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"Coronavirus robbed me off my daughter's first three days": Having a baby in lockdown
22 May 2020, 15:30 | Updated: 22 May 2020, 15:40
The coronavirus lockdown has meant giving birth is a very different experience to the one planned. LBC spoke to some new parents to find out what has changed.
Almost every expectant mum has someone to support them - a partner, a parent or a friend.
But coronavirus means pregnant women are now stuck in the maternity ward on their own, with only the over-worked midwives for company and help.
And one new dad told LBC how he was sent away from his newborn baby for three days after it was born.
"I missed my son's first three days"
Ben Robinson’s partner gave birth on Wednesday afternoon via Caesarian and was again told to leave once she went to the post-natal ward. He didn’t see her or his newborn son again until Saturday when they were ready to come home.
He told LBC: "I was allowed in for the emergency C-section, then kicked out and didn’t see them again until Saturday.
"It was frustrating being apart from them. Anything that she needed, I had to just drop off at the Reception.”
With a newborn, they’ve been very strict keeping to social distancing guidelines. Not that it’s been easy.
"The hardest thing overall has been not having family round,” he said. "My mum has been taking it quite hard.
"Maintaining social distancing has been tricky. We went to the shops today for the first time with him in the pram and literally 15 neighbours came out to see him!"
"I had no one to support or comfort me in labour"
Vicky Etchells went to hospital for a routine check and was told they would keep her in due to high blood pressure. But when she went to check in at Reception, she was told her husband and daughter couldn’t come in. They were only allowed back minutes before the baby was born.
“It was stressful, painful. Everything you don’t want a birth to be,” Vicky told LBC.
“They told me I wasn’t leaving until my baby was born. Sam was sitting in the car park on speakerphone while we made the decision of when and how we induce the baby.
“I went into the pre-natal ward and all the staff were in facemasks, gloves and gowns. I got upset at being on my own and the midwife had to apologise that she wasn’t allowed to comfort me any more.
"The midwives are all doing an incredible job under very difficult circumstances. They’re short staffed because colleagues are off ill with the virus and are trying to operate in uncomfortable PPE kit."
The struggles of young mums
This was Vicky’s second child, so at least she had an understanding on what was to come, but also in her ward was a young women in her mid-20s called Veronica who was in agony, screaming for her mum.
Vicky said: "The midwife didn’t have time to sit with her, so I asked if I could. The midwife gave me a mask and some gloves and I chatted to her for 45 minutes.
“Then the midwife rushed in in a panic and said they had left her too long because they couldn’t keep an eye on her. The midwife called the emergency bell, somebody else came running and they whisked her whole bed down the corridor to the delivery suite. The poor girl was terrified.
“The midwife came back less than 10 minutes later and said ‘Veronica wanted you to know that she’d had a baby boy’.
Labour is lonely in lockdown
Vicky was constantly trying to gauge when to call Sam to get him to come. Twenty minutes' drive away, Sam was pacing up and down the living room, worrying about whether to go to the hospital. At 4.30am, she called him barely able to speak because the contractions were so fierce and he leapt into the car and rushed in.
They met at 4.50am as she was being rushed to the delivery suite and 10 minutes later, their daughter was born.
"Once the baby was born, I had a few complications and had to stay in the delivery room for 12 hours. Sam was able to stay in the delivery room with me. When I went to the post-natal ward, he had to leave his new baby and could only see her again when I was ready to come home.
“Several weeks later, my parents still haven’t been allowed to meet their new grandchild.
"Coronavirus has ripped through many families and robbed them of loved ones. When all this is over our families will be able to meet the new baby and this will all just be a story to tell her about how she was born in the middle of a global pandemic.
"We will always be grateful to Rebecca, our midwife, who looked after us so well and helped bring our little girl safely into this world in such a strange time."