Yesterday, I had an External Cephalic Version at Magee Women's hospital in Pittsburgh. After months of trying everything else to get the baby to turn and having had a c-section due to breech with my first, I decided to try it. I was discouraged from trying it last time because the doctors weren't very confident and everyone in town who had it done said it was horribly painful and didn't work.
This time, I decided to look in Pittsburgh to find doctors who were more experienced and confident. At Magee, I definitely found such a doctor.
The whole process took about 4 hours from check in to check out. Most of that time was spent on monitors before and after the procedure. They took vitals, put in an IV with fluids (partly because they wanted me to be NPO after midnight and partly in case of emergency) and put me on a fetal monitor for an hour. Then, the resident explained the risks, had me sign forms, and said the docor would be in shortly. The doctor came in and he and the resident found the baby's position on the ultrasound. The nurse gave me a shot in the arm of a muscle relaxer to relax my uterus to try to prevent contractions and make it easier to move. Then, the doctor did an internal exam to see if any baby parts were hanging low. Finally, he guided and assisted the resident through moving the baby. I used myHypnobabies "Peace" and "Relax" cues to stay relaxed. I was sweaty and faint from laying on my back and there was some discomfort in the moving, but it was very quick. They held the head in place for a minute or two and then I was able to sit up. They put me back on the monitor for two more hours to monitor for fetal distress or labor. The doctor came in about half way through to check to see if the baby was still down and she was.
It definitely feels a lot heavier than when she was the other way. Butts kind of feel like heads, too, so that is a bit weird. But I definitely feel baby lower and the butt is squishier than the head.
The most striking thing about the whole experience is how routine it was for them. In Erie, it is such an ordeal. When I think of all the worrying I have done and how simple it was for them, I really wish I had tried it with Ian. Now, a willing and confident doctor does not guarantee success, but it sure improves your chances. Before consenting to a c-section for breech/transverse, please try it. Yes, babies can turn in labor, but if they don't, you may be out of options because the baby may be too low to turn by version and you might not have a willing doctor. Very few places in the US will allow breech birth. Even fewer allow breech VBACs so I think it was definitely the right decision for me.
Of course, there is always a chance that she could turn back, but most babies who turn back do so right after the procedure so I am very hopeful. I am also ready to go into nesting mode. I will be 37 weeks next week, so she could come anytime.