Lockdown Birth Stories
Lockdown has presented so many issues for so many people and not a day goes past when I don’t think about how people are being affected by this virus in so many different ways.
As a mum myself with pregnant friends I have been thinking a lot about how hard it must be to be pregnant and give birth in lockdown. At a time when you might already be feeling vulnerable and anxious this virus has exaggerated these feelings in many.
Giving birth is a life changing experience that defines many of us. We prepare for this day from the moment we realise that life is growing inside us. However during lockdown, pregnancy and birth was very different for many women. The wondeful thing about birth is that no matter what is going on in the crazy outside world babies were still being born.
Below are the stories of three women who all gave birth druing lockdown. We hope that by reading their stories other pregnant women will feel empowered to take on any challenges that lie ahead.
Hi my name is Laura and I gave birth to my first baby one week into lockdown. The last few weeks of my pregnancy were filled with fear and anxiety, I couldn’t even get nappies and when I finished work I spent too much time reading rumours and false news on Facebook. I last saw my family 2 weeks before I gave birth not realising it would be a few months before I would see them in person. I was induced on the 29/03/20 as baby was measuring big, luckily my partner was allowed in with me until the evening. By 4am on 30/03/20 I was in full established labour and my partner was called to come in. Baby James was born at 12.54pm weighing a big 9lb 6oz.
My labour was traumatic and resulted in emergency surgery after giving birth. We had some time together as a family before I was moved to a ward, I said goodbye to my partner and he wasn’t allowed back into the hospital. The midwives were amazing, under so much pressure, with new mums having no support from family we needed a lot more help. It was a strange atmosphere, no visitors, no cards, no celebration. We all kept to ourselves, the virus had made me fear other people. I was discharged the following day, it all seemed very rushed but I was glad to get home. We arrived home to no visitors, it was daunting as first time parents with no help from our own parents but we managed just fine.
Aftercare was very different, midwife appointments occurred at a family centre and health visitor appointments are over the phone. It’s was a lonely time especially when my partner had to return to work and I did suffer with the baby blues but we got to spend several weeks in a bubble just the 3 of us. No interruptions meant it was easier for us to get established with breastfeeding and 12 weeks later we are still going strong. I received milestone cards as a gift but they ended up making me emotional, I didn’t know when he would get to meet his grandparents, no baby classes for us and I was to scared to take him on an adventure in his pram.
He is now 12 weeks old, we have had several outdoor visits with family and my sister who lives alone has formed a social bubble with us so she has been able to hold him. In Northern Ireland it’s recently been announced that we are allowed indoor visits now which will be a lot easier with a baby. Despite only seeing his dad and me for months, James is a very social baby and loves seeing people. My biggest fear was him taking people strange. I think it is important to remember that this is temporary, he will get cuddles from his family soon, I will be able to take him to places without fear. Make sure to take it one day at a time, it’s not easy but they are only little once so try and enjoy it as much as you can, he won’t remember any of this but what a great story it’ll make when he’s older, my lockdown baby.
Being pregnant during lockdown wasn’t hard it was more upsetting than anything. Not being able to go out and enjoy doing all those things you usually do when you are pregnant like shopping for baby items or having a baby shower. The hardest part for me tho was definitely having to go to all appointments alone. I can only imagine how that made my partner feel. I was booked in for an induction due to gestational diabetes at 38+4, so I knew I would have to face the first parts of labour alone. I was absolutely terrified, my partner is my rock and I truly felt I couldn’t do any of it without him. I went in at 9am and the induction process started at 11am. I quickly began having contractions and started to panic myself because not only was I on my own, but I was on a ward with 5 other beds, but they were all empty too. The midwives I assume could tell that I was starting to panic and worry. I consented to having a student midwife be there when I first came in and I am so glad I did. She sat with me as much as she could, and checked on me plenty of times. She helped me keep in control of my breathing, told me how great I was doing and gave me all the encouragement I needed until 7.30pm when I was sent over to labour suite and finally my partner was allowed to come into the hospital.
My daughter was born at 9.51pm on the 22nd June 2020. I believe those midwives went above and beyond to make sure I was calm and didn’t feel alone. My advice to pregnant women who are due to give birth admist lockdown/restrictions is to NOT worry. You won’t feel alone, and you won’t be doing it alone. I always said to my partner that the midwives can’t do the things a partner can and I still agree, but they do come pretty close.
Laura M's Story