Giving Birth at 32 Weeks | ‘Not to Plan’ Birth Stories

Imagine going into labour at just 32 weeks – here Rebecca shares her pre-term Labour & Delivery story!


00:23 Monday 2nd January 32+3 weeks pregnant – I was pacing, unable to sleep due to a combination of pregnancy insomnia and a heavy cold.  I wasn’t feeling right and I just couldn’t relax. The most tremendous thunder and lightening storm began and went on for a couple of hours.  I love thunder storms so sat on the landing watching through our balcony door.  It wasn’t long before Emelia woke up scared and I went in to comfort her.  There are shutters on all of our windows which rattle whenever there’s a storm.  By the time Emelia woke up at 6.45am I was feeling wrecked, Brett got up with her and I just climbed into bed to try and get some rest.

7:00 – I began feeling strange, I classed it at the time as being unwell but truth be told I didn’t know what was wrong, I just didn’t feel myself, I thought I was going to have to spend most of the day in bed, but it wasn’t long before I started to get a funny sensation.  At first, I didn’t think it was my waters, I was getting cross with myself thinking I had developed a weak bladder, as every couple of minutes I’d there would be a trickle, which I had no control over.  I didn’t say anything to Brett, to be honest, out of embarrassment! 


8:00 – Brett took Emelia off to the shop to buy some milk and other bits we needed. By the time they were back the volume of water leaking had increased, I started to have a gut feeling that actually my waters were leaking.  I called Brett and said I didn’t want to alarm him and I was sure it was nothing but I needed to phone the midwife.  Who wasn’t actually available to see me until 10:30.


10:35 – I went into the medical centre on camp where the on call midwife quickly referred me to the Polyclinic.  On route, we saw the most beautiful rainbow, a pretty apt sign, or so we felt, that maybe today was the day our rainbow baby arrives.  As we arrived the midwives smiled and wondered what had happened this time, their face soon changed when I said I thought my waters had gone!  We know them pretty well now and they all really wanted to see the baby after everything we’ve been through and how much time we’ve spent there.


My consultant came straight in and gave me a scan, followed by an examination which confirmed my waters had broken.  I was going to have to be transferred to Makarios Hospital as the Polyclinic can’t deliver babies earlier than 34 weeks. He told us our baby was transverse and prepared us to expect a c-section as soon as we got there because of the risk of a foot or the umbilical cord coming out first.  I was taken to a side room where I was given an injection to develop the baby’s lungs, the ambulance driver then arrived with a bed and I was wheeled out. Brett had to follow behind as we made another very quick and scary journey to Nicosia. 


On route I started to get contractions every 4 minutes, the midwife comforted me and helped me relax, as much as I could whilst feeling like I was going to fly out of the bed!  On arrival to Makarios I was taken straight to the labour ward for assessment.  They took some blood and then wheeled me off for another scan, Brett just made it in time to come with me.


The doctor scanned me and told us the baby was now breech and I still had a little bit of water.  After a minute or two, he said I would be staying there until I delivered.  Brett and I were stunned, we questioned it, to which he said he was going to try and keep me going until 34/35 weeks, despite admitting how dangerous it was for the baby to be in that position.  We were both feeling terrified but communication was difficult, so we had no choice but to go back to the labour ward where I was put on the monitor for more assessments.  My contractions had increased, Brett was calming down a little, he knew labour was progressing and they’d have to do something about it.

I hadn’t been back in the room 10 minutes when Brett was sent out so another doctor could examine me.  I’ve had 2 babies before and numerous amounts of examinations throughout pregnancy that I know what to expect.  However, this was different, it was so painful and I felt so uncomfortable with how forceful they were being.  She spoke to a midwife in Greek and then told me I was going to be having a section.  I questioned whether she meant now or at some point, she said ‘we will prep you now and you will go, I can feel a foot.’


I shouted to Brett who was waiting outside, in the split second it took him to come into the room they had pulled off my clothes in the most undignified manner and I was just sat there for everyone to see. I was put in a wheelchair, with a gown draped over me and wheeled to theatre. I had to climb onto the operating table where they strapped me down in a crucifix position and put an oxygen mask over my face, then my gown was removed, I was laying there feeling so scared and vulnerable , I realise this is a common process when you have an operation, but you’re not usually awake to be aware of it! They then put in the catheter, again, so harshly that the pain was excruciating, following this a man came over and started painting the iodine over my tummy and down my legs, before pouring it all over my bikini area and spreading it around, it seemed to go on forever.  It was ice cold and I felt completely and utterly violated like I was being abused.  I could feel my eyes welling up and could hear on the monitor my heart rate was increasing.  They started putting the green cloth over me and brought over the instruments they would use for the operation.  The lights then came over me and  I couldn’t keep it in anymore, I was absolutely terrified, I turned my head out of the mask to enable me to speak and called out to whoever would listen, repeating ‘why am I awake, I can feel everything?!’ I was absolutely beside myself.


Eventually, the anaesthetist came over and put me to sleep.


I don’t think I woke up until about 17:30, I don’t remember much due to the anaesthetic, my vision was very blurred and I didn’t have much of a voice, I remember calling for Brett as loud as I was able to.  He wasn’t there, but eventually, someone must have found the Military liaison office who came and sat with me and explained that Brett was with our baby boy, I vaguely remember asking repeatedly if he was ok.  It wasn’t long before Brett came back to the ward, I still couldn’t see very well and spent the whole time he was there drifting in and out of consciousness.  He phoned our parents and siblings to tell them the news, I know I spoke to a few people but I have no idea what I said. 


Oscar George Wilson was born at 15:10 on 2nd January, weighing 4.5lbs.  He is in intensive care needing help to breathe but doing well, we are only allowed to see him for an hour twice a day, which is extremely hard, but I know the care he is receiving is second to none. 


To learn more about Rebecca and her family, you can find her blog here.
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