Priya has shared her experiences of how she felt anxious while she was pregnant during the pandemic on our website, and how she dealt with that sense of uncertainty. Here, she tells us what it was like giving birth to her baby girl last summer, and what the ongoing restrictions meant for her experience.
My estimated delivery date was Monday 29 June 2020. On the Thursday before, it felt like contractions were coming on slowly. The next day, I wasn’t feeling the baby as much, so called triage at Northwick Park Hospital. They advised me to go in ASAP.
By now, my contractions were coming on strong. As I had practised hypnobirthing I was breathing though it, listening to a hypnobirthing app and timing my contractions. Then my waters broke on the bed. A consultant saw me and I was only 1cm dilated, but I wasn’t allowed to go home and was transferred to triage.
My husband wasn’t allowed in, so I was on my own, pacing back and forth, breathing and listening to positive affirmations.
My husband wasn’t allowed in, so I was on my own, pacing back and forth, breathing and listening to positive affirmations. At midday, a room was assigned and my husband came straight away.
By 3pm, I was put on a saline drip, to keep my baby and myself hydrated. So, every time I went to the loo I had to walk with the drip. My husband was a gem. He would hold it for me and walk with me. He was my rock and kept me going; without him I would have been so lost.
Later on, the midwife told me that they’d give me an oxytocin drip to help the contractions speed up and become stronger. The drip was given, a catheter was also inserted, making me completely bed bound. Not the labour I wanted.
The midwives were great though and made my husband and I feel at ease. We played music all day and night and dimmed the lights. My birth plan was, so far, going according to plan.
But that night my emotions were all over the place and I couldn’t sleep. We discussed an epidural; the midwife suggested it would help me massively. At first, I was totally against it, but after the discussion with my husband, we went for it. Sometimes you have to put aside your birth plan and go with what you require.
The anaesthetist came at 3am on the Saturday. They were lovely and numbed my back completely and I only felt a pinch. I was able to rest properly and get some sleep, too. When I say sleep, I meant to say two hours! It was hard for me to completely switch off.
Saturday morning came and no change. It was around 9am when a team of consultants and doctors came in. Some scrubs were also placed on a table and I instantly knew what was going on. When they mentioned c-section, I was upset. I couldn’t birth my baby the way I’d planned.
The consultant had told me the baby has released meconium and it was most likely to have an infection as my waters have dried out. My husband reassured me that I was strong and it was the baby we needed to think about. I didn’t want to take any risks.
My husband changed into scrubs. The bed was tilted back and the epidural was topped up, which meant that I’d be numb from the breast down. To test if it worked, the anaesthetist sprayed a cooling spray.
I had my husband next to me. The sheet went up so I couldn’t see anything. I kept asking whether it would hurt, the anaesthetist said I would feel tugging and pressure. I don’t fully remember what happened but all I heard the team say: “Your baby is here.” My husband rushed by her side and carried her. She looked perfect.
I got a chance to hold her whilst on the bed. She was tiny but absolutely beautiful. I was stitched up and a bandage was placed on me.
The three of us were taken to recovery unit. My husband was only allowed to stay for half an hour then was told to leave. It broke my heart that I would now be left on my own – bed bound, unable to move and with a new baby to take care of.
The nurse helped me with breastfeeding and I had two hours of skin to skin with my baby. She latched on and it felt so natural. Even though she was tiny, weighing just 5lb 4oz, I managed to hold her fine without any trouble. I was scared at first but I put that thought in the back of my head and enjoyed being with her.
My greatest achievement and moment was then when I saw the perfect human my husband and I created. I have never felt such unconditional love like I do for my baby girl.
The delivery team and recovery unit team were amazing. My baby girl, who we’ve named Rhea, and I were discharged five days later from post natal recovery.
However, my husband was only allowed to visit me for three hours a day which didn’t feel like enough. He’d come, let me sleep, watch the baby then have to go home and I was left to cope with a tiny baby.
I am so lucky to have Rhea and that she chose me as her mother. Motherhood isn’t easy, but its the greatest reward when you look at your baby and see yourselves in them.