In my Mamas in Lockdown story I felt that I missed out on some details which I think needed to be written down for others to read. My idea was just to keep my story simple, successful and positive to show how well things can go despite such a difficult time as a worldwide pandemic lockdown.
Despite the lockdown situation, our pregnancy was uneventful compared to others. The ultrasounds were fine except an anterior placenta which righted itself in the end so we could go ahead with my water birth plan. This was my 2nd child and because I got pre-pre-eclampsia last time I was monitored for signs of it again. None!
I had managed to be weaned off my antidepressants as I was in a very strong place mentally and I was elated to be expecting a son this time and felt supported with my new partner, who it turned out sadly wasn't the biological father. We would raise my baby together with the biological Dad involved. He came to his last scan just when Covid was hitting New Zealand, along with my daughter (7). Only one person was allowed to accompany me in the scan but since he had come all the way down from Nelson to see his son he was also allowed in after my daughter.
When the nation went into lockdown I decided to stay down south with Laurence despite my daughter living in Dunedin. I felt his support was important for the end of my pregnancy even though I knew I would miss her dearly and couldn't see her due to distance. We had a great time bonding and preparing for the birth. We took photos at the local gardens with no-one about, bought a welcoming cake and picked rose petals for my water birth. We video called my family and the time gave me a chance to really manifest my dream birth.
I used YouTube hypno-birthing and pregnancy meditation videos to visualise how well it would go, and had lots of baths and loving rubs. We spent all our money on nice food and awaited the midwives who came all the way from Dunedin to see us.
Nothing was gonna ruin my birth experience, not even the news of Covid in Dunedin hospital or the restrictions and changes that we'd experience in Queen Mary.
I was worried about the transmission of the virus from mother to baby in utero and after birth, if I happened to contract it, but was reassured that this was uncommon. My Mum, who's a lactation consultant and midwife at QM, kept me posted about the conditions in the hospital so I already had a good idea of what it was like.
Three stretch and sweeps later and very overdue it was time for Orpheus to arrive. We drove to Dunedin to be induced, with the plan of seeing Mum on the ward postnatally, and then my daughter back at my place to finally see her again and meet her baby brother - and celebrate with the delicious chocolate cake! We managed to get $100 food grant from WINZ so we spent up on yummy labour food just before we were admitted.
We were both given the delivery suite for the duration, which was spacious and even had a double bed for us! I needed the prostaglandin tape as a method of induction but that was all. My waters were broken due to his low heart rate - the only other intervention needed in a relatively short labour. We both used the gas and managed to get through 5 canisters!
I used the pool and we buzzed out to Netflix programmes together while the world fought a deadly virus. People everywhere were dying but here I was bringing new life and love into the world.
Our midwife arrived just after she had a home birth. We were so happy to see her!! I spent some more time in the pool until I got a cervical lip and found it just too painful. I wanted an epidural so badly! It wasn't part of the plan though so I guess it just wasn't meant to be because just as the anaesthetists had lined me up to stick the needle in I had to push!
The pushing stage was brief, the only dilemma being the gas running out! Laurence assisted Orpheus out and he was latched on at the breast, skin-to-skin, within 5mins.
I had had an epidural with my daughter so to not have one this time was huge, I felt it all and was rewarded with strength and self-belief - important things to have as a Mother. Our other midwife turned up just after he was delivered. Orpheus was a healthy 8.10lb with just a little jaundice which was cleared up before we were discharged.
Breastfeeding was going pretty well. Mum came in before we left and got to meet her first grandson and we met up with my daughter back at my place on the Peninsula.
Postnatally we saw our midwives regularly and Orpheus thrived. He didn't lose any weight and apart from thrush there were no real feeding issues. After we were discharged from the midwives we chose not to see Plunket but had a follow up check-up with the local GP when he had his first vaccinations.
Socially, things were very different than with my daughter. We're yet to attend a playgroup or playcentre but they're on the cards. I suffered severe postnatal depression and had to go back on antidepressants but am doing well now.
Orpheus is 9mo at the time I am writing this and standing up by himself. He is a very strong, clever little baby.
Photo Gabriel Miklos www.unsplash.com