Well, now I know why I'm so uncomfortable. That baby is transverse again.
When the doctor saw me, she said that she thought my stomach looked a lot bigger than before, and casually wondered aloud whether the baby had in her words "popped up again." I didn't give it a thought, despite my tremendous discomfort lately, because I just was sure that once she went head down, she would stay there. The doctor is right, though--my bump is huge. I haven't gained any more weight than with my first pregnancy, but my even my biggest maternity clothes are tight or don't fit at all (and these are the ones I wore until I delivered Miss M!). Then the doctor felt my stomach, and said she thought the baby was sideways again. I continued to hold out hope that perhaps the baby's head was just really low and engaged (ha!). Then she pulled out the ultrasound machine, and indeed, I couldn't deny it any more: bum on one side, head on the other, nothing down below. The good news, I guess, is that my cervix was in clear view and looks great--long and closed. Which means, hopefully, that there is still time for this baby to behave and turn herself around into the right position. The doctor messed around with my belly a bit, pressing on it and seeing what happened. I was afraid she was going to attempt a version right then and there, and what she was doing was pretty uncomfortable as it was, but I think she was just trying to see how much play there was.
I was doing okay with this turn of events until the doctor started talking about how this could change things. She said that if I feel like I'm in labor, or my water breaks, I will need to come in much sooner than we had last talked about, so that they could assess things. She said that the earlier I come in, the more they can do to try to manually move the baby into a head-down position, if she is not head down at that point. When she got to the part where she said that she would do her best, and thought she could move the baby, but that if all failed the only option would be a c-section, I confess that I lost it and burst into tears. I know--I'm totally pathetic. I know it's true that c-section is the only option with a transverse baby who had failed to turn, and I knew the caveat was coming, but the reality just isn't one I want to face. I managed to gain control fairly quickly, and the doctor is reasonably sure she can make the baby turn. She doesn't think my risks of having a c-section are any worse than anyone else's going into labor, even given that my baby is transverse right now. All of that was really positive and helpful to hear. But I'm really, really bummed, nevertheless.
I guess the c-section is my last great birth fear that I haven't yet overcome. When I got pregnant with Miss M, there were so many things I was afraid of, but I was able to work through them. I was certain that with my doula and all the work I'd done pre-delivery, my delivery with Miss M would go well, and I would not need a c-section. I didn't even worry about it. That's not where I find myself right now. I am terrified of both having someone cut me open, and the medications that they give (I have just awful reactions to many medications--and because of my relatively small size, they always overmedicate me, which only makes things worse). And then the c-section recovery period. And the scar. I don't want any of it. It all sounds horrible.
My doctor was very kind and said there was nothing I can do at this point but see what happens, and that it was not my fault that this had happened. Of course, she obviously doesn't know who she's talking to! I have never in my life taken advice that there is "nothing I can do." I refuse to accept that as a possibility with pretty much everything in life! I had already found someone to do moxibustion a few weeks ago, when she was still transverse before turning head down the first time. I'm going to give that a go later this week. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't, but it's worth a shot. I'm also going to (carefully) try inversions. I had done one right before the baby turned head down last time, so maybe it helped, and maybe it will again. I'm also going to try to just sleep on my left side. I've been switching off at night to stay comfortable, but I'm going to try not to. The way she's positioned, the pressure needs to be on the left side, so perhaps that will help. And of course, I will be scouring the internet for things that sound safe that I can also do.
If all goes well and the baby cooperates, and I'm able to have a normal delivery, she'll let me labor in whatever position I want, including pushing. In fact, she said she didn't want me on my back! It's a far cry from the standard American practice. She also said as long as everything is well with the baby (ie, no meconium, etc.), I can have her on my chest for skin to skin contact right after birth for as long as I want. That was all very positive. Oh, and my blood pressure looks great, and my weight is up less than a pound from two weeks ago, according to her scale. And, I'm negative for Strep B, which means no need for antibiotics, which is also good news. Now she just needs to turn!
T and I did a bit of baby shopping after that. I was hoping to find a baby sling of some sort that I like better than the three I already own, but I didn't find anything. I'm also wondering where women buy their pumping supplies in this damn country, because I can't find the last few things I need, and don't feel like ordering them online (which I'm now going to be forced to do). We went to lunch after that, which was really nice. We don't get out much, and my sister had offered to babysit so we could go to our appointment without Miss M. It was her naptime, anyway, so it all worked out well. It was nice to sit and chat with T. without any interruptions, and have a real grownup conversation. Plus, the food was great!
So hopefully, I've got two more weeks or so until I deliver, and this baby will turn head down in the meantime.