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Breech baby, ECV and C-Section experiences to share

(13 Posts)
newbabyinthestow Mon 19-Aug-13 23:02:56

I am currently 38 weeks pregnant with DC2 and have a breech situation, dear chap has been fine up until a couple of weeks ago, but now there is no budging him so have tried a whole load of things to turn him including moxibustion, reflexology finally had ECV today to try turning him. I thought that it would be worth sharing my experiences as this time last week I was on Mumsnet looking for perspectives on these issues to help me understand the options better. I'll briefly explain my story so far and hope other will chime to create a balanced picture and help others decide on what is best for them.

When I first found out he was breech, I went to have moxibustion at a local alternative health place where I spent £40 on the treatment, only to be told afterwards that I needed to buy my own moxi sticks and burn them by my toes for 10 days afterwards at home! This is no easy task, but I diligently did it. I am booked in at the Whittington in North London and after my next scan revealed baby still breech, the NHS acupuncturist there (if you can believe there is one!) gave me the sticks free and suggested I might have been doing it too early, so to try it twice a day for 5 days. I did this, along with exercises I found online and then another scan revealed baby was STILL breech I agreed to book in for an ECV procedure as a last attempt at turning.

In the meantime I booked a reflexology session thinking that at worst it would be relaxing and help me prepare for the procedure which I was very nervous about having - the thought of someone manoeuvring the baby from the outside just sounded painful and weird! But an elective C-Section also felt like a big step and recovery (mainly not driving for up to 6 weeks!) with my 2.5 year old seemed like a bit of a nightmare. So I thought I'll try it and if it is awful just tell them to stop, or if I didn't feel confident about the doctor who was doing it, I'd just change my mind when I was there at the hospital.

Sadly the reflexology didn't work either (although I'd rather pay for a relaxing treatment and the moxibustion was not relaxing or that pleasant so that was just a waste of £40 in my mind, seeing as I could have got the sticks free or just got them myself and done it at home - that would be my tip if you want to try it).

So, the ECV, I had been tempted not to try it at all as my baby has been moving loads, and vigorously over the past 3 weeks, but no drastic change in position, so I suspected that he was trying to move himself but as wedged somehow. But I wanted to give it a shot before booking a C-Section and some people had reported it is not that bad after all. They said there was a 60% chance of working in my case as it was a second baby and I had given birth vaginally before, plus there was plenty of fluid too.

I have to say it was very horrible, I wasn't able to eat, had the muscle relaxant injection which made me very shaky and whilst the team doing it were nice, it was very painful and upsetting, and in my case didn't work, so I am due to have the section anyway on my due date in 2 weeks. The total experience took 6 hours, as they monitored baby's heart rate before and after, and had to administer the injections and the inevitable waiting around. I think that it might have been so horrible as it didn't work, so they were trying something that wasn't working. I imagine if the baby does turn it is less painful and takes less time pushing around. Also, I never read this or wasn't told this, but I didn't have stretch marks with my first baby (but he did come at 35 weeks, so maybe I just never got that big!) and only have a few small ones this time around, but the ECV process has added a handful more after today just from the manoeuvring. I call that adding insult to injury! Just FYI...:-(

I wanted to share this, as part of me thinks I wish I just booked the section and didn't have to go through that. However my sister in law had ECV, said it wasn't that bad and then it worked and went on to have a vaginal delivery. But it is perhaps useful to know that it can be actually quite traumatic, so you can make a clear decision and feel informed if you choose not to opt for it and just book a section. I kind of felt I had to give it a go....

The other option is to request a vaginal breech delivery, which some people might inherently prefer to have a go at, but for me the additional risk of the baby getting stuck (ouch!) plus the ECV experience makes me prefer the simplicity and forward planning of an elective section.

Other experiences welcome and sorry for the super long post.

IdreamofFairies Mon 19-Aug-13 23:40:11

my dd was breach till 38 weeks then turned i was having weekly scans anyway. i didnt go through any of the things you have described the consultant was happy to wait and see if she turned.
as my midwife said there was plenty of room for her not really sure whether to be insulted about that lol.

she stayed head down, had another scan again at 39 +5 to confirm and then in for induction at 40 weeks. which didn't work for days she was finally born three days later.

my waters broke midwife checked heart rate and it was slightly distressed so she did an internal. starts shouting out i can feel a hand. rushed up the ward on my bed to delivery suite where the doctor did a scan to check what was happening. she was back in breech with one of her feet down.

my labour processed really quickly so instead of the ecs they where preparing for the doctor asked if i would like to try and deliver her. which i jumped at i really didn't want a major op with children at home to look after.

it was fine and i didn't notice a huge difference to be honest the doctor used forceps i didn't feel them or have any damage. i will forever be grateful that i was already in hospital as i dread to think what it would have been like at home or in an ambulance.

my whole labour water breaking till dd being born was 1 hour i know not everyone will have this experience but just wanted to share something positive.

i spoke to an older midwife the next day and she said she was glad i got to deliver she didnt understand the doctors reluctance these days to just let nature take its course.

its completely up to you what you do what ever you feel comfortable with. its not about the journey really but the fact the baby has arrived with mum and baby safe and sound.

lizandlulu Tue 20-Aug-13 19:12:39

Hiya both,

Op, your story is exactly the same as mine, I had a cs as I didn't feel like I have any choice. I wish I knew then what I know now. I have since spoken to a couple of friends who have had breech babies naturally and both have said it was fine, apart from having to push that little bit harder.

I would give anything to turn back the clock and try for a vsginal birth, mainly cause my dH wasn't much help after and recovery was long and painful.

I wish you well in whatever you decide smile

Panzee Tue 20-Aug-13 19:14:26

I'm assuming you've been on. The spinning babies website? Lots of positions to try.

lucybrad Tue 20-Aug-13 19:23:43

lucybrad Tue 20-Aug-13 19:24:39

C0smos Tue 20-Aug-13 19:26:02

If not driving for 6 weeks is the only reason for not having ELCS then it's a myth, just drive when you feel comfortable doing an emergency stop without wincing, probably a couple of weeks. They don't have no driving rules or any other type of surgery so why ELCS.

lucybrad Tue 20-Aug-13 20:02:24

this is true - makes me mad that its always said you can't drive for 6 weeks! I was driving after 1 and a half!

lizandlulu Tue 20-Aug-13 20:07:48

I drove after 10 days, I rang the insurance company and they said I could drive as soon as I felt sale to do so, not a problem. The worst part was getting the pram in and out he car!

jennifersullivan Fri 23-Aug-13 07:45:09

But reflexology worked fine for me!! I had complications with my first pregnancy and went for a reflexology in Mississauga. Though the thought of it was scary it went on well and I had a happy delivery after that!

whohellhe Sun 25-Aug-13 23:30:29

I am suprised you have been given the option to have a natural labour. When it was confirmed my baby was breech at 38 weeks I was booked in for a section at 39 weeks and was told my hospital (Bolton) would not let me have a natural birth with a breech baby. My consultant referred me to a study that was carried out in Canada about 10 years ago which showed it was safer for breech babies to be born by section.

whohellhe Sun 25-Aug-13 23:38:55

Then again while trying to find the study mentioned in my previous post I've come across more info that suggests a bit of a U turn on this and a natural birth might be safer. Unfortunately I can't figure out how to post a link. So I seem to be of no help what so ever! All I can tell you is I had an ELCS and all was well. Good luck.

moonbells Mon 26-Aug-13 00:01:48

What kind of breech baby do you have? How successful various things are depends on where their legs are. If extended or frank breech, legs are straight out with heels near the head and this position rarely turns with ECV (and may be harder for the baby to turn itself) and can damage the womb or the baby's hips. If classic breech, legs are crossed near the bum. Footling is where one foot is pointing down. Both the latter are easier to turn.

DS was extended breech, and in retrospect probably had been for most of my pregnancy. I was high risk (40) and so they offered ECV and also ELCS. I declined the ECV once they said what kind of breech and the likelihood of not working and why, and went for ELCS. I had a really nice experience, though in retrospect I would have insisted they put DS on me for skin-skin while I was being zipped up. As it was I didn't hold him for 30 mins, though he did get to be held by DH. Uncomplicated recovery, was perfectly capable of walking about with very little pain once home. However I have a numb band between my bellybutton and the scar where the nerves were cut, and of course the infamous CS overhang (delightful...)

Would I do it again? Yes. ELCS for breech is much better for baby. Not so good for mum, but that for me was a no-brainer.
(That and my nan was in labour for three days with my (breech) mother and I did not fancy that!!)

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