Kim Coles, 31, managed to cope with 52 hours of labour but needed a final helping hand to deliver baby Annabelle.
How did you manage to deal with 52 hours of labour?
I was quite calm actually. The midwife felt a bit redundant at times and thought I had been to all these special breathing classes. I wouldn't say it was that complicated but I did expect to be in and out quite quickly, so it was frustrating.
So did your labour start?
In the morning I'd had a show and then I just felt really tired. I started having pains in the afternoon and I knew that was it. My biggest worry was that I didn't know what pain to expect. By 10pm we phoned the hospital - Phil had his clipboard and was writing down the timings. The hospital said try and see it through so we waited until the next morning. Phil distracted me by playing Monkey Ball and I'd have a break when I'd have a contraction. On the Monday we went into hospital at 10am. They said I was 3cm dilated and they kept me in. Then the contractions slowed down from every 10 minutes to every half an hour - it was really frustrating. They swept my membrane to try and dislodge things, by then it was nearly 10 in the evening. I had really strong contractions but the hospital sent me home. The contractions got more regular again and I was in and out of the bath. I found the hot water very soothing.
When did you go back to hospital?
On the Tuesday morning. I was really in pain by then. By the time I got into the hospital I couldn't sit down. The receptionist ended up taking me down to the ward as I wasn't really coping and they found me a room. They measured me again and I was still only 3cm dilated. We'd been up for two nights and having contractions and nothing had really happened. They said I'd either have to have a C-section because it had been going on so long as I would have no energy and the baby might get distressed or they could break my waters. I really didn't want a C-section so they broke my waters which was really uncomfortable. After that things really sped up and the contractions really increased in frequency and intensity.
Did you have any pain relief?
I asked for paracetamol but that didn't hit the sides as I was in so much pain. Pretty shortly after I had gas and air. A first few breaths didn't really do anything but I persevered and it really helped. Some people don't really get on with it but I really liked it. It didn't numb the pain but it just takes your mind off things and it makes your head a bit woozy. I took too much of it so I couldn't feel my legs which was bad as I was walking around.
Then what happened?
Eventually they let me go in the birthing pool. I'd had a few other complications. My bladder got really full but I couldn't go for a wee so I needed a catheter to drain my urine. I think it was the gas and air. I went into the birthing pool when I was about 7cms. I was in there for a quite a few hours. I really liked it in there but I started getting really tired.
How did you deal with the pain?
With any pain you can lose control of your body and let it hurt you or you can tense yourself and fight against it. I just kept doing that and focussing . I made myself stay calm doing that. I really didn't want to have an epidural, I was scared of having an injection. You get so engrossed in dealing with the pain that you forget you're having a baby! You don't have time to think about it.
So, how did the actual birth happen?
It got to a stage when I got really tired and the midwife was telling me I wasn't pushing hard enough. I'm quite a determined person so I knew I was pushing as hard as I could. It turns out my contractions had weakened so there wasn't the force behind the push. I got out of the birthing pool and on the bed which was my worst nightmare. I had my legs in stirrups and I had to try and push her out but I kept getting cramp in my legs. I started losing hope. My midwife was lovely but we got to the point where we wanted them to get a doctor and get more medical help as it just wasn't working. I just knew I couldn't get her out. In the end they got the doctor in and it was a relief. They ended up using a numbing injection and they pulled Annabelle out with a ventouse. Phil didn't like that bit as they put it on the baby's head and he was scared that she'd go flying.
What happened when Annabelle arrived?
We'd lost track of what we were there for as we were so tired. They pulled Annabelle out . Phil checked her fingers and toes and they gave her straight to me. She just lay on me and she was crying and I thought I don't know what to do. She wriggled her way down and found the boob and just started feeding which was really lovely. They took her off to clean her up. Phil got taught to how to do her nappy and I went off to have a shower.
How did Phil cope with the labour?
He was really supportive. I didn't expect him to be as good as he was. He was really good at distracting me and he was quite strict with me at times. Whenever I needed a reality check he'd put things in perspective but he also made things really lovely - he had music, he made me eat and didn't complain when I grabbed onto him. I know and trust him so well.
How did you feel when you saw Annabelle?
It was complete love. I've never been massively maternal but I just wanted to be with her every second of the day. I couldn't take my eyes off her. I didn't even want to go to sleep. I wanted see her all the time and watch her. Something protective in me took over. I was a bit too clingy as a mum at first and I didn't leave her for a long time. This thing you've made is so dependent on you and I felt really dependent on her too. She's so very precious.