 – 7:30 pm) in April, so follow our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for details.

4. Career

After a bustling January at Pulse Creative, February was all about wrapping up open projects and getting everything set for maternity leave (always a double-edged sword when you work for yourself!). My tentative plan is to step back for two months (March and April), which makes me nervous in the short-term, but I know it’s what’s best for our family in the long run.

As a girlfriend put it, there’s no use in half-assing work, baby, family and self-care during such a tumultuous time. No one will win in the end. And sometimes a step back helps you take a leap forward, so I know a little time off will further inspire me when I resume my work with clients later this spring.

5. Life

My grand plans for Kondo-izing our apartment before baby were a big, fat fail this month. While nesting instincts were in overdrive, I simply didn’t have the energy to tear everything apart and do a big purge.

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So instead of following the guidelines in “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” to the letter, I settled for a weekend closet clean-out. I ended up with one bag for Goodwill and another for eBay, and I’m happy with that for the time being.

After all, we’ve got the rest of our lives to clean — and our last month as non-parents had to take precedence, right?!

How are your 2016 goals coming along? 

My External Cephalic Version Experience

Source: PregnancyVideo.net

Source: PregnancyVideo.net

Sounds like a fancy spa treatment, doesn’t it? Well, if you’re not already familiar with the term, spoiler alert: It isn’t.

An ECV or “version” as it’s more typically called, is a procedure where your doctor lubes up your pregnant belly and uses their hands to try to manually flip a breech baby from the outside.

As I mentioned previously, Baby H has made himself/herself very comfortable lounging with a head in my left ribs, feet in my right ribs and butt nestled on top of what I can only figure is the nice cushion of my bladder. No wonder running was super uncomfortable as soon as s/he started getting bigger…

And after trying a number of natural remedies and old wives’ tales to get him/her to move, my doctor gave me the option of trying the ECV to see if we could encourage a somersault to get Baby in to the correct position for delivery (although some will attempt it, it’s my hospital’s policy to not deliver breech babies vaginally).

Because Google is every first-time pregnant woman’s best friend and worst nightmare, there are a lot of horror stories circulating about this procedure. Some are true — when it goes poorly, there are major risks that shouldn’t be taken lightly, such as tearing of the placenta, water breaking prematurely, emergency c-sections and even stillbirth — but there are also success stories, so I wanted to share my version of the version (pun intended) in case you find yourself at the same crossroads. Believe me, I spent many sleepless nights and hours on the Internet trying to make the decision whether or not to give it a shot. 

First and foremost for any pregnant woman is the rule that there’s no eating or drinking past midnight the night before a version. This is fine if you’ve got a morning appointment, but I was scheduled for 12:30 p.m., so you can imagine the extra anxiety this created.

Both Ben and I prepped beforehand — I was really, really hoping Baby wouldn’t get distressed and have to be evacuated via an emergency c-section where they’d have to knock me out cold and I’d miss the actual birth — so we figured we’d prepare for the worst-case scenario and hope for the best. Hospital bags were packed and loaded in the car, and I took a quick shower before we went over and checked into the Labor and Delivery unit of the hospital a bit before noon.

Now, despite watching my sister give birth and visiting my father-in-law after back surgery, this was pretty much my first time IN a hospital, let alone being a patient there. So despite trying to keep my cool, I could feel my heart start to race and fought the instinct to flee as they led us to a delivery room and I was instructed to get into a gown and lay down in the hospital bed.

Once the nurses took my vitals and asked a bunch of health-related questions, they put sensors on my belly to monitor Baby and put me on my first-ever IV. I was having regular/minor contractions due to the dehydration of not being able to drink for a good 13 hours, so they gave me a liter of fluid in my IV…but it was really there just in case things went south and they needed it for anesthesia for surgery.

After getting a baseline for Baby’s heartbeat — strong and healthy! — I got a shot of terbutaline in my arm, which would relax the muscles of my uterus. A common side effect is feeling anxious, flushed or like your heart is racing, but I didn’t experience that, most likely because they gave me another pill by mouth to help counteract the effects.

At this point, I was actually hoping to feel woozy, but I was completely coherent when the doctor came in and double-checked the position of Baby H via ultrasound. Then she laid the bed back, oiled up my belly and quickly got to work.

I’m not gonna lie; it was pretty uncomfortable as her hands dug deep into my belly to try to grab the baby’s head and bottom and slowly twist him/her around. I tried to focus on my breathing, but my original in-for-four-out-for-seven plan went out the window as all I could do was brace myself, and try to relax as much as possible while clutching Ben’s hand for dear life.

The first direction (counter-clockwise) was halfway way successful; I could feel the baby move sideways, and I remember saying, “This feels SO WEIRD” as s/he rotated within me. But the butt simply couldn’t seem to make the turn out of my pelvis; the doctor checked the ultrasound to see if we were able to clear it, but Baby had promptly popped back into place.

They also checked heart rate at this point to see how Baby was tolerating being poked and prodded. I remember hearing a slower thumping rhythm as it dropped from the 130’s into the low 90’s at one point…and I started to panic that it would keep dropping, but — thank goodness — it went right back up to normal within a few seconds.

We attempted the other direction (clockwise), and the pain was intense. Any kind of controlled breathing disappeared and I had to fight to keep from holding my breath as the doctor tried using her knuckles to get underneath Baby’s butt in my pelvis. Ben could see the pain in my eyes and knew it was time to pull out the big guns and make a joke to try to distract me as she gave it one final try.

But Baby H simply wouldn’t budge. 

I was relieved when the doctor called it because I didn’t think I could take another round at that point. Not only was she starting to break a sweat, but my stomach was also super sore and I felt shaky when I was cleared to get up to go to the bathroom a few minutes later.

She congratulated me for being such a trooper, and I thanked her for giving it her best shot. We agreed that if Baby was going to turn, this would have done it because neither of us was holding back, so she suggested that my pelvis angle might be playing a part in keeping the little guy or gal from being able to flip.

It was now around 2 p.m., and as the adrenaline slowly left my body, I realized I was starving. But Baby H still needed to be monitored for another hour before I could eat or drink, just to make sure everything was ok.

Fortunately his/her heartbeat remained strong and regular, so around 3:30 p.m. I was cleared to eat and Ben ran out to get me some ramen and steamed buns with fried chicken. In the meantime, my nurse brought in snacks — fruit plate with yogurt, blueberry muffin, cheese sticks, pudding cups, crackers and ice water — which I promptly wolfed down.

Baby H was still being monitored for an additional hour, but between the hospital snacks, food from Ben and TV in the room, I was a pretty happy camper. Both our vitals stayed steady, so we were able to check out around 5 p.m…and I proceeded to keep eating and drinking over the course of the evening until it was time to go to bed.

For the next few days, I was tired, had some minor cramping and felt like I got punched in the gut — or did a really, really hard ab workout — but Baby H was moving around as if nothing happened. My guess is that s/he is in there, just contentedly lounging, and I’m just fine with baking the little bun for a few more weeks.

In terms of where we go from here, there’s a very small chance that the baby will flip on his/her own in the home stretch, in which case we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but Baby H will most likely be making his/her debut via c-section. Regardless, I’m happy we gave it our best try, grateful for the wonderful hospital staff who took fantastic care of us and mostly just relieved that it didn’t end in an emergency situation.

And you know what? It’s taken me a while to process, but I’ve come to learn through my experience and by reading and hearing about others’ that Baby will come how s/he is meant to come. The best scenario isn’t necessarily the one you’ve planned for (Me: “Pregnancy really is a crap-shoot, isn’t it?” My doctor: “Welcome to OB!”); it’s the one in which both mom and baby emerge happy and healthy.

As much emphasis as we place on the “birth story,” I’ve realized that it’s really just a lot of unnecessary pressure on moms, and we need to take it easy on ourselves when things don’t go the way that we (or society) expects. After all, I’m pretty sure the best “stories” are the ones yet to come. 🙂

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional; this is merely my experience with a procedure from my personal perspective. It’s not meant to replace advice from your doctor, so be sure to check with him/her before making any medical decisions. 

Looking forward to introducing you all to Baby H in early March! 

I’ll (Try to) Spin You Right Round, Baby

It’s said that “most” babies are head-down by around 36 weeks (I’ve read as much as 96-97% of ’em), getting ready to make the journey from womb to world.

Of course, Baby H had other plans and remained comfortably in a stubborn “sweet little breech ball,” according one ultrasound technician.

My doctor first broached the topic around 32 weeks, but when our little nugget still hadn’t budged by 34 weeks, I took matters into my own hands to try to facilitate a flip naturally.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t run in a few months. Or maybe it’s because I’m not following any kind of training schedule. But either way, my inner Type A-proactive-planner took over and I enjoyed researching, laying out a game plan and getting to work on the following options for encouraging a breech baby to turn:

Moxibustion: A Chinese medicine practice of burning mugwort on or near the outermost point of your pinkie toes. Apparently there’s an energy channel located there, and getting things flowing in a downward direction may help baby’s head to do the same.

Inversions: Whenever I’d feel Baby H get particularly active, I’d try out different inversions to see if I could give him/her more room in my belly to move around. A number of people recommended SpinningBabies.com, so I tried a bunch of the moves on the site (again, much to Ben’s amusement).

Acupuncture: Similar to moxa with the energy channel hypothesis, this uses needles to balance your “Chi” and get baby to turn. It’s been shown to have a decent success rate in studies such as this one, and I found it to be a great way to relax for an hour, as well.

Swimming: Whether it’s the change in pressure, buoyancy or body position, some people think that getting in the pool can help get baby re-oriented in the right direction. There are no official studies on this, but being in the water once a week definitely felt good and, I think, decreased swelling.

Chiropractic: The theory here is that if your skeletal structure is out of whack, it could affect your inside organs (i.e. uterus) and baby’s positioning or ability to move. Chiropractors use a special move called the Webster Technique, which is supposed to restore proper pelvic balance and function.

Old Wives’ Tales: Other suggestions for turning a breech baby include things using cold packs, talking, music or light to incite movement. Again, none are proven to be particularly effective or supported by studies, but they’re something to consider nevertheless.

Although ultimately unsuccessful for us, I do feel these techniques are well worth a shot if you find yourself (and your baby) in a similar situation. But — and I probably sound like a broken record with this — pregnancy really is a total crap-shoot, so don’t go into anything expecting guaranteed results.

The only thing I can guarantee? A laugh about the whole predicament, if you read this post from Pregnant Chicken.

And as for me, I’m learning that this process — along with expecting the unexpected and just going with it — is all a part of preparing for the next adventure: parenthood.

Disclaimer: I’m not a health professional, so be sure to consult yours first before trying anything new!

Anyone else out there have experience with a breech babe?

Baby H: 36-Week Update

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We’ve reached the point of what I’ve dubbed the “ninth-month conundrum” where you’re so ready to NOT be pregnant anymore…yet you’re so NOT ready to not be pregnant. Meaning, it’s starting to hit both Ben and me that — wow — this kiddo is imminent.

And although I feel like we got a lot accomplished this past month — baby shower, childbirth class, car-seat installation, car tune-up, clothes washing and hospital bag packing, just to name a few — the to-do list is still very much in progress. As in, my priorities are tying up loose ends at work for my maternity break and getting the apartment really organized (read: obsessively cleaned) and ready for Baby H’s homecoming.

So here’s where things stand at our 36-week “bumpdate.”

Month Nine: In the last month alone, baby is estimated to have almost doubled in weight (~5-6 pounds) and measures somewhere around 19 inches long. It amazes me that with all this technology we have now there’s not a more accurate way to gauge his/her size, but I guess the exact stats are part of the fun of delivery day!

Weight Gained: Right around 25 pounds. I’m still loading up on good fats and doing lots of snacking to help Baby H pack on those final few layers of adorable chub. I’m trying to up my water intake, too, to keep well-hydrated and to maintain good fluid levels.

Workouts: While they’re nothing like my old intensity, I’m thankful to still be moving at least 5-6 days per week. I’m listening to my body carefully, steering clear of high-impact activities (they’re neither appealing nor comfortable) and limiting myself to a maximum of 30 minutes of “easy” cardio per session, whether it’s the recumbent bike, elliptical, stair stepper or walking. I’ll toss in some yoga, barre or strength training a few days a week, as well, just to keep my muscles awake and engaged.

Symptoms: Normal-sized meals are now totally off-limits, unfortunately. Even my strategy of hardcore, well-paced snacking is pushing it; despite aiming for healthier Superbowl fare this year, I still ended up propped up on the couch for hours afterward, in misery, with my digestive system struggling to process the remnants of our Mexican fiesta. Bending over is non-existent, although I’ve come up with a number of ways to contort my body to accommodate the belly, much to Ben’s amusement. And I get out of breath with even the smallest effort — like going up a flight of stairs, getting out of the car or even putting on socks — so I’ve learned to allow for extra time to keep myself from having to deal with the cascade of Braxton Hicks contractions that will inevitably result.

Food Aversions: Nada, thankfully. Well, aside from the lactose-free milk that Ben accidentally grabbed last week instead of our usual 2% — gross!

Food Cravings: Oranges. So much so that I plowed through a 10-pound box last month. And now that those are gone, I’ve moved on to clementines, apples and raspberries. But cheese sticks, milk and cereal are all in heavy rotation — along with pints of ice cream that keep finding their way into our freezer (thanks, Ben). So it’s safe to say that dairy’s still up there on the cravings list, too. Oh, and sweets…although I *try* to limit my candy consumption to a few pieces per day or chocolate or chewy fruity things.

Sleep: Not sleeping well is now the norm, so there’s not much to add here. I’m guessing that this means we’ve truly begun our transition to parenthood?!

Looking Forward To: As small as it seems, setting up the crib. Because then it’ll really feel “real”…and hopefully we’ll feel somewhat prepared. Big picture, though? Meeting him or her soon! Both Ben and I are excited to find out who this little person is that’s about to rock our worlds.

Boy/Girl Suspicions: None. And I hope to keep them that way until delivery day because we’ve made it this far! We’re still getting feedback that’s pretty evenly split, so your guess is as good as mine. Wanna weigh in? 

Any Fun Stories? Baby H is what I affectionately call my “breech ball baby” because s/he is still settled butt-down, curled into a comfy little ball. While I wouldn’t necessarily call it “fun,” we do have some decisions to make over the next few weeks that will potentially affect our labor and delivery options. In the meantime, I’ve been doubling down on acupuncture, chiropractic, moxibustion and inversions in an attempt to get him or her to bust a move and head south. More on that soon!

Stay tuned for what could be our ten-month update (yikes!) in just a few weeks…