So now I know why the baby hasn't dropped yet. It's because her head is up near my rib cage. That's right, she's breech. As soon as the ultrasound probe hit my stomach, I saw her head and said, "Oh no!" No doubt on that one. She's breech, and she's comfortable.
The ultrasound took 5 minutes. Of course, it took more than half an hour to get called back, and then I spent an hour waiting for the doctor (after the technician had already done the ultrasound and told me she was breech). The doctor came in, asked why I was here, and when I said, "to see if the baby's breech," he looked at the screen and said, "yep, she's breech". Duh.
Everything else looked good. We're 36 weeks 2 days, smack on with the original due date (and the one we've been using) of October 16. They checked her heart (heart rate 138, good flow), kidneys, bladder, stomach, brain, etc and it all looked good. They estimated her weight at 6 lbs 7 oz by femur length, which is just under 50th percentile, and her head was just about 50th percentile too. Nice average baby. The placenta was higher (we were placenta previa at the first ultrasound, but haven't had a problem since). I'm wondering if where the placenta is located is part of the reason she's breech--it looks like she's leaning on it--but I didn't ask. There's a good amount of amniotic fluid, and they didn't say anything about the cord, so I'm hoping that's good too.
I have a picture of her face, but it looks a little creepy, so I may not post it. The split second before the tech took the picture, there was a really cute one where she was looking right at the probe. You could see her eyes, nose, and mouth. And then she moved just enough to have it look creepy in the picture :) Oh well, I could tell she was pretty cute. But I might be a little biased.
So, the next step: I wait to hear from my doctor. She's at the other hospital today, so I may not hear from her until tomorrow. She mentioned that we'd try external cephalic version. Basically, it means that they'll try to push the baby down into the head-first position by pressing very hard on my abdomen. Fun stuff. The doctor today said the success rate for first time moms is a little less than 50%. Risks range from the very rare (uterine rupture) to the more common but still not super-frequent (emergency c-section due to a drop in the fetal heart rate). If she can't be turned, then we'll have to schedule a c-section to get her out.
I'm a little bummed about the c-section, but I'll do whatever we need to do. I'm hoping she can be turned. But, at least if we have to have a section, it'll be scheduled. That fits my OCD pretty well.
I wish I would've asked yesterday how soon they would scheduled the version. From what I've read, they like to do it sooner rather than later, since the room in the womb keeps getting smaller as the baby grows. But, if one of the risks is emergency c-section, I don't know if they'll want to wait a bit longer. I guess I'll know when the doctor calls.
I am partially relieved, in a way. I've been having a huge amount of Braxton-Hicks contractions the last two days. Since the doctor told me yesterday that I was slightly dilated and half way effaced, I woke up this morning thinking that I might go into labor before the shower. Like today. I swear, at the VA clinic this morning, I kept willing myself to not have contractions. It didn't work, but at least they've only been the false contractions. No real stuff yet. But every time she jumps on my cervix, I worry that she's going to pop out. Now that I know she's breech, at least I don't have to worry about delivering any time soon. Although if I went into labor now, they'd c-section me.
Anyway, I'm relieved to know the baby's doing just fine, happy to have gotten to see her again, excited that it sounds like she may be here sooner rather than later, and worried that we'll have to have a c-section. I know there's still a chance she can be turned with version (and Ming, who was an OB in China, gave me some exercises to try and turn her), but I just have this feeling we're going to end up with a c-section.
It's not the end of the world to have a c-section (and you don't have to go through labor if it's scheduled), but I'm a little bummed. Part of me is bummed for normal reasons: this is major abdominal surgery, and the recovery is tougher than a vaginal birth. And part of me is bummed for silly reasons: after nine months of book reading and childbirth classes, I feel a little shortchanged that I might not experience labor and delivery. I know--not that I like pain, but it's something everyone talks about. Forever and ever. People still ask my mom and aunts how long they were in labor, etc, and they all have stories to tell. I don't know. I just feel like I'd be missing part of the process.
But, in the long run, the baby is what matters. And if she needs a c-section to come into the world, so be it. I'm delivering at the best hospital around, with the one of the best NICUs in the country should we need it, and I know I'm in good hands. So, what will be will be.
If I hear anything from the doctor about scheduling the version or the c-section, I'll post again. Man, I hope this stuff is all covered by insurance. Things could get expensive really fast.