A Reminder of Happiness
Almost a year on from Boris’s “Stay at Home” order here is an update on our lovely Tongham Families who were expecting babies in Lockdown No 1.
These guys have a special place in my heart as over the lockdown it was a reminder that life is continuing to grow and bring us new happiness. I met these families during our Tongham Doorstep Portraits in which together in Tongham we raised over £1500 for the Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity.
The lovely Mummies that live here have kindly written about their experience of pregnancy and giving birth in a time where they could not show off their bumps to families and friends. They have also sent an image for me to use of their little ones now all getting bigger!
Becky, Ben & Baby Jack
Becky writes: “After taking early maternity leave from March 16th due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the announcement that pregnant women should begin shielding due to them being higher risk, I suddenly realised that potentially this wasn’t going to be the maternity leave or birth that I had planned.
I had already attended all my routine appts including scans on my own due to no visitors being allowed in the hospital. After being booked in for an induction overdue at 41 weeks we were told that my husband wouldn’t be able to attend the hospital with me. He would only be able to arrive once I was in established labour.
On arrival at the hospital, I was told that my induction could take 3 days or so which was worrying as I would be on my own for that duration without my husband or other visitors. I knew I had to go through this experience on my own. All the support techniques my husband had spent time perfecting would no now longer be of use as he wouldn’t be with me.
Luckily labour started the same evening I went in and my baby was born the following morning at 6.25 am so we didn’t have to wait that long. My husband got there with an hour to spare! The staff were really supportive and caring which made the experience the best it could be under the circumstances.
I did find it quite a lonely time without anyone there to keep me company or support me but my baby arrived safe and well and I can’t thank the NHS enough for that.”
Emma, Russ, & Baby Hendrix
Emma writes: “As I was consultant lead, an induction was booked for 41 + 1 weeks but I was keen to go into labour naturally and the community midwives were unable to carry out sweeps due to Covid 19 however my consultant was able to arrange me one to try and kick start things. The sweep was carried out on 2nd June and in the early hours of 3rd June, my waters broke and we were in early labour.
I had to go into Frimley to confirm waters had broken and this is when I had my Covid 19 test (which was negative). We returned home around 4am and continued early stages of labour at home using the tens machine and birthing ball. Around 11am we returned to Frimley and on assessment were confirmed to be in established labour and Russ was then allowed into the ward. Once in the ward, neither of us were allowed to exit due to Covid 19. We got to 7cm on gas and air at 9pm before I decided to have a low dose epidural ar 2am as I was put on syntosin.
We laboured for an additional 7 hours and at 9.49am on 4th June. Hendrix Quinn Cole entered this world via a forceps delivery as we discovered he was back to back. The midwives at Frimley were so professional and had a caring bedside manner. Even though they were wearing PPE, they made the experience seem like Covid 19 didn’t exist. As we were in theatre for the birth, Russ joined Hendrix and I in recovery for around 30 minutes and was able to walk us to the post natal ward and had to say goodbye. Restrictions meant he could not visit.
This was the most difficult part and the biggest impact felt due to Covid 19 as Russ was not able to visit me and anxiously waiting at home.
I was discharged 2 days later on the 6th June and family life began! “
Kirsty, Matt, Zach & Baby Molly
Kirsty writes: “I had my 12 week scan on 24th March 2020, day 1 of lockdown 1. Little did we know then that my whole pregnancy and in fact what will probably end up being most of the first year of our baby’s life would be in the shadow of a global pandemic!
Compared to some we were lucky, I only had to have one midwife appointment over the phone (not being physically seen for those reassurances that all was well was really tough) rather than in person before the protocol was adjusted, managed a 6 week face to face birth preparation class towards the end of my pregnancy and for the first 3 months of Molly’s life we weren’t in lockdown so were able to introduce her to family and friends. Sadly Matt wasn’t able to attend my 20 week scan which was upsetting but I think would have been worse had this been my first baby.
I’ve had many discussions with mummy friends about whether being pregnant with your second in these times is better or worse because you’re not such a novice but equally you know how everything ‘should be’.
Luckily my birth was quick and uncomplicated with a hospital stay of just a few hours so that experience was largely unaffected by the pandemic but the aftercare or lack of has been tough with no health visitor or weighing clinics and feeling a bit like you’re having to fight for an appointment with any concerns. There is support there but it’s just not as easy as popping along somewhere. I can only imagine how tough that must be for mummies without any fight or confidence to fight left.
Having been on furlough for my whole pregnancy, whilst financially not ideal, and it often didn’t feel like it at the time, I was really lucky to have that time with my toddler when I’d have ordinarily been working 4 days including travelling away. That is one positive of lockdown. We’ve also discovered some lovely walks, learnt to spend and enjoy much more time at home and the sense of community spirit has been great – the doorstep photos, the clapping, the community Facebook board. We’ve become friendly with neighbours we had barely spoken to before now and there’s now that friendly village atmosphere when you’re out and about with everyone smiling and saying hello.
All of that said, what I really can’t wait for is to be able to sit on my friends’ sofas drinking tea and eating biscuits cuddling our babies while the toddlers play and not out walking in the rain, cold and mud just to be able to catch up. That and for baby classes to return (such an invaluable resource for parents) and to be able to see and cuddle my two new beautiful nieces who were also born in lockdown. I think the lack of human contact has been the hardest, nobody outside of my household has held my baby for 4 months now which is really sad for us, luckily she is none the wiser of how it ‘should be’. Roll on freedom! X “