17 years ago, my second son, Aidan, like his brother Fox before him, was breech. But unlike Fox who turned head down with just some moxibustion, a light shining low and his dad talking to him, Aidan stayed put through every maneuver I could think of (this was well before Spinning Babies was around) and even through an external version.
That version was painful and I remember it vividly – mostly I remember wanting to put my hands on top of the obstetrician’s hands and get him to gently rock instead of force my baby to turn. I was a massage practitioner and practiced Trager Bodywork but mostly I just KNEW it would FEEL better both to the baby and to me.
But I did not put my hands on his hands. Instead, I slid them under my bottom so I wouldn’t instinctively/reflexively put my hands on the “surgeon’s hands”. Despite being a doula, a childbirth educator and a MOTHER, I did not trust my intuition.
That version was unsuccessful. Knowing this was my last birth and baby and determined to do all I could to avoid a preventable cesarean birth, I asked for a second external version at 39 weeks. The doctor obliged but warned me it was unlikely to be successful citing all the reasons: – my first baby was 9 lbs and this one was likely the same, I was already 38.3 and “the baby isn’t going to get smaller”, – there will be less amniotic fluid, – and the thinking at the time (and still today) – if the first version isn’t successful, the second won’t be either.
Here, I trusted my gut and I scheduled the second version anyway.
This time, I decided to treat the entire procedure like labor and asked for a labor room instead of a triage room. I went into the room with my earbuds in – listening to music I loved. I shut the blinds to make the room dark. I climbed into the hospital bed and assumed the open knee-chest position (again before Spinning Babies, there was Penny Simkin and the Labor Progress Handbook and we train doulas in this and many other positions). I asked the nurse to do what she needed to do while allowing me to remain with my hips in the air. My team – my doula and two of my midwives asked everyone else to wait outside and come in together so there would be minimal distraction. All agreed and all entered quietly, whispering once in the room and waiting for me to let them know I was ready – just like a labor.
That year, (1999) Henci Goer’s The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth had JUST come out – actually it had not even hit the shelves yet – and one of my midwives who had preordered it on Amazon got it delivered to her door the night before the second version. That night, she called Henci (whom she knew) and asked if she knew anything that might increase our odds for success with tomorrow’s version. Henci said yes, and cited some research that showed rocking the baby instead of “muscling” it had shown some better results. Rocking eh? Hmmm…