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Mother of two (born 1990s), from Midlands

1) When called the hospital having 10-15 minute interval contractions was told to have a hot bath as they had no beds anyway. Once got in had emergency Caesar Section after 20 hours of labour and 9cm dilated because baby was distressed (heart monitor) and blood gas machine did not work (twice) so could not take risk. Not a good experience for me or my husband... but wonderful daughter resulted!

2) Kept waiting in corridor waiting for staff and room to be free (threw up in cleaners' sink!) Half an our after got into delivery suite (where there was no mouthpiece for gas and air machine) baby was born - significant episiotomy at 9cm again because baby distressed (heart trace and passed muconeum) followed by distressing few minutes while about 6 people 'cleaned out' baby's mouth before allowing her to breath. Recovery from many stitches (surgeon seemed unable to tell me how many as he was busy talking to husband about oil exploration!) much more painful than. Not a good experience for me or my husband... but a second wonderful daughter resulted!

My conclusion was that the service is horribly overstretched and experience of friends has confirmed this.