I just got back from a chiropractor's appointment, followed by a visit with my midwife. We chatted the first hour about the upcoming birth, preparing for labor, giving birth to breech babies, etc. She bought some moxibustion sticks, so we planned on doing that at the end of the visit. We then went to palpate, measure my belly, listen to heart tones with a fetoscope, etc. The midwife's assistant palpated first and thought the baby was breech, perhaps kneeling, facing mostly posterior with its back on my right side. The midwife felt around next, closing her eyes as she moved her fingers and hands around my belly.
"This baby is direct OP. Feel that part down in your pelvis and travel upwards."
I did so, my fingers outlining the part that I had always thought was the butt.
"That is definitely a head," she said.
"But it feels too lumpy to be a head," I said.
"There's an arm or elbow in front of the head, but that's definitely a head. I can ballot it back and forth. And there is not a head anywhere in the top of your fundus."
This is what this baby is up to right now, except it also has an arm in front of its face (illustration comes from Spinning Babies' section on fetal and maternal anatomy). Even when the baby was breech, it was almost always posterior, so I've been feeling movement primarily along the front of my belly, from the pubic bone to the top of the fundus, for the past several months.
The assistant said something about this teaching her not to rely on her assumptions about the baby's position when she is palpating.
The funny thing is, we're still finding heart tones right about the same place as usual--about 2" below my belly button (which is entirely possible for both a vertex baby or a very well engaged frank breech).
Huh. So this baby has found the exit sign and turned around after all. I would never in a million years have guessed it had flipped to vertex. It feels just the same as it has all along. I never noticed any drastic heaving or lurching sensation when the baby flipped around. And I am officially abandoning all faith in my palpation skills!
It's funny--I was becoming so resigned to the idea that this baby was breech that now I find myself a bit at a loss for what to do next!