Jade Ullrich – Home Water Birth During The Coronavirus Outbreak: Never Underestimate The Power Of Community
Mamas, we know you’re going to have some questions and anxieties if you’re due to give birth during this pandemic. We have joined forces with blogger Jade Ullrich who’s here to share her birth story and experience giving birth during the Coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully this blog will help answer some questions you may have, settle some of the anxiety and be a reminder that everything is going to be ok! Read Jade Ullrich’s birth story below!
Finding out we were pregnant with our little girl was a dream come true. She had two older brothers waiting eagerly to meet her. Then we had some more great news. My sister was expecting a little girl at the same time as me, our due dates just 2 days apart.
We were so excited to go shopping together, be pregnant together, take photographs together, organise newborn baby shoots and experience the journey together. We managed to capture one memory of being pregnant together before Coronavirus changed our lives as we knew them.
Once the news was released that pregnant women were being classed as ‘vulnerable’ people during the outbreak and a 12-week isolation period advice surfaced, I decided to take my children out of school.
Being pregnant during a pandemic is psychically and emotionally difficult.
Being a mum of two school aged children and pregnant during a pandemic became increasingly difficult to manage. Especially, when guidelines, schooling and advice were scarce at the beginning of this crisis.
We went into three and a half solid weeks of self-isolation to minimise risks. A family member kindly delivered weekly food shops to us. We didn’t leave the house, at all. We’re incredibly lucky to have a garden so we could safely enjoy the outside and the boys got their exercise.
In between much needed late stage pregnancy naps, playdough making, healthy lunch planning and Einstein worthy maths equations, I had to try to and make sense of what was fast becoming our new routine.
I began to feel extremely overwhelmed and anxious.
We were having growth scans every couple of weeks. I cancelled my final 38 week growth scan in fear of being at the hospital. We’d already planned a home water birth and wanted to avoid the hospital. With Covid-19 tragically taking so many people’s lives I didn’t want take the risk. I was content with her movements inside me and her previous growth scan results.
My midwife was absolutely amazing. She was happy to carry out regular home visits in full PPE. This helped to protect me and my family as well as herself during the visits. She gave my partner Mike and I reassurance that all was well with the babies health each week.
My sister was induced and I was able to meet my niece through a window. A heartbreakingly beautiful moment that I’ll be forever thankful for under these circumstances.
My due date was April 10th and it rapidly began to approach. The emotions of family not being able to meet her crept in.
We had another anxious wait as I began to go overdue. My contractions came and went very irregularly so we kept thinking it was time. We prepared for the home birth routinely every day. We tidied up, cleaned excessively and stocked up on birthing snacks. Doing this daily became draining in itself.
I kept in close contact with my midwife having regular check-ups and sweeps until the 20th April. When I had my 4th sweep at home, shortly after my midwife left my contractions began again, this time a lot more regularly. By 6pm I was in labour. We called our midwife and began to fill up the birth pool. My partner gathered snacks, switched on the fairy lights and pressed play on our playlist. He began to support me in every way possible, ensuring I was relaxed throughout.
Gas & air and paracetamol were the only pain relief I could take during the contractions. This meant that the warm water from the pool was so helpful in between. Being able to float around weightlessly whilst having the freedom to get out and move around my own home, with Michael for comfort created the perfect birthing environment. It really helped ease the pain for me.
My contractions soon became strong and fast with less than 20 seconds in between. By 12.31am our beautiful baby daughter, Honey, had arrived weighing a healthy 7lbs 2oz.
We had the most magical water birth experience. Despite my contractions feeling a lot harsher with my third pregnancy, the pain was manageable. Both the gas & air and warmth from the pool really helped.
I was worried that I’d end up being induced in hospital against my birth plan because I was 10 days overdue. I was equally worried that the changing guidelines might mean that I’d give birth without a support partner. This is a feeling that I know many expectant parents may be experiencing right now. We’d planned for our home birth pre-Covid19 but I wanted to share our birth story with you, to encourage parents-to-be to fully discuss their birthing options with their care providers. In the event that Coronavirus continues to place us under such restrictions, birthing is a natural process that women’s bodies are built for, providing your pregnancy is low risk home birthing may be an option to you. Being at home certainly helped ease my mind at this very anxious time.
Equally, there are risks with home births too. The water birth went to plan and Honey was delivered safely, but the attention quickly turned to me again as I struggled to deliver the placenta within the timing guideline set out by the NHS. I began to lose blood and received two Oxytocin injections to bring my labour back on, in an attempt to deliver the placenta without causing any unnecessary risk to me. This is called a Retained Placenta and is very rare. It only occurs in around 3% of vaginal deliveries.
My midwife was amazing. Together we made the decision to continue to attempt to deliver the placenta via active management at home. I desperately wanted to avoid hospital unless it was absolutely necessary. My moral kicked in and I delivered the placenta as an ambulance crew arrived at my house to transport us to hospital, but it was too late. The decision was made to take us in as a precaution along with the need for added pain relief (morphine) for the induction injections I’d been given, usually managed with a spinal block and manual intervention.
My midwife traveled with us and the ambulance crew were amazingly supportive. Both in full PPE. They all continued to support me on the journey to our local hospital. I received iron treatment for blood loss and we were quickly told we could return home.
I’ll be forever thankful to the NHS team that attended our home birth, for overseeing the safe birth of our daughter and for remaining cautious of my health afterward.
My Fiancé, Michael was absolutely amazing. I’m almost speechless when I think about the possibility of going through the labour without having had him by my side.
I know that the NHS in parts of England deem it necessary for some women to birth alone in hospital to minimise risk at this time. However, in my opinion with a low risk pregnancy, for me our home birth was the preferred option and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Thankyou Mamas & Papas for the opportunity to share our birth story and our experience welcoming Honey into the world during the Coronavirus pandemic, with your readers!
A huge thank you to Jade for sharing her birth story with us. We really hope this has helped answer a couple of your questions and settle some of those anxieties.
To read about Dr Alex’s advice during the Coronavirus pandemic for families, newborns and mums-to-be, click here.
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