Giving birth during a pandemic was special and different
- Credit: Ruth Davies
So, I’ve done it, grown a whole human and birthed them into the world all while living through a pandemic.
I could never have envisaged the situation we are in being one of such withstanding qualities when I first became pregnant and had, back then, assumed by the time the baby was born we would be back to normal.
It was May 2020 when we decided to have a fourth baby. My husband had just retrained as a teacher, the kids were happy and our finances were in order – aside from a world on alert it felt right.
The good weather then coupled with us all being home, healthy and together meant we were making the most of the time we’d been gifted. We were actually enjoying it. I’m 41 so if we were going to have another baby then we had to get on with it – as they say, now or never! We did discuss the moral side of choosing to have another child while the world was living through a killer virus and we naively thought it simply wouldn’t be an issue.
Nine months was a long time to pass and almost certainly, in our layman brains, there would be a resumed state of “life as we knew it” come the beginning of 2021. We had also thought that it was highly likely we might take a good while to fall pregnant so getting cracking was the decision we made for our family. I can understand those who have an argument for not making more babies at this time, but it was the very best decision we could have made for us and now that she’s here we feel like the richest people in the world!
Being pregnant at this time however, hasn’t always been the easiest and I feel entitled to be sad about that too. I’ve felt alone drifting through the care which although has been fabulous at times has been pretty dire at others too.
It’s just been the way it’s been and there was nothing we could have done about it alongside the world’s situation, but just as I now wish things were different and our baby girl could meet her Grandparents properly, not just on the doorstep from a distance, I wish things had been normal for my pregnancy too. I mean, it was probably my last (although I have made my husband promise that it’s never off the table). I can report though, that actually, When it came to the nitty gritty of labour my NHS birth at the NNUH cannot be faulted in any way. If you are waiting to give birth in Norfolk then please do be reassured by that – I was tremendously nervous but it was a positive experience with not just good or great but simply dazzling care. I couldn’t have asked for more.
I had a consultant who I knew from my previous traumatic labour who is forward thinking, beyond knowledgeable and caring about women’s needs in labour and as every nurse who spoke of him mentioned, quite easy on the eye to boot (it helps)! I joke, but every single midwife said “Ah, you have the most wonderful consultant, he just knows, you’re in fabulous care!” And I was. He listened to me as did my midwives and they as a team went hell for leather to assist me in the birth that I wanted. It wasn’t a straightforward case and for an easier life I suspect they may have preferred me to have chosen a C-Section, but when I didn’t they were right at me with a plan to make it happen, a plan for if it didn’t and devised how things would go under every eventuality so that everyone was happy.
When I got near the end and asked for an epidural (absolutely not in my original plan) my midwife cupped my face, looked me in the eye and definitely made sure this was now what I wanted. She was a hero, that gesture to me was above and beyond for some reason and made her just a little bit special and magical in the same way as when my consultant told me “this is what I would be saying to my own wife”. They made it human. They made it perfect. The skills they have professionally are one thing and staggering in themselves but not everyone can talk to people the way they did – certainly not I. If you are about to give birth at the NNUH then you are in the very best care possible. Trust me on that one, I have no reservations saying it.
And so a few hours after she was born, without the epidural in the end as the face cupping question came less than five minutes before I dilated from 3cm to 10 and she was out like a rocket, we brought Posie Pamela Honeybee home to meet the rest of her adoring fans – her brothers and sister who are, like us, absolute smitten kittens.
Giving birth during a pandemic was special. Different. Unusual. Yet no less magical than you’d want, not with the NNUH labour suite on my side at any rate!
Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at rocknrollerbaby.co.uk