Giving birth in a pandemic

By Sarah Willy

"I can honestly say my birth experience was incredible and I would do it again in a heartbeat"

Here we are just moments after birth!

Dorothy was born on Monday 4th January 2021, 5 days after her due date. I had been having mild period pain and backache for a good week before I went into labour, and I woke up on the morning of the 4th January at 4am with quite strong period pains. They kept coming and going in waves and I just knew this was the real deal! I got up and had a bath to ease the pain and focus on my “up breathing” - I had read The Positive Birth Company’s hypnobirthing book and was keen to use the techniques.

After the bath the contractions were coming more frequently and gradually getting more painful, so I called the midwife who advised to give it an hour and ring back to update her. An hour later the pains were stronger and yet more frequent, so the midwife advised it was time to head into the hospital (we chose to have Dorothy at the RUH in Bath).

We arrived at the hospital and I was assessed and the midwives said I was 2cm dilated. We stayed in the assessment unit and luckily Al was allowed to be with me the whole time, which I had been so anxious about him not being allowed due to COVID but they were superb in Bath and he was very much welcome and part of it. I had some paracetamol and codeine for the pain and the midwives said they would check me again in 2 hours to see if I was in established labour (4cm dilated).

The midwives came back after about 1 hour 30 minutes and I said I feel like I need to push so they checked and to everyone’s surprise (including mine!) I was 9cm dilated!! I was rather speedily wheeled to delivery whilst Al got all of our things from the car and I then was able to have gas and air. I had wanted a water birth but there wasn’t time to fill the pool!! It was then time to start pushing and I was just amazed at how my body knew exactly what to do. This stage went on for about one hour 30 minutes and the midwives were starting to get a little worried as it was a little longer than they wanted.

They told me if she didn’t come in the next contraction they might need to intervene - this was the motivation I needed and Dorothy was then born with the next contraction at 1:33pm weighing 8 pounds 11! We had immediate skin to skin and Al cut the cord after delayed cord clamping then I gave Dorothy her first feed. I was on cloud nine and couldn’t believe I had done it with just gas and air.

I did have quite a bad bleed which the midwives were concerned about but I was just so amazed by the whole birth experience I wasn’t too aware of what was going on! I can honestly say my birth experience was incredible and I would do it again in a heartbeat, I was so anxious about it before but was pleasantly surprised! The midwives at the RUH were absolutely fantastic and they really got me through with their support and guidance.

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