*Mother of two, Monica Daley Campbell, 41, gave birth to her third child – and only daughter – Leah.
*Length of labour: Five-and-a-half hours.
*Pain relief: Gas and air.
*Scariest moment: It felt like ages before the paediatrician said Leah was alright.
*Funniest moment: The midwife saying I was high on the gas and air!
*Advice for mums-to-be: Varying your birth positions really does ease the pain.
“To my surprise, my due date passed. I didn’t go beyond 39 weeks with either of my sons. I wanted to avoid being induced, so I drank raspberry leaf tea, in the hope of bringing on labour.
“Two days later, at 11.30pm, I experienced dull, aching pains. I decided to stay at home for as long as possible, but within two hours the contractions were five minutes apart, and by 2am I couldn’t stand it any longer. My husband, Ronald, put our sleeping sons in the car ready to drop them off at their grandparents.
“The journey passed in a painful blur. When we got to the hospital I was disappointed to find I was only 5cm dilated, but the midwife said with a third pregnancy I could go from nought to fully dilated very quickly! I was in agony but, unlike my other pregnancies, it was all in my back. The midwife tried to relieve the pressure by breaking the waters, but wasn’t very successful. I was kneeling on the bed a bit later when my waters broke – what a mess! There was meconium [the baby’s faeces, usually passed after birth] in the liquid, which can cause blockage in the baby’s airways. I had to lie down, so that the baby could be monitored for
foetal distress. It felt restrictive, but less painful. Within minutes there was a pressure in my lower back and I knew it was time.
“I squeezed Ronald’s hand and started to push, but it was too painful and I held back. The midwife said I wasn’t pushing effectively, so she took away the gas and air! But I was too high to concentrate. I really put my all into it and the baby was crowning [its head could be seen at the cervix] when I was told to stop, as the umbilical cord was wrapped around its neck. It was untangled, I bore down again and then the baby just seemed to tumble out.
“The baby’s airways had to be cleared of meconium by the paediatrician, and I was so caught up in everything that I forgot to ask if it was a boy or a girl! I was euphoric when Ron said we had a daughter – at last I was no longer the only girl in the house!”
For more real birth stories, don’t miss Practical Parenting magazine each month.