I had a “normal,” “average” pregnancy more or less.
Aside from the unpleasant symptoms, I didn’t really have any problems. All was going according to plan, until my last ultrasound revealed that the baby was breech. That perfect little head-down guy had decided to turn around at some point. Sure, I could try to get him to flip around on my own (and I tried!), but if I didn’t, I would have to have a C-section. So we scheduled an External Cephalic Version (ECV) for when I would be approximately 37 weeks, just in case. What is an ECV, you ask? I had no idea either until I had to have one! An ECV is when a doctor manually turns the baby by pushing and pulling on the outside of your pregnant belly. I asked the doctor how successful these ECVs are, and he said they work less than 50% of the time, but it was worth a shot to try to avoid a C-section.
When I got home from the ultrasound appointment, I was pretty unsettled. None of this was in my plan (haha!)! I YouTube’d some ECVs and freaked. In the mean time, I tried everything to get this baby to flip – no such luck.
If you find yourself in the position of having an ECV, or you’re just curious, here’s a play-by-play of my experience:
- Check into the hospital – an ECV can cause you to go into labor, so to be sure you’re taken care of, the procedure is done in the hospital.
- Answer a billion questions and have the baby monitored for a couple hours. I had been having regular contractions for months (no clue why) – so I was giving tons of IV fluids to try to calm them down. It worked a bit, but also made me have to pee every 5 minutes.
- Get ready for the fun! The primary doctor comes in and does a sonogram to see where the baby an the umbilical cord are sitting.
- Another doctor comes in to assist. Your entire stomach gets lubed up with more ultrasound fluid.
- One doctor pushes the baby’s rump, and the other pulls down his top half slowly. It’s like a slow deep tissue massage. Delicate yet extremely forceful at the same time.
- Breathe deeply and try to focus on something other than the pain. Some women say ECVs don’t hurt. They do. Now that I have something to compare it to – I’d say active labor at 4-5 cm dilated. Yeah.
- Stop halfway to check the baby’s position and monitor heart, etc. Baby is horizontal inside of you at this point.
- Doctors resume and finish turning the baby. The entire version takes about three minutes.
- Monitor the baby for another hour or so and check the sonogram a few more times to see if the baby is still head-down and not in distress.
When my doctors finished the version and saw that it was a success, they were floored! My two doctors said it was the first time they had a successful version – many times the baby just won’t work with them or their positioning is too complicated.
Three weeks later when I went into labor, I was most anxious to see if my baby stayed head-down after my ECV. He did! I was able to have a vaginal delivery and my little boy (hopefully) has no memory of the mean old doctors that pushed and pulled on him a few weeks before his debut.