As the mother of three children aged 2, 5 and 7 my experience with childbirth has varied. My first son was born after a very long 42-week pregnancy and high blood pressure. Induced at 42.1 weeks I thought we would be blessed with a short labour as we had already waited such a long time and could not be punished anymore but was I wrong. After sitting for almost 12 hours waiting for the gel to take effect my labour started slowly. The contractions progressed all night and after being examined the next morning I was found to be 3cm dilated and my waters were broken. I also had the drip put in to speed up things. This now referred to by my husband as the devil drip, wow! Did this intensify things. A shot of pethidine was given to settle me a little. This is it. It can’t be far away now!

My labour progressed very slowly. By lunch 5cm was all I had dilated and my strength was disappearing. An epidural was a wonderful idea at this stage however, I did not expect to time and discomfort involved as I was contracting very heavily by this stage. Once administered the pain dropped enough for me to catch 30 min sleep. Away we go again, epidural blocked one side but not the other and that was a bizarre feeling. Gas was given to help but made me incredibly sick.

Finally after 27hrs of labour I was told I was fully dilated and could push. I thought what am I going to push with I am totally exhausted. We tried several positions to try and turn him; finally I laid flat on my back exhausted. 2 hours later after no action my son was delivered by forceps weighing in at 4kg and 53.5cm long with a H.C. of 39.5cm. That was the longest and the most painful experience of my life and I couldn’t wait to do it again. My three stitches from the episiotomy were very sore however we were home after 3 days. Now I look back it was a bit to soon.

Two years and 4 months later my second son was born at 41.6 weeks once again induced but only with my water being broken no drip, thank god. My labour progressed much quicker this time only 4 hours until I was fully dilated. 2nd stage was once again another story. After 2 hours my son was delivered by vacuum weighing 4.2kg, 50cms and another H.C. of 39.5 cms. But, I felt wonderful no drugs other than a little bit of gas at the end and no stitches. I was home after 2 days.

Two years and 5 months later my daughter was born after only 2 hours, 55m from start to finish. An induction again at 38 weeks (my doctor was trying for a smaller birth weight) by drip again had me totally petrified and remembering how fast it worked, it bought back all the memories of my first labour. Expecting another assisted birth my daughter was born with no assist after just 2 pushes and weighed in at 3.5kgs, 49cms and a head circumference of only 34.5cms. I’m sure most mothers would consider this normal but for me this was a big shock. My LITTLE girl came into the world unassisted and perfect. I felt great! No really great! We were home after just 21hours.

All my deliveries were different, some longer than others and some more painful. With out a doubt mine got better each time and the end result, I have 3 healthy, beautiful children and feel very blessed. Advice for others: go with the flow, have an open mind and expect the unexpected. Listen to those who are trained professionals and those who are not, say thank you and take it with a grain a salt. You will always hear the bad stories, so stay focused and positive and enjoy it as much as possible because it will pass very quickly and is an occasion that will stay with you forever and is the most special time not only of your life but also of those around you.