As the contraction took hold, I clung to Marek trying to breathe, trying to 'go with it', trying not to let my body rip itself apart as I was sure it was about to. I'd been in labour all day, tied to drips, in and out of bed as I adopted different positions: positions to persuade the baby to turn, positions to ease the pain, positions to move things along.
When the doctor came back I asked about an epidural. I'd not felt the need earlier but there was barely a break between the contractions now and they were so strong... he examined me and once it was clear I was still not fully dilated, that the little lady was still back to front and that such a big baby might not fit through in any case, we saw there was no real option.
I walked down the corridor to the operating room, stopping half way as a contraction took hold. The doctor said they would reduce now I'd been taken off the drip that had been driving them on, and the relief I felt holding on to that knowledge was immense.
The anaesthetic was administered and Marek was let in, dressed in his mask and hospital gown. I didn't even feel nervous; just exhausted and ready to finally meet this little person who refused to come out the traditional way.
I stayed conscious throughout and although there was no pain, felt everything. There was cutting and pulling, twisting and tugging and finally an outraged cry, that instantly brought tears to my eyes as I heard my daughter come into the world.
She was handed to Marek who brought her round to me to hold before she was whisked off for tests and checks. As I was wheeled down the corridor to be taken to the recovery room she was given to me again but I had to hand her back to Marek almost immediately so they could monitor my reaction to the operation. I stayed an hour until they let me go back and properly meet my baby, wrapped up in my husband's arms.
A month has passed and we are getting to know the little lady. We've seen her grow and develop; she's made us laugh and cry and life has been transformed from tidy time chunks into loose hours between feeds. We're stumbling through the days, learning as we go and sleeping when we can. Nobody is really ready for the changes a baby brings, but we are enjoying her more with each day that passes. Welcome to the world little girl.