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Amber, mother of one (born 2008), hometown Chelmsford

After a visit to the consultant in December to beg for a few more days to give birth naturally I’d been given an induction date and another stretch and sweep to see if it could start things. I was slightly dilated so went home optimistic, I was sleepy but decided not to have a nap and get presents wrapped before anything happened – BIG mistake! At about 8pm I started getting pains that but it wasn't until about 3.00am I told "other half" labour may have started and we dashed about putting the birthing pool up, as we wanted a home birth,then rang the labour ward. Midwife arrived and examined me and said OH should stop filling the pool! Spent the night drinking tea and chatting then the next day leaning on my birthing ball. Couldn’t sleep though as contractions kept waking me.

By 10.30pm contractions were finally getting nearer together so the midwife came out again. Examined me and I was “officially” in labour!!! I was now allowed in the pool and I asked for gas and air; which it took me a while to get the hang of as my contractions started strong and got weaker instead of the other way round. I kept falling asleep between contractions so OH asked the midwife if there was anything I could have to help me sleep – she said a dose of Pethadine might help and rang the ward to get someone to bring some out (it arrived with tinsel round!).

Must have been about 7am by now and I was dozing leaning over the ball and chatting to the midwife between contractions, at 8.15am she said she would have to burst my waters soon. Lay on the sofa bed and another contraction started, leant forward for my precious gas and air and they went on their own. There was a bit of meconium so midwife said “you know what this means” so OH (who had been dozing on the sofa) woke to a dripping me and midwife on the phone calling an ambulance!

At the hospital I was put on a foetal monitoring machine and baby’s heart rate was very low so it had to stay on with consultants constantly coming in the room to check stuff. At some point I had a drip inserted of the inducing drug oxytocin because the heart rate kept dipping. At one point (while our midwife had popped out for a second) I remember hearing one of the room alarms going off nearby, seconds later OH said he’d be back in a min which made me angry as I was in pain and felt it was inconsiderate to leave now – only when midwives and consultants started rushing in did I realise the alarm was our room and OH had pressed it because baby’s heartrate was just 80bpm.

I was in AGONY by 12.45pm and exhausted and OH said I kept just zoning out between contractions, I was also telling him I couldn’t do it and occasionally just sobbing hysterically. At 2pm a new midwife took over, who says she needed to take my gas and air away and I started freaking, OH was looking at her in horror. At some point a paediatrician arrived with a resuscitation trolley just in case, but they were all telling me not to worry and OH was the calmest of all. I really can't imagine how I would have done it without him.

Apparently the baby’s head was born, so OH told me, I thought he was lying. I still thought I was pushing when everyone just let go of my hands etc and walked over to the trolley with this baby. Dawned on me it was mine and I started asking if it was a boy or a girl (baby was screaming so I was sure she was ok) and OH just stood staring at her in a daze.

OH had been adamant about staying head end and not cutting the cord but in the end he watched everything and trimmed the cord and he was so glad he did as he said it was amazing.

The labour ward was packed so it took 6 hours to get transferred to the ward and then OH had to go home. My daughter refused to breastfeed despite help and i felt very alone. I would have loved OH to stay and help but he wasn't allowed.