Pregnancy through CV19

I’m unsure where I am going with the blog so please bear with me, but I just wanted to write a personal piece about being heavily pregnant during the pandemic.

I am employed by Parcelforce so I am classed as a key worker, but due to being 30 weeks pregnant and having asthma I am having to isolate at home for 12 weeks. Hopefully my own thoughts and experiences could be of some use for any pregnant members or members who are concerned with a pregnant family member or friend.

Since my mum passed away when I was 13 years of age, I have had over a decade to get my head around the fact that I would have to go through milestones in my life without her. This includes my first pregnancy. Now, with the reality of the national crisis we find ourselves in, I find myself detached from other close family. Never did I think I would have to go through this experience without them.

So, a little about my pregnancy itself, I have had what I can describe as the worst first four month, with constant morning sickness (which lasted all day so should be called all-day sickness), always feeling tired, a serious distaste from a lot of foods and dizzy spells throughout the day. However, once I got to around five and a half months pregnant these symptoms stopped (I mean, don’t get me wrong, new ones arrived in their place) but I started to finally enjoy the pregnancy. I felt the baby kick inside of me and was starting to see my bump grow bigger each day. It can only have been a matter of days of me getting this new positive pregnancy energy, that the government announced a nationwide lockdown and the medical advice for pregnant women to self-isolate for 12 weeks. No doubt about it I would follow the advice and the government guidelines but deep down I was devastated. Also, the realisation began to dawn on me of just how serious the situation was.

I have woken up every day seeing my bump grow bigger and watching him kick and can only update my family and friends via facetime or pictures. I can’t help but feel like the last time people saw me, I had no bump and the next time they will see me I will have a child. Will they even believe it’s mine? But seriously, I am so close to my friends and family and having to go through my first pregnancy without them is proving really tough.

Another tough part was being told to attend all midwife and hospital appointments alone. I wanted my partner to be with me throughout the whole thing and experience it all together but unfortunately this is not allowed. The midwife explained that I will be allowed a birthing partner but I must pick a ‘back-up birthing partner’ just in case my partner is showing CV19 symptoms.

I am of course no expert but if you are reading this and are anxious about going alone to appointments, I just want to let you know every appointment I have gone along to alone has actually been so relaxed. Despite my fear of doing these appointments alone, the NHS workers understand it’s not what you want but they go out of their way to make you so comfortable and support you, even with the relentless pressure they are currently working under. I have found it to still be a pleasant and positive experience.

As a trade unionist I fully support the decision made by big non-essential companies to close their doors to protect their staff. The hard work trade unions have done behind the scenes to get certain things put in place like sick pay, PPE, furlough etc has been brilliant. The health and safety of workers should always come before profit. I will admit though that since McDonalds closed and coinciding with me being seven months pregnant, I have been constantly checking their social media to see when I can satisfy my chicken nugget craving, but selfishness aside, I am completely behind the safety of workers being the priority. I am becoming convinced that the baby is testing me. Like he knows which places have closed and that’s the food he is making me crave.

Key workers have been vital for me during lockdown. From Royal Mail workers who have made it possible for me to order bigger maternity clothes, Parcelforce staff who delivered the cot and changing unit for the nursery and the brilliant NHS midwives who have made every appointment as normal and as comfortable as possible in these testing times. All are working so hard and have been a life line for people who have been in self isolation.

I’ve just re-read what I have written above and feel like this is becoming abit negative and thoughts filled with self-pity and that is not what I was going for. But I did want to be honest. So, in the interest of balance I thought I would list some positives about being in self isolation at home while pregnant:

  • I have been able to stay in comfortable clothes all day.
  • I’m never too far away from the toilet for when the baby decides to bounce on my bladder.
  • I can have breakfast at whatever time I like and as many breakfasts as I see fit.
  • I have been able to spend so much extra quality time with my partner before our baby arrives.
  • Regular NAPS!

Also, for some things I have found which have helped me:

  • Listening to music.
  • Writing down your thoughts, either a blog or notes in your diary.
  • Avoiding the temptation to watch constant news coverage.
  • Following pregnancy pages on Facebook or Instagram.
  • Mums Net.
  • If your baby shower looks like it will be cancelled, arrange a back-up zoom call baby shower with family and friends.
  • Downloading the ‘Pregnancy Plus’ app.
  • Facetime family and friends as often as possible.
  • Every change in my body or new symptom, talk to your partner about it (whether he likes it or not).
  • Taking lots of bump pictures.
  • Sharing pictures on social media (I have become a bump bore).
  • A pregnancy pillow didn’t work for me, but putting a normal pillow between my legs soothes my back when I sleep during the night.
  • Each time you have a bath, put some Bio Oil in it.

Although it’s been tough experiencing my first pregnancy in lockdown, I know I’m very lucky and this is an experience some people could only wish for. Lockdown or not in less than 10 weeks I will finally get to meet my baby boy. When I’m feeling down or a bit lonely that thought lifts my mood instantly.

Like I said in my opening, this really is a personal piece, which is benefiting me writing my thoughts and feelings down through this testing time. If this blog can help one person or makes one person smile then its done a job.

Elli Long