Michaela Oliver had an emergency c-section when her baby moved into breech during labour. Here she describes what it was like...
When did you first find out that your baby was breech?
Originally, my baby had been in breech at 37 weeks and I was advised that a planned c-section may be necessary if it didn't turn round the right way. I was upset at first but I began to get excited that the baby might be delivered a week earlier than my due date. My fellow antenatal classmates were all impressed at how well I had taken the news. However, the baby then turned.
How did this happen?
It came on really suddenly. I had a sharp shooting pain in my tummy and I collapsed on the floor doubled over on all fours. My husband was really worried but I wouldn't let him leave my side. I must have been like that for over an hour until the pain subsided and he could pull me up to sit on the sofa. It was then that we realised that my bump had changed shape and I had a foot kicking me above my belly button. She had turned.
How did you feel?
It was such a huge relief. As it dawned on me that a c-section wouldn't be necessary after all I began to sob. I hadn't realised how much I wanted a natural birth, and now I could have one. Although, I do remember wishing I'd paid more attention to the labour and birthing positions in class!
What happened when you went in to labour?
I was one week overdue. I'd been having contractions and lower back pain all day, and then my waters broke in bed that evening. When we got to hospital I was already five centimetres dilated so it was agreed that I could use the birthing pool. I was so pleased to be having a natural birth.
So what happened next?
After a couple of hours in the birthing pool the pain suddenly got much more intense and there was immense pressure on my bowel. They kept telling me to stop pushing, but that's like being told not to breath – I just couldn't stop. The pain became too much and I opted for an epidural so had to get out of the pool. It turned out that my baby had turned back to back and was facing the wrong way.
The first epidural didn't work so the anaesthetist was called back to do it again. I was put on a drip, and my contractions were monitored. It was 18 hours since I arrived at the hospital, and I still hadn't fully dilated. It was then that they offered me the option of an emergency c-section or to try pushing for an hour and see what happens. I chose to push.
When did you realise that you were going to have a caesarean after all?
As I'd had an epidural and couldn't feel my contractions, the midwife told me when to push. It was whilst I was pushing that the alarm was raised as my blood pressure plummeted and the baby's heart rate was racing. I was rushed into theatre, and suddenly surrounded by people in gowns – including my husband! I was really scared. It suddenly dawned on me that the baby could die.
How did you feel afterwards?
Exhausted! I could barely keep my eyes open when they showed me my baby girl. I've got photos of me feeding my baby which were taken whilst I was in the recovery room, which I have no recollection of at all!
Would you do it again?
Of course. Now that she's here I can't imagine life without her. The birth was far from ideal, but the most important thing is that we both came through it safe and well. The actual birth pails into insignificance.