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' He was placed on my chest and feeding within 10 minutes!

Mairi Clare Dunlin, 32, and Aaron John SelveyBanyard

Length of labour

7% hours Pain relief TENS;

Funniest moment

The first thing Aaron did was wee in our midwife's face! Scariest moment

When Aaron's heartrate dropped and there was no time to transfer to the main hospital Advice for mums-to-be Stay relaxed between contractions and wear light clothing

Mairi was a week past her due date when her waters broke in the middle of the night.

When my due date came and went, I started on the traditional 'kick-starts'!

I drank raspberry leaf tea like It was going out of fashion and had clary sage essential oil burning in every room. But nothing happened.

A week later, at midnight, I heard a popping sound and there followed a gush of f luid. I phoned the community hospital

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and they said it was probably my waters breaking, even though the fluid seemed to have stopped. I woke Laurence, my husband, and told him we'd have to change the sheets. But I didn't say my waters had broken, as I thought it could be ages before contractions started and one of us needed some sleep.

I went back into bed, but half an hour later the contractions started. They were 10 minutes apart, each lasting a minute. I put on my TENS machine and went downstairs, walking around every time I had a contraction. They were like very strong period cramps at this point. I woke Laurence at 3am, thinking that a bath might give some relief. But I don't think we made it hot enough, as it didn't do anything. By 5.15am, the contractions were coming every 5 minutes and lasting about 1 /2 minutes, with some stronger than others.

The midwife said it would be better if I could last another hour at home to see if the contractions got more regular in strength and intensity. I told her that I thought I could, but once I put the phone down, the level of pain went through the roof! I felt like my whole body went rigid. So we phoned the hospital straight back to say we were on our way!

We arrived at the hospital at the same time as the midwife. She examined me and found that I was 8cm dilated, so she persuaded me to use the birthing pool, which was bliss. Along with the gas and air, it helped keep me calm. As it was a midwife-led unit, these were the only pain relief options available but that's what I wanted - as little intervention as possible.

The baby's heart rate dropped dramatically, however, so I got out of the pool to give birth and the midwife did an episiotomy [a cut between the vagina and the anus, to ease the birth of the baby] to speed things up. It was a great relief, because by then I was really tired. My son Aaron was born within the next two contractions.

Laurence quickly cut the cord and Aaron was rushed to be resuscitated, but he didn't need reviving as he promptly let out a cry! He was placed on my chest and was feeding within 10 minutes. We left the same day - it was lovely to spend our first night together at home as a family.

Six weeks down the track...

We really enjoyed just muddling through in the first 2 or 3 weeks, but when Laurence went back to work we needed more of a routine. The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems contained great sleeping and feeding advice. The NHS postnatal classes were brilliant, too. I coped with those first few weeks far better for having made friends there.

Practical Parenting 45

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Practical Parenting 45

'Please just put m e to sleep and get my b aby o ut'

Michelle Halsey, 28, had decided to have her baby in a midwife-led unit, but when serious complications developed she was rushed to hospital, 17 miles away.

I'm a bit of a prude when it comes to nudity and was horrified I might poo in labour. A week overdue, at 12.30am, contractions began, so I woke Adam, my husband, and we went to the midwife-led maternity unit. At 4am Colleen, the midwife, examined me. I was 3cm dilated, so I hopped into the bath and drifted off for a couple ofihours,ihappilyibreathingigasi and air. Then the dreaded happened: I needed to poo!

I was too spaced out of it to move, so I thought I could do it sneakily in the bath and get Adam to fi sh it out. But just as I shouted to Adam, 'I need a poo!' Colleen returned. She examined me and said, 'No dear, you're having a baby.' I was 10cm. It was decided I would try to give birth in the bath.

Then Colleen discovered a cyst, which she tried to push out of the way.

This proved difficult, so when the second midwife, Jane, arrived, they moved me to the delivery suite. They tried toimanipulateitheicystiunderi the baby's head as I pushed

All's well that ends well. Baby Stanley arrived amid high drama him out. Suddenly, they realised it wasn't a cyst - it was a testicle!

In that moment everything changed. A third midwife, Tracey, was called in, as were paramedics and a local CP. The main hospital was too far away, so I'd have to deliver right there. I heard Tracey telling the CP that he may have to resuscitate an undiagnosed breech baby [once the bottom is delivered it can put pressure on the cord, leaving the head inside with no blood fiow]. Panic really set in then.

Then the unimaginable happened when one of the midwives said: 'I can't find a heartbeat.' I was raced to the ambulance.Jane lay next to me holding in my baby. She whispered in my ear: 'Don't push, just breathe through the contraction' I can't describe what I went through: I thought my baby was dead. I heard Tracey on the phone to the hospital saying: 'The baby is very bradycardic' [has a dangerously slow heart rate].

'Just put me to sleep and get him out,' became my mantra until we arrived. That's exactly what they did, at 8.30am, by caesarean. Forceps were needed to pull the baby back through the birth canal, and he had to be resuscitated. I woke several hours later not knowing if my baby had made it. Then Adam whispered: 'We have a son.' They took me to the neonatal unit to see him - he was wrinkled and only 6lb. We named him Stanley.

I've never felt so overwhelmed in all my life. The surgeon came

What's hot on Discovery Home & Health this month?

Michelle Ha!sey,28, and baby Stanley

Length of labour 8 hours Pain relief Gas & air;

general anaesthetic for a caesarean Scariest moment

The ambulance ride Funniest moment

Yelling my toilet intentions! Advice for mums-to-be

Accept things might not go according to plan - just be grateful for a healthy baby to see me and said that if Stanley had been born en route, he wouldn't have made it. Quick reactions had saved his life. I'll be forever grateful to the midwives and auxiliaries at Tiverton Maternity Unit. My son is alive today because of them.

Six weeks down the track...

Life was hell and heaven! Nothing prepares you for the sleep deprivation or the unconditional love. I had lots of support from my midwife coming to terms with the birth and I wish now that I'd just enjoyed Stanley rather than questioning every aspect of motherhood. PP

Discovery Home & Health is on Sky 264, ntl804andTe lewest275. Catwalk Mums, April 3, 8.30pm

Co behind the scenes of Expecting Models, an agency devoted to pregnant models. Follow the women in front of the camera, and hear their top tips for staying fit and glam in the run-up to birth. Baby Talk, w'kdays from April 17, 11am Aidoubleibilliofiyourifavouriteibabyishows,i starting with The Baby Whisperer at 11am.

Tracy Hogg helps families overcome problems from chronic clingyness to cot phobias. Plus, at 11.30am, in Mum's the Word, the Mumsnet teamirescueiparentsifromisupermarketi tantrumsiandisleeplessinights.i Conjoined Twins: Erin and Jade, April 25, 10pm

Erin andjade aren't that different from any other newborn twins: they eat, sleep, cry and generally keep their parents busy. But Erin andjade are as close as twins can be: they're joined from chest to abdomen. This moving documentary follows their journey as doctors battle to separate them. Cleanaholics, April 24, 8.00pm

If just getting out of your pyjamas is an achievement, check out these self-confessed Cleanaholics who can't get through the day without some serious scrubbing. How do they find time for five hours' housework a day?

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