Jo Monk, 33, from Newbury nearly had her baby in the car on the way to the hospital after midwives accidently missed the signs that she'd gone into labour.
How did you go into labour?
Izzy was four days overdue and I'd been told by the midwives that if I stopped feeling any movement then I should phone the hospital. It got to 6pm in the evening and I hadn't felt much so I decided to get checked out. By the time I got to the hospital I felt some pain but it was like mild period pains so I didn't really think much of it.
The midwives put me on a monitor until about 11pm and fortunately the baby was absolutely fine. However, there was something happening on the monitor every 10 minutes. I was laughing with my husband Nathan about it and showed the midwives my chart with the peaks to see if I was in labour - I didn't know as it was my first baby - but she just laughed at me and said I would be in much more pain and sent me home.
What happened next?
We went to McDonalds on the way back as I was a bit peckish - apparently getting hungry is one of the signs of labour. I really regretted it later! I phoned my mum and told her everything was fine. However, at midnight I started monitoring the slight pain and put on the TENS machine. I didn't really believe it but the pain started coming every two or three minutes. It wasn't consistent but it was getting more painful. By half three I woke up Nathan and said we should phone the hospital as something was definitely going on. They put me on the phone and I had a chat with them and they said as I wasn't out of breath and could talk I wasn't in labour. However my waters broke at 4.30am. My pain level went from 1 to a 10. It went off the scale. There was meconium in my water so the hospital said to go straight away.
How did you get to the hospital?
So much water came out with every contraction that it took an hour for me to get from the bedroom to the car. It was a 30-minute drive to Reading hospital and the contractions were coming thick and fast. When we were in the car I said to Nathan, "I feel like pushing." I didn't really believe it until I said it! We arrived at the hospital and went to the reception desk. They put me on a bed to examine me and they said they could see the head and I would have to start pushing straight away. There was no time for gas and air. In my birth plan I said I wanted all the pain relief going and I wasn't allowed any! I started screaming with the next contraction and the midwife told me to stop screaming and focus on pushing. I pushed and within a minute Izzy was out. She was 8 pounds.
How did you feel about having your baby so quickly?
Looking back it was rather brilliant. I was in a state of shock at the time as I didn't think a baby could come that quick. I wasn't ready at all. The midwives actually asked me how long I was in labour but I didn't really know. We agreed that it started when my waters broke - so it was two hours. I used a TENS machine before my waters broke and I never had the chance to take it off. I'd started it at A1 and I'd put it up to C10 and I thought it was broken. The midwives were laughing as they said the TENS machine won't work in the final stages of labour. I had it on the whole time.
Was there anything you would have changed?
I didn't have time to tell anybody. I'd phoned my mum the evening before on the way to McDonalds to say I was OK so she didn't know I had gone back in. My dad drove past my house in the morning and noticed that the car had gone. He phoned my mum but she thought he was being ridiculous. We phoned them half an hour later and told them we'd had the baby.
What did you feel when you saw Izzy for the first time?
I was in so much shock as nothing had happened according to my birth plan. Nath was crying and I was shaking. I did feel 'wow'. It is super-amazing. I just had to take in what had happened. Your whole world is turned upside down. You can't believe how much you could love one little thing. It's unreal. At that point the pain is forgotten and you'd do it all again.
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