I shared about my ECV with my third baby a couple of years ago but now we’re back with my ECV experience with my fourth baby! First of all, isn’t it crazy that I’ve (almost) had four babies, and three of them have been breech? My doctors predict that I have an odd shaped uterus that causes it to lead my babies to be more comfortable in a head-up position as opposed to the desirable head-down position. Lucky me, huh?
So anyway. Lets chat about this ECV, shall we?
First of all, ECV is short for External Cephalic Version. What does that mean? Basically, it means…ouch. Haha. But for real. Owie. Ok, but really an ECV is when a doctor externally moves your baby from a head-up to a head-down position. Essentially, they just push on your stomach really, really hard, moving your baby to the position they need to be in.
Now onto the story.
We got to the hospital about an hour-ish before the procedure was to begin. They get you all set in your hospital gown, check one last time with an ultrasound to ensure that the baby is indeed breech, hook you up to the monitors, put an IV in you and talk you through what’s going to happen. Finally, its time for the actual ECV.
My doctor came in, checked the ultrasound again to sort of make a game plan and began. My baby has been sitting at a bit of a diagonal angle, so this whole time I’ve believed the route from head-up to head-down would be slightly shortened since his head wasn’t completely straight up. Buuuuut turns out the safest way to move him was around the other way, so it was actually a longer turn. However it was what was safest for our baby, so obviously it was all ok.
Now it was go-time. I got a shot in my arm (I can’t completely remember what its for – maybe its a muscle relaxer? you want that uterus nice and relaxed so its not quite as difficult to move the baby) and just like last time I got this, it stung so dang badly. Then a small group of medical staff gather around, and in my case I also had a few students in there to watch, and then my doctor got to work.
My baby was very stubborn this time around. My last ECV lasted maybe five minutes. This one was a little over twenty, I believe? His little bum was nestled comfortably in a spot that he did not want to move from so my doctor had to first lift his bum out of that spot and then start moving him with his hands.
He had to push really hard. Craig said during the whole procedure my doctor was white knuckled he was pushing so hard and after the procedure he showed us that he’d actually broken a sweat! Like I said, baby boy really put up a fight!
Every once in a while we had to pause and wait because babies heart rate would drop lower than they wanted – something we hadn’t experienced before. One of the medicines they’d given me made my heart rate go really high, so they said monitoring our hearts was kind of interesting because mine was so fast and his would drop down so slow. Luckily though, every time we’d pause, his heart would go back to normal and there never was a real issue there. It did make me nervous as we’d sit and wait for it to get back to a regular pace, but I found a lot of peace in knowing I was in good hands (I quite literally trust my doctor with my life…and my babies) and I knew if it got real bad, I’d be taken right into a c-section and it’d be ok.
Finally, he was head down. The doctor had got his head in a nice, snug place where he’d be able to settle until it was time to deliver him! As he told me, with how hard it was to get him into that position, he was sure it’d be nearly impossible for him to move out of his new position (spoiler alert: he stayed head down!)
After everything was done, they kept us for an additional two and a half-ish hours to monitor us, but mostly baby. With my last ECV they only kept us an hour, but this time with babies heart going up and down every once in a while during the version, they kept us just a little longer to watch. Thankfully everything looked just as it should and we were freed to go home.
Recovery from this is a bit uncomfortable for sure. I describe it as feeling as if my entire stomach is a very sensitive bruise. It hurt to touch, especially in a couple of spots he had to push particularly hard on. It also took me a good 24 hours to stop feeling the effects of the drugs they’d given me, but other than that it was really just fine!
Then finally I allowed baby watch to officially begin with the hopes that I’d have another successful v-bac!