An early pregnancy scan showed I had a large fibroid in my womb. It may have explained why I had suffered such terrible periods for so many years. The doctors were dismissive about the fibroid, saying that having a baby could clear the problem up and not to worry.
Now I wonder if the fibroid was the reason I had a transverse delivery, as I've since learned it can be one of the causes. A transverse delivery is when the baby is lying on its side or head down but facing the wrong way - with its spine against your spine. It is a more difficult and more painful delivery. If it is known in advance that the baby is in this position, doctors may well advise a caesarean section.
I didn't know my baby was transverse. Only 2 weeks earlier he had been breech - buttocks first - and I had been booked in for a caesarean. I went into hospital for the planned delivery, and was promptly sent home again when a scan showed he had turned and baby was head down and ready to be born naturally. I admit it was quite a shock. I hadn't prepared for a natural birth because the caesarean had been booked for several weeks. I was also sad at realising I wasn't about to meet my baby - I had been so excited.
I had to telephone everyone to let them know it wasn't about to happen after all, and that it could be another two to four weeks before I had my baby.
Literally an hour later, my waters broke. Contractions were quick from the start. Within an hour they were coming every 15 minutes. As this was my first baby, I had no frame of reference but I did think 'I'm sure I'm supposed to have longer breaks between contractions in the beginning'. The worst thing was my back. I had the most awful backache. Again, I didn't know any different.
I was called into hospital straightaway and labour was well underway by the time I arrived. I was examined but nobody spotted that my baby was transverse. There was talk of all the odd lumps and bumps where baby's buttocks and spine should be when they felt my tummy - of course they were feeling baby's elbows and knees and didn't realise.
I was past the point of any of the usual pain relief working. I had gas, TENS and tried a deep water tub. Contractions seemed continuous and I was unable to move around as I had hoped. I literally couldn't walk from the back pain.
It was a quick labour. After just 7 hours - lucky me - I was fully dilated. That was when the midwives noticed a problem. I was too out of it to really understand what they were saying, except that it was going to be harder to deliver my baby, and I was going to have to push even harder. Harder? I couldn't comprehend it. They hooked tiny electrodes to my baby's head to monitor the heartbeat in case baby became stressed. Then the hard work really started. Oh my goodness. I was lucky - and even though at the time I thought I'd never be able to do it, my baby was delivered safely and achieved an amazing 9 on the Apgar Score just after delivery - meaning all was well.
A year later I had a routine scan to investigate the fibroid. There was no sign of it. During my pregnancy I was fit and healthy and did lots of exercise. I had no physical problems that should have caused my baby to be transverse at delivery. I'm convinced the fibroid was the culprit. Medical research gives a number of possible causes, fibroids are one of them. Looking at my healthy, happy baby, the extra effort in the delivery room was worth it all.