Anna shares her experience of birthing her second baby during the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, navigating her journey using Hypnobirthing techniques.
Anna’s Birth Story
After the birth of my daughter I had a difficult postnatal recovery which resulted in my being in a hospital for 7 days and resulted in my feeling ill for a while after we were discharged. When I found out I was pregnant, and I made it past the 20 week scan, I started to look at how I could ensure this birth was different.
I made an appointment with the consultant midwife to go over what happened last time – a really useful session as it filled in blanks and she identified for us where mistakes had been made and helped me put a plan together with my midwives which would help ensure that it wouldn’t happen again.
I also partnered with a doula and felt reassured that alongside my brilliant midwife team, my partner and I would have someone there for us during the birth should we become exhausted.
My pregnancy went smoothly – a couple of bumps here and there but nothing serious and I felt like I had everything in place. Then the corona virus hit…
With my due date in April, I couldn’t believe the timing and how fast things were escalating. Living in London, my local hospital was one of the ones which were seeing a rise in cases fast.
It wasn’t long before the midwife led suites (where I had been planning to give birth were closed) but what I didn’t see coming was that my midwife team were disbanded as they were primarily a homebirth team and my doula and her family had become sick (possibly with the virus) and so she would no longer be able to be present with us during any stage of the birth.
The days that followed were very up and down and every day felt like some new sledge hammer blow of new rules was being dealt – even extending to a partners’ presence being limited (at the time to being present in active labour only).
Over the coming days, my partner and I talked a lot and we realised we were the ones in the driving seat now and it was up to us to make the birth our own. This was strangely liberating and I realised that in fact, by meeting with the consultant and working with my doula and fab midwife team, I actually already had everything I needed to make this birth a more positive experience.
Our plan was to get to the hospital after I was 4cm dilated so that my partner could be with me throughout so when I finally went into labour on the 9th April, we practiced hypnobirthing techniques and watched films that made me happy until I knew it was time to move. This time I trusted in my body more, and listened to the intensity of the surges rather than just counting how many there were in a number of minutes which paid off. I got to the hospital at nearly 7cm dilated and felt in control this time so carried on the rest of the labour with gas and air.
My husband was by my side throughout (with snacks) which proves invaluable – the usual food places aren’t all open so do pack everything you need on this front.
The labour room was peaceful and bubble like. Even though the midwives were in PPE, I had prepared for this and didn’t even notice it or think about the virus during the birth experience. Our baby boy was born on the 10th April and I had achieved the more positive birth I had been looking for, which feels strange to say given the pandemic situation.
The midwives and teams at the hospital are hugely supportive and are stepping up postnatally to offer support if partners can’t stay. I didn’t feel alone once during the experience and after so much personal worry and anxiety in the lead up to the birth, I wish I had known I would feel that way. You can still birth the way you want to even if it’s not in exactly the same circumstances or settings as you’d originally envisaged
You’ve got this 💪
Thank you Anna for sharing your story and experience of birthing during this pandemic.
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