Over in our Pregnancy Isolation Facebook support group, we've been welcoming lots of new members since lockdown V.3 began. As busy parents ourselves, the team here at Cuddledry know how hard it is to be restricted to our homes once more. With homeschool, work commitments, bad weather and no shops or restaurants open... we're feeling the strain too.
Being pregnant during this time adds an extra layer of anxiety for some too, and that's why we decided to start the group in the first place. We wanted to provided a safe space online for women to chat to others in a similar position, to share their worries and concerns, and- eventually- their birth stories too.
Lockdown Birth Stories: Jenny and Louie
Jenny is a primary school teacher and she lives with her husband and two children, Tilly, 5, and Louie, 9 months. Louie was born on the 28th April 2020 at Peterborough Hospital, weighing 6lb 12oz. We asked Jenny a few questions about her experience of giving birth during lockdown, and this is what she told us:
Did you need to adapt your birth plan because of covid restrictions?
I didn’t have chance to use my birth plan really because everything happened quite quickly in the end, but if I did none of it would have been adapted for covid. The hospital was pretty ‘normal’ and I never had the impression that my decisions would have been restricted at all.
How did you feel when you arrived at the hospital?
I admit that I felt apprehensive (part due to being in labour, part due to it being in the middle of a pandemic!) but when I arrived I soon realised that nothing was really out of the ordinary- and with how things progressed (very quickly) I didn’t have time to worry about it! Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise- but the midwives and doctors never once made me feel anxious or concerned about the pandemic at all.
Because I'd had a previous c-section, that was actually the most concerning part of it for me because I really wanted to avoid going to surgery again, so I focused on that to get me through
Did the medical team support you well?
Everyone I saw at the hospital were really great with me, very patient, supportive and professional. The only thing I did notice was that they were short staffed- but I'm not sure that this is anything to do with the pandemic or not.
After Louie was born, we were left on our own really from 5-12pm because they were so busy with other people. Looking back, this was a special time for us as ti gave us chance to just be with him and enjoy him. I was so happy not to have had another c-section, I was able to FaceTime my parents and message my sisters, so it was lovely to have that time to ourselves.
Did you feel supported when you returned home?
The midwife visited the day after I got home, despite having been told by the hospital she wouldn’t because of covid- so that was a nice surprise. It was really helpful to be able to speak to her about the birth experience and to check that he was feeding ok and I really appreciated her coming out to us.
I had to take Louie for some extra weigh-ins as he was a little underweight-9th percentile- and the staff were very supportive. The health visitor also visited at 10 days old and she was really good too, but since then I have had no contact with anyone really- though this was the same when my daughter was born too, and I think it's more to do with the policies in my area rather than the pandemic.