“I thought I was in labour with Dylan at 40 weeks, when I woke up in a foul mood with a tummy ache. I went to the hospital with my husband, Mike, and my mum, and was monitored for half an hour, then sent home.
“On the way back, I had the urge to buy new pyjamas and insisted we stopped at M&S. As I walked across the car park, I had the feeling that I’d wet myself – but this was much hotter than wee! I realised my waters had broken. Mike had wandered off, so I tried to discreetly call him back, but he didn’t hear, so I had to yell: “My waters have broken!” Everyone in the car park turned around and stared!
“We dashed to the hospital but Dylan wasn’t born for another nine hours. I never did get the new pjs and gave birth in a fetching hospital gown!”
Jackie, 35, mum to Lauren, 9, Josie, 7, Dylan, 2
“When I got up to go to the loo in the middle of the night in my 37th week, I knew this was it. I heard a faint popping sound, and then there was amniotic fluid and meconium all over the floor! The contractions started right away. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I was at the hospital within ten minutes and my cervix dilated from 1cm to 8cm within 15 minutes!
Bev, 31, mum to Jack, 6 months
- What happens when you’re overdue?
- Latent phase of labour – what is it?
- What does the first stage of labour really feel like?
“One Sunday morning, I found my mucus plug in my knickers! Knowing that it’s best to stay active during the early stages of labour, I decided to combine exercise with some retail therapy, and did ten circuits around a car-boot sale! I’m sure this helped, as little Roxy was born a few hours later.”
Carrie, 39, mum to Poppy, 8, Rudi, 3, Roxy, 5 months
“I was standing in a puddle while I was cooking bangers and mash! The kids and my partner, Dan, were shouting: “Is tea ready?” After another splash on the floor and the onset of contractions, I replied: “No, but the baby’s about done!” Dan came into the kitchen with a grin and asked if I’d like him to take over the dishing up. I told him to call Julie, our neighbour, as the contractions were already six minutes apart and we’d need to leave the kids with her so we could get to the hospital! Four hours, a puff of gas and air, and a few moans and groans later, the lovely Samaria was born.”
Janene, 38, mum to Stephanie, 16, Alf, 6, Samaria, 16 months
“I was two weeks overdue with a face like thunder. My mum had arrived two weeks before my due date to help look after our twin boys (then 2 years old). By the time labour kicked in, she’d been with us for a month and tempers were frayed. We all just wanted this baby to be born!
“I knew what was happening when I felt these great swathes of pain, which were becoming more frequent. Jimmy, my husband, and I left in the middle of the night. Before we drove off, I peeped into the boys’ room, looked at them sleeping and thought, things will never be the same. That made me sad, though excitement soon took over when Erin arrived, after 16 hours of labour.”
Fiona, 40, mum to twins Sam and Dexter, 8, Erin, 5
“At 29 weeks, my high blood pressure had become problematic. And when I got to 34 weeks, I was told at a routine appointment that I’d have to be induced within the hour. This was terrifying – I wasn’t prepared to give birth and I didn’t know what having a premature baby was going to entail!
“Fourteen hours after having had two prostaglandin pessaries inserted (which helped to ripen the cervix and stimulate contractions), my waters broke – and that’s when I knew I was in labour!
“It progressed slowly, but after about 13 hours, I gave birth to Seth, who weighed in at just 4lbs 12oz.”
Tracey, mum to Scarlet, 6, Seth, now a healthy 9lbs at 9 weeks
“Only one of my babies wasn’t induced and labour was left to start naturally. Sixteen days after my due date, I could convince myself that just a flutter was the start of labour. But there was no mistaking it when it eventually began – a gentle throb, throb, throb, my body started to sway and rock… Breathing became panting without being told or reminded. Sleeping, relaxing or keeping still was not an option. There was no going back; you are centre stage and the spotlight is on…”
Helen, 39, mum to Rory, 10, Rex, 8, Patrick, 4, Kitty, 7 months