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Making decisions about birth after caesarean

Women's experiences of their previous caesarean

Women's first experience of caesarean birth was strongly influenced by the hopes and expectations they had held beforehand. (See 'Women's expectations for their previous birth'). For all but one of the women who were interviewed, their experience of caesarean was also their first experience of childbirth. All of them had opted to give birth at hospital and many felt anxious about what lay ahead. Looking back, some women wished they had been more confident to question some of the decisions made about their care.

 

With her first birth, she went along with whatever the medical team recommended. In her second...

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With her first birth, she went along with whatever the medical team recommended. In her second...

Age at interview: 37
Sex: Female
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Yeah, I was I just wanted to do what was best for me and the baby at the end of the day. And I would have gone and that's exactly what I did. I went along with the advice because they're the experts and, you know, I was happy at the time because they're in charge. It's after that you think 'gorr'. 

How involved in the decision would you have liked to have been the first time?

Well, I was involved enough. Because it was my first I was probably quite na've and just took what they said was right. I mean now, second time round, obviously, I'm a lot more, I question what they say more.

Do you feel that you were able to discuss your fears and anxieties. Mmm, or maybe you didn't have any?

I'm trying to remember, it seems a long time ago' No, I, I did, you know, it was fine, I had enough people to talk to. But again, as I say as it was my first, you don't really think to, you don't know, don't know what to ask, you know, it's all new to you. 
 

The majority of women in the study experienced an 'emergency caesarean', that is, the decision to perform a caesarean had been made after they had gone into labour. The most common reasons for having an emergency caesarean were problems getting fully dilated or the baby starting to show signs of distress. A few women went on from induction of labour post term to having an emergency caesarean without experiencing contractions and dilating only minimally. Two women experienced life-threatening complications due to pre-eclampsia and had to have their babies delivered prematurely.

 

She had trouble dilating and had a caesarean when her son's heart rate started dropping. She was...

She had trouble dilating and had a caesarean when her son's heart rate started dropping. She was...

Age at interview: 40
Sex: Female
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So how involved were you in the delivery do you feel?

On the actual'?

With decisions? 

Yeah. I would say they were very good in terms of letting me carry on with' because I was overdue I actually went to see them the week before I went in for induction and they were quite keen to get me induced earlier and I was keen to wait. And they allowed me to do that. So I feel that they did listen to my best interests of what I wanted. And then actually when I went in for the induction because they felt it was getting to the stage where it needed to really be progressed' they were very good at listening to what I was saying during the time and I had a monitor put on me and' so I did feel I was involved, it wasn't indirect' But at the time when I then went into the' when I was induced and I had the monitors on I realised then I couldn't go in to the birthing pool and so you know it threw the whole of the birthing plan out. So at that point I knew that it would be completely different to what I was expecting so' but they were very good and they did continue to monitor and talk and' yeah, I did feel involved.

Good and did you have any particular anxieties or worries about having a section?

Well because I didn't know I was going to have that, it was literally the heart rate was reduced and that was it. I didn't have any time to think about it and to be honest, it was one of those let the medical professionals do what they think is right, so I wasn't nervous and I was not anxious at all when they came in and said right we're going to just take you in for a section. I just thought 'well that's obviously the right thing to do' and with the heart rate reduced dramatically I just wanted to get the baby out, that was the important thing.

And do you think' I know it's partly to do with the time but do you think you weren't anxious because of the environment that had been created? Did you feel quite confident with what was going on?

I did yeah, everything was being monitored, they were doing the best they can for me to progress naturally, it wasn't happening, I wasn't dilating and I knew at that time that it was the right thing to do. You know it wasn't as though they'd rushed it and said 'oh we're going to do it anyway, we've not given you an opportunity'. I had plenty of opportunity throughout that twenty four hours really and it wasn't happening. 

 

She was admitted to hospital with pre-eclampsia at 30 weeks and went on to have a caesarean under...

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She was admitted to hospital with pre-eclampsia at 30 weeks and went on to have a caesarean under...

Age at interview: 33
Sex: Female
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Right. Well, there was no labour to begin with, it was just a thirty, well, almost thirty weeks a routine ante-natal scan and check-up at [Hospital] hospital and the consultant was sort of quite concerned with the scan that my daughter was still very small for dates, and my blood pressure was quite high and also I'd protein plus two* in my urine test. Things obviously, lots of weight, was carrying a lot of fluid, and he advised that I went to [Hospital] to have nine weeks' bed rest. So I was obviously referred on a Thursday tea-time, put on the monitors, just general check-ups, and then it got to the Sunday afternoon where I just had a really bad headache, obviously still had the monitors, blood pressure checks every four hours and so one of the nurses had to get someone else to check my blood pressure, and it was obviously dangerously high, that they just took me down to the delivery suite, put me on a drip to hopefully get the blood pressure down, which it did stabilise by itself, but they said, you know, due to the risk with the pre-eclampsia that had set in, the only way, you know, to sort of, you know, stop the pre-eclampsia of getting any worse was to just do a caesarean for the next day, which they did. So of course, it was a general anaesthetic, you know, fast asleep and then wake up in recovery and my mum's going, 'Oh, she's beautiful' and I was like, 'Who is, who is?' because of all the morphine and I didn't see her until the next day and they, they did a scan previously on the Friday and estimated her weight to be about three pound, and she was actually one pound fifteen when they weighed her, so that was how the caesarean all came about really. 

I thought being young and fit, you know, you'd just, your body was physically enough to cope with a normal delivery. It was still a blur, because I can remember coming round and still sort of in shock, because they'd brought me the Polaroid round of the baby and of course, having morphine for the pain, I was just like, 'Whoo, it's a baby, yeah!', and people were coming to visit me and I was just sort of like, laughing. But I couldn't take it seriously. I mean, when I saw her for the first time, even then, I was sort of still in some kind of state of shock, really.

* Proteinuria, a symptom of pre-eclampsia
 

A minority of women had a planned caesarean - that is, a caesarean that was scheduled to take place before their labour started. Reasons for a planned caesarean included being pregnant with twins, a large baby, a baby in breech position and a difficult previous birth. Women who had a planned caesarean did not necessarily feel less anxious about the operation than those who had emergency caesareans (see 'Women's expectations for their previous birth'). However, they'd had more time to adjust their expectations of what the birth would be like. Most of them felt satisfied with their birth experience. One who woman who had chosen to have a caesarean felt particularly pleased with her decision. However, a couple of women regretted missing out on labour and vaginal birth. One woman felt angry initially when she found out that doctors had misjudged the size of her baby and she could have had a vaginal delivery after all (Interview 06).

 

Her delivery of twins by planned caesarean was a very positive and stress-free experience. Played...

Her delivery of twins by planned caesarean was a very positive and stress-free experience. Played...

Age at interview: 32
Sex: Female
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How do you feel now about the fact that you had a section? 

I think it was fantastic. I just think it was the best thing for me. And I'm, I was very happy that I'd made that decision, because the whole thing was completely stress-free. And' I recovered really quickly. I couldn't have asked for it to have been any better.

Was it like you thought it would be?

'Yeah, I guess it probably was. It was as good as I'd hoped, yeah.

The majority of women had epidural caesareans, so they were conscious during the operation, though several felt quite hazy due to the painkillers they had received. Some women had an epidural earlier on in their labour so they were ready to move on to the operating theatre as soon as the decision for a caesarean was made. Others received a spinal block specifically for the operation. Several women felt quite nervous about receiving the epidural and a few women also felt anxious about being operated on without a general anaesthetic. Generally, women found it very reassuring when medical staff kept them informed about what was happening to them at each step. Friendly words providing some distraction were also much appreciated.

 

She was nervous about being awake during her planned caesarean, but it made a big difference that...

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She was nervous about being awake during her planned caesarean, but it made a big difference that...

Age at interview: 38
Sex: Female
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And what were your concerns with it being an elected section, was there anything that you were particularly worried about?

Feeling it [laughs].

And did you discuss that with anyone?

Yes they told me that you wouldn't actually feel any pain but that you would feel it happening and I was glad that they'd said that because you do feel everything. And that made me feel better because I knew' I think I would have thought that they hadn't put a strong enough epidural in if I hadn't known that.

And how do you feel now about having had the elective section last time?

Fine.

And was it like you expected it to be?

No.

Could you say why?

There were a lot more people in the operating theatre than I'd thought. There were a lot of' I don't know whether they were students or whatever but it felt like the whole room was full and also I was a lot more stressed that I thought I was going to be. The first time you're so busy being in pain and you know dealing with that that you're not being yourself so you don't have time to feel panicked. But this time you're going in and you're not in labour, you're just going in as sort of cold normal and that' I got really frightened being sort of going into that place and having to have the injection and the anaesthetic started to come too high up and the anaesthetist said that she might have to put me under because if it came too far up it would effect my breathing or something, and that scared me' The way the anaesthetist, she talked all the time the operation was going on, she was making comments to me and was being so nice and calming that she made a big difference.
 

There was wide variation in how quickly the decision to perform an emergency caesarean had been reached and how involved women had felt in the decision-making process. For some women, the decision was a gradual process reached in consultation with hospital staff and did not have an 'emergency' feel to it. For others, it happened very abruptly and they were rushed into the operating theatre with little time for discussion. 

 

Her previous caesarean happened very quickly, but it did not feel stressful. She can't recall...

Her previous caesarean happened very quickly, but it did not feel stressful. She can't recall...

Age at interview: 40
Sex: Female
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And is there any way that you can think that the information that you got could have been better?

Perhaps at the very, very end, you know, the' The caesarean happened very quickly, which, looking back was the best way really for it to happen and, it was in no way kind of an emergency, I didn't feel, there was no kind of stress or pressure put on me to think that this was, you know, a sort of stressful situation. It was very, very nicely done, really, if you can have a caesarean that's nicely done. So in that sort of way' but it just seemed to happen very quickly, you know. One minute they were sort of asking me to see if you can push and then the next they were sort of 'you know I think you've had it and we'll go for the caesarean now'.

And how involved did you feel in that decision?

It happened quite quickly, I would say, and I didn't sign anything, which I found quite interesting. There was no consent, but maybe that's just practice, I don't really know.

 

She was fully involved in the decision to have a caesarean and was able to play her CD in the...

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She was fully involved in the decision to have a caesarean and was able to play her CD in the...

Age at interview: 38
Sex: Female
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And how involved would you say that you were in the decision about the delivery?

Oh, a hundred percent. Yeah, even, even, yeah, the decision for the caesarean, even though it had been three days that I'd been there, induced, I was very aware of what, what I was deciding to do.

And while you were in hospital, were you able to discuss any anxieties or fears that you had about the section then, once there was a move to that being the way that you were going to deliver? 

Yeah, I remember, yeah, there was a- a trainee midwife that I spoke to about it. Yeah, and I asked her things like, you know, about recovery and the, the kind of anaesthetic. But yeah, I remember, I was very aware of what was going on and she answered my questions and I was okay. I wasn't too worried about the caesarean.

I seem to remember the trainee midwife spending a lot of time with us, just explaining what was going to happen.

So you felt happy with that?

Oh, yeah, and I remember they were really nice the way they' I had music at the time in the- in the labour room and they let us put the CD on in the- in the operating room and' [that's nice] and, yeah, they were really, really sweet.
 
 

The decision to deliver her twins by caesarean was made in consultation with her. It did not feel...

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The decision to deliver her twins by caesarean was made in consultation with her. It did not feel...

Age at interview: 33
Sex: Female
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Well, I was admitted to hospital with high blood pressure, I think it was about thirty eight weeks, at the routine check. And then' because I was in hospital when I went into labour so then I was also put on' I wasn't induced but I was then put on Oxytocin to try and speed things along, and it was fairly slow progression. But I got to nine centimetres with the first twin but it wasn't really progressing and then with the second twin was not unstable, but, they were starting to sort of think it was taking a very long time for a delivery with two children to have to deliver [laughs], so it wasn't an' it was an emergency section, but it wasn't, you know, an emergency as in 'We need to rush through that'. It was talked through with me and we decided that that was probably the best way to go, so they were both delivered by section then, so'
 
 

When it was found that her baby was in distress there was no time to discuss options. She was...

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When it was found that her baby was in distress there was no time to discuss options. She was...

Age at interview: 31
Sex: Female
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I had went to third stage of labour*, as I recall and' I was ready for a vaginal birth but [Son], there was detections of, difficulty as his heart rate went down and he got in a bit of distress. The cord had wrapped round, his, his body so when he was trying to come out it was pulling him back in? 'if that makes sense. And he had made' had a bowel movement, so they just sectioned me.

So how what, how were you feeling when they said to you this is what we've got to do?

Very scared, very scared, because I, I was scared for him because I, I seen on the monitor the heart rate was going down and I was scared for me and I thought, and I'm not very good in hospitals anyway, and I just thought to myself 'Oh, God', it's just, it was, it just happened so quickly though' but my midwife that was with me, I remember her, she stayed with me all the time because she knew I was quite nervous, she went into the theatre with me and held my hand.

And in view of the fact that you did have a section, could anything have been better, do you think, in preparing you for that?

Not, not really, because it was rushed and it just had to be rushed, I mean, there, you couldn't just sit down and have a conversation. If it needed to be done, it needed to be done, so' It was just a bit of a shock, after it.

*Means second stage of labour, when baby comes down the birth canal
 

Women need to consent to the operation, but depending on circumstances consent might be taken verbally rather than in written form. Not all women could recall a formal consent procedure or signing anything. Several woman said they felt far too stressed or too hazy from painkillers to take in the information provided to them at the time. The women who had a planned caesarean had more opportunity to find information and talk to health professionals beforehand, but this did not necessarily mean that they felt more involved in the decision-making. Some women hadn't felt the need to be given much information or be involved in decisions as they trusted the medical staff to do whatever was necessary. Several women also said they did not feel there had been much of a choice and caesarean had been the only safe way to deliver their baby. Few women were aware what having a caesarean might mean for future pregnancies at the time of the operation. However, a couple of women had much more positive experiences of information provision and felt very happy with the way their views were taken into account. 

 

She felt treated unsympathetically by the consultant and was annoyed to find out she had been...

She felt treated unsympathetically by the consultant and was annoyed to find out she had been...

Age at interview: 42
Sex: Female
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Well, I was very keen to have a natural birth, been to NCT and all that stuff and basically' it just kind of, I didn't dilate properly. I had the full-on contractions, they were saying' so I basically, waters broke about five o'clock on a Sunday, they were, you know the intervals apart you're meant to go to hospital, so quite, I can't remember if it's two or three minutes, but quite quick. So I went to hospital about one in the morning. Then by nine the next morning still wasn't very dilated although having the contractions, so they put on extra stuff to make you contract more, it's, it's written in that letter. [Oxytocin?], yeah, and I then asked for an epidural. And this is when things started to go wrong because they got a trainee to do my epidural. And basically it wasn't in 'til about one o'clock in the afternoon and basically he did eight attempts? So I wasn't very happy about that, as you can imagine. And eventually the consultant did come and do it himself, but it's just the way, I don't know, the way he sort of said, well, the last time he said, 'This is your last shot, you're just going to have to survive otherwise' and I just thought they were just very, a bit unkind considering I'd been in labour, full-on labour since, really one o'clock in the morning. It's, it's' so I wasn't in 'til midday. Anyway, this then went on and on 'til she was in distress and that's the- ' I get upset when I talk about it'

So that was seven o'clock in the evening, so you've got to bear in mind a long, long time. And then they did the caesarean. And to be honest, that went well and everything was fine. It's just very nerve-wracking and I actually don't think the hospital handled it that well, personally, because I think that was too long. I wasn't dilating, it was still only eight centimetres by that time and I just also think this whole anaesthetic thing. And then when I got my notes after, it said that the consultant had come in at one o'clock, so obviously when, quite a lot earlier and they'd discussed a caesarean with the midwives but not with me. And that really annoyed me, because at that point I know I'd have said, yes, do it. And then I would have missed out, you know, her getting distressed.

 

The doctor consulted her about whether she wanted to labour for a while longer and she was able...

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Age at interview: 31
Sex: Female
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And did anybody discuss with you at the time the implications of having a section with a first delivery for a future delivery?

I think I' I think I asked a question about it. I'm pretty sure I did. I can't remember what it was now [slight laugh]. But I think it was, it was something to do with what, what effect would it have on the future and the doctor who was, I think it must have been a woman, was quite reassuring about it. I mean, I didn't feel that she pressured me into it at all, because she did say that if we wanted, if I wanted to wait another hour or what-have-you then, that was fine, but she just, she, you know, she didn't think there was an awful lot of point in it but if I wanted to wait, that was fine.

So' they, you didn't have any worries that you would have to have a section again with another delivery or anything?

I. I think I wasn't very, I wasn't very sure one way or the other to be honest. I think' I think that might have been what I asked. I think I might have, I think I might have said, 'But if I have one now, will I always' will I have to have another one?' Because I think I had' I don't know if I had it in my head from, you know, reading about people like Victoria Beckham, or what-have-you but, if you have one, you have, you know, you have two or three or whatever. But, I think that was what I' I know I asked her a question about it and it was definitely to do with the future, because I thought it was quite prescient of me, considering the state I was in by that stage.
 
 

She would have liked to be more involved in decisions about her care, but once she experienced...

She would have liked to be more involved in decisions about her care, but once she experienced...

Age at interview: 30
Sex: Female
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Once I was in the hospital, prior to the Pethidine I just wanted any kind of pain relief, so I wasn't paying attention, I was in labour, I was nine centimetres, I'd had nothing, so it was just like 'I don't care what you're saying, just do it, just give me the shot, whatever.' So if they'd have given me a fact sheet or a DVD to watch or a little talk, a little demonstration, I would not have been interested, I wouldn't have wanted to know, 'Just want the drugs, I want the pain relief now,' so' once I'm in labour I don't want to know, I just want the pain relief.

And before you'd got to that stage, how involved would you have liked to have been in the decision process? You described it like a conveyer belt?

Yeah, before I would have liked to be a lot more involved, I would have liked to have planned, you know, so and so's going to be with me now and we're going to try this method and we're going to try that method, and I would have liked to have been a lot more involved because then I would have felt more in control. Whereas once I was in labour I didn't have any control over anything.

Several of the women who had difficulty dilating described a gradual loss of control during their labour. Once they had one intervention, others seemed to follow. Similarly, as time went on and pain became more intense, they found themselves agreeing to forms of pain relief they had originally wanted to avoid. Looking back, some women wondered whether the way in which their care was managed at hospital had the effect of slowing labour down. For example, one woman felt that perhaps she had got into the birthing pool too early and got too relaxed. Others wondered about the effect of drugs such as pethidine, which made them feel too confused or sleepy to move around. (See 'Women's feelings about their previous caesarean').

 

She felt left alone during the first stage of labour, then received several unwanted...

She felt left alone during the first stage of labour, then received several unwanted...

Age at interview: 30
Sex: Female
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So the pregnancy was really easy and really smooth. And the labour, on the due date my waters broke at about midnight, which was early hours of Saturday morning, and nothing else happened. So I had a quick check-up on Saturday at teatime and they said come back Sunday to be induced. Went back Sunday to be induced and they used a pessary for the initial induction. Then obviously you couldn't wait around on the labour ward for the induction to take effect, so they sent me to one of the other wards, which I think was a postnatal ward but it was empty. And I spent a few hours there on my own. A midwife would check me every few hours or so, but I basically got to nine centimetres without anyone with me, without any gas and air or any pain relief, because there was none available even though I wanted it. And when I was at nine centimetres they gave me a shot of Pethidine, which knocked me out, and by now it's some time on the Sunday night. The Pethidine really knocked me out and the next few hours are a complete blur. The next thing I remember I was in the delivery suite and they were telling me I needed a drip in my arm to give me' Oxytocin I think it is to speed up the contractions, so therefore I would need an epidural. Both of these things I hadn't wanted, but told me I had to have one so I had to have one. And that made the contractions too fast so that they weren't effective enough, so then they gave me some other drug I think to slow the contractions back down again, which' so they slowed down. And then they said if I hadn't progressed' I'm still nine centimetres, I got to nine centimetres on the ward on my own, but still nine centimetres now a few hours later. So they said if you haven't made any progress in the next two hours then we'll have to do a C-section. So that's what happened. 

And at the time I couldn't argue with anyone because I was just off my head on Pethidine, but really I think' I left the hospital healthy with a healthy baby a few days later, so I shouldn't complain I suppose, but I feel that if the' if the labour had been managed differently, if I'd had a midwife with me, if I'd had gas and air, if I'd been encouraged to be mobile rather than giving Pethidine and then just flat on my back and everything stopped, then I think I wouldn't have needed the C-section the first time round. And I'm very squeamish and I don't like needles so having an epidural was horrendous, and having a C-section was just a complete nightmare. 

So how would you describe how you feel about that experience now looking back? 

Bitter I would say, a bit angry, a bit upset that I didn't' that it didn't go' it may be that I just haven't fully understood, perhaps the baby was in distress and I just didn't realise at the time, perhaps they, you know, didn't want to alarm me that that might have been why. But as far as I can see, I only had a C-section because I was induced around sort of Sunday lunchtime, got to nine centimetres, stayed at nine centimetres, because I was flat on my back with all these drugs, and then by the early hours of Monday morning, you know, I was taking up too much time, taking up too much space, 'so if you haven't finished in the next two hours we're just going to chop it out and send you on your way,' so'

 

She had wanted as natural a birth as possible, but after her labour slowed down she felt she lost...

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She had wanted as natural a birth as possible, but after her labour slowed down she felt she lost...

Age at interview: 32
Sex: Female
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I went two weeks overdue, he didn't, as far as I recall he didn't engage either and so they induced me. 

I wanted a water birth and was very, very set on having as natural a birth as possible with as little intervention as possible and as little drugs, doing it as much as I could. They induced me, and then they put me in the birthing pool, which slowed down my labour. So two hours later when I got out, I was only a centimetre dilated and so they decided to speed that up with the drip? and epidural. I kind of went along with it all because my mum was, my mum had been waiting for two weeks with me and she was going to go back home to the South-East coast and I kind of wanted the baby out before she went really, so' I wasn't, wasn't really thinking about if I had any choices and I kind of went with their medical expertise as well. 

yeah, it wasn't very nice, the sort of loss of control of it over, you know, that it just went, it went from going the way I wanted to completely swinging the other way. To being fully drugged-up and out of my control, but got on with it, and it lasted eight hours. I got to nine centimetres dilated'

It was quite traumatic because I had a trainee midwife and so whenever they lost the heartbeat she'd bang on the red button and the doctor on duty would come in and I got to meet nearly every doctor on duty that night, with all the changes of shift and everything as well so' And then of course the doctor would come in and perhaps he'd have others with him. It always seemed like there was quite a lot of people there, and they'd either turn me over or, well, yeah, really turn me over I think it was, get me into another position and then it would be another twenty minutes later they'd lose the heartbeat again and the same again. So I ended up being quite sort of traumatised by that, I think. They took blood from the baby's head a few times and then I got to nine centimetres and they were all sort of, 'Oh, it looks like your baby's going to be here within half an hour,' and I got really elated, and then I stopped dilating and so they whizzed me into surgery because he passed meconium.
 

A few women felt so exhausted from having laboured for many hours that they were relieved when a caesarean was eventually offered to them. Others who went through a long and painful labour would have liked to have been offered a caesarean earlier on and found it difficult to understand that medical staff waited until their baby showed signs of distress. However, a few women felt they should have been given more time to try and give birth vaginally. 

 

She didn't care what was done to her as long as her son would be alright. The thought of...

She didn't care what was done to her as long as her son would be alright. The thought of...

Age at interview: 26
Sex: Female
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He was' overdue, so they actually booked me in for an induction for the twelfth day after. But I was so upset and everything, I actually went to the midwife and she said that she'd do like a sweep, and that actually did the trick' I ended up going into labour, I think it was very sort of twinges and everything were sort of like half past six in the morning. Obviously I didn't tell my other half, and they went on through the day, and then I think it was midnight that night my waters broke and we went in. But what they found out was that my son was' even though he was head down he was sort of back to back, but he' I went in because every time I had a contraction' his heart rate would just go. And then they- then they sort of said to me, 'oh look, I know you're only sort of nine, nine and half centimetres dilated, but can you give us a bit of a push'', because where he was back to back his' the bit of the cervix was swollen on the side. So they thought well if you give a push then might be able to push it out of the way. Well, I gave a push and then obviously the midwife just all of a sudden pushed the emergency button and I got rushed in. And they did a load of tests on his head and everything, and they said that he was fine. But they said, 'Well we'll wait an hour to see if you fully dilate', which I didn't. And they said, 'Oh, how do you feel?', and by that time I was thinking, 'Well, as long as he's alright I don't care what happens'. So I ended up having a caesarean and they actually said that the cord was round his neck as well. So, you know' but it was really, really worrying actually 'when his heart rate went, and when she just smacked the button. I can just remember just her hitting it like that (makes hitting motion with her hand) and I just' oh, I couldn't look at my partner. And he couldn't look at me sort of thing, because I knew that we'd both end like in tears or something, and it was just' it was surreal because'obviously you go through this pregnancy and it's all okay and everything's fine, and then it's like you get upset because you're overdue and everything, and then all of a sudden the thought of something happening right at the end is' it's ' that was horrible, that was the worst feeling ever, but' yeah, that was, that's it really [laughs].

At some stage during their labour, many women had been connected to a fetal heart rate monitor. This restricted their movement and a few women felt that this made it more difficult for them to get comfortable and maybe even contributed to slowing down their labour. Several women also found it very upsetting to witness irregularities in their baby's heartbeat via the monitor.

Last reviewed August 2018.
Last updated Novemeber 2010.

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