Birth Diaries: 'I Didn't Sleep For Three Days During Labour. I Was Utterly Exhausted'

Nothing went to plan – I threw up every time I had gas and air and ended up with a ventouse delivery.
HuffPost UK

In HuffPost Birth Diaries we hear the extraordinary stories of the everyday miracle of birth. Read more of them here. This week, Natasha Boydell tells her story – if you’d like to share yours, get touch with

I’ve never felt exhaustion like it. My daughter, Rose, made her grand entrance on a Wednesday, but I hadn’t slept since Sunday night – so while I was delirious with happiness to be holding my baby girl, I’d never, ever felt that tired.

I’d had a straightforward pregnancy but as I reached two weeks overdue, and Googled inductions, it became clear that labour was likely to be long and painful. I might have been hoping for a birth pool, music on – but that looked increasingly unlikely.

Still, I stayed hopeful. At 12 days overdue, I was given a pessary in hospital and told to go home and see if labour came on naturally. Perhaps there was a chance I could my birth plan, I thought, as I wandered round the park twiddling my thumbs, after leaving hospital. That evening, I finally went into labour; aware that it was early days, I stayed at home and tried to keep calm.

I didn’t sleep at all, but I didn’t mind – I was excited! I was in labour! Amazing!

Natasha Boydell

My partner and I headed back into hospital at 8am the next morning. I’ll be nearly 10cm, for sure, I thought. In reality I was just 1cm dilated.

I burst into tears. I was immediately admitted to the labour ward and put on a drip, after which my contractions came thick and fast. To cope with the pain, the midwives gave me gas and air. I threw up. I tried it again. I threw up, again. I realised it was probably best to leave off the gas and air.

Despite the vomiting, I would say I was still quite jovial at this point. But as time went on I felt worse and worse, and accepted an epidural. (The best thing in my life, by the way!)

But by 11pm, there was still no sign of a baby – and so I began a second sleepless night in which I lay, enjoying the relief the epidural brought, but unable get any kip because of the commotion going on around me. The next morning, I was given the delightful news that I had made it to 7cm.

Then, things sped up. Two hours later, I was ready to push. I had 30 minutes to get my daughter out, and if nothing happened, I was told the consultant would be called.

“I had no energy to say a word, but seeing my husband and child together made my heart sing.”

I was ready to give it everything. But alas, like everything else in my labour, nothing budged. I remember the midwife’s words: “I’m sorry it’s not working. We’ve given it a good go.”

The consultant told me he was going to use forceps. NCT didn’t teach me a huge amount, but one thing I did learn was a ventouse delivery was less damaging than a forceps one – so I asked for that, instead. He agreed, with the caveat that he might have to resort back to forceps.

I had an episiotomy, a ventouse delivery, and Rose came flying out.

She was happy and healthy and screamed the room down – but after they handed me my tiny daughter, I started to feel faint; as I passed Rose to my husband, I felt myself losing consciousness. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was losing a lot of blood and the consultant had to stitch me up straight away.

It took me about an hour to come round, and I remember laying there in a daze, watching my husband, skin-to-skin with my daughter in the chair next to me. I had no energy to say a word, but seeing them together made my heart sing.

A few weeks after – while speaking to my doctor at my postnatal check-up – I realised how utterly exhausting those few days had been. I’d never felt that tired in my whole life. And it was scary, trying to get to grips with being a new mum while also battling extreme exhaustion.

That being said, I never look back on my birth as being traumatic. It was tough, of course, but so, so worth it.

My birth advice?

You can’t predict what’s going to happen. Go with the flow, try and enjoy what you can, whatever your experience.

As told to Amy Packham.