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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.