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Peggy Sue

Looking back at when I was pregnant with Kayla, I have to wonder if I lost my mind in the last few months before she was born. Like when I allowed myself to be convinced that placing clothes pegs on my baby toes could help turn her from a breech position so that I wouldn't have to have a Caesar….

The whole sad and sorry (or hysterically funny) story began when I was 8 months pregnant and was beginning to look at the various birth options available. Neither of which looked vaguely appealing, to be honest. I had just been for a routine check-up with my doctor who had informed me that the baby was still breech and that it was looking very likely that I should opt for an elective Caesar. I was not entirely sure how I felt about this (although the fact that I did a little dance around the room while whooping with joy was probably a dead giveaway) and decided that I should chat to my antenatal teacher later that evening about the options...

At about 9pm – having sat through a very long class on epidurals, the various stages of labour and a rather alarming display of birthing positions, I waddled over to our rather gung-ho teacher for some advice on how I could get the baby into a better position. 

“Oh, it’s very easy,” Tracey beamed, “we can definitely get this baby to turn!” 

“Oh goodie,” I trilled, trying very hard to appear relieved that a 3.5 kg baby was going to make its way into the world through something the size of my right nostril. “How do we do that?” 

“Well,” she sighed. “You CAN try to find some moxibustion candles to burn between your toes – but they are very hard to find. So MY advice would be to place clothes pegs on your baby toes.” 

“I see,” I muttered thoughtfully. “Clothes pegs.....” 

“Yes, for about twenty minutes a day until the baby turns,” she added. 

Now I must admit that I was a LITTLE confused, but Stephen seemed to be taking this rather strange advice very seriously, and so I thought that maybe I had missed reading this particular chapter of What To Expect While You Are Expecting.... 

“Umm.... Just ONE tiny question,” I eventually asked. “How exactly does the baby know that I have put clothes pegs on my toes and that it needs to turn?” 

Silence while both Tracey and Stephen looked at me as if I had suddenly sprouted hair out of both my nostrils. 

“Well, the baby doesn’t really KNOW,” Tracey answered, “It’s just a form of reflexology – the baby toes represent the uterus so by placing pegs on them, you are stimulating the uterus which might result in the baby turning into a better position.” 

“Ohhhhh,” I replied, feeling a little better. “And should they be plastic pegs or wooden pegs? Because we only ever use plastic pegs at home as the wooden ones tend to leave marks on Stephen’s work shirts...” 

Silence while I got that look again. 

“I don’t think it really matters, my baby,” Stephen whispered while smiling apologetically at Tracey and steering me firmly out of the room. “I’m quite sure the plastic ones will be fine.” 

Now I must admit that I completely forgot about the whole clothes peg debacle until the day before my next doctor’s appointment two weeks later when I began to panic that I may have left it too late. 

I rushed out to the laundry, attached a clothes peg to each of my baby toes (one pink and one blue, as we had chosen not to find out the sex of the baby) and limped back into the house. I probably should have warned my housekeeper that I would be adorning my toes with various laundry paraphernalia, as she gave me a very strange look before hurrying outside to chat to the housekeeper next door. (I’m not sure what they were talking about, but they were both howling with laughter). 

And that’s the last thing I remember. Because two hours later, having totally immersed myself in my work, I was aware of my toes feeling rather sore. I had forgotten to take the jolly pegs off! 

A quick feel of my tummy and a few prods to make sure the baby was still fine, revealed that the blessed thing had not moved at all – and all I had to show for Tracey’s odd advice was two bright red toes (and a housekeeper who thought I had completely and utterly lost the plot). 

Or so I thought. 
Because on examining me the next day, Dr H revealed that the baby had turned! 

I was stunned! I was also rather alarmed, because according to the doctor, the baby was now lying in a VERY odd position, with its head facing my right hip! 

“That’s odd,” he frowned, “it can’t be very comfortable for either of you!” 

“It’s the pegs,” I sighed. “I left them on for way too long and the poor baby was probably spinning away in my stomach while waiting for me to take them off.” 

And there was that look again – that slightly perplexed and even more concerned look that I had successfully managed to lose all my marbles. 

“Well,” Dr H finally uttered while scribbling something frantically on my chart, “pegs will do that to you, I guess...” 

I was horrified. What kind of mother was I going to make if I couldn’t even remember to take pegs off my toes and had turned my uterus into the equivalent of a washing machine on the spin cycle? 

An hour later, I was back home at my desk, frantically trying to work out how long to leave the pegs on for next time, to get the baby to turn from a 5 o’clock to a 6 o’clock position – when it suddenly dawned on me... I didn’t know the direction in which the baby was turning – clockwise or anticlockwise? By putting the pegs on for ten minutes – I could effectively turn the baby from a 5 o’clock position back to 4 o’clock! 

A quick phone call to my revolting husband proved to be no help at all, as he told me to go and lie down with a cold face cloth on my forehead, and Tracey’s phone just rang and rang. I was beginning to get VERY annoyed. How come I get looked at as if I am in dire need of psychiatric help, when I was not the one who suggested placing clothes pegs on my toes in the first place! 

It seems that no matter how supportive your family and friends are, pregnancy is a long and lonely road as you are left to figure these things out for yourself... 

And I STILL keep wondering what would happen if I put clothes pegs on my BIG toes this time around. Maybe I'll give it a try tomorrow!


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