I gave birth during a global pandemic, Covid-19 and want to share my story. Get yourself comfy, a cuppa and some snacks are essential because this is a long one guys.
Wednesday 29th April, 38 weeks exactly, I was booked in to be induced due to having gestational diabetes. I was due in the hospital at 6am, but arrived a little early and said goodbye to Nathan at the doors knowing that I wouldn’t see him again until I was on the labour ward. Being induced can be a lengthy process so it could have been hours or day. I’m just glad that I knew this is how it had to be beforehand, with the pandemic already leaving us already in lockdown for several weeks, it means I had time to prepare myself for my birth mentally.
I went into the hospital open minded after hearing both horror stories of it lasting days and others who were literally in for just hours before going into labour. When you’re pregnant, you quickly get to know that people love to share their birth horror stories and I knew if I went in with the worst in mind, anything better would be a bonus. Pessimistic? No. Just realistic to the possibility of what could happen.
Anyway, I met the midwife on shift and was given my bed on the ward. I was examined and she inserted the 24 hour pessary around 7am. I got comfy with my iPad and managed to catch up on some Eastenders and pass some time playing the Sims in between some small pacing around my bed. It’s a difficult time to be induced as you’re usually encouraged to go for a walk to try and help progress things but with Covid being about we weren’t allowed for walks around the hospital and were just encouraged to keep as active as we could near our beds. Not a lot happened until later on that evening where I started to get mild period-like cramps. I managed to get a few hours sleep knowing I could be in for a long ride and was examined again at 7am the next morning.
Thursday morning soon rolled around and I was told that I was 1cm dilated when examined and because of the pains I was getting, they wanted to avoid using the 6 hour pessary to see if I progressed on my own. At 9am I was examined again by a doctor rather than a midwife and she said that they were happy to move me to labour ward at some point that day when they had a free room, and that they would break my waters for me. I knew labour ward had been busy, so I was expecting a bit of a wait. I text Nathan to let him know because as soon as I was moved over, he was allowed to join me! Thursday was a long day, waiting to be told I could be moved. The pains carried on throughout the day, but not getting any stronger or more frequent. In an ideal world I would have liked to try and progress a bit more naturally but being alone made me want to get things moving naturally or not, I didn’t want to be in the hospital longer than I had to be.
3:35pm I sent Nathan a text with just the words ‘I’M GOING’. Luckily we live less than a 10 minute drive to the hospital so I knew he wouldn’t take too long to arrive. They moved me over to room 3 on labour ward pretty instantly, I met Sara, my midwife up until changeover at 8pm and was ready for Nathan to join us. It hadn’t even been 2 days but it felt like I’d been in the hospital a week and it was SO nice to see him when he arrived around 4pm. The ladies I had been on the ward with were lovely but there’s nothing like seeing a familiar face.
They inserted a cannula in my hand ready for the hormone drip, examined me again and the doctor broke my waters which was the most surreal feeling, like uncontrollable pee. I was hooked up to monitors which wasn’t great as I’d like to have been able to move around a little more, but I knew it was to keep an eye on baby’s heartbeat and make sure he was okay with everything going on outside. With the hormone drip contractions started becoming stronger and frequently but I wasn’t dilating any faster.
Over the next few hours we got to know Sara, she was absolutely lovely and we had some mutual connections which was also nice! Small world and all of that. But before I knew it, it was 8pm and change over time and we met Neesha, the midwife who would help us throughout the night. We didn’t know it then, but she would eventually deliver baby Arthur!
I had finally started to progress in dilating, but didn’t actually reach 4cm until early hours of Friday morning. I’d managed 5 hours on just my hypnobirthing breathing techniques (big up to the Positive Birth Company) before I gave in and used the gas and air. Queue me chatting absolute rubbish for the rest of my time in room 3, apologising to everyone profusely for the smallest things; like needing some water, and eventually being in so much pain that I needed something more.
I opted for diamorphine which sent me even more loopy. Nathan likes to remind me of some of the weird and wonderful things that came out of my mouth over those last few hours. I remember telling him to ask everyone to stop staring at me, thinking there was a crowd of people in the room but there was only 3 of us. I also had a cry thinking I couldn’t do it and always thought I’d be the type to not want anyone near me when I’m in that much pain, but I actually really enjoyed the comfort of back rubs and Nathan playing with my hair.
Before I knew it I was ready to push and in less than 20 minutes of pushing, me asking the midwife to ‘just pull him out’ during the ring of fire; yes that shit is real and it h u r t, even with a little 6 pounder, baby Arthur was here. Nathan decided to have a quick peek at the very last moment and described Arthurs entry into the world as being ‘like a catapult shooting out with a little front flip’. Our little AJ was born at 6:24am on Friday 1st May weighing 6lbs 11oz.
He was handed up to me for skin to skin which left me in awe of the perfect little man I’d been brewing for 38 weeks and 2 days. It definitely took my mind off the stitches I needed for a second degree tear and a couple of grazes along with seeing Nathan’s face seeing his son for the first time. That is something I’ll never forget. Nathan cut the cord, whilst another midwife took some pictures which are way too graphic to post and I honestly felt on top of the world.
Everyone told me about the post birth feeling and it definitely is as euphoric as people describe it to be. It’s the best feeling ever, and so hard to put into words. Also, the post birth toast is definitely as good as everyone raves about; especially when you’ve been nil by mouth since 3pm the afternoon before.
Nathan was able to stay with us on the labour ward until I was moved to recovery around 10:30am, this is when he had to leave. Due to the pandemic, he wasn’t allowed to return to visit or even meet us at the ward when I was discharged the following day. He had to wait by the main entrance with the car seat whilst a midwife helped me down with Arthur and my bags. Thankfully both me and baby were doing fine, so we were discharged 3:30pm on Saturday afternoon. We did have to stay in for at least 24 hours due to my gestational diabetes, so Arthur needed a little extra monitoring but there was nothing for us to worry about.
Giving birth is an amazing experience and I wasn’t letting the pandemic get in the way of that. Yes, we had to make a few changes to what I would have ideally liked, but the main thing is that Arthur arrived happy and healthy, and I had Nathan by my side when I really needed him.
The midwives, nurses, doctors and all of the staff I came into contact with whilst in the hospital were all amazing, so kind, comforting and reassuring. Especially during such a scary time for a first time mum. I can’t thank them enough.
Are you pregnant or due to give birth during this pandemic and want to talk about it? I’m always open for a chat on Twitter or Instagram.
You can find more posts on my pregnancy here or follow me on Instagram to keep up to date with day-to-day life.