Harriett’s Real Birth Story | Birthing During COVID-19

Harriett shares her real birth story experience of birthing her first baby during the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic, navigating changes to initial hopes and using Hypnobirthing techniques.
We have a series of questions for people to safely share and receive the innate birthing wisdom that is held in every birthing story.  You can hear more about our unique Real Birth story questions here.
1) Where / when/ how was your baby born & was it as hoped? 

Our baby was born 4 weeks ago, at Lewisham hospital, in theatre, after a long labour that resulted in an assisted delivery using forceps and an episiotomy.

The final experience was probably as far away from what We had planned as possible, and if someone had told me that was how I was going to be giving birth, I would have been extremely worried and disappointed.

However, at the time it felt like the right thing to do given the journey we had been on leading up to that point.

Our birth plan was centered around laboring as much as possible at home, and going in to the hospital as late as possible, to give birth in the birthing unit, with little to no help in terms of pain relief and intervention.

These plans were made before Covid19 came in to play but were solidified even more when the possibility that Richard might not be able to be with me in hospital became more of a reality.

We were lucky that he was able to be present for most of the Labour and the birth itself.

Once I was admitted to hospital it soon became apparent that our original birth plan was going to be diverted somewhat. Baby’s heartbeat was inconsistent during contractions, which meant I was transferred from the birth unit up to the Labour ward fairly early on so that he could be monitored. After the contractions really got going and I had been working through a lot of them on my own while waiting for Richard to be allowed up to the ward, I ended up opting for various types of pain relief. Fast forward 12 hours, after my waters had been broken for well over 24 hours and baby still hadn’t arrived, our options on delivering safely became clear.

2) What tip(S) would you offer another person going through birth?

Make sure your birth partner knows exactly what you want and don’t want from your birth experience, so they can be your voice of reason and decision maker in the moment, with the confidence to discuss all options available. And know what your alternative plans – B, C and D would be.

You probably won’t feel like eating much during Labour, but keep those hospital bag snacks for after you’ve given birth – you’ll be ravenous!

3) What aspects of your experience are you most proud of?

I’m really proud of working through a lot the initial stages in hospital by myself, and equally the first 24 hours post birth on the ward after Richard was sent home. It felt like there was a second nature response within me to know what to do. And I wasn’t expecting that.

4) If you could a change one thing what would it be?

To stay at home for longer and ride out the contractions before going to hospital.

5) What helped you?

Once Richard was allowed in at the hospital, I couldn’t have done it without him.

Also our midwife was amazing, I really got on with her which made the decision making around pain relief and final delivery plan more reassuring.

Richard was repeating some of the affirmations that we worked on in your course, to me whilst contracting – that gave me the extra strength to keep it together.

6) Anything additional?

The midwife team at Lewisham were so lovely and supportive, if they hadn’t been wearing masks I wouldn’t have guessed they were working under such stressful conditions during this pandemic. They did everything to ensure it was business as usual.

If you’d like to share your Real Birth story please find our story submission form at the top of the page here.  You can read more on our Instagram page. 

If you’d like to get tools for birth, our online Hypnobirthing course offers tools, information & support including birthing during the pandemic. 

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