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Sally, mother of one (born 2009), hometown Coventry

The initial plan was to have a home birth, but it didn't quite goto plan! Waters broke just after midnight on the 20th April and I woke up hubby, who was a little groggy, but jumped up and was focused within minutes. Midwife arrived and assed my progress, but as I was only just starting to dilate, she suggested I took some pain killers and try to get some sleep. Hubby helped me have a bath, changed the wet sheets, talked to the midwife about the next steps and was what I expected an expectant dad to be...concerned that he could really do anything to help! I laboured for the next 24 hours but only dialated 4 cms so the decision was made to take me to hospital. My husband was there all day, holding my hand, trying to get me to eat, helping with the TENS machine, looking after the 2 midwifes and generally being fantastic. When we got to the hospital, he fell asleep. I think it was the relief knowing I was being looked after by nurses and doctors and there was not a lot he could now do. The decision to have a c-section was a joint decision, after the doctors explained that I wasn't responding to oxiticin and baby wasn't in the right position which was why the labour wasn't progressing. My husband was with me in the theatre, stroking my arm and keeping me smiling. After the c-section, we were left to have breakfast together and to have the all important family hug. One of the hardest things was when my husband was told he couldn't come into the ward with me and was only allowed back at visiting times. Bewteen 8:00am and 2:00pm on the first day was horrible. Although I had this lovely bundle of joy, I was alone, numb from the epidural and shattered. Strange that hubby can be in the operating room, but not allowed on the ward where he was needed. baby and me stayed in hospital for 2 nights (which were awful). Some of the nurses made you feel as though you were being a burden by ringing the buzzer, they more or less left me to get on with being a mother, but baby wasn't feeding well. I asked for lots of help with breast-feeding but I heard all sorts of reason why is wasn't working..nipples too big, baby's mouth too small, lazy baby, boobs too big. In the end, it was my midwife, who I bumped into getting a cuppa, that suggested I try lying on my side to feed. That worked and although we still had problems sitting up, seeing baby feed, was very emotional. At home, my husband would get baby when he woke and would try to stay awake whilst I fed during the night. The first 2 weeks flew by and he had to go back to work. Dads having longer off has got to be the way forward, especially as I couldn't drive or wasn't supposed to pick anything heavier than baby up.