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"So here am I, ‘Little Miss Drug-Free’ according to my birthplan, asking for pethidine…"

Beverly’s 60-hour long labour ended with an emergency Caesarean delivery. She experienced what doctors describe as "failure to dilate".


I went into labour at 4.30am on the Sunday. At first I suspected it was a false labour as the contractions were so scattered. There would be a 15-minute interval between contractions, then a contraction that lasted 20 seconds, followed by a five-minute gap and another contraction lasting a full minute, then another 10 minute gap and another contraction – it was all over the joint.

By the time Leon got up, I’d been in labour for four hours. I was smiling away – I hadn’t said anything to him. It knew it wasn’t the real deal but I was also aware that this could change at any point. At 9am, the contractions stopped for an hour or so.

My labour continued throughout the day. By 1.30am Monday the contractions still weren’t that strong. I’d been walking about the house, sitting on the beanbag, the chair, the sofa, then back to the beanbag, anything that felt comfortable.

When we went to the hospital later on Monday morning they examined me and told me I was only 2 1/2 cm dilated. They gave me a choice of either staying or leaving. Because a return trip to the hospital would be at least 40 minutes, I chose to stay.

So here am I, ‘Little Miss Drug-Free’ according to my birthplan, asking for pethidine. I was already using a tens machine, but it didn’t seem to help much. I had the machine pretty much maxed, in fact I broke one of the electrodes early on so I only had three working.Maybe that’s why I didn’t seem to be benefiting. By the afternoon, I was still only 2 1/2 cm dilated.
The doctor gave me sleeping tablets and panadeine fort and sent me home so I could get some rest.

I was sleeping a little, but kept waking every 15 minutes with the contractions. They were still erratic, stronger, but erratic. I had a spa then at 6pm we went back to the hospital.
A doctor gave me an examination, a pretty harsh one at that, I wanted to cup him over the back of his head, but whatever he did, it seemed to get the show rolling.

I was monitored from there onwards. At 5am Tuesday they took me to a birthing suite. I started on the bed, then moved around the room, back to the bed, then I threw up the mushroom omelette Leon had kindly made me for lunch the day before.

In the afternoon they examined me again to find I was 8cm dilated. But my waters still hadn’t broken. Then one of the midwives came in with what looked like a huge crochet hook. They’re long friggin’ things. I asked what it was for suspecting that she was going to break my waters. When they broke it was like weeing uncontrollably.

It was 2pm and I was still only 8cm dilated. I felt a little disheartened. Frustrated. All along the midwives were saying in response to anything that was happening, "it’s okay, it means baby’s coming soon." I was rocking backwards and forwards. I was still using the gas so my voice was going funny. And at every intake of gas, I’d need some water – I was throwing back the water as the gas was so dehydrating.

Then they suggested that I have an epidural and rest for a couple of hours until I was fully dilated. They gave me morphine, an epidural and inserted a catheter to help me sleep. I was stuck at being 8cm dilated for 10 hours.
In fact, I didn’t dilate any further. The doctors referred to it as "failure to dilate". Apparently failing to dilate is quite common. But it certainly wasn’t something I’d expected.

My baby wasn’t showing any signs of distress. She seemed quite happy to be there. I had been constantly monitored for the past 24 hours. Given the length of the labour the doctors advised a Caesarean. Once the decision had been made to have a C section, it was all go. I was put on a trolley and taken to theatre where there was an anaesthetist preparing the anaesthetic.
Another doctor was taking my blood pressure every minute and checking my oxygen levels and a paediatrician and midwife were preparing the crib and suction equipment necessary for my newborn. Leon was at my side.

They placed a screen just below my chest and placed heated blankets on my chest. When the anaesthetic begins to wear off, you shiver uncontrollably.
Oh, it’s awful, gross. I hated the sensation. The actual Caesarean itself, I didn’t feel a thing.
It was a girl. After two days of waiting, I was ecstatic.
It’s overwhelming. There are no words to describe how you feel when you first see your baby.

Leon absolutely lost the plot. I lost the plot. I remember saying something like; "I told you it was going to be a girl". During the third to fifth month of my pregnancy, I had strong feeling that we were having a girl. I was so convinced.

Looking back at my birthplan, only one thing came true. Now I can’t even remember what that was! We called her Kira (pronounced Kee-ra). It’s Persian for "the sun". I can’t stop looking at her – she’s so gorgeous.

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