When countryside fanatic Lucy Lawler went for a country walk two weeks before her due date, she didn't think it would turn into a country dash! Here she tells us her story.
Why did you decide to take a country walk so close to your due date?
I'm not entirely sure! With hindsight I think it must have been an obscure form of the nesting instinct. After a few weeks of feeling tired and lethargic, I woke up one morning and fancied some exercise. Not just a walk around the block - a proper country walk with lots of bracing fresh air, albeit at a gentle pace! It was strange really and, looking back, perhaps I should have read more into it!
Did your due date worry you?
No, not really. I was two weeks away from my due date and I was sure I was going to go overdue anyway. So no, I thought it would be fine. I hadn't planned on walking very far because I knew I wouldn't be up to too much.
What happened when you set out?
We took some water and some snacks and we also packed a fold up stool in case I needed a rest - sitting on the grass was not an option. We also chose a route we'd done many times before and, about a mile in to the walk I decided I felt ok to go a little further. We ended up walking for about another half a mile until all hell broke loose!
So what did happen?
As we progressed I started to feel a bit funny...to this day I can't put it into words. Then I started to feel achey and was getting some weird sensations across my tummy and down my legs. I told my husband that I needed to sit down as a matter of urgency.
Did that help?
Yes, until I stood up again! I didn't really know what was going on, but I knew we had to turn back. Unfortunately, we were in the middle of the countryside and our mobiles weren't working because there was no signal so we couldn't phone anyone. I knew we had to get back because the funny sensations were turning into regular pains and I just knew it wasn't Braxton Hicks.
And how was the walk back?
We still had over a mile to go and I'll be honest, I was scared. I felt a bit stupid for having even attempted the walk. I had to sit down every five minutes while the contractions hit and it felt like the car was on the other side of the world.
What happened next?
As we walked along a footpath, my waters broke. I remember feeling a pain, followed by a warm sensation. We both realised what had happened and looked at each other a bit helplessly. Despite being heavily pregnant and in labour, something took over me and I managed to up my pace and get back to the car.
Did you go straight to hospital?
Yes - fortunately I had taken heed of advice at my NCT class, which was pack a bag and leave it in the car several weeks in advance!
What happened when you got there?
I phoned the unit while we were in the car, so they were expecting us! They were absolutely brilliant. They were waiting for me by the entrance and I was taken straight to a labour room. They examined me and I had got to 7cms, which came as a total shock. They told me if that if I'd got to 7cms in just a few of hours, the rest of my labour was likely to be quite quick. That came as a relief!
How was the pain by this point?
Strangely enough, I felt able to cope. Obviously the contractions were extremely painful, but I felt I could cope. I was very surprised. I thought it was going to be much, much worse than it actually was. I decided to keep on going but did ask for some gas and air, which was ok but not overly effective.
When did you start to push?
Around an hour after I was admitted, which was was about three hours after the whole episode had begun! I was very fortunate as it only took twenty minutes to push our daughter out - thank goodness we hadn't gone on a longer walk!
What was it like to see your brand new daughter?
Absolutely wonderful. Seeing Violet for the first time was amazing and I was shell shocked - not just by my immediate love for her, but also the way in which the whole labour had begun. It felt like a dream. A very, very happy dream. I thought it was going to be a marathon labour and delivery - turns out it was quite literally a walk in the park!