Becky Beech, 35, from Eastbourne, didn't experience a single contraction despite three attempts to induce her. It may have been tiring but at least labour was pain free!
Why didn't you experience any contractions?
That part is a mystery to me! I was booked in to hospital for an induction after going 10 days over my due date. They began the process by examining me - I was soft but less than a centimeter dilated - so they inserted a prostaglandin pessary at about 10.30pm. The hope was that something would happen overnight and I'd go into labour naturally.
What happened the first night?
Not a lot! I remember lying awake for most of it, unable to sleep. In part, I was expecting something to happen, but mainly I couldn't sleep as it was too hot and bright. Even with earplugs, I could hear buzzers ringing all night long. I remember wondering what the women could need every five minutes - little did I know then!
And the next morning?
Nothing had happened overnight, so they gave me another pessary in the morning. The midwife told me that the second one works for most women. I remember going for a walk around the hospital grounds with my partner, expecting something to happen any minute.
But it didn't?
No, I had to wait another 12 hours and then they gave me a third one. This, I was assured, was bound to kick start things! When the third one didn't work I started to feel very disheartened. I asked the midwife what would happen now and she told me that a caesarean
So labour had started?
No, I was still only one centimeter dilated. They said the cervix had lengthened slightly, but there hadn't been much progress despite the three pessaries. However, as my waters had broken, they told me I would need to go on a drip within 24 hours due to the risk of infection. So, after two sleepless nights in hospital, they took me through to the labour ward that evening. I insisted on having an epidural put in before they began the drip, as I'd heard that going from no contractions to full on labour can be more painful than a normal birth when your body has more time to adjust to them. Once the epidural was in, they started the drip.
How long did the drip take to work?
Well, I was on it for 15 hours in total - which was pretty exhausting as you can imagine. Luckily, I didn't feel any of the contractions thanks to the epidural but lying awake for that length of time was hard going. I tried to doze but lost track of what day it was, never mind whether it was night or day!
What happened after 15 hours?
After about eight hours on the drip they found that I was still only four centimeters dilated. They tried turning it up, but the baby became distressed. At that stage they prepared me for an emergency caesarean and called my partner back (who had gone home to rest). However, when he got there, they decided the baby was OK, and they'd carry on with the drip.
How did you feel?
Very disappointed to be honest. I had prepared myself for having a caesarean and just wanted it to be over. Plus, the idea of my baby being in distress was very upsetting - I just wanted them to get him out. I had no faith in my body suddenly going into labour naturally. If I was only four centimeters dilated after many hours on the drip, I felt it was unlikely my body would suddenly respond.
So when did you have the baby?
It was 5am the next morning when they decided to do the caesarean. That part of things was easy! My partner didn't want to come in with me, which I can understand, as I think I would find it hard to be in the same room if he was to undergo a major operation. They wheeled me through and topped up the epidural. The baby seemed to come out very quickly - in as little as five or 10 minutes. It took a little while longer for them to finish up. I didn't find it unpleasant or frightening - in fact, I think I finally relaxed and fell asleep for some of it!
What was it like when you finally saw your baby?
Relief mainly. I didn't feel any kind of emotional high or instant love - I think I was too tired for that. Luckily, a friend of mine had described feeling the same way, so I didn't feel worried about being emotionally numb for a few days. The bonding process happened once we got home - and now I love him more than anything in the world.
How do you feel looking back now
It may have been tiring (I was in hospital for a week in total, as you need three days to recover from surgery) but at least it was pain free for me! Weirdly, I still don't know what it feels like to have a contraction!