"I battled with Major Depressive Disorder for over 14 years"
Kirsten Clark tells us how she fell pregnant at 35 and then faced the possibility of her baby being born with Downs Syndrome.

My name is Kirsten and I am mom to a very active 18 month old little girl called Isla. My partner and I did not think that we would have any children and so when I fell pregnant at 35, it came as a big surprise.

I have battled with Major Depressive Disorder for over 14 years and was advised to come off my medication - I promptly fell apart and after a month was put back on anti-depressants. The pregnancy was a difficult one - I had constant nausea for 4 months, heartburn for 4 months and we were told that baby might have Downs Syndrome. We had to wait the whole of December for our appointment with the fetal abnormality specialist and were so relieved when we were told after the scan that it looked like she was okay.

Five days after I started my maternity leave, I thought my water broke. I was 36 weeks along but I knew she was a healthy weight, so I was not too concerned. I waited until my hubby came home from work and we went to the hospital. I was hooked up to all of the machines and monitored for two days with no labour coming on.

I eventually went for a scan and was told that I had a hind water leak and that there was enough fluid around the baby. I was discharged and within an hour of getting home, my waters broke properly! Cue more waiting at home for labour to start but after eight hours of constant leaking and no labour pains, we went back to the hospital. My gynae decided to do an emergency c-section at 7pm and by 8.45pm I was prepped and wheeled off to theatre.

The epidural was really painful going in, and the doctor missed the first time! I must admit that most of the operation was a blur - the morphone makes you really groggy and I was crying the whole way through because I was so scared. Baby came out at 9.12pm and initially did not make a sound but when she did, it was really loud and very cross. She was taken off to the NICU with dad following her. I unfortunately did not get to see her again until 14 hours later, when I was taken off the catheter and given drugs to counteract the allergic reaction I was having with the morphone. Red nose, itchy face, sore tummy and all, I waddled off to the NICU to see my baby!

The birth was not what I had planned but I had not gone in hell bent on having it one way. I did have all of this rose tinted visions of going through labour (painlessly!) and latching baby onto my breast just after she came out but it was not to be. The recovery was difficult because I had an infection in my cut and although I did not get to be with her for the first few hours of her life, I don't think it has made that much difference in the long run. We practice attachment parenting and she seems to be a healthy, well-adjusted independent toddler. 

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