I’m currently 28 weeks pregnant. In a pandemic.
My Husband and I started trying for our first baby in October 2015. We wanted to announce the pregnancy in Dean’s speech on our wedding day a few months later. But that wish was to be very naïve of us, expecting things to be easy. We ended up being referred for fertility tests (which all came back inconclusive) and were approved for IVF in January 2018.
With all the paperwork signed, and us mentally preparing ourselves for the gruelling 6 week protocol of injections and hospital appointments, we were so surprised to find that I was pregnant, just four weeks before we were due to start.
The pregnancy wasn’t without complications, but, in November 2018, we welcomed our son, Teddy.
We knew we wanted more children and planned to try again the year after I returned to work from maternity leave. However, we didn’t expect 2020 to become so chaotic.
We bought our first home the week before I found out I was being made redundant, then the world came to a halt with the appearance of the Covid19 virus.
We decided that we would still go ahead and try for another baby as it took such a long time to conceive Teddy. We didn’t expect to find out I was pregnant just as the national lockdown started and we definitely didn’t expect to be having twins!
Dean was working around the clock as a key worker and I was really poorly in the first trimester, so it was tough being home alone with Teddy 24/7. But we survived. A mixture of Disney Plus, baking cookies, walks in the woods and water fights in the garden got us through. It was such a strange and unexpected gift of time with Teddy that, although filled with unusual challenges, I’ll always be grateful for.
Life became a lot easier to manage when some of the restrictions were lifted. Once a week we had a day out to the zoo, farm or safari park. We’d pop out for lunch or visit family in our social bubble.
As the world has become busy again, it’s started to feel more and more unsafe. People aren’t keeping to social distancing rules like they were, no one seems as cautious and many restrictions are still in place. This has meant that throughout this pregnancy, my Husband hasn’t been able to attend any antenatal appointments. The only time he has been to a scan with me is when we’ve paid for private ones.
Having to attend hospital appointments alone has been difficult. Especially going for the 20 week anomaly scan as that was where we found out about Teddy’s cleft. Thankfully, both twins look healthy.
With the number of Covid cases rising again, the potential for a second lockdown is causing extra anxiety. I am due to give birth in around 8 weeks time and the current restrictions state that Dean will have to leave me and the babies shortly after they’re born, only returning for visiting hours between 12 – 4pm. I’ve elected for a caesarean so this means I’ll be alone with two newborns, just after having surgery. The thought of this is giving me sleepless nights.
Understandably, a lot of NHS services are restricted at the moment as staff have been moved to help fight the virus, but after discussing my concerns with a midwife, explaining that I’m becoming more anxious about the twins arrival, I was told that it’s unlikely I’d be seen by the Maternal Wellbeing Services and to look at downloading a mindfulness app instead. It definitely wasn’t the response I was expecting, having worked myself up to discuss my mental health for that appointment.
Pregnant women seem to be a forgotten minority in this pandemic. Their wellbeing and the need for pre and post natal support has all but been abandoned. Having to go through multiple appointments, and even labour alone in a lot of instances, appears to be the norm right now. And that’s not ok.
We’re heading for the second lockdown. That seems to be a given. So why is it still ok to go to the pub and get drunk but a woman must go through the pain and emotions of early labour without the support of a birthing partner, who would be wearing appropriate PPE?
The situation is so worrying and the government rules don’t seem to make much sense at the moment, but one thing is for certain, these twins are coming, ready or not, and they won’t care if there’s a pandemic happening. So, for now, please wear a facemask, wash your hands and stay away from people who aren’t in your social bubble.