Sometimes birth gets complicated. Truly. Biologically. Not because unnecessary disturbance has slowed or halted labour's flow. You prepared. You provided. You laid out your plans. But if your body and baby have other ideas, and need some help, what can you do? This is the journey.
It will likely be possible to ask for a little time alone, a few minutes even, so that you and your partner have a chance to talk, take a breath and adjust to the unexpected detour, to come together and re-centre. And then whether an unplanned transfer to labour ward, an epidural or a caesarean birth you hadn't expected, move into it and embrace plan B in the knowledge that all you've learned will continue to serve and soothe. Deep slow breaths. A hand to hold and ground you. These things are as key as ever, as are feeling loved and listened to, respected and at the precious centre of your experience which is bringing you your child.
Alice knew, she absolutely could feel for herself that her contractions though powerful weren't productive. She knew what she should have been feeling once labour real was underway because she'd learned about it. Growing change, her baby moving down, increasing pressure and intensity. Most of all a sense of resolution with each wave. And she didn't.
When a baby is persistently posterior, i.e. In the back to back to back position but not budging, there's a sense of stuckness, the swell-and-propel of contractions that bring a baby down and through and which ordinarily make labour do-able (because you can feel for yourself that it's working!) just wasn't happening. In such a situation, it can be hard to persuade doctors and midwives that you know it's a total No-Go because thanks to no continuity of care, they are only seeing a small window of the labour and can assume you aren't coping, or contractions haven't got strong enough.
They won't know that like Alice you know your stuff, have given your body what it needs, have laboured already for many hours at home etc. Thankfully Paul here, her fantastic other half explained, made sure they were heard and that Alice's desire to call a halt and have a caesarean was respected.