Experience of birthing in lockdown
TRIGGER WARNING: This story contains details that may be triggering to some.
Hi, my name is Laura and I want to share my birthing experience in lockdown!
I gave birth to my first child in April 2020, during the first COVID-19 lockdown. I had been having growth scans in the lead up to birth and I had to attend these on my own. As my son was breech, I had a planned caesarean birth.
A few weeks before I was due to give birth, the Causeway Maternity Ward was closed which meant I then had to go to Antrim Area Hospital which was very upsetting. I had been receiving all my care up until that point at Causeway. Adding to my distress, my partner cannot drive so this made things much more difficult.
When the day arrived, I had to go to the ward on my own. On labour ward, the midwives were great and helped me prepare for surgery. My partner was allowed in once we were ready to deliver. When our baby was born, he got to stay with us for just over an hour before I was moved to the maternity ward and we had to say goodbye at the door.
It was then that my experience began to change. I was put at the end of the ward with my son and I couldn’t reach the buzzer to call a staff member, or the button to adjust the bed. I found it difficult to move from my surgery and I struggled to lift my son in and out of the cot.
Although the team were friendly, I was pretty much left on my own. I had to ask for pain medication as they were rarely offered. I struggled to walk to the toilet but received no help.
The following morning, I was pushed to another ward with one other mother. I wasn’t shown where the toilets were located and again, I was pretty much left on my own until I was discharged later that afternoon.
I really needed the help from my partner, but he couldn’t even come into the ward to collect us! The walk out of hospital was very difficult, especially given that I had had major abdominal surgery just 30 hours before!
Being in lockdown we couldn’t have visitors to our home, so no grandparents or family members could meet our first child which was tough. It was lovely being the three of us at home, but for days I struggled as it was hard to climb the stairs or carry my son.
The community midwives were great and came out to me.
Having your first child in lockdown was tough, having no family to support us, and needing my partner after birth. However, you survive and can enjoy the time as a family.
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