Sarah Topping, 34, a freelance copywriter, lives in London with husband Adam and son Zachary, two. She says:
During my pregnancy I felt sure my baby was going to be late, so I wasn’t surprised when my due date came and went. But when I reached 10 days overdue and hadn’t felt so much as a twinge, the wait started to drag. I did the usual tricks of sipping raspberry-leaf tea and eating a curry, but neither worked. Even the sweeps I was given by my midwife didn’t kick-start my contractions.
At 14 days overdue, my hospital recommended induction. I was happy to be admitted. At 8pm, a prostaglandin pessary was inserted into my cervix to stimulate contractions. That evening I shared a room with another mum-to-be who was also being induced. Her pessary took immediate effect, but I felt nothing. A midwife examined me later and confirmed I hadn’t dilated. It was so disappointing.
Nothing had happened by the morning. Or the next morning, when I was 16 days overdue. I closed my eyes as the midwife inserted a second pessary. That afternoon I felt my first proper twinges. I was elated that something was happening.
At 6pm I was dilated enough for my waters to be broken. Soon after, the contractions ramped up and I spent the next few hours bouncing on my birthing ball, inhaling the gas and air. At 11pm, the midwife said my baby was in the back-to-back position and would need turning. She said it was best if I had an epidural for this. I gladly accepted, but after learning the anaesthetist had been delayed, I settled for an injection of diamorphine which calmed me and took the edge off the labour pains. I was given an epidural two hours later, then a doctor manually turned my baby. After that, amazingly, I slept.
I woke at 7am the next morning, 17 days past my due date.
I woke at 7am the next morning, 17 days past my due date. The midwife confirmed I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing, which I did for the next two hours. Adam boosted my confidence, but my labour was beginning to feel endless.
At lunchtime, a doctor popped in. ‘You need a c-section,’ he said. I was disappointed, but understood why. Adam was given scrubs to wear. But everything changed when another doctor visited. ‘I can use forceps to get the baby out,’ she said. At 1pm, as I lay back on the bed, I felt exhausted. Forceps were used and I experienced no pain at all. Within seconds my baby was held up and passed to me for a cuddle. I held Adam’s hand, gazing at my beautiful son and burst into tears of relief.
When I tell people I was 17 days overdue, they can hardly believe it. But Zachary was worth the wait.