When Nicola Cameron went into labour, she was hoping to meet her baby boy as quickly as possible. Here, she tells us how it was all quite the reverse...
So you knew what you were having?
Well, I thought we did! At the 20 week scan we were told we were having a baby boy although, in fairness, the radiographer wasn't entirely sure. We didn't mind either way and I was just focusing on meeting my little man!
When did you go into labour?
I was 12 days overdue and thoroughly fed up. I was fully expecting to into hospital the next day to be induced which I was dreading. However I woke up that morning quite early, I think around 6am, as I had a grumbling tummy. I was wondering if I'd eaten something that had disagreed with me. But as the day wore on I realised it couldn't be that as the pains started to come and go in a regular pattern. I phoned my midwife at lunchtime as things were getting painful and she told me to stay put until my waters broke, or until things got really bad.
What pain relief did you use?
I had a TENS machine which my partner hooked me up to after I'd spoken to the midwife. I'd say it worked ok, but only in the initial stages of labour. By the evening the machine was doing nothing for me and I managed to get into a hot bath. That was wonderful and I did wonder if I should have gone for a water birth!
How long did you stay at home for?
I was determined to stay at home for as long as possible as I really don't like hospitals and I'd also heard that labour is more likely to progress at home. So I spent a very long night getting in and out of hot baths, having my back massaged and clutching a hot water bottle. My partner kept saying I should go into hospital but I really didn't want to. But by 6am my waters had broken, my contractions were very regular and I just wanted to get into hospital.
What happened when you got there?
We got to the maternity unit quite quickly and I was assessed. I had only reached 5cms in 24 hours, which came as a blow. But because my waters had broken and I was in established labour, they admitted me. I went straight to a labour room which had beanbags and an exercise ball, but all I wanted to do was lie on the bed.
Did you ask for pain relief?
Yes. I managed another two hours with gas and air but had still only reached 6cms. By this point I caved in and asked for an epidural.
How quickly did it arrive?
Unfortunately, it took about an hour. It was the worst hour of the whole thing!
Was it worth the wait?
Absolutely - it was absolutely brilliant. It did slow everything down, which wasn't so great, but equally I was finally able to get some sleep. I think it's easy to forget that if you have a long labour, you're sleep deprived and extremely hungry on top of everything else.
And when did you start to push?
At about 5am, 47 hours after my labour had begun, I began to push. It was all very strange as I was numb but could still feel some weird sensations. I pushed for an hour and finally it was all over after a full 48 hours!
And what happened next?
My baby was brought to me, naked and screaming - I took my baby in my arms and noticed that he was actually Louisa! It was a very funny surprise!
And what was it like to meet your unexpected surprise?!
It was just wonderful. Just totally amazing. And it didn't matter a jot that we'd had a girl rather than a boy - how could it when you are holding the most beautiful little thing in your arms? I was just delighted to meet my beautiful baby. It was just a wonderful, wonderful moment - with a little added excitement!