If you’re due to give birth in York the next few weeks or months you may, understandably, have a few concerns about what it will be like.. that’s normal anyway but particularly in these unprecedented times.
But we’ve heard so many great stories in the York Mumbler Chat Group about the experience that people have had giving birth in York in the last month, so we wanted to share them with you here and hopefully it will help to put your mind at ease. You can read the stories below – thanks to all of you for sharing these.
We also have an official FAQ from York Hospital here (information correct as of 10th May 2020 – please do check their FB page for latest updates)
What should I do if I’m worried about my baby?
You can continue to contact us in the normal way and we would like to encourage you to continue to seek support from us at any time. If you have concerns about any aspects of your pregnancy or baby, you can call the hospital (the number is on the front of your notes) for advice. You should contact us straight away if there is any change to the pattern of your baby’s movements – even if you are isolating with Covid 19 symptoms (coronavirus) – and we will advise you of what you need to do.
Can I still have a waterbirth?
Yes, you can still have a waterbirth if you and other people in your household are well. However, if you or anyone you live with develops a cough or a high temperature it is recommended that you do not have your baby in water so that your baby’s heart beat can be electronically monitored. You can discuss your options with the midwife when you arrive in labour
Can I still have a homebirth?
We are offering a limited homebirth service for low risk women that will be continuously reviewed in terms of staffing, equipment and the status of the ambulance service, in line with national guidance (link below). This means that there is likely to be times when we cannot offer homebirth and women will be invited in to birth at the hospital. Social distancing rules within the home will need to be adhered to and this will be discussed and agreed during the homebirth agreement appointment. Link to the RCOG guidance here
Should I still go to my antenatal appointments?
If you are well and you or anyone you live with doesn’t have a cough or a high temperature it is important that you still go to your routine antenatal appointments. You will be contacted beforehand if this changes. Unfortunately you won’t be able to bring anyone with you unless you require support (such as if you have a disability). Some appointments may be done over the telephone, we will let you know if this is the case.
Can I video or photograph during my scan appointment?
Unfortunately you won’t be able to do this. The sonographers (trained people who perform the scan) have to follow the guidance from their professional bodyI feel I am struggling emotionally with all the changes currently, what should I do?You can talk to your midwife if you are experiencing emotional problems. You can also contact your GP or IAPT. We have a specialist midwife for mental health who may be able to offer you a telephone appointment. You can also access our ‘Ask a Midwife’ feature on our Facebook page 10-12 and 2-4 every week day
Can I bring my partner or children to my appointments?
Unfortunately you won’t be able to bring anyone with you to any of your appointments or scans unless you need support (such as if you have a disability). This is to protect women, babies and staff by minimising the risk of transmission of coronavirus. We are closely following government advice as your family and our staff’s safety are of paramount importance to us.
Who can visit me in hospital?
You can bring one birthing partner with you when you are in labour or having a planned caesarean section providing they are not showing any signs of illness. Unfortunately there are no visitors on the wards, including if you are attending to be induced. All of the midwives are aware that this can be an anxious time for everyone and we are here to support you. We also ask that you don’t bring anyone with you to appointments, scans or the antenatal day unit. If this changes due to any further government updates we will post the information on our Facebook page.
What should I do if I develop a high temperature or a cough?
If you are otherwise well and have no concerns about your pregnancy (for example any bleeding, reduced movements or pain) you should remain at home to self-isolate for 7 days, take paracetamol as directed on the packet and drink lots of fluids. If you feel your symptoms are worsening or haven’t improved within 7 days you should contact NHS 111 or the hospital you are booked at for further advice. If you have symptoms and also have a pregnancy concern (for example bleeding, reduced movements, pain) you should contact the hospital you are booked at immediately. If you have an urgent pregnancy concern (for example you think you may be in labour or severe pain/bleeding) you must contact the labour ward immediately whether or not you have symptoms of coronavirus. If you are asked to attend the hospital when you have symptoms you must attend in your own private transport (not a taxi or on public transport), if this isn’t possible please tell the person on the phone who has asked you to attend. You will be cared for in an isolation area and can still bring your birth partner, unless they have symptoms. If someone you live with has symptoms you should self-isolate for 14 days. If your self- isolation means you will miss a maternity appointment or scan please get in touch with your midwife or the scan department to re-arrange your appointment.
Unfortunately all face to face antenatal education sessions have ceased, in line with government guidance – this includes hypnobirthing. You can access online information on the Trust website.
What is the hospital doing to keep you and your baby safe? -Following government guidance as soon as it becomes available -Relaying information to the public via the website and facebook -Asking women not to bring anyone with them to appointments or scans -Reducing visiting on the hospitals wards -Asking women not to attend routine appointments if they or anyone they live with has a cough or high temperature -Hospital and community staff are washing their hands more frequently using hand sanitiser and wearing protective clothing where appropriate -If suitable, holding appointments over the phone -Looking at ways we can support women ‘virtually’ to connect with each other
You can also access the national Whatsapp chatbot: WhatsApp chatbot tool to ensure that the public have trustworthy information about COVID-19 from GOV.UK and NHS.UK, including advice on prevention, symptoms and staying at home.
The new service has already attracted one million messages and you can add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then send ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started Handy tips….. -If you have changed your phone number make sure you have told your midwife -Make sure your mobile phone is charged in case your midwife needs to contact you -Make sure you wash your hands more often than usual -Avoid touching your face, mouth and nose -Maintain at least 2 metres from other people if you have to go out
Below are some real birth stories from new parents who have given birth in York in the last month or so….
My son due on the 30th March and was born on the 3rd April 2020.
I had to go in the night before as I hadn’t felt him move for a few hours but my waters had broke that day. They managed to find a heartbeat and everything was fine but my partner Dom couldn’t be with me, so he dropped me off at the maternity unit doors and had to go. The staff on the ward were really great and made me feel safe and secure during this crazy time. Dom was allowed to come back the next day when I was taken to the labour ward and he arrived about half 8 in the morning. It literally felt like the longest time we had been apart it was the weirdest thing.
Whilst on the labour ward the midwives were amazing. They managed to get my labour going a bit more. On the evening the midwives changed over staffing so I had a new lady. She was great also. My partner smokes and he couldn’t leave as if he went out he wasn’t allowed in, but he coped so anyone worrying about that you can manage it! They offered Dom food and drinks.
It was time to push and I did it for 45 mins and nothing was happening, he had got stuck! They took me to theatre as initially they were going to use forceps. My partner got all the blue theatre outfit on and was there with me. I was then told I need a c section at that moment I was petrified, you just don’t prepare for that. My midwife and my Partner were both by my side and we’re wonderful! 10 mins later the epidural wasn’t working and I ended up having to be put under a general! All I remember was them saying can someone take dad back to the room please and that was it.
I was in theatre for quite some time due to my heart, they brought me back to the room and I was so groggy and out of it but remember seeing Dom holding our son, we decided to name him Oscar. I can’t imagine how worried Dom would of been. The midwife helped him with first skin to skin, bottle etc and they supported him all the way.
I was then taken to ward G2 and at that point Dom was tired it had been over 24hours and him not sleeping the day before. He had to go home as he wasn’t allowed on the ward due to no visitors because of the coronavirus. I was still quite out of it and sleepy, I don’t even remember arriving on ward G2. The midwives came in and checked my son, fed him and did everything whilst I got rest and came round.
It was a sad time, i FaceTimed my partner so he could see Oscar. I bottle fed so the midwives would make them up as we couldn’t wander around the ward or make them ourselves. They were fab, helped me get up and get a shower.
Time came and I could go home, Dom had to wait at the door of the maternity unit at the car park, the midwife had to drop my bags off and take herself back inside and then Dom was able to come and reunite with us. Being back together was amazing! We got in the car, drove off and thought if we can do all this at such a scary time…we can achieve anything.
In such a scary time at hospital with the coronavirus I can honestly say every member of staff made me feel safe and secure. Theysupported me as I didn’t have Dom there. Mums to be please shouldn’t worry as the staff are perfect and you will be amazing!
My due date was 29th March with my first baby, and I finished work on 6th March, full of the excitement of maternity leave. I’d planned my first three, baby free weeks with coffee with other pregnant friends, lots of time with my mum and dad, finishing the nursery and plenty of shopping! As time went on, the news began to fill with more information of a virus in China that was killing people. My thoughts were ‘thank goodness we’re safe over here!’….. and carried on nesting.
I’d joined an antenatal yoga class, aquanatal swimming, with which I’d met some lovely mums to be and with the hope we would be friends along our pregnancy and when our babies were born. The lockdown began and all that stopped. My husband began working from home and the world went mad for toilet rolls….
For my midwife appointments up until term, there was an air of panic in everyone’s voice over the phone. Staff called ahead of my appointments to check if I had a temperature. I had a slight cough for one appointment (I’m sure it was just baby pressing on all vital organs) but as a measure of precaution, I was told to enter the gps through tbt back door and was greeted to a midwife and doctor in full ppe, and I was made to wear a mask.
The room was bare and to limit the infection through equipment, there was no machine to listen to his heartbeat, but the midwife was lovely and all that mattered was that baby was moving around and was head down! She booked me an induction for Sunday 5th April as there seemed to be more pressure to plan the birth rather than wait for baby as planning meant some sort of control and that was seemed to be needed at this time. Sunday came and we headed to the hospital at 9am. Sean has to drop me off at the door as he wasn’t allowed into the maternity unit.
A strange feeling and a few tears, but reassured by baby kicking and telling me he was ready to see us! The midwives greeted me with warmth and kindness as they were well aware of the circumstances. My room looked out into the carpark and it was a sunny day. I could see couples taking home their new babies and it made the excitement take over the anxiety.
I was induced at 11.00am and the midwife said I was already about 2cm dilated which was exciting. She said she would check on me in four hours but to buzz her if I needed anything. The thought of sitting in a room on my own for four hour waiting fo something to happen was daunting, but I tucked into my snacks and looked Back on photos of my pregnancy and the time flew by.
At 4pm I was starting to feel pains and had a nice warm bath which helped. The midwife brought me more snacks and drinks. My nativity thought I was In labour as the pains got stronger but I was told this was just the build up!
Not knowing want to expect as a first time mum is a very anxious feeling. I tried to remember my hypnobirthing information but I somehow couldn’t relate to it at the time. As the pain got stronger, I buzzed the midwife and she gave me meptid with an anti sickness.
The light headed drunk feeling felt ok, but the pain was getting stronger, and I wished Sean was with me. She brought me a diffuser with clarysage. A few hours later, I needed some more pain relief so buzzed her again and had some pethadine but no anti sickness as I’d already had some. I felt dizzy and sick, and ran to the loo to spew! Again, I wished Sean was with me.
At 1am, I suddenly had an urge to push and ran to the toilet where there was blood and I began to panic. I buzzed the midwives who came in. After an examination, i was nearly 9cm so out came the gas and air and a wheelchair! Despite the pain, I was worried what was going to happen to my stuff, but a lovely lady grabbed everything and reassured me she’s got everything.
The midwives urged me not to push yet, and they were all so reassuring and acted so quickly.
I rang Sean and he races it to the hospital. As I was wheeled into the labour room, I went passed the water birth rooms which made me sad as this was my birth wish. But knowing I was I was in labour and baby was coming, my sad was soon passed. My midwife team were kind, no nonsense, professional and reassuring. Seeing Sean come into the room made everything ok. I’d missed him all day and wished he could have been there for the build up, but what mattered was here and now and I was so grateful he was going to be there for the birth.
I began pushing on gas and air soon after, and the fact the midwife team had full ppe gear on didn’t matter. The room was dark and quiet, apart from me which is all I could have hoped for.
The midwives were calm and Constantly reminded me to breath. Sean, bless him tried to remember some positive affirmations! Babies head was soon out I was encouraged to look down and I’m glad I did, seeing babies head. Our baby boy was born at 2.35am on 6th April, with my labour lasting 1 hour 22 minutes.
The moment he was placed on me, the room seemed to stop and everything went still. The first stillness I’d felt since the panic of the outside workd. He was here, he was safe and he was perfect. We were left on out own for a few hours after the midwife had sorted me out, and it was a special time just us, with the chaos of outside shut off for now. In that labour room, our world was all there and it was our bubble. It was a fairly ‘normal’ birth, and I’d have needed to stay in hospital longer, I’d have gone to tbt post labour ward and Sean would had to have gone home. I was offered the chance to stay in the labour room as it was quiet and Sean could stay as long as we needed which was great.
After a long awaited shower and all babies check done, we cold go home at 3pm same day. I can still remember the worry, anxiety, apprehension, stress of the build up to going into hospital, but also the excitement, and feeling of joy at the prospect of getting to see and hold my baby.
It’s easy to say to other mums to be ‘it will me fine’ now that I’ve been through it, but when people said that to me at the time, it felt like something that people just say, and made no difference to my worries and anxieties.
With this awful situation going on into the world, I am still really sad and angry that I can’t introduce my baby to friends and family, but I am thankful for all the time I’m getting to spend with him. There have been many tears, both happy and sad. My advice to mums to be who are thinking ahead to giving birth, is to control the things that can be controlled. Have the courage to think ahead that whatever happens, who ever is there with you, your baby will be in your arms and that’s all that matters. A big support for me is the mum groups I joined before it all kicked off. They have been such massive support and we constantly swap stories, photos, share advice, offer and recieve guidance and it would have been lot harder without them. Don’t have a birth plan as such, just concentrate on your own strategies to face change and uncertainty.
Baby Ozzy is my world now, and although we rarely make it out of the living room, this lockdown would be a lot more miserable without
This was my first pregnancy. My waters started to break gradually from 9am on the Wednesday. We had recently changed our plan from a hospital to a homebirth (and set up a pool for a water birth) and so contacted our independent midwife. I had some green mucus like substance in my waters (I had assumed maybe part of my mucus plug) so my midwife checked my pads and said she thought it was meconium and we would need to go to hospital (and it also made me viewed as high risk for labour by the hospital). We’d packed our hospital bags and had our birth preferences printed just in case we did need to go in.
My husband dropped me off outside triage at around 1:45 and I got hooked up to the CTG HR monitor for baby and to check for contractions (I wasn’t having any at this point). The doctor came in to speak to me and I got my husband on speakerphone, she explained that because baby might be in distress I’d have to go on the syntocin drip to speed things along. I asked about the pessary but she said that was not an option. She came back a few minutes later to offer me a c-section (this was also re-suggested a couple of times later on during labour) because she’d seen in my notes I’d had a growth scan at 36 weeks and baby was coming up slightly large and she went on to explain risks of birthing babies with large shoulders etc. I declined as I didn’t feel a c-section at that stage / for that reason was right for me.
We got set up on the labour ward a couple of hours later and my husband who was now able to join me set about dimming lights, putting up fairy lights, candles, pictures, diffuser, music etc. (see photo) I hadn’t eaten much by this point and was told I wouldn’t be able to eat on the drip so had some toast and some snacks we had brought. At 6pm I had a VE (still no natural contractions at this point) showing not dilated and the drip was started, I was also attached to the CTG monitor to measure baby’s HR and my contractions. The drip got ramped up and down depending on how I was coping and baby’s HR. I was able to be in active labour positions despite being attached to drip and CTG and used yoga breathing and hypnobirthing techniques. When things got more intense I started using a tens machine and then moved on to gas and air a bit later. At 12am I had another VE, 2cm dilated. At 4am I was considering asking for more pain relief but at this point (another VE) I was 10cm dilated, just the lip of the cervix to go so the midwife said more pain relief at this point wasn’t really an option. I battled on, tens machine and gas and air not really doing anything by this point but good for distraction and indicating to my husband when I was having surges.
After lots of down breathing/pushing at 7am the midwife shifts swapped and the atmosphere changed, we lost a bit of the momentum we’d had before. The doctor came in at about 8am and said that because baby’s HR had dropped they wanted to get him out quickly and recommend assistance using the ventouse. At this point I was no longer allowed to be in an upright position and had to be on my back on the bed. I consented and at this point lots more people were in the room, the ventouse slipped off his head so they gave me an episiotomy and used forceps. I waited for my next contraction and pushed and baby was delivered at 8:55am. He came straight for skin to skin and we had delayed cord clamping, I had the injection to deliver the placenta which felt easy.
After stitches we were left for over an hour to bond with our baby, the midwife came in to weigh him and give vit K and then got us some tea and toast (I was starving) we were left again for another hour or so and got to stay in the room until I went to the postnatal ward around 1:30pm. I’d been told I could go home 12 hours after birth, which the doctor who assisted in delivering him and midwifes were all fine with. One doctor came in to me to recommend I stay overnight because of the forcep delivery, but I managed to pursued her I’d be seeing my independent midwife the next day for checks.
The three midwives we had were all really respectful of our birth preferences, very supportive and sensitive to the fact we’d been planning a homebirth. We tried to stick to the preferences as much as possible and although things hadn’t gone at all to plan, it ended up being a really positive experience.
I gave birth on 15th april to my third child, a girl we have named Evelyn “Evie” and I have to say it was the best experience I had out all three of my births.
I am a type one diabetic so I have always been classed as high risk throughout my pregnancies and was assigned consultant care at york hospital. My previous two pregnancies resulted in premature birth and c sections due to my diabetes so I knew this time I would be having a c section and to prepare myself for a premature birth. To add to the mix, my second birth resulted in me contracting meningitis which meant a three week stay in the post labour ward and a bit of a foggy memory for the first few months of my son’s life.
To say I was anxious about this birth is a bit if an understatement, I was absolutely petrified. But knowing I would have my husband by my side during the c section and on the post labour ward gave me great comfort.
However as I grew closer to my due date, the corona virus pandemic hit and suddenly my well thought out plan of having my husband and family members by my side were thrown well out the window!
At 34 weeks I had a few complications with my diabetes so had to stay on the antenatal ward for steroids incase I had to have another premature birth. This was during the week that all visitors were banned from the hospital so understandably there were a lot of very upset and distressed ladies on the ward, myself included. However, the level of comfort and support offered by every single member of staff i encountered was just exemplary. They listened to my woes, offered suggestions and advice to try and reduce my anxieties of being on my own and tried their best to help me during my stay.
I was discharged after four days and went back to my own bubble for the next three weeks until my c section date.
This time around I wasn’t filled with so much fear at being on my own and actually started to look forward to giving birth.
I was admitted the night before due to my diabetes for monitoring and my husband, Matt joined me at 8am the next morning. My eldest daughter and son were kindly looked after by my parents who had been in isolation in preparation for me giving birth. I was the only person on the c section list that day so we didn’t have to wait too long to go into theatre.
Evie was born at 9.30 am weighing an impressive 10lb 2oz. We almost missed the birth as myself and Matt were engaged in mundane talk about our plans for the garden when lockdown ended- The atmosphere was so calm and relaxed.
Matt came with us to the post labour ward and was able to have skin to skin contact with Evie, which was something I had always wanted as we hadnt been able to with our eldest daughter and our son. Matt stayed with us for about an hour, which actually felt a lot longer. I thought I’d be an emotional wreck when he left but again the staff were so supportive and helped me whenever they could.
You dont realise how very little you can do for yourself post c section until you need a drink, but have your baby in your arms and can barely move your legs off the bed. Thankfully the staff were on hand to help me with all the things that I would have normally have had Matt to help me with.
I was discharged after two days. I can honestly say I was absolutely dreading giving birth but left with such a positive experience. Perhaps I had an unique experience but every single member of staff I encountered went above and beyond their call of duty to ensure I had the best birth. I never felt alone and unsupported.
I left york hospital with such gratitude and admiration for the staff I encountered. The face masks and certain procedures in place were a little intimidating but I felt safe that all measures were being conducted.
We are now just over two weeks post birth. Evie is absolutely amazing and has settled into family life brilliantly, her brother and sister just adore her. Things are rather different post birth compared to my other experiences; I have to see the midwife at my local children’s centre, the health visitor has rung to check in, we haven’t the slightest clue when we can register Evie’s birth and I don’t even want to start on filling in doctors and child benefit forms, but in all honesty I am not stressing and I will just tackle it one thing at a time!
I hope this is the sort of story you wanted and hope i havent babbled on for too long, I had to stop and start a few times due to baby and family duties!
Got to triage just after 4am but no beds to be assessed on, – My husband was waiting in the car with our friend who had driven us to the hospital. Triage told me to wait in the reception until they had cleared me a bed After half an hour I was take in to be examined Observations were all okay, got told they would see if I was dilated The midwife took her glove off and said, I think you should give hubby a ring, your 9cm!!! The only think stopping this baby is your waters! My husband came to the labour ward and I was wheeled round to meet him. I got to the labour ward at 5.05 and the baby was born at 5.16! The midwifes were all fantastic throughout the whole process.
A Final Story
I Had attended pregnancy yoga at the Stables which really helped as Alison ran special sessions for those giving birth in April to keep us up to date with current advice and guidance with regards to hospital rules at the time. They were changing daily at this point in early April so it was key to be informed as to what the current guidance was.
I Was expecting to be induced so was worried about it taking 3 days and partner not being allowed to stay unless I was in established labour. Luckily I went into labour naturally so the fears of induction were alleviated
*Phoned triage after contractions were regular and they advised us to come in. They didn’t say on the phone that I would have to go in on my own which was a shock when I got to the door of the maternity ward to not allow my husband through. Therefore whilst in labour, I was debating whether to carry all of my hospital bags, but took the decision to leave them with my husband until we knew further details.
However whilst in triage I did over hear other phonecalls with the midwives warning other mums that they would have to come in on their own, so they must have just forgetten to tell me when I phoned so it was just a shock.
* I went to traige and was assessed and monitored. The midwives were amazing, really friendly, welcoming and accommodating and put me at ease as best they could given that I was on my own. They were all slowly coming to terms with the news ways of working and extra PPE too so we’re making a joke of it to lighten the atmosphere.
* a short while later I was transferred to the delivery room. At this point I asked if I could phone my husband to come and meet us. I am pleased I did as they didn’t mention it and would have been worried if he didn’t make it. I had left him waiting in the car and didn’t send him home even if we lived 10 minutes from the hospital as we just didn’t know timescales so wanted him closer. Would definitely advise this for anyone who has experience of a fairly fast first labour (this was my second).
* once on the delivery ward, it was very much ‘business as usual’. I would say that the service and care from the midwives was second to none. You would not have known about the Coronavirus situation apart from the extra PPE and face masks that were being worn and the part of the corridor that was barriered off with a big plastic sheet that separated the pregnant positive coronavirus mums from everybody else.
* Once the birth had happened, the discharge and efficiency of the process was amazing too. This meant that I was discharged only 6 hours after even entering triage. This was a dream for me as I had fears about being stuck on the post natal ward with no visitors being allowed so the fact that we were allowed home was amazing. Unfortunately we didn’t go home with our baby as she had been transferred to Leeds for heart monitoring (but we did know this was the case in advance so it wasn’t a shock)
* The care and attention at York Hospital was amazing and I would like to reassure anyone going in that you will be well looked after!
*also to mention the aftercare with the midwives and health visitors has been very different to the normal one with a baby pre-lockdown, so just wanted to warn mum’s that the contact is very minimal so not to worry. Since being discharged, I have had 3 face to face meeting with the midwife, but only a phonecall with the health visitor. They have been very helpful with telephone appointments and the offer of help but are operating a very different service compared to usual. This is fine in some ways as we have more time at home and less appointments, but also strange when we have been ‘programmed’ to measure our babies often so know that they’re gaining weight etc, yet this part isn’t happening so prepare for it but try not to worry about it as your mother’s instinct will kick in!!
We wanted to thank every one of these new parents for sharing their stories with us – we appreciate it so much and hope it goes some way to reassure you expecting parents that York Midwives are there for you completely.
Remember there are lots of Virtual Antenatal Classes, including Hypnobirthing, available from local providers and you can see them all HERE.
There are also lots of new virtual classes and groups that are suitable for new parents and their babies HERE.