Beheshta's Lockdown Birth

Falling pregnant with my second child was a blessing for us after suffering a miscarriage earlier on in 2019. The pregnancy itself was smooth sailing and I felt great. During the pregnancy I felt what most women probably feel with their second pregnancy - will I have enough love in me to give both of my babies, I was so set on spending lots of time with my toddler as I was so scared he would feel replaced with the new baby.

I started to hear news of coronavirus/covid around Jan 2020 but I still was not paying too much attention to it - it felt so far away and not something that would truly impact our lives here.

Towards the end of Feb 2020 I decided to go from brunette to blonde (what a great idea I know) and this required a few sessions. I remember in March 2020, a few weeks before my due date, I was sitting in the salon and there were hand sanitisers everywhere, some people were wearing masks and the environment felt tense. At this stage NZ was starting to see some covid cases.

I still felt relatively calm about the situation, I still didn't think things would change much, maybe just use sanitiser more and maybe some people will wear masks. 

Towards the end of March a few days after my due date, I started getting contractions. I stayed home as long as I could but these contractions were very different. With my first I ended up labouring for 16 hours and ended up having am emergency c-section.

I was aware of the risks of trying for a natural birth second time around - especially as we had a previous miscarriage prior to this pregnancy. The contractions were painful but every time they passed I was left feeling as if someone was cutting me with a burning hot sharp knife across my c-section scar. 

I called my midwife and she suggested we urgently present to the hospital to be assessed - this was at 10pm. My toddler was asleep, my mum was able to come over to stay the night and I was under the impression I would be assessed and most likely sent back home for a few days as the contractions were still about every 10 minutes so not close together. 

When we got to the hospital I was assessed and was told I would need another emergency c-section right away.

I was at risk of an internal haemorrhage.

I was also told I would need to remain in hospital for a few days and we had gone into a sudden level 4 lockdown so I would not be allowed any visitors (except for one nominated person).

I felt numb.

I remember crying. Thinking I didn't get to say bye or give my son a kiss and an explanation. Mummy put him to bed but he would wake up and not see me for days.

We had never spent a day apart.

I was being rolled into theatre just crying - not because I was fearful of birth but the fact I would be doing it alone and not seeing my son. 

I gave birth - I was blessed with a little girl and I was so in love. 

The next few days in hospital were tough - recovering from a c-section and trying to do everything myself. My husband could not be with me 24/7 so I had to try get up and get the baby, rock her, constant feeding (breastfeeding has always been hard for me).

The staff were lovely but all of the sudden with the lockdown it felt like everything was different. Everyone was scared of each other. Staff weren't able to come to help hold the baby for a bit or help as much as they would have liked as they needed to keep their distance.

The lady I was sharing my bathroom with was coughing through most of the day and they were concerned about her and 'the cough'. There were women giving birth in the rooms next to us - where as previously these rooms were normally for women who had given birth and were now recovering. But they had to send all the women from Northshore to Waitakere for birth as they were preparing Northshore for covid patients. 

On day 3 I decided to self-discharge myself. I felt exhausted and in so much pain. I knew I would have more support and help at home than in hospital. 

The following day my midwife came to visit us at home - all dressed up in the driveway in PPE gear (pretty sure most of the neighbours thought we were a covid household seeing her dressed like that every few days visiting us). I started to get an infected c-section scar and was prescribed some antibiotics. 

I was also experiencing a horrible headache on the back of my neck up to my entire skull. It was horrible - I couldn't eat, I couldn't concentrate on anything and just wanted to lay down but even that didn't help.

I thought I was just tired but she quickly called the anaesthetist who confirmed I was experiencing a post dural puncture headache. I had no idea what this was but she said it is basically when too much CSF fluid leaks out after an epidural and I am left with a little hole. 

The solution was doing some exercises, laying flat as much as possible and if nothing improved in 24-72 hours I would need to be readmitted for a epidural blood patch - where they would extract my blood and re-inject it back into the spine where the epidural was given.

I was not going back in hospital. I couldn't.

I did the exercises every few minutes and lay flat any chance I got and thank goodness things improved with the headache.

It is hard to believe we are nearly in 2022 and Covid is still very much impacting our lives but we are all well and healthy and together which is the most important thing.