Adeline is one week old today! We are so blessed by this sweet girl. Today, I wanted to just share about the external cephalic version (aka: a version), because it played such a huge part in her birth story. I also hope my story maybe helps others faced with considering this option.
We learned that Adeline was breech a few months ago and tried many alternative methods to get her to turn, including three Webster techniques in the 10 days prior to having her. At one point, we thought Adeline had turned, but looking back, I think we were wrong.
I really wanted a vaginal birth, so our last option was to have an external cephalic version. (Here’s the overview.)
I spent a lot of time talking with people who had both successful and unsuccessful versions, as well as health professionals.
The Positives and Negatives of an External Cephalic Version:
Important details that made a version more likely to be successful:
- This was my second baby, making my abdomen more pliable during a version
- I had a more than average amount of amniotic fluid (low fluid can injure the baby)
- Adeline had not dropped into the pelvis
- She was frank breech (bottom down, not feet down)
The factors that were against us:
- Adeline was a big baby. Though I had a big baby before (Elias was 8 lbs 3 oz, and they estimated Adeline was 8 lbs 6 oz), big babies can be harder to turn.
- I had an anterior placenta (my placenta was in front of the baby), which makes things a bit riskier.
- I was 39 weeks and one day. I have read that versions I more successful at 36-37 weeks, but where we are, they do not do them prior to 39 weeks.
The hospital staff, including my midwife, really prepared me for the strong possibility of a c-section. No one seemed that optimistic, which was discouraging. Angie even said, “Jess, I have been praying about this a ton and I don’t have a peace about it. I don’t think the version is going to work and I think you are going to have a c-section.”
But I didn’t want to give up. Somehow, my heart still felt like we had to do it.
I was offered an epidural for the version. I was torn about having an epidural for the version because it would mean that I would have it for the birth (I wanted to try to have a natural birth). However, research has shown that versions on breech babies are more successful when the mother has an epidural because she is more relaxed.
So I decided to go for it. Ultimately, if I wanted a vaginal birth, I felt like it was the best decision.
The External Cephalic Version
Before the procedure, the tension in the room was palpable. Close to 15 people were in the room. However, before they started the version, Angie prayed over me and the doctors, which brought such peace to the room.
The procedure took less than five minutes. Adeline and I were monitored the whole time to make sure neither of us went into distress. They did an ultrasound to determine what way Adeline was facing, her positioning and how they were going to rotate her.
I was laying flat on my back for the version and two doctors stood on either side of me. They slowly pressed into my stomach and turned Adeline.Because of the epidural, I did not have any pain, just a TON of pressure. At one point, I almost asked them to stop, but I gritted my teeth, knowing they were making progress and that it wouldn’t last long.
When they got her to turn, everyone started cheering. Some clapped. I cried. Matthew cried. Angie cried.
It was amazing.
In retrospect, I could not have withstood the version without the epidural, and I would recommend it to anyone who was going to undergo this procedure.