Pregnancy during a pandemic!

This is my fourth baby, yes fourth! My husband and I found out the exciting (surprising and alarming) news back in August 2019. We told nobody for nearly 15 weeks, it took us that long to get our heads around it. We already had a four year old, two year old and one year old at the time and had decided our family was complete. We were planning on moving house in the November, I was more than ready to get back to work as a paediatric nurse and my husband works offshore for weeks, sometimes months, at a time. Three kids was all I could manage! Needless to say baby four took some getting use to.

Fast forward 9 months and we are so blissfully in love with our new baby who we are eagerly awaiting any day now….we didn’t move house, the baby has had a few ongoing health issues from the scans so nerves are VERY high to deliver a healthy baby, I am facing months and months of home schooling and having all four children at home with me – baby on boob, toddler on knee and pre schoolers at home school? Oh and did I mention we are no in a local pandemic? What does this mean for my labour? The truth is… nobody really knows. 

It is hard to stay positive and optimistic given the history – our first baby born seven weeks early and on our wedding day (yes that is a whole other story!), my second born the week my mum underwent a mastectomy for breast cancer and my third born so fast she was poorly for quite some time post labour. We felt the least this fourth baby could do was give us a slightly less stressful time. It appears not.

The research behind pregnant women delivering at this time is still unclear, there just hasn’t been enough time, or cases, to fully investigate the effects and so we are all navigating through this difficult time together. Infection risk is high, my local hospital currently has numerous positive Covid-19 patients, I have to protect my children the best that I can and so it is looking more and more likely that it’ll be just me in that labour room. Will I be greeted with midwives in masks? Will I have to wear full PPE? Suddenly something so natural becomes incredibly unnatural and very medical, you realise what a juxtaposition it is to have healthy women walking into infection ridden hospitals to deliver their babies. 

I am in fact one of the very lucky ones, I have worked for years in a hospital as a healthcare assistant. I have also worked as a children’s nurse on Paediatric Intensive Care during the swine flu epidemic and so psychologically I am prepared for what could greet me on the ward. I know it is precautionary and I know that it is to protect the incredible staff who are risking their lives every single day. More importantly I am lucky that this is my fourth baby. I am not as nervous about having the actual baby. I know labour, I know it goes to plan no matter what, I know the feeling of sheer panic and fear when you bring your baby home for the first time is ok and most likely totally normal – you haven’t lost your mind! I also know not to panic when I go to the shops and see empty rows where formula and wipes are meant to be. I am fortunate that I have managed to breast feed my babies (and looking at the state of our shops I will have no choice in doing the same with this one), I also know some warm water is all I need to wipe a bum! I couldn’t even get a newborn baby grow last week in my local supermarket…again I’m not worried as I know my baby won’t go cold, we have a house and heating and blankets and plenty of old baby clothes.

But for the first time mum? The very anxious mum? The mum who is only a few weeks along and has no idea how this virus will effect their baby or pregnancy long term? It is hard enough bringing a baby into this world never mind bringing one in during a pandemic.

To all you mums to be, we’ve got this. Trust our NHS, trust your instincts, surround yourself with love and hope and positivity. Remember the good that is coming from all of this – the key workers working around the clock to make sure we are safe, the teachers working tirelessly to provide a safe place for some of the children who desperately need that regardless of school closures. The shops offering help where they can to the vulnerable, eateries offering help to our NHS staff. When the masks come off and normal life returns let’s try and remember how we felt at this time and be thankful for those little things that we use to take for granted.