I vote we change Squiggle’s name to “tenacious B(aby)”.
She has not flipped, as far as I can tell, and D-day is imminent. I’ve tried massage, chiropractic, moxibustion, acupuncture, physical positions from spinningbabies, swimming, visualization, homeopathic remedies, and heat/cold/music. We went for an OB consult a few days after Black Wednesday (the day we got the news of the breech positioning) and I was terrified it would be an automatic c-section. Our phenomenal midwives referred us to Dr. F, and came with us for the consult with her. As it turns out, the intention that day was to attempt an ECV on the spot. As we were waiting for her to arrive, we got bonus news! I tested positive for Group B Strep (GBS)… more on that later. The OB breezed in and our midwife gave her the rundown. Dr. F was unbelievably cool! First, she fluffed off the GBS diagnosis with a little wave and a, “no worry for me.” Next as she performed an ultrasound to confirm the breech-ness, she announced “this is no problem.” Sadly, with an anterior (frontal) placenta and her head in my ribs, there was no good way to get a grip on the babe to turn her. My head was spinning as I was SURE we’d be sentenced to a C-section. Not so! As it turns out, our OB is European-trained and unlike North American physicians, they’re taught that breech is a variation of normal – as well as how to safely deliver a baby who won’t turn! She apparently enjoys the challenge and is happy to attempt with the right candidates, which we are!
On to the GBS. This is the shittiest thing ever. In short, a good percentage of adult women (15-40%) are carriers of the group b strep bacteria. Of those women, a percentage are “colonized,” meaning their babies are at risk of becoming infected. The risk to babies is relatively minor, but the side effect can be fatal. I tested positive with the Bean and Negative with the Duck, so I’m a carrier, but wasn’t colonized when she showed up. The course of action is to either treat with antibiotics in labour, regardless OR wait for certain risk factors (24+ hours after water breaks or a fever in labour) before dosing. I personally prefer to treat based on risk alone. Mostly because there are 2 main antibiotics used – penicillin and clyndamycin – and I am deathly allergic to penicillin. With the Bean, the strain of GBS I had was resistant to clyndamycin so an alternate antibiotic had to be used: vancomycin. Vanco can only be administered via IV while admitted to a hospital and under extremely close observation, particularly for heart failure. I was told that its strength is such that if it can’t kill what you’ve got, nothing can. The joke was even made that if it can’t kill what you’ve got,what you’ve got will kill you. (hahaha right? so hilarious) If you’re feeling frisky, take a look at the side effects, this drug is truly heinous.. I would liken it to being NUKED.
My vote was to check sensitivities, and if the strain was susceptible to clindamycin, just treat. It’s a compromise of what I’d want, but ok. I said that vanco was my hardline, and I would NOT take it without risk factors presenting themselves. I was not going to negotiate. Then the sensitivities came back and vanco was the only option. I told Schmoopy that no way would I raze my poor exhausted body before/during labour on a maybe. Then Mom called and was a total mess, worrying about the potential impacts to baby – 1/200 babies exposed COULD be infected and of those babies (appx 1000/year in the US), one would risk permanent side effects. This was not a good call, not even a bit. While I know it wasn’t her intention, and that she was just being the great mom she’s going to be… and I feel awful admitting this… the pressure and guilt was pretty heavy. My risk of *serious* side effects like heart failure and permanent hearing loss are fairly minimal, the risk of all the other unpleasant ones is almost 100%. No one really escapes this drug unscathed. The conversation was brutal – to the point where I felt that the risk of side effects to me were irrelevant. I understand and respect that as a mother, protecting and advocating for her baby above all else, but in truth, the call ended with me feeling extremely unimportant/disposable when our risks of serious side effects (mine from drugs and hers from GBS) were pretty close to equivalent. In the end because I’m a people pleaser, I agreed to being nuked. So they’re happy, because sweet baby is protected, but I’m terrified because it’s MY job to protect my kids too. Any permanent side effects I potentially suffer will affect them and their lives too. I’m still pretty broken about the whole thing, it’s truly the definition of a no-win scenario for me.
At least now, we have the plan, and it is fairly simple. We gave Tenacious B some time to flip or get the hell out of my lungs/ribs so that she can be externally assisted in getting where she needs to be. In 3 sleeps (!), we will return to see the OB, who is coming in on her day off just for us. She’ll attempt an ECV and induce if we’re successful. If unsuccessful, we’ll see if my body is favourable/ready for delivery. If NOT, we’ll wait a couple more days. If SO, we’ll induce and work towards a vaginal breech delivery. I will have to agree to have an epidural, and deliver in an operating room that will be prepped for an emergency C-section. Dr. F is quite confident that if this is the alternative we end up with, we’ll still have a successful delivery (without knives). Hell, the epi may be a nice treat! I wish I could express how totally incredible this doctor is. We asked what would happen if I went into natural labour while she was off call or before the ECV attempt, and her response was, “day or night any day, page me and I’m here.” As though it were nothing. I could have cried, just knowing that no matter what, we have an OB willing to work with us, to TRY. That’s all I need.
As we continue to play crotch watch and hope the baby formerly known as Squiggle decides to be nice and flip, I realize how utterly physically (thanks, flu) and emotionally exhausting the last two weeks or so have been… I’m completely burned out and ready to get to the joyful part where a couple becomes a family. There are concessions to be made, and it isn’t picture perfect, but when is it ever? Hell, it’s a full moon tonight…