Caroline’s story of giving birth at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
During the global pandemic
I don’t know about you but I have seen a LOT of confusion online, especially on social media, throughout the covid-19 pandemic. Contradictory stories, scaremongering and LOTS of guessing has left a lot of unsure who are what to believe.
For those of you who are expecting a baby in the near future I can only imagine how scary it must be. Let’s face it the prospect of pushing a tiny human out is frightening anyway but add in the possibility of having to do it alone, without your birth partner and that’s just heart breaking. So when I heard that my friend Caroline was in labour and read her birth story I just knew I had to ask her if we could share her story! I can’t promise this is how your experience will go but I hope it is reassuring to know that Caroline had a wonderful, positive birth experience. Her husband, Neil, was with her for the birth and able to stay with her for some time afterwards. She did not have to give birth alone. She still received excellent care. And most importantly she and her beautiful baby girl are now home, healthy and happy with proud big brother Hayden!
So now, over to Caroline! We did this as a sort of interview so if you have any questions of your own please feel free to message me and we can add to the post!
How were you worried lockdown and The Covid-19 pandemic would affect your birthing experience?
There was the unknown that my birthing partner would not be allowed in. The guidelines for NHS Lothian were if he was was not showing symptoms then he was allowed to be there for active labour and birth however, was scared he would get ill as he’s a key worker and the one doing the shopping etc.I was also a bit nervous about asking another family member to look after my son to allow myself and husband to go to the hospital.
What had you heard online/on social media about what might happen differently?
I had seen a number of articles on social media and on the tv regarding birthing partners not being allowed, patients and partners having to wear masks, water births being suspended and gas and air not being safe to use. None of which were true in my experience. I was allowed my partner by my side during ‘active labour’. I was allowed a water birth (in fact the pool was already filled for me even though this was not my plan) & gas and air also was provided. Midwives and staff wore masks however, patients and partners did’nt require to. I’d also read that there was midwife shortages so you might not have the same midwife throughout.
How did your experience match up with expectations?
My expectations were that I would be pretty much taken in, isolated & sent back home again as quickly as possible after baby was born. That the staff would be run off their feet as they were understaffed so you wouldn’t get the same loving care as normal. I was prepared to have to do it on my own if my husband became ill or had to stay home to look after our son. However, The reality vs what I expected was the opposite end the scale. They staff were patient and very understanding, they took onboard my wishes and my concerns and spent time with me both through labour and afterwards. They honestly went above and beyond to make me feel as relaxed and normal as possible. I was not only allowed to have an amazing water birth with the gas and air (the only pain relief I would take, no epidural etc) but my husband was by my side AND allowed to stay for bonding time afterwards.
Baby was born at 16:29 (10th April) and he was asked to leave at 19:00. The amazing midwife I had from the start of active labour to being moved to the postnatal ward made it an experience to remember for all the right reasons. She let me pick my baby up from the bottom of the pool and cut her cord. Two things I thought I’d never do or be-able to say I’d did. We were left alone for family bonding. This allowed us to have some video call time with family to introduce our new little girl. I also had time to shower in the comfort of the birthing suite not in a shared shower-room so didn’t need to worry about leaving the baby on her own. After overnight baby monitoring (due to Group B step). I was discharged before lunch. I was home by 12 noon on Saturday 11th April. Upon discharge all relevant info regarding midwife visits, helplines, birth registration etc was explained verbally and provided in packs.
Any advice for pregnant ladies who are likely to give birth during the pandemic?
Dont be scared to ask for help and support. It’s only natural to have concerns. If you are left on your own, such as in antenatal ward use a video call to call someone to emotionally support you. I called my mum! Don’t have too strict a birthing plan, have your no-go’s but go in with your options open.
Check with your local hospital what their regulations are at this time because they are not all following the same protocol. This also includes scans and scheduled appointments. Don’t be taken in by all the negative media. If you have other children, leave with a trusted family member at your own home where possible when you go to hospital (My midwives advice). Stay strong – You’re due to have you’re baby now because you ARE strong enough to do it!
How do you feel your birthing partner was treated?
I feel my husband was treated very fairly when he arrived. It didnt feel like anything was different and all the concerns of this virus were shoved to the back of our minds.
What was your birthing partners experience like?
As he was only allowed in for active labour he was only with me for 1hour 30mins before baby was born but he was made feel very welcome from the moment he was let in the door & he was delighted he got so long to stay afterwards.
Does he have any advice for birthing partners?
Buy a good book and buy snack supplies before as you could be in for a long wait outside. Remember a phone charger if possible to charge in car. Also don’t be afraid to work out in a car park!
I hope that reading Caroline’s story provides expectant families some reassurance that they will be able to be together for birth and still receive excellent care. Caroline delivered at Simpson’s at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary if you have given birth at St John’s in Livingston and would like to share your experience please get in touch as I’d love to share your story too!
These are uncertain times but one thing we can be certain of is that we are blessed to have an incredible healthcare system here in Scotland and the UK. And our babies will be born into love and joy regardless of what is happening on the news. If you are pregnant please also come join our online support group, a safe place to ask questions and share experiences.
Stay healthy, stay safe and enjoy staying home in your beautiful baby bubble!
Being pregnant during a global pandemic probably wasn’t what you planned. And it sucks. Missing out on so many of the fun parts of pregnancy like meeting new mummy friends at ante natal classes, browsing the nursery departments of shops and dreaming about bringing your baby home to meet family and friends. And of course a baby shower! All the fun games, the cake and laughter with friends and cute gifts for baby.
Amid lockdown sadly lots of you are missing these milestones and I want to help.
I’m here to share a fabulous idea with you, that’ll give you something to focus on and look forward to. Bubbles and Cuddles!
Bubbles and Cuddles…?! You must be wondering what on earth is that? I did too when I first heard about them, traditionally named Sip and See in the states however I’m not keen on that name so I changed it 😉 This is your alternative baby shower, which you may have been planning and looking forward to. Its said that the Bubbles and Cuddles (Sip and See) comes from mums to be not wanting a baby shower as they can’t enjoy a glass of bubbly with their loved ones and best girl friends.
The idea is that in lieu of having a baby shower whilst pregnant the mum to be would wait until baby arrives. Usually planned with their mum, sister or bestie, they would decide a date after the birth where they feel recovered enough to have people over. Mostly they aim for around 3 weeks as they’re more mobile after the birth whether natural or a c-section. With this pandemic that is sweeping the country at the moment what better time to plan a Bubbles & Cuddles for yourself.
A magical milestone
I’ve not only complied a handy list to help you prepare but I’ve designed you some invites too!
The Invite List;
This list will be made up of both your mums, grannies, sisters, aunts, nieces, besties and work girls if you wish. Of course the gents can be present too however this could be your other halfs chance to go out and wet the babies head with the lads. Leaving the ladies to lavish you and baby with attention and get those oh so wonderful baby cuddles! Win, win wouldn’t you say?!
This can be as detailed as you’d like or you can ask people to bring a plate, maybe specifying a certain item for each guest. My shopping list would have the following; bubbles, nibbles, bubbles and cake! I absolutely LOVE party food so any excuse to have that gets the vote from me!
I have designed two different invites, in each colour way, that you’re welcome to download and share with your family and friends. Whether that be via social media, whats app or good old fashioned snail mail, printing them out and posting. Remember to let your invitees know its a come and go and they’re not expected to stay the entire time, most will but sometimes its nice for those that can’t to know so they don’t feel guilty leaving.
Feel free to download these files to use, if you have any issues with them please let me know and I can email them to you instead!
As hard as it will be as it’s been just you, your partner and baby for a while, relax! Yep, relax as much as you can and have fun! Chat with everyone, t will have been a while since you saw them in person so there will be lots to catch up on! Accept help being offered whether thats changing baby, feeding baby (unless exclusive breast feeding of course!),washing up or even folding laundry if you have some around drying! Don’t be afraid to limit cuddles if thats your preference. Everyone will understand if baby is sleeping and you’d prefer to pop them in their cot so you can stick to your usual routine.
Although there may not be anything you need lots of family and friends will want to mark this occasion by giving you or baby a gift. So it’s a good idea to have a little list prepared should they ask if there’s anything you’d like. Gift vouchers towards a photoshoot for your baby, they are the perfect gift as they’re the only gift that’ll last a lifetime. For most of my friends I tend to bring home cooked meals when they have a baby as I know that was top of my wish list in the early days when I didn’t have the energy to cook!
If you would like some help or further ideas to plan your own Bubbles and Cuddles please feel free to pop me an email. I am always happy to help!
If you’d like to connect with other mums to be in the same situation as you at this present time. Please do join the Facebook group I have set up to support mums to be and new mums. You’ll find helpful info, places to shop, support, online classes and more. It’s a small friendly group with no selling nor advertising.
Stay safe, stay home and try to enjoy this new sense of calm before normality kicks in again!
With Love, Rachael x
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Rainbow themed fun activities for families in lockdown
Im sure lots of you will have seen the posts on social media asking families to paint/draw/create a rainbow for their windows to spread some cheer during lockdown. So I thought I would do a quick blog post with some other rainbow fun activities suitable for a variety of ages!
Our children are age 11 and 3 so with such a big age gap it can sometimes be tricky to find things they are both able to do. I have road tested these with my kids so they should be suitable for toddlers through to high school age kids.
1. Find the colours of the rainbow in nature!
On our daily allowed walk I asked the boys to find all of the colours of the rainbow but only on things that are from nature so no cheating by using cars or front doors! We spotted a ladybird and many different plants and flowers on our walk to make up our rainbow!
2. Create a rainbow using items found in your home.
This is a fun scavenger hunt type activity that all ages can join in! Find as many items of each colour and put them together to create a mixed media rainbow! We split the boys and worked as two teams of two to find specific colours then worked together to make ours it was lots of fun!
3. Make a rainbow snack!
This is fun and healthy too! Use fruits and vegetables to create your very own rainbow snack! Great for all ages and makes snack time more fun and colourful!
My kids loved this activity especially Ollie who we refer to as our little fruit bat!
4. Make rainbow spaghetti for messy sensory play fun!
Rainbow spaghetti is something I first made years ago when I was a nursery nurse and the toddlers loved it! Anything sensory was always a big hit with the babies too! To make rainbow spaghetti just cook up a pack of spaghetti then toss the cooked, drained pasta in a little oil (2 tablespoons should be plenty) and divide into 5 bowls. Add liquid food colouring to each bowl and stir through. You can then mix the colours together for your rainbow spaghetti! To extend the play you can give children chopsticks or forks to try and pick up the spaghetti and work those fine motor skills. Or add in plastic toys as treasure to dig in and find like dinosaurs or animal figures! This is a great activity to take outdoors so you don’t have to worry about the mess. pop the spaghetti into a large container such as a washing up bowl or garden tub or water tray! A baby bath also works and babies love to stand in the spaghetti to squish between toes!
5. make rainbow rocks!
This is a super easy activity that all ages can enjoy and leads to wonderful open ended imaginative play. All you need are some nice smooth stones (if you have a beach walkable to your home now is a great time to head out for your daily walk and collect some!) I recommend using a mix of sizes and aiming to have enough for at least 3 per colour. Wash and dry your stones then paint with acrylic paints. Once dried you can arrange them into a rainbow shape. Great to practice counting, talk about colours, sizes eg can you arrange them from smallest to biggest? Or stack them with the biggest at the bottom and the smallest at the top?! If you want the stones to be safe to use long term you can seal the paint with acrylic sealant available on amazon and from your local arts/craft supplies shop.
I hope you enjoy, Id love to see some photos of what you create!
If you enjoyed this blog and would like more ideas for keeping little ones entertained please join our new Facebook group!