Giving Birth During a Global Pandemic
20 May

My surges started about midday bang on our due date; I remember I was at the kitchen table doing some Easter crafts with our 3 year-old daughter and felt a mild period like cramp and I knew things were starting. My surges then were irregular for the next couple of hours, so whilst my partner took our daughter out for a walk whilst I went for a lie down and I listened to some relaxation scripts from Bloom Hypnobirthing and I felt so relaxed and at ease with what my body was doing. It was worlds apart from how I’d felt with my first baby. I noticed at about 2pm that my surges intensified so I texted Alan to say that he should contact his Mum to collect our daughter so we could really focus on my surges. I can’t recall how regular my surges were at this point but I remember having a strong feeling that we were definitely going to meet our baby by midnight. 

Alan ran me a bath which was a bit of a disaster – we were out of hot water -so when I got in it was freezing! So that was sacked off pretty quick but it gave us a good laugh and helped the oxytocin flow. I then sat and had some dinner whilst rotating on my birth ball and after that things ramped up quite a lot, so we went upstairs and really focus on my breathing and visualisations when my surges came. At about 7pm my surges were about every 5-6 minutes and were stopping me in my tracks, so I knew it was time to call the MLBU. 

Ten minutes later we were in the car, but we got about half way when I shouted ‘MY NOTES!’ Somehow, we’d forgotten them! One illegal U turn later and we were back on the way home to collect them but luckily we live close enough for it not to matter. I had learned during our hypnobirthing sessions that my surges might slow during the transfer to hospital, which they did, but I knew not to worry about it and stay relaxed.

We arrived on the unit at about 7.30pm. Arriving at an eerily calm hospital felt strange but was also quite reassuring in light of the pandemic situation that was going on. We were shown to our room which was dimly lit with spa lights and electric candles – so relaxing! The midwife introduced herself. She had a mask on which felt really strange but to be honest it was something we quickly forgot about and it just became normal. It was actually the first time in weeks that Covid wasn’t on either of our minds which was so refreshing. Whilst the midwife was taking my details I had to stop her, throw myself into an all fours position and let the surge pass, this happened a few times; they were definitely making themselves known. 

We put on our birthing playlist and I practised my up breathing whilst waiting for them to pass. I can’t say I didn’t feel pain, I did, but it was very much controlled and I knew I would get to the peak and then feel relief on the way back down. I visualised waves crashing in on the beach and bubbles floating up, and then floating back down which helped me focus on the end result; meeting our beautiful baby. 

At around 9pm we went into the pool room that my midwife, Alex, had already started to fill (it takes a while). I didn’t make it into the pool with my first baby so I really wanted to fulfil my preference of a water birth this time. The pool room again was so relaxing with lovely lighting, perfect for me to focus in. Alex wasn’t the midwife who initially admitted us but we quickly became acquainted and she read our birth preferences. The time came to get into the water. At this point we didn’t know how far dilated I was as I wanted to avoid being examined, however Alex was really supportive of this and used her brilliant midwifery instincts instead. My surges were really exhausting by this point but the water was so soothing. Alan was a brilliant partner and kept me topped up with water and generally supported me through the surges reminding me that I was strong and could do it. I also decided to use the gas and air which really helped me concentrate on my up breathing. I’m not really sure of timings after this but I let my body do what it needed and before I knew it I felt the urge to push. I switched to down breathing and not long after I realised I could feel baby’s head! At 22.21 after some more down breathing and strange involuntary noises I was bringing him up, out of the water and finding out he was a boy! I can honestly say it was such an empowering moment and I felt elated. 

Despite the smooth nature of our son’s birth, things did take a slightly dramatic turn as my placenta wouldn’t budge. However I did manage to get in some amazing skin to skin time before I had to be whisked off to theatre. It didn’t change what an amazing, positive experience it was. The care we received was exceptional, I couldn’t have asked for better. Giving birth and having a new baby during this strange time is not what I had ever envisioned and it has been tough. However it has led to us being able to enjoy our new addition with little interruption; which is truly priceless. 

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