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‘My 50 Hour Labour:’ Read This Mum’s Birth Story

While some babies arrive before you’ve had time to turn on the TENS machine, others take longer, much longer… as this mum found out

Mary Louise Mitty, 34, a radio presenter, and her fiancÉ Mark, 43, live in Tring with daughter Olivia, 22 months


My labour started with back pain

At three days overdue, I was lying in the bath when an intense pain shot across my lower back. It took my breath away. Mark helped me out of the bath and I lay on the bed, breathing deeply every time the pain came – a few times an hour.

But when we rang the hospital, they told us to stay put until the contractions were closer together.

That night I didn’t sleep I paced the house all night, bending over my birthing ball whenever a contraction hit.The pain was still in my back, which worried me because I’d expected it to be around my bump. In the afternoon, feeling anxious, we decided to get it checked out at hospital.

'My baby was ‘back to back’, meaning the back of her head was pressing on my spine'

The five-hour wait was awful

I was in so much pain. Eventually, at 10pm, I was examined. The midwife said I was 3cm dilated but that my baby was ‘back to back’, meaning the back of her head was pressing on my spine. At last I had an explanation for the back pain.

After 30 hours of labour, I was shattered I paced the room, breathing through each contraction. The pain was intense. By 4am, my waters broke and the midwife told me I was 5cm dilated, which was the boost I needed. By the morning, I wanted an epidural It wasn’t part of my birth plan, but I desperately needed rest. As the anaesthetic took affect, it was incredible to finally doze off.


By midday, I was fully dilated

Pushing with no sensation felt odd, but I followed the midwife’s instructions to exhale deeply through each contraction.

I pushed for five hours

Then suddenly, the midwife rushed out, returning with several others – I was terrified. After explaining that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck, she said I needed a forceps delivery to get my baby out fast. I hardly had time to think as we were whisked into theatre.

'I hardly had time to think as we were whisked into theatre'

They turned my baby’s head

This meant she could be pulled out more easily. When she was held up over the screen, I’ve never felt relief like it. I’d been in labour for 50 hours, but Olivia was finally here and I felt amazing.

What I would tell my friends

Do gentle exercise during pregnancy It helps give you the strength and stamina you’d need for a long labour – I swam and I’m sure it helped.

Do your homework Even if you’re planning a natural birth, learn about c-sections – I wish I’d known more about what might happen.

Heal stitches with tea tree oil (£3.34, I put a few drops into a warm bath every day for a few weeks post-birth and recovered quickly.

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