My contractions lasted two agonising months
AN expectant mum suffered crippling contractions lasting a gruelling two months, due to complications from a rare condition.
Debbie Mills, 24, fell pregnant despite having to cope with agonising nerve condition CRPS, for which she takes painkillers.
But, as baby Owen grew inside her, doctors told her it would be too dangerous to him if she kept taking her medication.
She came off the pain relief, but 28 weeks into the pregnancy she started having severe stomach pains, which were diagnosed as contractions – and they continued until Owen was born – at 37 weeks.
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Debbie said: "I spent weeks having them. Sometimes I could deal with them but sometimes the pain would shoot up my back and that was agony. Just sitting down was like running a marathon."
Her resting heartbeat was measured at 120 beats per minute. She said: "The nurses actually thought their machine was broken when they first hooked me up, they couldn't believe that it was that high.
"I would eat but I was getting thinner and thinner because my body was burning the energy up just sitting down."
She said: "I finally went in to hospital for C-section three weeks early which I was really pleased with.
"The most amazing thing was when I was given the anaesthetic and I had no pain for the first time in ages. That was wonderful."
Debbie's condition – which stands for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – left her unable to walk because she suffered agonising burning pain in her foot.
She was told by doctors that it was unlikely she would ever have children.
So she and her partner Dan Hamlett were surprised and delighted when she became pregnant – although she realised she would have to go through the pain barrier to have her child.
Then, partly due to her condition, she suffered an infection which began making her uterus contract.
She said: "I was in hospital for 26 days in June. I basically lost the whole of that month."
Debbie eventually gave birth to baby Owen, who weighed in at 7lb 12oz, on July 12, 2012. He was born with fluid on his lungs – usual for a baby who is premature – and had to spend a week in the Royal Derby baby unit.
After her troubled pregnancy, Debbie had another battle to face – looking after a newborn and managing her condition. Her illness means her entire right-hand side is very weak, which means that picking up baby Owen is near-impossible.
She said: "I can't pick him up. I can change him once he is up but I can't get him out of the cot. So poor Dan has been working in the day and then when Owen wakes in the night he has to get up in case he needs to be picked up.
Dan, who works as a overhead line engineer for Jacobs Rail UK, in Derby, said: "Doing a whole day's work and then doing a night shift with Owen was quite exhausting. My mum and dad have her on a Sunday which means we get at least one good night's rest though.
"We are very lucky to have both my parents and Debbie's parents close by and they are all very supportive."
For Debbie and Dan all the pain, time in hospital and worry over the birth have had a wonderful outcome.
Debbie said: "It has all been worth it. Cuddles with Owen are the best, he is just amazing. I am off the walker now but still on the crutches so getting around is difficult but it is just a matter of getting stronger slowly and building up to get back to where I was."