Kelly Jenkins – Giving Birth During The Coronavirus Outbreak: Never Underestimate The Power Of Community
Mamas and papas-to-be, we know you’re going to have a few questions, queries and anxieties about giving birth during this pandemic. That’s why we have teamed up with Kelly, mama of Fifi and Freya, whose going to be sharing her experience about giving birth during the Coronavirus outbreak, and how it differed from the birth of Fifi, 22 months ago!
I woke up and still had no sign of baby so today was the day, induction day…
Hubby spent the morning in work, and my mum who had moved in to help out during lockdown with Fifi, was in the garden. I ran myself a nice bath and awaited the call from the hospital with a time to go in.
While I was in the bath the call came through. The nurse explained everything. I already knew everything she was telling me, but the very fact she was telling me made it all feel so real, it just made me burst into tears. I had such an amazing pregnancy and didn’t want this to take away from the positive birth I had envisaged. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have a home or a water birth as planned, but I knew I could still have a positive birth so I had to pull myself together.
We arrived at the front doors and greeted by a nurse who took my details and temperature, and told me to sanitize my hands. I was then told that it was time to say goodbye to my hubby.
I got whisked off onto the induction ward. Wow I never expected that, I at least thought he could drop me off at the ward. Knowing I would not see him again until I’m in established labour, I just broke down in tears. I don’t know why but I guess that was just my hormones and the fear of the unknown.
Once I arrived at the induction ward, the midwives were just the nicest to me. They got me to pick my bed and made sure I was comfortable. All the curtains were open and the other women were all so welcoming. There was an unusual sense of calm and I instantly felt really relaxed. It was strange that the midwives were all walking around in PPE, but I didn’t even think about it to be honest, it’s just what had to be done.
I had my examination and got told they wouldn’t need to induce me, I just needed to go upstairs to have my waters broken. Before they could do that I had to wait for a bed as they were extremely busy. The midwifery unit had been closed due to Covid-19 patients. So, I sat on my bed FaceTimed the hubby who was sat in the car in the car park waiting for the all important call to come in. I also FaceTimed my mum to keep her updated.
It was 8:30pm when the midwife came and got me to take me upstairs. I called Rhys and told him to meet us up there. Once she had examined me further she said I wasn’t open enough for her to break my waters, I was only 1-2cm dilated. She advised me to have the 6 hour gel just to help. Of course this meant being induced and Rhys had to leave again. This is not what I wanted but it was for the best, so off he went again back to his car.
It was now 10pm and the midwife advised we get some rest while the gel took effect. She told me that we’d assess the situation in the morning. Obviously, I couldn’t rest thinking about Rhys in the car, and Rhys couldn’t rest wondering if and when he would receive a phone call to come back in.
It was 4am, 6 hours had passed and still nothing. The midwife asked if I would like another lot of gel or for her to try to break my waters. I opted for breaking my waters as I just wanted to see Rhys and get it all over and done with. After consulting with the doctor, she was given the go ahead to break my waters. It was now 5:30am and I was 3cm dilated. I called Rhys to come back and 6am she broke my waters.
My contractions started straight away. I knew that gas and air made me sick so I had an anti-sickness injection, but it didn’t work. Three puffs of gas & air and instantly felt sick. I put the gas & air to one side and decided to breathe my way through my contractions, using hypnobirthing breathing techniques as the pain was manageable at this point.
The midwife left us to it and went out to test my urine. As soon as she left my contractions instantly worsened and I felt the need to push! I told Rhys to press the call bell. With that a student midwife popped her head round the door to check on us. Rhys explained I felt like I needed to push, she couldn’t come in the room as she had no PPE on. I was lying on my side with my leg up in the air and the midwife said ‘oh there’s a head we’re having a baby!!’ My midwife returned to the surprise of the baby’s head!
The baby’s heart rate dropped so she had to attach a clip to the baby’s head. With that 4-5 other doctors and midwives came running in the room. Just 6 minutes later baby Freya was born at 7:01 am.
I look down to see her and the midwife said ‘Kelly, you did it, you smashed it, you are a queen!’ Oh my gosh – I was crying! I did it although it was different (not that much different). I did it and I’m so proud of myself!
The midwives were amazing. They left us to enjoy our baby after doing all relevant checks. There were no complications so they were happy to discharge us a couple of hours later. As a family we went straight from the delivery suite, home.
So in all honesty it was not much different from my birth with Fifi. The only major differences we that Rhys had to drop me off initially and everyone wore PPE! I got induced both times and I wouldn’t say this time was worse due to Covid-19 precautions. The birth was still really positive.
I couldn’t have had a home birth or a water birth. I couldn’t have one anyway as I had to be induced. So for me, Covid-19 didn’t make much difference! All that mattered is that I had a positive birth!
There’s no home care visits from the midwives (except for the heel prick test on day 6). However, the community midwife is always on the end of the phone should I need her.
On the plus side, we don’t have to get dressed or tidy the house for any visitors. This means we can enjoy all the newborn snuggles to ourselves. We can use the power of social media and FaceTime to keep in contact with family and friends!
Baby Freya is now 3 weeks old and my toddler Fifi is 22 months old. Life in lockdown couldn’t have come at a better time to be honest. We have been able to settle into new life together and get some sort of routine going.
And yes, we can 100% birth our babies in whatever situation we are thrown into. That’s because us mum’s are amazing and that’s why we are supermum’s. If we can do this we can handle anything motherhood throws at us! And what a story to tell your baby when they’re older?! That they were born in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.
It isn’t how we planned but we can never plan life. I had a birth plan for Fifi which didn’t ‘go to plan’. However we have to remain calm and positive as it’s what is best for the safest delivery of our babies.
A huge thank you to Kelly 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.
For a some positive vibes or a virtual hug head over to our Instagram. Our Never Underestimate The Power Of Community Campaign is in full swing.