September 7, 2012

Breech of Contract: Trying to Turn a Breech Baby

As I've mentioned before, my pregnancy with Bryson was pretty perfect, with one exception. Somewhere between 29 and 31 weeks, he flipped to be upside-up, or breech. As someone who prefers to plan, plot, and otherwise control pretty much everything possible, I struggled with this.

How do you turn a breech baby?

I knew that he still had time to turn around, but I also knew he might not. On one hand, I'd had such a perfect pregnancy - surely he'd turn around in time! On the other hand, I'd had such a perfect pregnancy - why wouldn't this be the one (big) bump in the road?

As the weeks went on, I cried a little, read some more, and prayed a lot. My big fear was that he'd still be breech at delivery time, and I wouldn't get to have a good ol' fashioned go at pushing. It was really hard for me to determine his position by feeling around. I was afraid if I tried tactics on (yes, that's a real site!), I could flip him the wrong way.

I decided to try and put it out of my mind. If he was still breech at 36 weeks, I would take matters into my own hands. Sure enough, despite all my hopes (and WOW were they high leading up to this make-or-break appointment!), the doctor determined that he was still breech at our 36-week checkup.

I was almost mad at him for saying it so casually, too, with no idea how disappointed this news made me. Bryson's head was still up in my ribs (vindication for my terrible heartburn), and his feet were up by his face. He was what they call frank breech. And I was what they call frankly upset.

All this head-hand-foot cuteness in my ribs = Zantac once daily
When you're that far along and still breech, you don't have many options. They wanted to go ahead and schedule me for an external cephalic version (ECV) and a c-section. An ECV is when they try to manually turn the baby from the outside. It can be very painful, but it works best when the uterus is relaxed, so I'd get an epidural. An ECV can also put mom or baby in distress, and it doesn't always work. In the case it didn't work and/or Bryson didn't react well, we scheduled a c-section for the same day, just in case.

The date was set for Friday, November 4th. I tried to stay optimistic, but I felt defeated.

I was sad, disappointed, and a little scared. This wasn't the birth plan I'd envisioned over the past nine months. Oh, who am I kidding? This wasn't the birth plan I'd envisioned over the past 20 years!  I'm not too cool to admit that in my elementary school days, I once pretended to be in labor in my best friend's mom's Maxima, parked safely in their garage. It was an emergency car delivery, and miraculously, we all made it out okay. (I think this happened shortly after the Saved by the Bell earthquake episode when Mrs. Belding gave birth in an elevator...don't judge.)

The point is: In make-believe labor and delivery, you don't fake a c-section. You fake push.

Don't get me wrong. I had experience with (and knowledge of) c-sections. I was a c-section baby, Jeremy was a c-section baby, and I have countless friends (including one sister!) who had great c-section experiences. I knew c-sections were a completely valid way to bring a baby into the world, and they're certainly not the "easy way out" some people mistakenly believe. Still, it was a major surgery, a complication I had hoped to avoid, and at this point, the only way to avoid it was for Bryson to get (head) down with his bad self.

In the days that followed, I tried every wacky trick in the book (or on Spinning Babies), including, but not limited to:

As comfy as it looks. Go for pillows instead.
The tilt in action. I took this for Bryson :)

  • The Breech Tilt: Laying on the floor with my hips elevated, feet on the ottoman. Frozen peas at the top where his head was, heating pad down below where his booty was. Spent at least 15-20 minutes, three times a day like this.
  • Musical Uterus: Kind of like musical chairs, but not at all. Earbuds in the waist of my sweatpants, trying to lure his head down and into position with cool music. Tried slow, soothing music, fast, fun music, classical, instrumental get the idea.
  • The Forward-Leaning Inversion: Carefully leaning off of the couch, booty in the air, holding the position on my elbows for 30-60 seconds at a time. Husband on the sidelines trying not to laugh.
  • The Webster Technique: I was going to go to the chiropractor two to three times a week for the last weeks, but Bryson had other plans. I only had time for one appointment before he arrived!
  • Hands and Knees: Cat stretch, walking around on hands and knees, as demonstrated by Tia Mowry on Tia & Tamara. I followed her story very closely, hoping I wouldn't end up with the same result. So much for that!
  • Public Humiliation: Front flips and headstands in the neighborhood pool. Yep. I drove to the pool in a bikini I had NO business wearing at nine months pregnant, hopped in the water, did flips and headstands for about ten minutes, then dried off and drove away. (And YES, it was - and looked - as completely ridiculous as it sounds. Pregnant Chicken calls this gem the underwater piƱata.)
In my head, I had three weeks of this wacky regimen ahead of me before the ECV and potential c-section. After a week or so, I was wondering if maybe the doctors would let me change my mind. I decided I didn't really want to do the ECV. If all of my acrobatic moves didn't get him to turn, maybe he wasn't meant to. In an ideal world, I'd get to naturally go into labor on whatever day God and Bryson had worked out, then he could be delivered safely via c-section.

I'll never know what the doctors would have said, because I didn't have time to call and ask. Didn't have to. My water broke sooner than we ever anticipated, and thanks to my Spinning Babies efforts, I felt confident that I had done all I could do. I was perfectly happy with a c-section on what was clearly meant to be Bryson's birthday.

I was all about the Bs with this pregnancy - Baby, Brownie, Boy, Bryson. Breech just wasn't in my plans!

And that's quite alright. If there's one lesson that was reinforced during the final weeks of my pregnancy, it was this:

If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans while upside down on an ironing board draped in frozen produce.


So. Tell me! What's your spinning babies story? Did any of the above tips or tricks work for you? Better yet - if not, how did you come to terms with the fact that your little one was just more comfy "up-side up"?

P.S.  This post is not related to my business, which is about helping bright entrepreneurs attract their dream clients, one brilliant message at a time. HOWEV - if you like my writing and want help with your own, sign up for free tips at!


  1. Oh my goodness... thanks for my much needed laugh of the day. Alex was transverse breech -- head on the right, butt on the left and legs in all sorts of weird places. Not an easy way to go, but c-section babies are so pretty!

    1. Glad you got a giggle out of it, Dawn ;) I'm pretty sure he rotated to transverse a couple of times while I was tilting (it was pretty painful!), but then he slipped right back to his comfort zone. His head ended up having its own special shape after being stuck up against the ceiling of my ribs for eight weeks...maybe I'll write a post dedicated to my little pterodactyl another day ;)

  2. Nikki - I know its random that I read your blog but I find it very entertaining and well-written. So I just wanted to say thanks and keep up the good work!


    P.S. - Bryson sure is a cutie!

    1. Thank you, Sarah! And it's not so random - it's open to everyone to enjoy, and I'm so glad you do! Thanks for taking the time to leave a sweet comment :)

  3. "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans while upside down on an ironing board draped in frozen produce."

    Awesome line! I'm going to write that down on my little mental notepad of one-liners and use it some day down the road. Don't worry, I'll provide proper citation, because I'm pretty sure that whoever I say it to will demand an explanation!

  4. Amazing and ridiculous. Only you! I'll add this to my list of reasons to fear motherhood :)

    1. ;) I can't imagine how many classic stories will just write themselves when this particular chapter of your life begins!

  5. Great blog post Nikki!! Made me smile.