Back in November, I went to the doctor for the big 8-week ultrasound. I remember being so concerned about hearing the heartbeat, I had no idea there could be other issues. As the ultrasound technician located the heartbeat and then proceeded to check out the fallopian tubes and uterine walls, she asked if I had experienced any bleeding. I told her I hadn’t (and still haven’t – luckily!) and she seemed pretty surprised to hear that.
She then told me that it looks like I have a heart-shaped uterus. The medical term is bicornuate uterus, but it’s commonly referred to as a heart-shape, simply because that’s what it looks like! I was so shocked to hear this as I’d never heard of that medical condition before. I remember telling her that it must be because I’m just full of love.
Essentially, instead of a pear-shape, my uterus has a heart shape, so the baby might not have as much room to grow and move around as they would inside a normal, pear-shaped uterus. This condition can lead to difficulty conceiving, an increased risk for early miscarriage, plus a higher chance of preterm labor and breech birth. Luckily, Kevin and I didn’t face any fertility issues and we were blessed to not experience an early miscarriage either.
My midwife also said I wouldn’t be considered high-risk unless symptoms presented itself that warranted the label. Luckily, I’m still considered to be having a normal pregnancy at 31 weeks!
Of course, following the appointment, I immediately went home and googled everything I could about heart-shaped uteruses. But for as many scary stories I read, I also read plenty of stories about women who carried their babies full-term and had a successful vaginal delivery.
Only about 1% of women are diagnosed with a heart-shaped uterus in the United States, so it was surprising to find out that a local Charlotte blogger I know also has the same issue as me. I first met Christie at Jen’s baby shower last November. Check out her blog to find out more about her bicornuate experience and her daughter’s birth story.
I didn’t want to let fears about the risks associated with this kind of uterus rule my pregnancy, so I pretty much kept any doubts out of my mind and still enrolled in Bradley classes, despite knowing that I have a high chance of breech birth. And even if I do end up with a c-section, I won’t regret the time and money I invested to learn about how to have a natural childbirth.
Call me crazy, but I’ve always wanted to experience a vaginal delivery. As a child, I wanted to be an obstetrician (well, partly because I knew how to spell the word) but also because pregnancy and childbirth fascinate me. At 12-years-old, I even got to watch my mom give my birth to my youngest sister. (Although after that experience, I did change my mind about becoming an obstetrician …).
As I’m now 31 weeks pregnant, I want to do everything I can to attempt to turn the baby head down before space becomes an issue and Sweet Pea can no longer turn. Breech vaginal births are possible, but Kevin and I just aren’t comfortable with that idea. No matter what happens, I know I’ll feel better about the experience if I know I at least tried everything I could to get the baby head down beforehand. Above all, I just want a healthy baby!
I had an ultrasound yesterday to determine if Sweet Pea was head down yet and to make sure there were no signs of preterm labor. Thankfully, preterm labor currently isn’t a concern, but Sweet Pea is still hanging out in the breech position. I have about one month left to try to get the baby head down before my chances really start to drop. My midwife did agree that if I do need a c-section, she’ll let me start labor naturally rather than schedule a date for the surgery.
This is especially important to me because I believe it’s best for Sweet Pea to come into the world when he or she is ready, but also because I really want to experience what it feels like to go in labor. I find the idea of vaginal birth incredibly amazing and sacred. I’d love the opportunity to feel it myself – even if it’s just for the early stages of labor.
At 31 weeks, I’m in Operation Head Down and trying all kinds of methods to get Sweet Pea in optimal position. I’ve found the website, Spinning Babies, to be especially helpful. If you have any other ideas, please let me know!
Current methods include:
- Shining a flashlight in the pelvic area to encourage Sweet Pea to gravitate towards the area.
- Playing music near the pelvic area to also encourage Sweet Pea to go towards the music
- Having Kevin talk to Sweet Pea in the pelvic area using a low, soothing voice
- Doing the breech tilt (I just used pillows and a chair, rather than what’s shown in the link.)
- Chiropractic appointments using the Webster Technique
- Monthly acupuncture appointments, plus I’m going to try moxibustion as well