Pregnancy, post seven of eight
In week 36 of my pregnancy we discovered Coraline was breech. I was offered an External Cephalic Version (E.C.V.); a procedure to help turn her, using hands on the outside of the belly. If she didn't turn, they said I would have a scheduled caesarean, as they don't tend to deliver breech babies naturally these days.
They said Coraline was the perfect size and position to turn. She didn't turn. I wrote in Coraline's diary that day, Monday 31 July 2017, "they got you half way but you didn't turn. I was really proud as both you and I were nice and calm and relaxed and your dad was there and great".
We were told that we could either try a second E.C.V. in a few days, or leave it there, and come back for a scheduled caesarean on Tuesday 15th August, when I would have been 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Week 39 is the best time to do an elective caesarean section when everything is going well, they explained. Coraline’s due date throughout my pregnancy was Friday 19th August.
We decided to come back four days later to give an E.C.V. a second and final go. We tried moxibustion and acupuncture before going back.
Little did we know that one of the duo trying to turn Coraline that day, Susana, Consultant Obstetrician, would be a significant figure in Coraline's arrival. We had not met Susana before that day. She spotted that something was not quite right with Coraline’s growth rate, which she noticed whilst looking at the readings on the scan report which is part of the E.C.V. She saw something was unusual with the placenta and it was not working well. She probably only spotted this because she was an Obstetrician with a foetal specialism.
On that same day, immediately afterwards, she re-arranged her schedule to do further scans for us, and said that she felt it was wise for Coraline to be delivered sooner than 15th August. It was a Friday 4th August, and they didn't do caesareans over the weekend, so she booked us in for first thing on the Monday 7th August. The day after Kevin's 40th birthday on Sunday 6th August.
Susana later explained to me, in a meeting with her two and a half months after Coraline was born, the ramifications had we not come back for the second E.C.V., and had she not seen what she had seen at it. She said that it didn’t cross her mind that Coraline had Down’s Syndrome, however. She explained that the baby and the placenta are made of the same cells and both, therefore, had Down’s Syndrome, so Coraline’s placenta also had an extra chromosome.
I remember looking at her, and saying, “we were so lucky”.
“I was lucky I met you,” she replied.