Written by Lisa Norman

I’m currently pregnant with my second baby boy. I am soon due to start my maternity leave and I had maternity plans all thought out. My first pregnancy as many of you know certainly did not go to plan! My little boy arrived 10 weeks early via an emergency c-section due to him having Hydrops fetalis and SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia). This time round it was all starting to feel positively different. Then COVID-19 strikes and the world is left reeling.

Open diary. Photography credit: Jeshoots
Open diary. Photography credit: Jeshoots

How my first maternity leave panned out

At 23 weeks the doctor signed me off work as the pain I was in got too much for me to bear. The lack of sleep and not being able to do much or take much for the pain made concentrating in the day job nigh on impossible. I was struggling to concentrate and I was starting to make mistakes which I was currently spotting but for how much longer? So I was signed off and spent a lot of time napping and trying different treatments to try and get my pelvic girdle pain under control.

It was a lonely few weeks as family were working. I was binge watching box sets, reading and napping a lot. My daily exercise was set by physios and on a good day a drive or waddle to the park with my partner was a highlight to watch the dog run round. Then came the 30 week scan, my son was delivered there and then. My maternity had started. Any maternity plans I had thought up were no longer something that could become reality.

The first 73 days was with me visiting my little boy on the neonatal unit. Then when we were discharged we had told to stay home for a few weeks. Four days later we ended up back in the hospital for a week. After being discharged we were advised to start the home isolation again. This is so that my son’s immune system could get used to things gradually rather than it be bombarded with everything the world could throw at it at once!

Mum holding hands with her premature baby
Mum holding hands with her premature baby

What were my maternity plans this time

I would be lying if I told you this pregnancy didn’t make me a little nervous but as I write this I’ve made it successfully to the last few weeks. We have very nearly made it to term! With this being the case I allowed myself to plan a little. My little boy was going to continue to go to the childminder so that his routine was kept as normal as possible. Also he tends to get really clingy and a little bit naughty if he is purely in my company.

Tiredness has been taking over so the thought of some impromptu naps were more than a little appealing. The Sky box is a little backed up with box sets I have been meaning to watch, with a small person around though it seems impossible to find the time to fit them in. My son’s bedroom needs decorating and we never got around to doing the nursery the first time. I have a picture in my head as to how I want both rooms to look. I had a hair appointment all booked too (I haven’t been for about 6 months so I was really looking forward to this!). Then the boring stuff like getting all the cleaning done was also on the list.

The further into the pregnancy I have gotten the more hopeful I have been that I could have a much more ‘normal’ maternity leave this time round.

Pregnant woman stood in front of a window. Photography credit: Joey Thompson
Pregnant woman stood in front of a window. Photography credit: Joey Thompson

What looks set to happen instead

Both me and my husband are classed as key workers. I’m lucky enough in my role to be able to work from home so we haven’t needed to rely on childcare for our son. This being said working full time with a 3 year old around has been a huge challenge. Luckily my team is amazing and he’s been included on all team calls. He loves seeing himself on the camera and having a little chat telling my colleagues what he’s been up to. I think he adds a little light relief as well to the calls (although that’s definitely for their entertainment rather than mine. I have been told by my son a few times that he has done a poo, or that he NEEEEEDS me right now).

My visions of getting the house straight are just that – visions. We have been chipping away at the smaller tasks but decorating bedrooms is very much on hold.

My birth plan is due to be discussed with my midwife and consultant this week. Researching the everchanging guidelines though I am expecting that I will need a fluid plan. I already know that I have to go to my last several appointments on my own. Logically I know the measures are in place to keep me and my baby safe but emotionally I know I will find this really difficult to deal with.

When baby gets to come home we look set to relive a little of the preemie life. The lockdown looks as though it will still be enforced, visitors will be via video calls and I will rely heavily on my husband to shop, cook and clean (luckily he’s already pretty good with these tasks already).

Lockdown. Photography credit: John Salvino
Lockdown. Photography credit: John Salvino

Top tips for coping

  1. Change your mindset. You’re not stuck indoors, you are keeping yourself and your family safe. If you feel you don’t know how you’re going to do this try and remember that your body is designed to do this and you are capable of much more than you probably give yourself credit for.
  2. Focus on things that are within your control. Some things are just not within your control such as government guidelines. Other things like having your bag packed, your babies outfit picked out or having the music playlist downloaded are all things you can control. Maternity plans are great but in times like this they need to be fluid and flexible.
  3. Feel what you need to feel. You might feel angry, worried, hysteria. Don’t try and bury these feelings. Try and feel them and deal with them.

For the latest information on COVID-19 visit Gov.uk

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