24 hours after a birth fraught with complications, we were told that the medical professionals thought Seb had Down's syndrome. What should have been the happiest day of my life was the worst. For Simon, my husband, it was very different. He accepted the diagnosis from day one and through all my tears and heartbreak he constantly reassured me that we would cope.
In December 2011 Lisa, 33, suffered an amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) - which affects 1 in 10,000 births - when fluid from her womb leaked into her bloodstream. The embolism triggered two heart attacks in quick succession and caused massive haemorrhaging of her womb. Her baby, Louie, also perished. Sadly, mother and baby never got to meet.
I spent most of my pregnancy in some form of unity with baby. She was always at the heart of everything I did, even if I was doing nothing or was consumed by a task. Alongside this I made sure I had special time for exclusive bonding. And you know what, it worked. When baby arrived I felt I knew her.
As Kate Middleton gives birth to the third heir to the throne, around 100 pregnant women continue to be detained in the UK for immigration purposes each year. A research report by Medical Justice has shown that the current policy of detaining pregnant women is ineffective, unworkable and damaging.
Raising a boy has its own particular joys and challenges. Duchess Kate and Prince William have some experience looking after younger brothers James and Prince Harry, but being a parent is entirely new. Here are some of the things that new parents of sons have to look forward to.
You've got to feel for the Cambridge's. (Not the global media attention or the world and it's grandparents-to-be. Not that bit). No, I mean the waiting bit.
Natural birth isn't for everyone and the footage of ecstatic naked couples probably won't be embraced in Buck House, but if a woman aspires to this type of birth then she should be offered the means.
Off my face on painkillers and hormones after an emergency c. section and haemorrhage, I was repeatedly pressured by a sales rep to buy baby photographs. She kept returning to see if I'd 'made a decision'; I could barely decide which way up my baby was supposed to be. Of course this should be banned. It's borderline barbarism and places commercial factors above maternal wellbeing.
IVF is a big business. With infertility now affecting one in six couples, IVF is something that has become somewhat of a necessity for some couples wishing to conceive their own biological child. Often times, couples are so desperate for a baby, that they don't even consider the toll it can take on their physical and emotional well being.
Mid way through my pregnancy, I sat opposite my midwife, the first and only time I saw her, and whilst nibbling my organic carrot sticks and sipping herbal tea, stated that under no circumstances did I want drugs or intervention, I wanted my birth to be as 'natural' as possible. She had smirked a little and nodded through her stifled giggle.
Last night I dreamt that Kate Middleton was my next door neighbour and that she and Wills had their baby. It was a boy in case you were wondering, and...
This week saw the news that the world's first baby had been born following the use of a naturally occurring hormone called kisspeptin. This hormone helps to induce egg development allowing women to avoid using the traditional IVF drugs.
Being 'baby ready' is so much more than purchases and the inevitable pushing. You can make heartfelt attempts to sort your self out. You can do a whole lot of growing up. You can deal with your inner issues, your angers, your resentments, your bitterness, your issues with your parents, your addictions etc
Taking a lesson from history, we should be asking what social inequalities are contributing to women's and mothers' mental, physical and psychosomatic health problems. Traumatic, stressful, debilitating childbearing should never be accepted as the status quo.
When a 14 year old Irish girl was raped and became pregnant in 1992, nobody knew that the shockwaves would still be rippling 20 years later. This week, the 'Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill' is navigating the Irish Parliament. If successful, abortion, where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, may soon be legalised in Ireland.
One of the questions I often get asked is: "What should I do to prepare my body for pregnancy?" Trying to start a family can be a challenge, and many women want to know all the facts to give themselves the best chance of conception and give their baby the best start in life