After a dreadful pregnancy and a difficult birth, Sarah Churchman was rewarded with an angelic baby girl! Here she tells us about her pregnancy and birth.
Why was your pregnancy so difficult?
For some reason my body just didn't like being pregnant! As well as nine months of morning sickness, I suffered severe fatigue and had to have a month off work at one point. I also had two episodes where they thought the baby may be born before 30 weeks, and I spent a few nights in hospital being monitored. My baby also had to have a steroid injection, via my body, to help her lungs mature just in case labour began.
Did your pregnancy reach full term?
Despite the problems, my daughter was two weeks late and I had to be induced!
What was it like to be induced?
I went into hospital at 6pm and was induced at around 6.30pm with prostaglandin gel. The contractions did start very slowly, but by 4am I was in established labour and things started to become extremely uncomfortable. By 6am my waters had broken.
What pain relief were you given?
I am allergic to pethidine, so my options were gas and air or an epidural. However, the gas and air didn't work for me. I asked for an epidural but it took hours to turn up. When it did finally arrive, I had started to push so they took it away again. That was definitely the worst part of the whole experience.
Was the birth straightforward?
18 hours after being induced, I began to push at around 12.30pm. After about an hour they realised my daughter was stuck and called an obstetrician as she had gone into distress. The obstetrician repositioned me and I continued to push. This didn't work either and in the end I needed a ventouse to help her out. Isla was finally born at 13.52.
What was it like to see your daughter for the first time?
It was of course absolutely wonderful, but I only caught a glimpse as she wasn't breathing and had to be rushed to the resuscitaire. There was a silence for what seemed like forever (although it was probably about one minute!) and then all of a sudden I heard a big scream and felt very, very relieved.
What happened next?
They finally brought my daughter to me and I just melted. I will never forget her little face peering out of the blanket she was wrapped up in. I introduced myself as her mummy and she lay in my arms frowning and pursing her tiny little lips – an expression she still does 18 months on! She was so warm and light and tiny and perfect. I felt nothing but overwhelming love and total elation. I remember thinking that she was worth all the pain and suffering of pregnancy and labour.
Because I hadn't had any drugs, I felt pretty amazing afterwards. Instead of groggy I felt as though I was brimming with health! After a Mars Bar, a cup of tea and a shower, we were transferred to a post natal room rather than a ward. It was lovely as my partner, daughter and I were able to spend our first hours as a family all alone.
Did you get much sleep that night?
No - I felt incredibly alert and well! For that reason I stayed awake most of the night because I just couldn't sleep - I was still just too elated! The midwives even offered to take my daughter for a few hours so that I could get some rest, but I didn't want to be parted from my baby. Instead, we snuggled all night, just the two of us. It was lovely.
What was it like taking your baby home?
It was of course a bit nerve wracking but we were blessed with a baby with most voracious appetite anyone has ever known! By three weeks our wonderful daughter slept through the night - and someone once said to me that it was payback for such an awful pregnancy!