I’ve just had my (very healthy and perfect!) daughter, but when I was 36 weeks pregnant, my baby was breech and they tried to turn her with ECV.
I remember that her kicks felt like little gas bubbles in my stomach, and although we had a few health scares and problems in my pregnancy, we love her to pieces and she completes our beautiful family.
My last baby (a boy, now 3) was an easy-breezy pregnancy – facing the right way round and was delivered healthily with gas and air. But my girlie was breech from about 30 weeks on. She was ‘complete breech’, which means her bum was by my cervix and her knees were up against her chest (which can’t be very comfortable.)
I think the doctors and nurses thought she would turn on her own, but she didn’t, so at my 36-week checkup, they suggested turning her using a ‘natural’ method ECV. ECV is basically when a doctor ‘puts firm but gentle pressure on your tummy to encourage your baby to turn in your womb’. The idea is that the baby will then be head down and it works for roughly 50% of women that have it.
I went into the hospital clinic as usual with my partner for the procedure, and he held my hand as two doctors pushed down on my baby trying to get her to shuffle around. They say it can be ‘uncomfortable’ but quite quickly I was in tears and I couldn’t help but feel (gut instinct or motherly instinct!) that this was the wrong thing to do. The medical team had already decided that she would be born via C-section due to my other pregnancy issues, and with every kick that I felt, I felt like this was some sort of crazy, archaic procedure that in the future would be massively frowned upon.
They kept asking if I wanted to continue and I said yes twice because I thought it would be frowned upon if I said no – But after what felt like an eternity (but was probably only a minute or so), I asked them to stop and my baby settled back down. I spent the rest of the day stroking my tummy and saying how sorry I was – because it can’t have been nice for her to be pushed around by grown adults while in my tummy.
I think that hospitals and nurses use the phrase ‘uncomfortable’ a lot, but I think we all have various definitions of what that word means – for me, when they use it, it almost always is enough pain to make me cry, whether it’s a speculum, smear test or coil fitting, it basically always hurts.
Anyway, my baby is born now. She is amazing, perfectly healthy and arrived into the world via C-section with no dramas. I just wanted to share my story, the doctors and nurses were really kind throughout my procedure and a nurse was holding my other hand. But if you feel that something isn’t right or something is ‘uncomfortable’, it is always your right to say so. Don’t forget it!