Moxibustion, Webster’s Technique, and other terms I learned this week

Yes, I realize that rhymes… my talent knows no end.

I’ve also discovered new talents such as setting up planks of wood lined with blankets and pillows in order to invert my pregnant partner and turn our breeched baby.

It’s been quite the week.

Up until now, every time someone has said, “how’s Becca?”, or “how goes the pregnancy?”, the response has been,”excellent…touch wood” – evidently one should not merely say ‘touch wood’ without actually touching wood, but I digress.

3 weeks back, during a visit to our midwife, a thorough prodding and poking was underway, when the midwife stated that she wasn’t confident that the baby was facing the right way; that is to say, she had a hunch that our little one was breeched. She asked for us to hang in there until our appointment the following week wherein she would check again, and if still unsure, would send us for an ultrasound.

The next week when we arrived, more poking, prodding, pushing, and pressing, and yet again, the midwife was unconvinced.

“I’m 95% sure that just a boney bum I’m feeling, but let’s book an ultrasound just to be sure.”

Becca and I needed to know immediately, so we booked the ultrasound for that afternoon. We were as confident as the midwife that our baby was seated just fine, heck, everything was going so smoothly up until this point.

Finally at the ultrasound clinic, the technician brought Becca in and shortly after called me into the room. She showed us the baby’s spine and feet and hands, and stated quite firmly that the boney bum we had been feeling was indeed our baby’s head.

It’s referred to as a Frank Breech, we soon found out, where the baby’s bum is wedged in Becca’s pelvis, while his or her hands and feet are doing some fancy yoga pose.

frank breech


We were both caught pretty off guard.

How big a deal was this?

What can we do?

The ultrasound technician reminded us that the most important thing was that baby is healthy; understand that this is first and foremost in our minds, and we are grateful.

Frozen for a moment, we collected ourselves and decided to head next door for a bite to eat as we hadn’t had a meal since breakfast and Becca had mentioned wanting some poutine.

We ordered, sat down, and then yours truly decided to google…

Let me tell you, as someone working in Healthcare, I can attest to the fact that you should NEVER USE DR. GOOGLE, but alas, I didn’t know what else to do.

I started reading off stretches, exercises, techniques, percentages, and then finally started discussing muscle relaxants, ECV procedures and c-sections.

When I looked up, Becca’s eyes opened wide, and she made the tiniest “oh” sound, and then burst into tears.

I relive that many times a day.

I’ve never seen her cry this way.

It broke my heart in a way that I never want to feel again. It reminded me that my commitment to her is to never allow for her to feel that way.

I love Becca so much and I do everything in my power to make sure she is safe from pain and harm.

Leading up to the labour, I’ve often thought about how I’m going to handle seeing my partner in pain. I’ve come to terms with the fact that it is something that needs to happen and after our baby arrives, all of the pain will go away and be long forgotten.

The potential for a c-section is not comforting, regardless of statistics that I’ve read highlighting that for Canada one in every four births is by c-section, and in the US it’s one in three.

I think of the irony that we had just emailed out our birthing plan to our families, and made special mention that this was what we assumed would happen, though “baby may have his or her own plans”.

Was that ever true!

So here we are now, 5 short days away from our 37th week of pregnancy. I’ve taken the week off of work to help Becca get inverted for 15 minutes every 2 waking hours. While lying upside down on a plank balanced against the couch, we put cold packs at the top of her belly, so baby will move away from it, and play music through our belly buds towards the bottom of her stomach so the baby will gravitate towards the sound. Surprisingly, we’ve determined that my voice works better than the music, even though we were skillfully playing “Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds, and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (“Turn Around”) by Bonnie Tyler. Guess my own personal rendition of “Turn, Baby Turn” to the tune of “Disco Inferno” is more of a crowd pleaser.

We also visited our RMT for some acupuncture and bought a Chinese herb called Moxa with which we do something called Moxibustion (Moxa + combustion), where we affix the herb to Becca’s pinky toe and burn it.

IMG_6608 (1)

Smokers are jokers

Next up is a follow up midwife appointment tomorrow to see if anything has changed or improved. If need be we have a chiropractor appointment on Tuesday for them to do what’s called the Webster technique, which will open up Becca’s pelvis and help with the turning attempts.

Lastly, if all else fails, we’re going for a consultation with a doctor who is well known for his ability to turn baby’s through a technique called ECV (External Cephalic Version), which is pretty much the last ditch effort before we start discussing having a c-section.

We are very determined people, and so we are confident that we’ll do whatever we can to turn this baby and get back to our birth plan. If we end up having to go down the path of a c-section, at least we’ll know we’ve tried everything in our power.

Unsurprisingly, I was a breeched baby too, and my mum had to have a c-section. She doesn’t let me live that down… or the fact that she gained 67 pounds… sorry mum 🙂

If Becca has the c-section, I’ll make sure we don’t blame baby for it. After all, he or she will just be taking after their father!


What are your thoughts?

  1. I was suuuper stressed about having a breech baby because in Brazil (where I was living at the time) no one does a natural breech birth. Have you checked out They’ve got loads of advice on getting that little one to flip over. Hang in there! My baby was bottom down for ages and then finally flipped around in the last few weeks 🙂

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    • Thanks so much for the comment Julie, and thank you for the referral to!
      We’ve definitely checked out that website and have been following all the recommendations of specialists and other doctors. To date (38 weeks 3 days in) we haven’t seen the little one do a full flip, but our fingers are still crossed.
      As it sits right now (pardon the pun), we’re scheduled for a C-section on Thursday, but there is still the chance baby turns by then.
      I guess the fact that we figured things out so late (36.5 weeks in) and that it’s Becca’s first pregnancy, there are a few things not working in our favour. With that all being said, I may get to meet my baby in just a couple days! So exciting!
      New blog entry coming out today – Keep in touch!

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