I had my daughter Eliza Ivy on 9th April 2020 – I elected for a caesarean following my previous induction and emergency caesarean under general anaesthetic with my now 26 month old daughter CiCi.
Throughout my pregnancy I thought I would have a VBAC – I wanted to experience going into labour the natural way and to feel my waters break and so on… Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, I started to feel panicked and decided that an elective caesarean would be the right choice for me. My husband also needed to look after our 2 year old so it became a reality that I would need to undergo the surgery alone. I was terrified and couldn’t sleep the night before. When I thought about it practically, I calmed down but it was the thought of not having my husband to hold my hand that made me quite emotional.
When the morning arrived, everything was calm – virtually tranquil. The ward, despite not being empty felt quiet and the staff at East Surrey Hospital were kind and reassuring. I was determined to breastfeed this time round after struggling and ultimately giving up the first time. So in I went with my colostrum syringes ready to store in the fridge. When it was my turn to have my baby, despite everything being explained to me, I will never forget the range of overwhelming emotions I felt in such a short space of time. Fear, relief, discomfort, ease, panic, calm, worry, joy, adrenaline, elation…
Ahead of time, the midwife in the surgery team offered to play my choice of music and to take any photos/videos I would like. In the end, my anaesthetist FaceTimed my husband so he could see my daughter being carried over the drapes – this was a new experience for us both as we had not seen our first daughter so soon after the birth. My midwife helped me downstairs to meet my husband and daughter – she took her time and didn’t rush us. This really made our reunion post birth so special.
I had skin to skin with my daughter and she fed from me straight away – our breastfeeding journey has been strong for nearly two weeks and I feel so lucky to be able to manage this time. I think that the pandemic has given me the blessing of time so that I am not rushing feeds or worrying about getting too much done at home. I’ve been able to recover at a steady pace and after he initial two days, it’s got easier each day. It’s not easy with a two year old, especially when she wanted to be carried and I can’t because of my wound but we’ve been making a conscious effort to make sure CiCi has lots of special time as well as fresh air and park visits so she doesn’t feel left out.
After my first birth which was challenging, painful and frightening, I felt so much more calm and in control this time round. I wanted to share my story with other mums to be who might be feeling quite anxious and unsure about their births. It might not be exactly what you imagine but the NHS staff are with you every step of the way 🤍
Thank you to Katrina for sharing her positivity with her birth story during this pandemic. For more birth stories click here.
The advice is that if you suspect that you have the Coronavirus and are pregnant, that you self isolate for 7days.
But what happens if you go into labour during this time. This information below is from The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and was published March 13th.
What happens if I go into labour during my self-isolation period ?
💥Call your maternity unit, and inform them that you have suspected or confirmed coronavirus infection.
💥If you have mild symptoms, you will be encouraged to remain at home (self-isolating) in early labour. Staying home in early labour is something that is advised anyway.
💥When it is time to come into hospital, you will be asked to make your own way here if you can or call 111/999 if it’s required for the safety of you or your baby.
💥You will be met at the maternity unit entrance and provided with a surgical face mask, which will need to stay on until you are isolated in a suitable room
💥Coronavirus testing will be arranged.
💥Your birth partner(s) will be able to stay with you throughout, but visitors should be kept to a minimum or none at all (check with local hospital policies for this.)
Could I pass coronavirus to my baby?
👶🏼 As this is a new virus, there is limited evidence about managing women with coronavirus infection in women who have just given birth; however, there are no reports of women diagnosed with coronavirus during the third trimester of pregnancy having passed the virus to their babies while in the womb.
Will I be able to stay with my baby/give skin-to-skin if I have suspected or confirmed coronavirus?
❤️ Yes, if that is your choice. Provided your baby is well and doesn’t require care in the neonatal unit, you will be kept together after you have given birth.
❤️ There are some reports from China which suggest women with confirmed coronavirus have been advised to separate from their baby for 14 days. However, this may have potential negative effects on feeding and bonding.
❤️ A discussion about the risks and benefits should take place between you and your family and the doctors caring for your baby (neonatologists) to individualise care for your baby.
❤️ This guidance may change as knowledge evolves.
Will I be able to breastfeed my baby if I have suspected or confirmed coronavirus?
💦 Yes. At the moment there is no evidence that the virus can be carried in breastmilk, so it’s felt that the well-recognised benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of coronavirus through breastmilk.
💦The main risk of breastfeeding is close contact between you and your baby, as you may share infective airborne droplets, leading to infection of the baby after birth.
💦 A discussion about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding should take place between you and your family and your maternity team. This guidance may change as knowledge evolves.
💦If you choose to breastfeed your baby, the following precautions are recommended:
Wash your hands before touching your baby, breast pump or bottles
Try and avoid coughing or sneezing on your baby while feeding at the breast;
Consider wearing a face mask while breastfeeding, if available
Follow recommendations for pump cleaning after each use
Consider asking someone who is well to feed expressed breast milk to your baby.
🍼 If you choose to feed your baby with formula or expressed milk, it is recommend that you follow strict adherence to sterilisation guidelines. If you are expressing breast milk in hospital, a dedicated breast pump should be used.