Kate Bullock, 31, lives in Aberdeen with her partner Tyrone and their son Evan, 13 months. Evan was a breech presentation but this wasn't discovered until Kate was just about to deliver him...
How was your pregnancy?
It felt very long! I knew I was pregnant with my first baby almost immediately, which made it seem to last for ages. I had my first scan when I was 11 weeks and two days. Everything was perfectly normal and we got some brilliant pictures. Then I had a second scan at 20 weeks.
The baby was feet down but I was told that this was common and there was plenty of fluid to allow the baby to move into the correct position. If I had any concerns in later weeks I was to talk to my midwife.
And did you?
Yes, I did have concerns: it felt like the baby's head was up in my ribcage. I remember saying to both my midwife and Tyrone, 'Feel here, surely that's too big to be a bum?' And when the baby was wriggling I got a strange feeling quite low down, which was actually quite uncomfortable.
Were you given another scan?
No. As far as my midwife was concerned, the baby was head down. At 36 weeks I had an appointment where my usual midwife had a student with her. The student examined me first and said that she thought the baby was breech.
My midwife waded in and had a feel for herself, brushed this off as nonsense and really embarrassed the poor girl, who we now know was actually right! I decided to trust my midwife, after all, she'd been doing her job a long time and seemed adamant that all was OK.
So what happened when you went into labour?
My midwife came to our house on my due date and did an internal examination. She said that the baby's head was engaged and that I was 1cm dilated. She also did a sweep, which was pretty uncomfortable. She said that I seemed ready and it could really happen any time, but booked me an induction date just in case – and arranged to come back and see me a week later for another check up at home, if nothing had happened.
A week passed and nothing did happen. I had another sweep, and was told I was now 1.5cm dilated. I was beginning to get very frustrated. Then, four days later, the day before I was due to be induced, we went to bed about 10.30pm and at 11.30pm I woke with what was, unmistakably, the start of labour.
At what point did you go into hospital?
By 4am my contractions were getting really close, around two minutes apart and I was in a lot of pain. Tyrone called the hospital and described what was happening, only to be told that if it was a first baby I'd be ages yet and to try and get some sleep.
By 4.30am, I could take no more, so we headed to the hospital anyway. I couldn't sit down in the car properly but thankfully the journey is only about 15 minutes.
What happened then?
When we arrived at the hospital I could barely walk and the midwife was shocked at how quickly I'd progressed. When they examined me, I was almost 9cms dilated. But there was more to it than that, and between my gas and air fuelled contractions I could see looks getting exchanged between hospital staff. The next thing I knew I was getting a scan.
Then they dropped the bombshell: my baby was breech, feet first, and I was going into theatre immediately because it was far too dangerous to deliver naturally. I couldn't believe it.
Tyrone went to get scrubbed up and I was wheeled into a room where I was given a spinal block. A screen was popped up in front of me and there were a lot of people buzzing around: doctors, nurses, anaesthetists, midwives. Then Tyrone came back and we talked nervously while they cut me open and, after much rummaging and extreme pressure on my abdomen, produced a baby.
I'll never forget seeing Evan for the first time. He was born at 6.21am, and laid on my chest. I cried at this point. It was all too much.
Looking back, how do you feel about what happened?
When Evan was born, he was wrinkled like a little prune, his nails were very long, and there was not a drop of vernix left on him, just a rash. These are all signs that he was ready to come well before he did.
If my midwife had picked up that he was breech they would have tried to turn him and this would have put the pressure needed on my pelvis for labour to start earlier.
Also, because he was breech pretty much the whole pregnancy, he had a clicky hip and we had to take him for regular scans up until he was nine months old.
Luckily it righted itself and there are no problems now. I was frustrated at the time and I thought about complaining, but for what? He is here and he is OK – and that's the most important thing.
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