By Kate Robertson.
We are given a lot of advice about pregnancy and birth – what to eat, how to exercise, what to read, how to sleep… But what about when there’s a global pandemic?!
I’m 37 weeks pregnant with my second child and living in lockdown has been challenging to say the least. As D-day gets closer, it’s starting to dawn on me that things might just be a little different this time round. With socially-distant midwife consultations, it doesn’t exactly fill me with the greatest confidence despite being the second time round.
When I fell pregnant three and a half years ago, my husband and I were ecstatic. Living in Melbourne, we weren’t surrounded by family but we had good friends around us and the whole pregnancy process seemed relatively stress-free. Feeling pretty good, I worked right up to my due date and as I was leaving my final midwife appointment, I happened to casually mention a couple of sleepless nights due to itchy feet. The midwife suddenly bustled me down the hall for some urgent tests.
As we were in the waiting room, anxiously wondering what was happening, one of the doctors marched over to the young couple opposite us and tactlessly broke the news that their unborn child had a very high chance of down syndrome. He then swiftly turned to me and in the same manner told me I had cholestasis and there was a high risk that the baby could die and needed to be induced immediately. We were stunned. Before I could say anything, he was off. Those tiny words, ‘risk’ and ‘die’ were all I could focus on. I didn’t have a big fluffy birth plan but I remember that moment vividly, everything or anything that I was expecting, was not going to be as expected.
I later learned cholestasis was a condition of the liver and although it could be serious, I had options. I had a choice. In the end, the midwives were amazing at the Royal Women’s in Melbourne, as far as births go, it went pretty well I’m told. Towards the end there were five eager students relishing in my pain but who am I to inhibit their learning? I vaguely remember one of them asked if he could take a picture for us, but we were too busy exhaustedly looking at the tiny little being that we were now responsible for.
Getting closer to the birth of my second child, it’s looking like it’s going to be a whole new journey.
The thought of giving birth alone is extremely daunting and I can only imagine how the thousands of other kiwi women that have had a baby during level 4 and 3 must have felt.
As if it’s not a wild enough ride, a global pandemic with little to no evidence of the effects on mothers or babies really takes it up a notch in terms of anxiety levels, not to mention the psychological effects postpartum.
In saying that, my husband and I are not overly close with our families, they are loving and supportive from a distance and I don’t really want a crowd of birth supporters so maybe having a baby during a pandemic won’t be so bad?
It would be nice to not have this ‘silly virus’, as my three year old says, looming over us though…
I’m putting on a brave face. I live for life and all that it entails – working, living, loving, being a mother, a wife, giving birth during a pandemic…. Wish me luck.
About Kate Robertson
Kate is a qualified pastry chef turned digital marketer. Kate is busy balancing life as a mum, studying, working at Plain Jane PR and occasional cake-baking on the side. Based in Auckland, Kate is ready to take a break from the study and work and embrace motherhood again with another little one due any day now…