When Layla Choudary's first attempt at IVF was a surprise success, she didn't have such a fortunate birth experience. Here she tells us about her journey to motherhood.
Do you know why you were unable to conceive naturally?
No – it was a mystery. We had tried for several years to have a baby and no amount of career, money or material things could compensate for not being a mum. So we turned to IVF when it was clear the situation just wasn't going to change. We are extremely fortunate and had the financial resource to go private. So, for us, the experience was excellent – especially when I became pregnant on the first cycle!
What was it like to discover you were finally pregnant?
Amazing. Just totally amazing as we'd waited so long with no guarantee of success. We had been told our infertility was unexplained, so I just didn't know if anything was going to work. So, when I saw the pink line on the test, it was a mixture of elation and enormous relief.
How was the pregnancy?
When did you go into labour?
It was on my due date. Which I wasn't expecting as that doesn't really happen! I was sitting on the sofa on a Monday evening watching the TV and felt my bump going tight and I started to feel some pains. I didn't really know what to think until they started coming regularly and then I twigged...when you've not done it before you just don't know what's going on.
How long did you stay at home for?
In the end I did 48 hours at home. Because my waters hadn't broken, the hospital were telling me to stay at home. This was fine for the first 24 hours as I could cope with the pain, but on the second day it was just so painful I was crying through the contractions.
When did you get to the hospital?
I got there at around 11pm on the Wednesday evening. The examined me and I was still only 2cms, so they sent me home again. I felt a bit short changed as I was genuinely in a lot of pain and I also thought that, because my baby was IVF, they may have been a bit more cautious with me. But I felt like no one was listening to me, which was a real blow given the excellent care I'd had up until that point.
When did you go back to the hospital?
On Thursday morning my waters had finally broken and I went straight in. They told me I was up to five centimetres – another blow. I had been in labour since Monday evening and it was now Thursday morning.
By this point I'd have enough. I tried gas and air but that was pointless and I didn't want to try anything else. I wanted an epidural which, fortunately, arrived within the hour. After that I was much calmer.
How did the labour progress from that point?
It slowed down but I knew that was to be expected. But it still really upset me. I just wanted it to be over. It hadn't been 9 months of waiting, it had been years and now even my labour was taking forever.
When did you start to push?
By Friday evening, four days after I first felt my labour begin, I began to push. But I ran into problems again. My daughter got horribly stuck and wasn't responding to the ventouse or the forceps. Eventually they told me I'd need an caesarean unless I could get the baby out. I knew I did not want to do that after spending days in labour so something just took over me and I pushed for both our lives.
And how quickly did the baby arrive?
Exactly 90 minutes after I started to push, our daughter Erum finally arrived into the world.
How did you feel by the end?
Just totally amazing. Especially given the journey we'd been on to conceive her. I was just consumed with awe, amazement and love. This tiny little baby was all mine and she was worth every second of the disappointments, IVF treatment, labour and birth and I wouldn't have swapped the experience for the world.