Birth during lockdown – Carolines story
Birth during Lockdown
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?
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?
The day before your maternity photoshoot I recommend that you:
- Wax/Shave your legs, bikini area and underarms if aiming for a smooth look
- Apply body lotion so skin is soft and smooth
- If you prefer painted nails please have these done no earlier than the day before your photoshoot to avoid chips. Consider colours that will tone in with the dress colours. Muted/neutral tones or a classic red work with almost anything!
- Fake tan is best applied 2 days prior to your maternity photoshoot, and please remember to exfoliate before and after. It's much easier for me to warm up your skin tone in post processing than to fix patchy tan
HAIR & MAKE-UP
Whether you plan to do your own or have your hair and make up done professionally here are some top tips!
- Even if you normally wear your hair straight please add some loose curls. Soft waves add shape and movement to hair and look so much nicer when the hair is blown away from your face by the fan
- For those of you who plan to wear false lashes please avoid very long, thick lashes as these will block the light from your face. A more natural style of false lash works much better
- Please bring your make up bag with you for top ups in case needed
- When having your make up done professionally I recommend asking for a "soft glam" look so you look polished and feel beautiful and like yourself
WHAT SHOULD PARTNERS/KIDS WEAR?
A few ideas if you have older siblings or a partner who would like to be photographed:
- Male partners are recommend to wear jeans/chinos and a self coloured shirt/t-shirt. Shirts/t-shirts should be black, grey or white to tone in with all dress options. Accompany with plain black socks.
- Female partners are welcome to use the dresses available or to bring along a selection of outfits to choose from.
- Ensure everything is freshly ironed and I recommend plain rather than patterned options
- Children's outfits should be coordinated with your partner. For example, everyone in jeans with white top/shirt for a cohesive look. Children will be barefoot so its worth giving nails a clean and trim the day before!
- Feeling unsure of what you have picked out? Feel free to send me photos I am happy to help!
WHAT TO DO ON THE DAY
First of all don't worry! I have a gorgeous collection of dresses, outfits and accessories to choose from so you don't need to bring anything along specifically unless you want to. I will do everything I can to put you at ease and make you feel fabulous!
Some final things to consider on the day:
- Avoid wearing a bra with straps or socks on the day as these will leave marks on the skin which can be difficult to remove in post processing
- Nude coloured strapless bra and nude coloured thong or seamless style underwear is ideal to wear under dresses
- So that we can focus on you, we will start with images that include your children. Your partner can then take the children to the park while we focus on you!
- Feel free to bring your partner or a friend with you, even if your partner doesn't want to be photographed. They will help you to feel relaxed and they can tell you how amazing you look!