Welcome to our blog post, I met the lovely Claire in my Facebook group (Babies in Central Scotland) which I run to help mums-to-be and new mums cope with pregnancy and motherhood during this pandemic and current isolation... We have so many worried pregnant and new mums in the group that Claire agreed to share her experience of pregnancy, Labour and being a new mum during this current Pandemic to provide a little reassurance and support to other ladies... Thanks so much Claire for sharing your story about her labour experience at Forth Valley Hospital, Larbert, Falkirk, Scotland...
I feel like I had an ‘easy’ pregnancy, I didn’t really suffer from morning sickness or any of the usual complaints and I was loving every minute of it and just trying to embrace it - then coronavirus arrived... Before lockdown was announced my husband & I made the decision that he would be the one to go to the shops etc and I only really left the house for work or to walk the dog and it did start to take its toll.
My baby shower was cancelled, I had this amazing bump I wanted to show off to everyone, but I couldn’t see anyone and as daft as it sounds - so many beautiful maternity clothes but nowhere to go. Then the anxiety kicked in, of all the changes at the hospital and so many rumours that you just never knew what was actually true and because things were changing every day you always had that fear at that back of your mind. The fact that John couldn’t come to appointments and didn’t get to hear the babies heartbeat those last few times or see the growth scan, I know it’s all for our own safety but I genuinely feel like we’ve both been robbed of some of the excitement of pregnancy and it definitely caused a lot more stress/anxiety towards the end than I realised at the time.
When I got to the hospital John dropped me off outside and I had to go in alone, which was quite daunting as it was during the night so triage was upstairs and I wasn’t 100% where I was going but I knew that he wasn’t allowed in at that point so I expected it and was prepared.
Luckily, when I got there and was examined the midwife said I was fully dilated and was to phone John to come in and meet us in the Labour ward so I was only actually alone for about 20-30 minutes and when I say alone, the midwife never left my side, I just mean without my birthing partner. All the doctors and midwifes wore masks and never removed them so I couldn’t actually say I would recognise them if I seen them in the street but again that was to be expected and I know its for everyone’s safety. They were absolutely amazing during and after labour but we had to get transferred to postnatal ward around 4pm which meant that john was sent home and wasn’t allowed back until he picked us up the following day. This was the first time I got upset because there had been mixed messages/ reports of partners being allowed to stay on the ward etc even in rooms of 4 so I didn’t fully expect it and it honestly felt like my worst nightmare had come true. The midwifes were all amazing through and couldn’t have done more to help but it was the longest wait ever from 4pm until 9am the next morning when Ollie finally got his paediatric checks done and the ball finally started rolling for us to get home…
My advice for anyone due to give birth during the pandemic would be to try not to let it ruin your experience! I know you’ll think it’s easier said than done but please take it from me, I’ve been there and done it and I regret the amount of stress, upset and sleepless nights I caused myself by reading stupid rumours and hearsay. Every midwife I spoke to made it clear that taking away your birthing partner isn’t something they are considering and it would be a massive decision if it did come to that and it wouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s rubbish if you’re kept in and your partner has to go home but you certainly aren’t along, the midwifes are amazing and so helpful and it’s a good opportunity to chat to other new mums in the same position as you.
I think he was treated the same as he would’ve if this wasn’t all going on, he was encouraged to be involved, got to tell me we had a boy and was asked if he wanted to cut the cord, je also got some skin to skin time with Ollie whilst I was being looked after afterwards and it was never made out like he was in the way or an inconvenience
We’ve had a midwife visit on day 3 and we get another visit on day 6 and I think that’s the last midwife visit, I’m not too sure on when we see a health visitor, I think I’ll find out tomorrow from the midwife. It’s rubbish that family can’t come to visit, everyone loves newborn hugs! I wish I could go out and about with him in his pram and show him off but obviously we can only go out for one walk and have to keep our distance but on the flip side it’s been great settling in as a family of 3 and get into our own little routines without worrying about constant visitors.
I hope reading Claire's story about pregnancy and labour during lockdown helps to provide reassurance for all the nervous mummies and daddies to be out there. Big thanks again to Claire, John and Baby Ollie for sharing their experience with us...
Love and Hugs