Many things certainly haven’t gone according to plan for new mums lately. Birthing classes cancelled, the prospect of giving birth alone, without support and the increase in women considering home births because of the extraordinary times we are in. The ever-changing rules, social distancing and isolation regulations have been a rollercoaster for many pregnant women.
Gabrielle Connolly is a new mum, who recently gave birth to her second child, at the height of the Covid-19 regulations and uncertainty. Gabrielle tells us about her experience giving birth during a pandemic, from her ever-changing birth plans, to the hospital environment and how she’s feeling to be in isolation with a newborn.
Leading up to the birth…
The rules for giving birth during a pandemic very much changed right at the end of my pregnancy. A couple of weeks before my due date we were still allowed two support people, but things changed quickly and I found myself on the hospital website almost daily checking for updates to stay in the loop.
The final update just days out from my due date was the change down to one support person, and I’m not going to lie this absolutely shattered me. I had planned to have both my mum and husband at the birth just as I had for my first labour, they both offered me different kinds of support that I really needed. As silly as it may sound, my mum was like my birth coach!
So being told I wasn’t able to have her there really hurt and I instantly doubted everything.
In the hospital…
For me, despite the situation, there wasn’t a real difference once I was in hospital- obviously when you’re in labour the only real thing you’re focusing on is that!
I’m so grateful for the amazing hospital staff, from the moment I entered to hospital to walking out with my new baby two days later I felt very well looked after and totally oblivious to the goings on of the outside world.
For the most part of my pregnancy I had a rough birth plan, I knew I wanted to attempt a VBAC. But as the days went on and my due date came and went my anxiety was through the roof, I was trying to steer clear of social media and the news because I didn’t want to add to it. My plan and frame of mind certainly changed in the lead up to birth, I just wanted my baby safe and sound in my arms!
I desperately wanted a natural birth so I could get home to my four year old right away. But I had come to terms with the fact that my birth was going to go how it was going to go, I was simply along for the ride and just needed to stay resilient.
Our little bubble…
I feel very lucky that the maternity ward in the hospital I birthed in was like a bubble, I felt very cared for and totally oblivious to anything else going on! It certainly felt like business as usual! What global pandemic? Babies still gotta be born!
As I ended up with an emergency caesarean I needed to stay in hospital for longer then I wanted but I managed to get home after two nights! To be honest I was happy not to have any visitors, I had a catheter in, I felt like I had been hit by a bus after a 15 hour labour then emergency caesarean (that ended up going for two hours due to internal damage from my first caesarean!)
It was nice to have the time to just be, I had all the visitors bombard me after my first birth, I’m talking family showing up unannounced and I absolutely hated that!
My husband was my amazing birth and support partner and was thankfully allowed to stay with me for the duration of the stay in hospital.
As mentioned, I have already got a 4 year old. It’s certainly been a crazy time for him, he started preschool in February only to stop going a matter of weeks later, so his routine was already out of whack and then throw a newborn into the mix! He loves his little brother, I can already see that, but I can also tell he’s struggling with the change in his life.
I’ve been lucky enough to have my husband at home for the first few weeks and I have really enjoyed the baby bubble, not having to worry if my house is clean or not, what I look like or if my boobs are out!
I do have a little worry in the back of my mind about if I will be able to cope once my husband goes back to work, having a baby can be a very isolating time as it is!
Sending love and gratitude…
I want to say that I’m especially feeling for all the first-time mums out there who are also giving birth during a pandemic! For me personally I had a good experience, sure it’s been different from when I had my first and I am just dying to introduce my baby to all my loved ones but I’m soaking up the positive. Breastfeeding is going well and I’m feeling confident as a second time mum. But that certainly wasn’t the case when I had my first baby, I really needed all the support I could get! So any first time mummas out there reading this, know you’re not alone in these crazy times, make sure you reach out if you need too and remember that this will pass!
Also, a big shout out to the medical staff still working hard to keep a sense of normality for women during these crazy times! Pregnancy is a hormonal roller coaster without a global pandemic involved and everyone has been amazing.