Thursday, August 10, 2017

36 Week Update

For anyone who's been following along this pregnancy via Instagram, I could not have asked for a better pregnancy up until this point.  I've felt great, kept up my activity level, am generally still comfortable, and able to get a decent night's sleep.

36 Week Stats

  • Gender: Going strong and not finding out
  • Baby's Weight: 5lb 12oz (anticipating a 7-8lb baby; which is good because I was 8lb 15oz and Mr HaHa was 10lb)
  • My Weight: Since being diagnosed with hypothyroidism during pregnancy (under active thyroid), my weight gain/loss has fluctuated throughout pregnancy, but I'm currently at 37lbs gained, which my OB said is excellent
  • Cravings: Sadly I've had no strange food cravings! I'll have days where a certain meal sounds good, but I was that way before pregnancy too.
  • Readiness: Hospital bag is mostly packed, nursery is mostly done (I'm still debating on decor for one wall or waiting to see what gender we have; and I realized this week that the crib sheets I've been waiting for on backorder were oval shaped....we have a rectangular shaped crib... #pregnancybrain)
  • Emotionally: My hormones are a mess.

Baby is breech and has been sitting breech since our 32 week appointment.  Typically by 32 weeks babies figure out orientation and only 7% are still breech. By 37 weeks weeks (full-term), only 3-4% of babies remain breech.
Since I've been planning and preparing myself for an unmedicated natural birth, this discovery been an emotional roller coaster. Instead of focusing on laboring and pain management techniques, I've switched to seeking out methods to turn baby. It turns out, there's a lot.

Spinning Babies is an website loaded with information, an overwhelming amount. From here I've mainly been focused on stretches such as Forward Inversion and Breech Tilt. As funny as it sounds, I've also got to the pool a few times to do handstands in the water. They said this inversion can help give baby momentum to turn (plus, in third trimester and 90-degree days, feeling weightless in the pool is amazing). Chiropractic care, specifically doctors trained in Webster method also has a good success rate for helping babies to turn. The background there is that by aligning your body, you give baby optimal space to make the turn. Most recently, the last techniques I've added is acupuncture and moxibustion.  Acupuncture to direct energy flow through your body to encourage flipping. Moxibustion is an ancient Chinese heat therapy that is basically incense sticks burned at your toes to promote the flow of energy through your body.
It's a strange place to be in; trying all of the above and maintaining optimism while also thinking of the possibility of both a cesarean or natural birth is not easy. Some people would probably describe me as a stubborn person, but I like to think of it as dedicated and determined. This situation is already a humbling reminder that we can't control what happens in our life, but I also think that how we react to situations develops so much of who we are.  
And that is where I'm already struggling. Years ago, I trained for Chicago Marathon.  I rocked my training.  I was beyond nervous for race day, but I was ready; my body and my mind were both ready.  For whatever reason, it didn't play out as I hoped. It was hot, I got sick and I was pulled from the course by medical care.  I was heartbroken. I had trained for months. Just like this pregnancy, for months all I thought about was the experience of the actual race and pictured myself crossing that finish line, yet my body didn't agree. I was depressed. It took at least a week for me to be able not to cry when someone asked how it went. It took two weeks of crying myself to sleep and thinking about what I could have done differently for a different outcome; the outcome I'd wanted and prepared for. 

For years after, I was scared. Scared that I'd never be able to achieve my goal of running a marathon and that if I tried again, I'd fail.  Last year I did run and finish a marathon and it was amazing; mostly overcoming my inner demons that had trailed me for years and caused me to doubt myself.
This is why I'm struggling so much with baby being breech. I don't criticize others who have had cesarean births. It's just that I'm scared that if that's how baby needs to be born, that I'm going to struggle my own goals. It's selfish. I'm scared I'll regret not experiencing a natural birth, the one I've wanted so badly. That's why I'm willing to do all of these non-traditional methods above to hope they promote baby turn. I'm going to do everything possible to try for a natural birth outcome.  If it doesn't work, then I'm going to need to come to peace with that.
At this point, we'll schedule an external cephalic version (ECV) for next week. This is a manual procedure done by the OB to try to turn the baby by pushing on my stomach/uterus externally. It takes place in the hospital and is scheduled as a cesarean, just in case something goes wrong and an emergency delivery is needed although the odds of something happening is about 1%.

Regardless of what happens in the next few weeks, my biggest goal is that my body is allowed to go into labor naturally. I have to have faith that baby will be birthed however it's meant to be and necessary and in the end all that will matter is having that little love placed on my chest.
(Photos by Calley Watters Photography. Taken August 5th at 35 weeks and 2 days)

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