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Pregnancy: 36 Weeks

by Meghann on September 14, 2015

36 weeks and baby girl is the size of a head of romaine lettuce!

36 weeks

We had our “big” ultrasound appointment on Thursday. Just to review, I have a bicornate uterus which basically means my uterus is heart shaped with a big dip in the middle. Because of that dip in the middle, I’ve been classified as semi-high risk due to the higher risk of having a smaller baby due to growth restriction, delivering early because of baby girl running out of room, and a c-section because there’s not enough room for her to turn in the proper direction. I think the statistic is 50-70% of babies from bicornate uteruses are either breech or transverse at full term. This is all information I’ve known since the very beginning (or, really, since my miscarriage over a year ago), so I’ve had plenty of time to process and accept it all.

Thankfully baby girl has been growing right on schedule and has remained pretty steady at the 45th percentile range for size. We’ve made it to 36 weeks (woo hoo!) and currently have no signs of going into labor anytime soon. She’s extremely active (in fact, she’s currently having a party in my belly as I type this) and I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am to have nothing but good reports at each doctor visit (*knock on wood*).

However, as awesome as my little girl has been, she’s also a little stubborn. Since the beginning she has been pretty comfortable in the transverse position. She did move into breech during our last ultrasound at 32 weeks, but even then she was still at a slanted angle hugging the left side of my uterus. I think she’s really struggled trying to make it past the dip in my uterus, and the bigger she gets, the more of a challenge it becomes. Still, my doctors have been optimistic since the beginning, letting me know we won’t make any tough decisions until 36 weeks. My office is very pro-vaginal birth and won’t even consider a c-section unless they absolutely have to.

So my 36 weeks appointment was a big one. I went straight back to the ultrasound room where the extra cheery ultrasound tech squirted warmed goo on my belly and crossed her fingers that we’d find baby’s head down below. No luck. In fact, it took her a minute or so to find baby girl’s head because it wasn’t up top either. She found it far on my left side, stating baby girl had a clear view of my kidneys.  Not only had baby girl moved back into transverse position, but she had stretched herself completely across my belly. She’s so stretched out that she impressed the ultrasound tech with how she was positioned. Apparently it was a first for her and made it extra challenging to collect measurements.

As soon as I heard the word “transverse” I knew what was coming… Because of her current position, my funky uterus, and the risks that come with going into labor with a baby who is transverse, my doctor recommended we schedule a c-section for 39 weeks. As I mentioned above, I knew this was a possibility since day 1 so I wasn’t shocked. I’ve had time to process this possibility and learn to accept it. I remained hopeful that something would change, but at this time it doesn’t seem likely. My doctor would still like to monitor baby girl and see if she flips (she even mentioned they would do an ultrasound as I’m being wheeled to surgery to check position and if she flips they would cancel everything), but for now they want to get me on the schedule and to prepare myself mentally for surgery.

A scheduled c-section is never something I saw myself having before I became pregnant. I watched my mom fight hard for her right to deliver my baby brother naturally in the late eighties. After delivering my twin brother and I via c-section, she lost the battle with the doctor for a vbac with my sister two years later. She ended up switching doctors (and going to a new hospital) to finally have her vbac with him. After that she became very pro-natural delivery and she passed those same views down to me. However, my mom knows as well as I that a healthy baby is the number one priority. I feel confident with my doctors and trust them to make the necessary calls. They’re even confident that a vbac wouldn’t be out of the question for future deliveries.

It’s amazing how your priorities change when you’re preparing for labor and you learn to instantly go with the flow. As much as it kills me to admit it, there are some perks to scheduling a c-section, like coordinating schedules with our friends and family, letting my office know my exact last day of work before maternity leave, getting to sleep and shower the night before, and going over a new “birth plan” with my doctor. We’ll still be able to do immediate skin-to-skin, delayed cord clamping, and all of the other birth details that are important to us.

At this point I am sad that I will not have a chance to experience true labor, but if it means getting my baby girl her safely then I am okay with that. Plus, a c-section is not the “easy road.” I expect recovery to still be painful and difficult, it’s still a major surgery that should be taken very seriously.

So as of right now October 1st is officially baby day (unless she flips in the next three weeks or something happens that causes her to come sooner). Let the countdown begin!

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sara September 14, 2015 at 12:02 pm

You have a great attitude! A healthy baby girl is what matters most.
Sara recently posted..It’s Getting Easier

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2 Jennifer September 14, 2015 at 12:22 pm

I’ve had friends in the same situation try the exercises founding on SpinningBabies.com as well as acupuncture and chiropractic manipulations with a pretty good success rate. Now who knows if those things really worked or it was coincidence, but they may be worth looking into if you want to avoid a c-section. Regardless, your outlook on getting your baby girl here safely is great!

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3 Kristen @ Glitter and Dust September 14, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Your head and heart seem to be in the right place. A lot of people would be very disgruntled if their birth plan didn’t go as planned, but you have a positive attitude and are acting very unselfishly. You are right – the important thing is to deliver a healthy little girl. October 1 will be here before you know it! Very excited for you. ?
Kristen @ Glitter and Dust recently posted..Axel’s Birth Story

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4 Alyssa September 14, 2015 at 12:32 pm

There are definite advantages to a planned c-section! I had an emergency one after 30 hours of labor and my husband barely got his scrubs on before our son was out. From what I’ve heard recovery from planned ones is much easier, and being able to sleep the night before (and eat!) is huge! I’m not dead set on a VBAC the second time around. I definitely understand being disappointed on not experiencing labor, but having experienced it, it’s something I’d like to skip. You’ll do great! Put a pillow over your stomach to cough or laugh afterwards :).
Alyssa recently posted..Lessons learned this weekend

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5 Krista September 14, 2015 at 12:57 pm

I found out at 36 weeks that my baby was breech too. We go in this Thursday for our planned c section. I went through all the same emotions as you but ultimately as you stated I just want a healthy, happy baby and nothing else matters!

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6 Andrea September 14, 2015 at 1:03 pm

I’m not playing devils advocate, but just wanted to chime in that my C-section was not a bad experience. The first 24 hours were difficult, but after that, I healed very quickly and in 10 days pretty much felt like my normal self. I think with as active as you have been during your pregnancy, you’ll bounce back pretty quickly as well. I’m currently pregnant and am going to try for a VBAC, but I’m not scared if another c/s is necessary.

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7 brandi September 14, 2015 at 1:03 pm

Our little guy (born in May) was frank breach for the last 2 months and didn’t have the room to flip, so we had a scheduled c-section, too. not my first choice BUT he is here and healthy, and that’s all the matters!! and if i had to have one, i’m happy it was scheduled and i knew it was coming! definitely easier to prepare for it.

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8 Katie @ Live Half Full September 14, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Pregnancy has really taught me how to let go of things I cannot control, I’m glad it’s the same for you! Good to see you’re staying positive. Sending healthy, happy vibes your way!
Katie @ Live Half Full recently posted..Meals & Workouts 9/13-9/19

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9 goldie September 14, 2015 at 1:13 pm

I had an emergency c section after 11 hrs in labour and baby’s heart rate began to drop. I was disappointed but so happy baby was safe. With recovery i started walking short distances the next day. Nothing too strenuous.

5 weeks later I’m baack to prepregnancy size and working out for 30 mins twice a week.

You’ll bounce back no trouble x
goldie recently posted..Oh my days!

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10 Megan September 14, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Good for you- but Meghann… Take it easy!

I’ve had two c-sections. The first one I didn’t exercise at all for 6-7 months (motherhood, cross country move, husband worked ALOT) and the second one I started running 20 days later. Neither were the best choices. I felt much better the second time around which is why I ran too early, but my incision did not heal as well.

Enjoy the newborn/postpartum phase and don’t stress about getting back to exercising right away.

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11 Jackie September 14, 2015 at 1:19 pm

I had an emergency c-section in May after a looong labor that included 4 hours of intense pushing. Having a c section was NOT in my plans and never thought I would have one. Recovery was not good, but I think a big part was having to go through the labor and the frantic, unplanned surgery. I keep thinking if I had just known and had time to process it would have been so much better. I’m not a “candidate ” for vbac due to extra incisions that had to be made in my uterus. I’m still mourning the fact that I’ll never get a vaginal birth, but knowing what is expected if I have another baby is somewhat comforting. You’ll be so much prepared and not too exhaust to be with your little girl which is great! You’re also in good shape so il sure you’ll recover quite well! Also, my birthday is October 1st! It’s a great day to be born 🙂

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12 Michele September 14, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Being a mother (parent) is definitely about making the best decisions for your child. I’m glad to hear that everyone is, otherwise, healthy!

Also, as a fellow Disney-lover, I’m happy to report that my family will be on our Disney trip the weekend right after your baby’s birthday (and my 10/2 birthday!) 🙂 I’ll be sure to remember you while we’re walking through the Kingdom!

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13 Claire September 14, 2015 at 1:33 pm

My daughter was a scheduled c-section because she was breech, and I had a wonderful experience. I was able to mentally prepare, and recovery was not bad. I was able to have a VBAC with my son, and it was an incredible experience. You have such a great attitude! Our bodies are incredible. Look what your has done up to this point, and it will continue to amaze you!

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14 Beth September 14, 2015 at 1:33 pm

You have a great attitude! Be ready for whatever even with a scheduled c-section, one of my best friends went into labor the sunday night before her friday schedule! So she got to experience labor after all.

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15 Julie September 14, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Try not to feel bad about any of this. When it comes to C-sections planned (for legitimate reasons) > unplanned > emergency.
Julie recently posted..Flopping

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16 Mrs. H September 14, 2015 at 2:38 pm

A C-section is a perfectly acceptable way to deliver a baby. It annoys me to no end when people talk about it like it’s the end of the world, “not what I hoped for,” “not the kind of birth experience I wanted,” etc. And especially comments like this one above – “When it comes to C-sections planned (for legitimate reasons)…” Why would it only be acceptable if it was for a legitimate reason? And who decides what is a legitimate reason? I had a scheduled, planned, ELECTIVE C-section because that is the way I chose to give birth. I do not go around making people who have vaginal births feel badly about their choice to do so. My C-section experience was wonderful for all of the reasons Meghann mentioned (being able to have some control over the process, having family and friends present, knowing exactly what to expect before hand), but also because C-sections are a SAFE way for babies to be delivered. The trauma of a natural birth on babies causes all kinds of problems, including oxygen deprivation leading to neurological defects, stroke, Cerebral Palsy, etc. Faced with dealing a few days of pain from surgery (which you would have with a natural birth as well) versus ensuring a smooth entry into this world for my baby, I definitely would choose a C-section every time. Good luck Meghann! You’ll be absolutely fine.

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17 Megan September 14, 2015 at 8:40 pm

A vaginal delivery is still the safest way to deliver a baby, barring extenuating circumstances. Elective cesareans have many more risks attached for both mom and babe than vaginal births.

This is coming from someone who had two c-sections (unplanned).

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18 Julie September 15, 2015 at 11:29 am

Didn’t intend to bash C-sections in my comment. My son and I are alive and healthy because I had one, and I don’t regret it at all. This was after my water broke early and I made absolutely no progress after a day and numerous drugs. So you could say our decision to have one was not legitimate, but it was either that or wait it out, risk infection or something suddenly turning south and needing an emergency procedure. Regardless, I don’t think hospitals should push C-sections on patients just because they want things to move quickly or for money or whatnot. It should be something carefully considered since it does with its own risks. For example, my baby kept coughing up fluid that otherwise would have been pushed out of his lungs during delivery. I couldn’t lift my baby out of the bassinette for the first couple of days, and the C-section meds delayed my milk.
Julie recently posted..Flopping

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19 Allison September 15, 2015 at 6:56 pm

C-sections are statistically far less safe than vaginal deliveries for mother and baby. You are absolutely entitled to your choices, but don’t gice out false information like it is fact. My section almost killed me and left me with brain damage.

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20 Megan September 18, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Exactly.

And for the record, Meghann, I think your reasoning to have a c-section is 100% the right decision. ?

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21 Lauri September 14, 2015 at 2:31 pm

It’s great you’re in the mindset that healthy baby and mother > natural or vaginal birth. I had a 3rd degree tear 8 years ago when my son was delivered with forceps vaginally, and a tough recovery. Last fall I had a scheduled C section with my daughter (for several reasons) and it was a very straightforward surgery and recovery. I think the best part was that because it was scheduled, my body was prepared for surgery and hadn’t gone through the stress of labor first, which can make the recovery all that much harder. Your body will recover much easier without laboring first. Good luck with it all!

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22 Theresa September 14, 2015 at 2:42 pm

It’s good to see you’re so upbeat about this. I really don’t understand a lot of the stigma that comes with scheduled (or emergency) C-sections. As you said, I really think the focus needs to be on having a healthy delivery for baby and mommy, whether that means un-medicated vaginal, epidural, induction, scheduled c-section, or emergency c-section. And I think it says a lot about your soon-to-be-parenting skills knowing that this isn’t throwing you into a tailspin! There is SO much about parenting that doesn’t go as we originally plan, and you really do need to be able to roll with the punches and react to whatever circumstances you find yourself in. And I must say, I had a scheduled induction at 39 weeks 3 days for various reasons, and knowing exactly when the baby was going to arrive was really nice for planning!

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23 Gretchen September 14, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Just chiming in with some mom love! I had an emergency C-section with my daughter, and while it wasn’t what I pictured, I got to take home this pretty awesome human when I was done, and she was perfect 🙂 Recovery wasn’t awful – I was a little beat up, but I figured I would’ve been either way, right? So kudos to you for being so philosophical about everything in the name of responsible decision making. You’re going to have this “mom” thing down!

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24 Jamie September 14, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Please don’t say you sad to have a C-section. I had an emergency C-Section with my son four months ago. I had the perfect pregnancy. I only gained 25 pounds. I ran almost the entire time. His head was down. But the cord was around his neck.
Till this day people tell me how much of a bummer it was that I had a C-section.

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25 Laura September 14, 2015 at 4:00 pm

I have had 3 c-sections and the recovery was smooth for all of them!!! I think that yours will be similar because you have remained active during your pregnancy!!! Good luck!!!!

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26 Caitlin September 14, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Hi, I just wanted to say that I was in the exact same boat as you 16 months ago with a stubborn little girl that refused to flip. I too had my heart set on a natural delivery and it was tough to come to terms with a c-section. In the end, everything went well and my beautiful little girl was born safe and sound! Recovery was actually not as scary as I expected and in some ways better than I’ve heard about vaginal delivery. I’m still hopeful for a vbac for baby #2 in a year or two. We shall see! Good luck with everything! I’ve followed your blog for a long time and I’m so excited for you guys!!!

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27 Holly September 14, 2015 at 4:53 pm

I too wanted a vaginal birth to avoid major surgery…but after an induction and 30+ hours of labor I ended up with a c section. Perhaps I could have fought my doctor against it, but I’m happy with the end result: my baby! I understand your feelings about it, but just try to relax and focus on things you can control.

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28 Rachael September 14, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Great attitude! I’m 39 weeks with a baby girl this week and I must admit I’m a little jealous that you know how your birth with probably go this far in advance.. the “not knowing” for me is the hardest part!

I have a question – how do you do delayed cord clamping and immediate skin-to-skin with a C section? From the (ridiculous number of) videos I’ve seen, there’s always a sheet blocking Mom’s view of the procedure. Do they just pop the babe under the screen onto your chest? How do they do delayed cord clamping in the middle of a c section? I am intrigued and excited for you that these are options available during a c section, just nosy about the actual process 🙂

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29 Ashley Jordan September 14, 2015 at 8:22 pm

I think they’d just pass the baby over the sheet directly onto Moms chest. I had to have a c-section with twins and they were born prematurely so they were rushed to NICU (no skin-to-skin because they were worried about getting the babies to breathe, which obviously took precedence), but it’s not like the screen is some steel wall or something. They could easily just reach over and hand Mom the baby. The screen is really just to keep her from being squeamish seeing all the blood. Trust me, it’s weird enough because even though you don’t feel any pain, you DO feel tugging/pulling as you’re being cut into and opened up. A very strange sensation!

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30 Marla September 14, 2015 at 6:26 pm

I am the mom of amazing 2 year old twin boys, and my baby A was breech so I had a scheduled C-section. My feelings were so similar to what you are expressing here – I had always wanted a natural birth and was prepared to go through a lot to get it, but I trusted in my doctor that this was medically necessary (and all the doctors in my area – there was not an OB in NYC who would deliver a breech presenting twin!).

Two things I will say, having been there: 1) If you can, familiarize yourself with the full cesarean protocol – it was nothing too crazy or shocking, but it was good to know ahead of time what the procedure/restrictions would be post-op, because it was nothing I would have guessed!

2) It is okay if you go through some post-partum sadness that it didn’t go the way you wanted. Two years after the fact I am just thankful that c-sections exist and that I had a successful one! But when my babies were first born and hormones were going bonkers, I definitely grieved what I thought was the ‘right’ (ha!) way to birth, it got me teary-eyed to read/watch birthing stories, etc.

All went completely and totally well and I am so thankful for my healthy, happy boys. I think it is a good lesson for parenting in general, you can plan and plan and think you know what’s best but sometimes our kids have their own agenda. 🙂 Feel good and wishing you a beautiful rest of pregnancy and birth!

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31 Megan September 14, 2015 at 6:44 pm

October 1 is my birthday, so it’s a good day. 😉

Ultimately, it’s definitely about getting baby girl delivered safely! And at least it’s the scheduled back up and you never know what will happen in the next few weeks! Thinking of you, Meghann!
Megan recently posted..Stitch Fix 3 | August 2015

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32 Meg September 14, 2015 at 7:44 pm

You had such a great attitude! I’m the mom of a 10-month-old, and it’s all about the baby’s healh, not what mom wants 😉 I had a frank-breach baby and ended up scheduling a c-section wk 38, but my baby girl made an early appearance at wk 37! Good luck, you will do great no matter what!

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33 Ashley Jordan September 14, 2015 at 8:18 pm

I want to send virtual hugs your way! I had spontaneous twins and was high risk. I developed HELLP at 32 weeks and had to have an emergency c-section for my own safety. Because I was having twins and considered high risk I knew the odds of c-section were high, but it was still tough when it all went down. I know it sounds stupid, but my biggest internal issue was that I never got to even experience labor. No stories about my water breaking or the pain involved to pass onto my children when they grow up and become moms. To me it feels like I’ve missed out on this right of passage that comes with bearing children. Again – all of this is self-imposed and its something I’ve come to accept and work through. Be thankful that you’ve got some time to wrap your mind around it all, but be aware that it’s still OK to be a little sad, bummed out, or disappointed that things didn’t go as you might have hoped. But at the end of the day, you’re absolutely right that a healthy mom and baby are the only things that matter! Keep that perspective in mind and you’ll be fine. Can’t wait to hear more updates – my fingers are crossed for you that she’ll flip!

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34 Rebecca September 14, 2015 at 9:03 pm

Your attitude is great. My mom and my sister both had all of their babies drug-free, “naturally” (I hate that term… like a c-section baby is “unnatural”?) and I just expected I would too, but I ended up with an emergency c-section. Once it happened, it was very easy to let go (surprisingly… I thought I’d be more upset) and it was my mom who said the most helpful thing:

(Paraphrasing) “I don’t know why people put so much expectation on the ‘birth experience’; it’s such a tiny part of being a mother.” As it sounds like you are already learning. All the best for the remainder of your pregnancy & all that is to come.

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35 Heather September 14, 2015 at 10:18 pm

You may want to look into chiropractic care to try to flip her. There are many great chiropractors in the Tampa area. Either way, you have a great attitude and you’re right, a healthy baby is the top priority!

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36 Kristen @ The Concrete Runner September 15, 2015 at 6:57 am

I’ve had 2 c-sections, one “emergency” and one scheduled, and I honestly think that if we go for a third kid (unlikely now) that I would probably do it again. I really enjoyed having my second one scheduled for the same reasons you listed and o did not feel like my recovery was much different than my friends who went natural. The only draw back is the longer hospital stay, but I did like having the extra help from the nurses (and lactation consultants!) those first few tough days!

My advice: utilize the nursery the first night or two. You won’t be able to get up and move on your own, and you’ll be exhausted. It was nice to have the nurses come in and bring the baby to me and help me get her latched. And pain medicine will be your friend. Post uterine contractions are no joke, and are incredibly painful with an incision. I wa stubborn and didn’t take them until my last night, and wish I would’ve used them earlier!
Kristen @ The Concrete Runner recently posted..weekly workouts + surviving on my own

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37 Jackie M September 15, 2015 at 9:06 am

Thanks for sharing this. I am in a similar boat with a baby boy due in October who is still breech. Like you, I would love to be able to try a natural delivery but I had two previous miscarriages and as you can relate, c-section vs. vaginal is just one of the small details in the main goal of getting a healthy baby here.
I love that you also pointed out the conveniences of C-Section as those have been comforting to me as well. Also –> 2 extra weeks off of work. 🙂

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38 kallie September 15, 2015 at 9:15 am

I had 2 c-sections (with good reason for both) and the second was supposed to be a vbac. Really no big deal that I didn’t get to have a vaginal delivery with either one. I did labor with my second though. I think mothers sometimes forget it’s a time to celebrate the arrival of their baby rather than “mourn” their failure to deliver vaginally. It’s not shameful at all to have a c-section. I get it’s not what you had planned, but no need to be so dramatic. Good luck on the 1st!

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39 nicole September 15, 2015 at 11:55 am

Hello! Long time reader and never commented! I had a big boy (over 9 pounds) and scheduled a c section.

Please remember that everyone has an opinion and I was surprised how many people made me feel bad about the c section or scared me about recovery. Do what is right with you and your baby. And BTW – recovery is not that bad at all! 2nd day is worse and I took maybe 3 pain pills and 4 motrin over the course of everything. Its mind over matter! You will do great!

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40 Liz September 15, 2015 at 2:53 pm

I had an emergency c-section after 24 hours of labor with basically no progress. As I get father away from my baby’s birthday (she’s 6 months now) it hits me more and more how small a part of the entire experience of motherhood that birth really is. That is not to say it is insignificant, it certainly is life-changing and momentous! But, I find myself surprised at how quickly and how much my daughter’s birth has been totally eclipsed by the experience of watching her grow and develop. It’s got to be very emotionally challenging preparing for a birth experience that is not necessarily what you would have hoped for in a perfect world, but it sounds like you have a great attitude about it, and I can assure you that a few short months from now you will be too busy loving on your little girl and just being amazed by her to even think about it much 😉 Another upside is that you will get to skip over a little bit of that annoying last bit of pregnancy! My baby came at 41 weeks just before I was scheduled to be induced, and the last 2 weeks of waiting were just torturous! So excited for you and your family! Won’t be long now!!

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41 Maria September 16, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Good luck with everything! You’re almost at the end! With that being said, I heard that rubbing peppermint oil on the top of your stomach and on your lower back is supposed to help baby move into the correct position. Always worth a shot!

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42 Startadaycareservice September 17, 2015 at 9:10 am

I pray you give birth safely and have a healthy baby, whether it’s done through c-section or a normal delivering.
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43 Johanna September 18, 2015 at 10:57 pm

I knew very early that my chances of a vaginal delivery were slim because I had GD and the baby was measuring 2 weeks a head. But at 38 weeks and my BP raising, they induced me. They gave me the option and of course I wanted to try for a vaginal delivery. I got to experience my water breaking and contractions and pushing ( for four hours!) and finally my c section. I have to say I was up out of bed the next day greeting visitors and feeling good ( with some pain meds!) but if I am blessed with any future children they will be scheduled sections due to a heart condition and that’s ok with me. It’s still the most amazing moment of your life no matter how it happens.
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