In 1985, I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. At 33 weeks, my water broke and I went into labor. My contractions were 7 minutes apart for more than 24 hours - not terrible hard - I could talk through them. After a couple of days, they transferred me to the ward and put me on strict bed rest so that I could keep the baby inside me as long as possible. By that time, I didn't perceive any contractions. They were waiting for me to develop an infection before they took the baby out by C-section, because the longer inside me, the more mature her lungs would be. That happened on day 4 (from the time my water broke.) When the doctor opened me up, I heard him yell, "help me, for God's sake, help me get the baby out." He finally made a T-cut in my uterus (vertical, as well as horizontal) and got my daughter out. She was resuscitated right away and was fine. On the outside, there's only the usual, low horizontal incision near my pubic bone, but inside is this additional cut. I was told maybe one more baby, but a planned C-section and then no more because of likely uterine rupture with labor. That was fine with me as I had my second 4 years later at age 42. Having the preemie was so traumatic, even though my daughter was healthy, that I went to great lengths to try to avoid another preemie. I asked several consultant doctors what caused it and how to prevent it, but all I got were shoulder shrugs. (This particularly annoyed me while I was watching all these United Way ads saying "You can prevent premature births." Ha! What a joke! I was a saint during my pregnancy -ate well, no smoking or drinking. Was totally healthy.
I read the op report of my first pregnancy in which the doctor diagnosed Bandl's ring of the uterus. In those days, no internet, but I spent a great deal of time in the medical library looking it up in OB textbooks and Pubmed. (I'm a physical therapist.) The textbooks didn't even describe it. They said, "no one is ever barbaric enough anymore to let a mother stay in labor long enough for that to happen." It was quite difficult to even find a simple definition, but I finally did. My regular OB had NO IDEA what that was, and rebuked the doctor who delivered me for doing a C-section. That assured I was never going back to him. I went to a "high risk" OB specialist for my second pregnancy who also had no idea what it was. Fortunately for me, when I finally delivered my second by C-section (a week before my planned C-section) the operating doctor (the specialist I had gone to was on a boat in the San Juan Islands) not only knew what it was but said it was present at his own birth. I was grateful he was old enough to even know what it was. Second delivery no problem, full term. And it happened within a few hours of my water breaking and contractions starting so no Bandl's ring. However, my uterus did burst (an anticipated complication if I was allowed to go into labor at all because of that T cut in my uterus) just as he had peeled back my bladder, but he was ready to clean up right away, so no problems. Amazingly.
Today I read in the paper the following headline: "C-section guidelines urge waiting." They are advocating waiting to do C-sections for days after the mother goes into labor. There might be much more awareness of Bandl's ring in the near future, I suspect.