Here's the amazing story of William's birth; born during the Coronavirus lockdown, here his Mum Kim tells her story of changed plans, confidence and support during her son's birth. Kim was a regular at our weekly pregnancy group, and together with her husband Pete she also came on an all day Birth Preparation workshop.
"I'd had a really stressful week with the Coronavirus lockdown & work etc, so wasn't feeling all that positive about birth, and thinking about having baby during this crisis time. I had also been told that if I did go into labour this particular weekend that I could no longer have my baby at the midwife led unit in Alnwick. I'd previously decided that this is where I wanted to give birth - I'd envisaged a private pool birth.
I had a sweep at 38 weeks - I'd decided to do this because I've had some previous issues with my cervix, and so wanted to know if they were 'favourable', incase we could find out early if they were or not. Thankfully they were, and I was actually 1cm dilated and they had begun to soften.
I kept my fingers crossed, walked about 6 miles per day, did some pilates... not much rest! My due date approached so I decided to have another sweep, and the midwife let me know they were the same as last time, but with a 'bishop score' of 7 - which meant my cervix were favourable and getting ready. I still left feeling a bit disheartened, as I had hoped to be more dilated. I had tried EVERYTHING to get labour started... hot curry, side stepping stairs, walking, sex, acupressure, raspberry leaf tea, and even some homeopathy tablets! I knew that if I wasn't ready it wouldn't work, but if I was - they might help nudge it on. I took of homeopathy tablets, walked 6 miles and had a gin and tonic. I then listened to my Hypnobirthing tracks whilst falling asleep around 11pm.
At 4am my husband Pete got up to go to the loo, and I remember waking up and thinking I'd been dreaming about having contractions. And then I realised it hadn't been a dream..!
They started with 1 contraction every 10 minutes, so I lay there until 6am, just relaxing and resting. I then decided to get up and keep myself busy. Pete got up to walk our dog around 7am, and I decided to call the hospital, as they were coming thick and fast. I had a bit of a bleed, and so decided now was the time to GO! (The bleeding was due to my cervix having had a loop biopsy, and they dilated very quickly)
We arrived at Cramlington at 08:15, and as I was examined contractions were coming about 3 or 4 every 10 minutes. I was 6cm dilated, and we were sent to the delivery suite where they were super busy! By 10:15am we were shown to our private room, and introduced to our lovely midwife Cheryl. As they were so busy we weren't able to have the pool room, but we had a lovely big birthing room and I felt all was well.
Cheryl went through my checks and got me a birthing ball to sit on whilst Pete got the room ready and put on our playlist which we had made - this was a godsend, otherwise it would have felt like a much longer day!
Our midwife checked the baby's heart rate pretty frequently, and I actually found this fine. I was never asked to move or do anything I didn't want to, and Cheryl kept on re-assuring me that all was well and our baby was happy.
By 12 it was getting pretty intense, and so I had some paracetamol & asked to have the Gas and Air ready for as and when I felt like using it. By 1pm I was definitely using the Gas and Air, just when I felt the contraction coming and I would then breathe through to let it go.
I decided to be examined 4 hours after we arrived, and by 2pm I was a good 8cm, so I was very happy! By 3:30ish I was in a lot of discomfort and started to feel like I could no longer bounce on the ball, and just couldn't get comfortable (this is where I would have loved the pool!) . I got onto all fours over the back of the bed, and Pete comforted me as I carried on just breathing the Gas and Air, staying calm and in control.
The whole time my midwife told me how incredibly I was doing, and how she couldn't believe this was my first baby, which again gave me a huge confidence boost. By 5pm I felt he was moving down, and I asked our midwife to examine me, as my waters still hadn't gone. Until this moment I'd been really against having my waters broken, but instinctively I just felt like I needed this release in order to fully dilate - and this is exactly what happened as soon as Cheryl did this for me.
I quickly dilated to 10cm, however between contractions our babies heart rate wasn't picking up, and so we were joined by a consultant. She was really reassuring, and told me I was 'bossing it' & not to worry. I decided to have an episiotomy to help baby come out a bit quicker. Again, this was actually a huge relief, as it just helped him come out more safely.
William arrived at 6:25pm, and I was so proud. Pete was amazing and allowed the midwife and consultant to do their thing, which was by my side the whole time. We spent over an hour just having skin to skin, telling family and bonding. I then had a shower, tea and toast & we were offered to either stay the night or head home. We decided to stay, and I'm so pleased we did as the midwives helped me feed him, I saw the physio and our little boy had his checks.
I can honestly say the NSECH/ Cramlington was super, and you would not have known about any pandemic outside.
Both Pete and I agree we felt so relaxed because we knew what to expect, and we had done our homework. This is largely down to Jess and her workshop, which honestly helped us massively - we can't thank her enough."