Life Stories: The ECV

The ECV, otherwise known as the external cephalic version, is a method used to turn the baby from a breech position into the head-down position. Having tried most other things (see previous life stories post), we were running out of time to flip the baby naturally. Thus, with time running out until the baby is too big to flip on its own, we were sent to the Better Births Clinic and with one days notice wound up in the Labour & Delivery room at BC Women's Hospital.

At 9am, my wife received a phone call that our appointment was scheduled for the next day at 9am and to not eat or drink anything after midnight. We had learned this was because of the nature of the procedure that could possibly put her into labour, or could call for an emergency c-section... (read: possibility of coming home with a kiddo!). This meant, we had to make a car seat purchase that evening as the hospital doesn't allow you to leave with your baby without a car seat. 

We arrived at the hospital at 8:45am waited until 9:45am where my incredibly hungry pregnant wife and I were moved into a multi purpose room. Once in the room, my wife was set up with a couple pads stuck on her belly measuring the heart rate of the baby, while we were given pamphlets about the procedure and it's risks.

As we were waiting in the room, the nurse came in, followed by a paramedic trainee. About 5 minutes later, two midwives from our South Birth Community arrived to be there for the procedure. Eventually, Dr. Wu (who was great by the way, my wife said he has the softest, warmest chubby hands) came in with his entourage of students; a total of four. This brought us up to a total of 11 people in one room for this event. After 30 min of fetal monitoring and a barrage of paperwork they began the ultrasound to check out the baby's position.

Dr. Wu proceeded to tell us that because of the baby's position, Frank breech - bum down feet up, there was a 10% chance of the procedure being successful. With the fluid between the bum and cervix, at min 500cc's, we were up to a 30% chance. That percentage increased to about 35-40% given that my wife has remained rather slender throughout the pregnancy and they could feel the baby though her stomach. After another full review of our options, Dr. Wu and his team got to work, it took him leading two residents, one who was the pusher, one who was the puller on the outside of my wife's stomach to manually turn our baby inside of her.

After a well orchestrated push and pull, Dr Wu yelled, "Hands Off"! Then he confirmed the head was down, the whole procedure luckily only lasted about two minutes... everyone cheered and clapped - what a relief! I didn't watch too much of it, what I did see looked like a large loaf of bread turning inside my wife's stomach. It also looked and sounded like it hurt, and although she was ravenous she was happy to not have eaten anything as it might have come up while they were manipulating her stomach.

In the end, the baby successfully remained heads down and everyone rushed out leaving just my wife, me and the original nurse. I went to top up the parking and heard staff in the hallways talking about the procedure, asking each other, did you see that?! it was so cool!! We stayed in the hospital an extra 30 minutes to monitor the baby and when we could leave, we drove straight to Fable Diner to fill up on some brunch!