Lucy, 29, from Newcastle Upon Tyne, was fed up when her due date came and went. But when she found out her baby was lying the wrong way round, things stared to get tricky...
Your baby was overdue – did you get impatient?
Very impatient! My due date was 18th September 2010 and on that day, a Saturday, I had a show. I thought, 'This is it!' – but nothing happened. On the Wednesday I went to my midwife appointment and she said I was already 2cm dilated. She did a sweep and told me it was 'very successful', saying I would go into labour soon. That evening I started getting contractions and felt very sick. Throughout the night the contractions were very irregular, but painful enough for me to be kept awake. At 6am they stopped, so when I got up I called the hospital because the midwife had said if I really did need another sweep they could do it there.
What happened at the hospital?
I got my first shock. The midwife did the sweep and told me that not only was I three cm dilated, she thought that the baby had changed position and was lying occipito posterior, or 'back to back'. In other words, the baby's head was against my spine with chin up, rather than tucked in. She told me that with an 'OP' baby, a mother has to work harder to have a vaginal birth, and labour is often more painful while the baby tries to rotate to the 'face-down' position.
Did you go home again?
Yes. But that night I had more contractions, which started coming every three minutes, so off we went back to the hospital. After another examination I was told I was only one cm dilated and sent home again. I was devastated. Over the weekend I had a lot of pains in my back and ribs, common when the baby is in this position. By the Monday I was just desperate – I ended up ringing my midwife and begging to be induced!
When did you finally go into labour?
That night. I went to bed at 10pm and started having a few cramps, but didn't really think much of it because of all the false starts. I woke at 2am and was in a lot of pain. It felt different this time – I knew it was really happening. I jumped on the birthing ball and put on my TENS machine, furiously timing my contractions, which were four minutes apart. By 3.30am they were coming thick and fast, so I rang the hospital. I was gutted when they told me to have a bath, take some paracetamol and call back in about five hours!
What happened then?
After another 45 minutes I started to bleed and rang the hospital again. They told me I could come in. We arrived about 5am; I was petrified that if this wasn't labour I wouldn't be able to cope, but they examined me and I was 7cm dilated. I had gas and air immediately, and the midwife was confident that I would have my baby by lunchtime. By 10am I was 9cm dilated, but my contractions had slowed down, so they decided to give me some Syntocinon to move things along.
Did you have any pain relief?
I'd had gas and air and an injection of diamorphine, but at this point, around lunchtime, I decided to have an epidural.
When did you start pushing?
At 3.30pm I was finally ready to push, but after two hours of pushing there was confusion about the position of the baby, so I had a scan. They discovered the baby was almost back-to-back but also a little twisted, so the decision was made to go to theatre at 6pm to try forceps first, and a C section if that failed. I really didn't want a section - I'd come this far. And my baby didn't let me down. Sophie was finally born that evening by forceps delivery, weighing 8lb, 8oz.
How did you feel when your baby was born?
I shouted out 'I love you' to her! Unfortunately the epidural had made my upper body numb so I couldn't hold her straightaway. But I just couldn't believe I finally had my baby after such a struggle and she was perfect in every way!
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