Natalie Brown, 26 was expecting a normal delivery. Her waters broke, she went to hospital - but then her baby decided not to come out however much she tried...
How was your pregnancy?
It went really well, although I did end up finishing work a week earlier than planned as I caught a cold and I was just so tired I needed to stop and have some down time.
How did you feel about the birth as your due date approached?
I was due on Friday 11th February 2011, and was really keen not to go over. I considered using raspberry leaf tea (which is thought to help bring on labour), but I really didn't fancy it! Instead, I did lots of walking, as I felt that would help get things moving. Sure enough, after a long walk with my husband on the Wednesday, my waters broke that night.
What happened then?
To start with I was quite calm - more than I can say for my husband! We phoned the hospital at about midnight and they told us to come in. By the time we left, I had started having contractions and they seemed pretty close together - even the midwife commented on this when we got there. But I was only 2cm dilated so she sent us home as we only live five minutes away with some extra-strong paracetamol.
How did your labour progress?
Back at home, I had a soak in the bath, then sat in a chair and listened to my HypnoBirthing CD. The pain got gradually worse, and after a few hours I knew it was time to go back in. We got back to the hospital at about 4am and got settled. I had my TENS machine on, and then I had gas and air and bounced on the birthing ball. Things seemed to be going well, until my contractions started getting a bit random and irregular. The midwife said she was going to set up a hormone drip to try and regulate and speed up my contractions.
Were you disappointed?
I was a bit as I'd thought I was making real progress, but in fact I'd only moved a couple of centimetres and my contractions seemed to be getting further apart rather than closer. I started wiling my baby to get moving but she wasn't having any of it.
How did you cope with the pain?
The drip seemed to make the contractions stronger but not closer together, so I asked for some diamorphine. By about 9pm Thursday, I felt like I'd been in labour for ages (which I had!) and the pain was getting pretty bad. I had to have some more diamorphine – but I was still only at 5cm dilated. It was so frustrating and of course, painful!
When did they decide you would need a C-section?
The doctor came to see me at about 11.30pm. He said I could choose - it was either more time and see what happens in another few hours, or to have a C-section because I was becoming tired, and the baby could become distressed. We took five minutes to talk about it and decided a C-section was best. Then the doctor examined me again and said he thought we should wait three hours!
I was a bit annoyed as I'd made up my mind, but went with it. I asked for an epidural though as I wanted to sleep. Three hours later the doctor came back - and sure enough, I hadn't progressed any further, so it was time for theatre. My baby just didn't want to budge! I thought I would have been a lot more disappointed at having a Caesarean but I totally changed my mind. All I could think was that it didn't matter as long as my baby was OK - and out of me!
What was the delivery like?
Strangely enough, I remember thinking how many people there were in the room and all the different jobs they had. When they pulled Niamh out it was uncomfortable but as I expected really. She was born at 3.39am weighing 8lb 5½oz. I remember Stephen sitting beside me holding Niamh, and drifting in and out. It was all quite surreal.
How did you feel when you saw Niamh for the first time?
They held her up and I remember thinking how perfect she was and how clean – I was expecting her to be a little more scrunched up and messy! She looked perfect . It was love at first sight. And I was just glad she had finally come out after so many hours.