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Giving birth in a world pandemic - Ali's birth story!

Giving birth during a world pandemic!

It definitely sounds scarier than what it was; it actually turned out to be the best experience for me and my family, personally. (But then we were in a low-risk area and didn't really have many cases. There was no doubt that what was going on in the world was horrendous though)

Thankfully I am fairly organised, after my 12 weeks scan I started buying nappy’s and wipes every time I saw them on offer. I only wanted to use biodegradable so endeavored to be fully stocked-up by the time the baby came. I didn’t know the sex of the baby so we bought a few white baby grows and sleepsuits to cater for boy or girl. When the coronavirus hit the U.K, people were going bonkers and stocking pilling everything. I was feeling relieved about not having to fight the crowds for essentials for our babies pending arrival.

By march you couldn’t go 5 mintures without hearing "coronaviruses this and that..." it was exhausting trying to keep track of what was going on, and all the ifs and buts, but before I knew it all the schools were closed by the government.

I was 39 weeks pregnant and suddenly home-schooling three children. Which included writing up lesson plans on a Sunday night and writing out worksheets (we avoid technology as much as possible which made home-schooling a bit tricky without computers, tablets and a printer! So everything had to be handwritten. In addition, family members would print stuff off and leave on our doorstep) but we fully embraced our new life! We didn’t read the news, didn’t turn on the radio and avoided anything on social media to do with covid-19. We were enjoying our new normal. Busy with home-school and making the most of family time, my girls were loving life and the days were flying by!

As we got closer to my due date of the 8th of April I was starting to feel very anxious about being around people and giving birth in the hospital. I was concerned with so many different people in out all day every day. I made the last minute decision to have a home birth. I felt this would be the safest thing for me, our baby and my family. This was my fourth child and had always previously had straight forward births, having a home birth was definitely a scary thought for me personally and I was dreading it… really really dreading it!

One of my very good friends lives a 5-minute walk away so she was going to be on standby in case something went wrong and we had to go to the hospital, she could run over to look after my girls which put my mind to rest knowing I had someone on hand available at any given time. My wonderful midwife kept reassuring me that it was going to all be wonderful! As the days went by there were still no cases of coronavirus at Poole maternity hospital which was reassuring to know. To be honest, I tried not to think about giving birth or talking about it. No point worrying about something that is completely out of your hands and hasn't even happened yet. Life was so busy with my three girls at home and I really didn’t have a second to think about anything else but them.

My due date came and went, which I was rather shocked about -I was late! I was so busy with work throughout my pregnancy and then the children kept me on my feet all day it flew by.

Each day consisted of a mile walk (waddle!) in line with the government guidelines at the time, which meant you could only leave your house once a day for exercise. I really thought I would have this baby on time, but surprisingly I still felt great!

As the days went by I thought that baby was safer in than out, but then day 2 and 3 and 4 went by! Still pregnant!!!! I had awful insomnia and would be lucky if I got over two hours of solid sleep. Somehow I was suddenly on day 9 overdue! I HAD HAD ENOUGH! I was absolutely exhausted, I had fully accepted the fact that I would be pregnant forever, I was truly miserable.

Late that evening I started having contractions, my midwife popped around, checked me over, and thankfully I was 2cm dilated! She even said she could feel the baby’s head! “YES!” I thought, finally a sign the baby was coming, she left and said hopefully I’ll get a call from you later. I felt so relieved knowing the baby was on its way and we were truly thankful we were all still fit and healthy!

I bounced on my ball as long as I could then went to bed, I woke up and I was absolutely gobsmacked I still hadn't had the baby - all contractions had stopped! I text my midwife saying “I’m still pregnant!!!” she quickly rang me saying she had called the maternity hospital and they were quiet! ...and most importantly no cases of the coronavirus. So would I like to go in have my waters broken and have a baby there!! YES!!!! I hung up the phone, got my girls ready, clothes ready for them for the following day just in case and prepared lunch and dinner for them, told my dad to come over ASAP!

Before I knew it we were on our way to the hospital! So excited that finally after ten days of being overdue I was going to have my baby! I absolutely didn’t feel worried about Covid-19 I fully trusted the wonderful NHS and just felt excited to meet my baby!

My partner parked up in the carpark. I got my case and walked in the maternity hospital on my own, which I did feel quite emotional about. Being on my own and not having my partner with me was not what normally happens. I was taken to a ward, a midwife explained what will happen and said when I’m 5cm I could go to the Haven ward and that’s when my partner could come to join me! The entire midwife team were wonderful!

I had my waters broken at 11am and then I waited!! Just listening to podcasts and listening to music, it was the first time I had been on my own for weeks and weeks! It was actually very relaxing and i was not used to this! My partner was waiting in the car, also listening to podcast and eating snacks! He eventually had to pop home for the toilet after a few hours, I told him to come back asap as my contractions were starting!

By 4pm my contractions where coming faster and stronger and I was crying just wishing my partner could be with me, a midwife checked me over and said I was ready!! YES!!! I thought! Get me to the Haven! I messaged my partner and told him to come in.

I waddled over to the Haven! At this point, my contractions were getting unbearable! As I got to my room, in came my partner! Honestly, i never felt so relieved! That was at 5pm and after a lot of pushing and crying and screaming “I CANT DO THIS!!” I had a little boy!

At 8.05pm! What a shock! He was a whopping 9lb13, thankfully I packed a 0-3 month baby grows as well as first size! no one could quite believe how big he was! But he was perfect! Lauren the midwife was absolutely brilliant, she did all the checks and by 1am we were on our way home with our baby boy.

Home at last with my girls and brand new baby boy! How lucky is this little boy to have three big sisters! They were completely smitten as were we.

For weeks after having our little bundle of joy we had doorstep visitors and lots of holding baby up to the window so family and friends could have a good look! It was actually all very exciting and a new experience, having a baby during lockdown was a wonderfully strange time and 9 weeks on we are still embracing our lock down bubble and enjoying life and the slower pace! Still homeschooling, exploring wonderful new places for quiet walks and making wonderful memories that we will remember for a lifetime!

Thank you NHS for being fabulous.

Ali x

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