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I would bet that if she had an i.v. they put Pitocin in it.
I would also bet that the baby got really stressed because the length and strength of the contractions were unnaturally long and hard and/or the baby was not ready to be born yet.
And yes, hands-knees, I've always heard, takes pressure off the cord. If she would have been at home, they would have kept the baby off the cord by getting her in the hands-knees position with the midwife's hand inserted, holding the baby's head up off the cord, until they could get her into the OR.
 
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