Manx Pandemic Baby: Let’s Hear It for the Jane

At a time where our “One Born Every Minute” culture dictates that labour is a painful and scary time (it need not be by the way, but that’s another article), adding a generalised anxiety state like a pandemic, for instance, is less than ideal. To progress labour you need oxytocin production, which is pretty much hugely hindered by adrenaline production, of say… the anxiety of being in the middle of a pandemic.  The elusive art of relaxation seems far, far away. When you already have a number of things that give you levels of intense anxiety, a pandemic is not the challenge any heavily (or indeed any) pregnant lady needs! 

As a true millennial, I’m a member of (a million) online groups/apps and there is a lot of chatter about feeling cheated, feeling vulnerable and generally a focus on the things that you might not have – including there being limited knowledge of how Covid-19 affects pregnancy/babies, lower support groups and community assistance and my own personal anxiety nemesis – the very scary prospect of having to go it alone on D-day. Even more so, if your pregnancy and birth is not completely straight forward (à la the one I’m having – my 15 year old first born is currently golden child as he was a “text book” pregnancy and birth). This is a time where ANY trip of ANY of my family members leaving the house is full- on panic inducing, so heading up to Nobles (or the pandemic hot spot as my CV19 plagued thoughts like to auto-correct “Nobles” to) is actually another level. I cried the whole walk from the entrance way to the doors at “the Jane” when I had an unplanned, but necessary, trip up there and my birth- partner/backup/advocate/support (for me this is  Mr L-N) had to leave me at the rotating doors, hospital bag in hand. 

It’s absolutely OK to feel all the “negative” emotions – it’s also not useful to stay in those emotions. After a while, dwelling about the things I wouldn’t have, I decided to focus on the fact that there are many things we do have, especially here on the Isle of Man:

  • 24/7 access to amazing, free healthcare (yes NHS!) pretty much within a 20-minute drive from anywhere.

  • There are less people on the road so we should make it to Nobles with no Manx traffic jams and with less chance of an accident along the way.

  • Nobles has pretty much changed its organisational procedure to protect staff and patients alike in record turn around.  Making changes on this scale would normally be months of meetings and committees – but they have been actioned in lightning speed – yes they do take things away, but they have put these measures in to keep us as safe as they can.  

  • Midwives and health care staff have come out of retirement, moved from part time to full time hours, or, like the midwife that treated me the other week, have cut short their own maternity leave to help out in times where they are short staffed (actual real-life heroes)!

  • The Jane has loads of baby stuff, you basically don’t have to take anything in for your new babe apart from an outfit to go home in.

  • You could be back at home in 6 hours after giving birth.

  • You can still have a “birth partner” with you for labour, so no going it alone for the main event.

I’ve cycled through some emotions over the last weeks, and some helpful things (most of which are also useful if you not pregnant) I’ve come across are: 

  • It’s OK to feel lonely and scared, this shit is scary. Acknowledge the feelings but let them pass. 

  • Forget the idea that your “birth (substitute  the word *life* here if you’re not giving birth soon) plan” may have to go out of the window – most of the time when we plan things it doesn’t quite happen how we want it anyway. But do have a list of preferences for all the circumstances you can think of, then you are covering any situation you may come across. 

  • Fear comes mainly from the unknown, so get informed!  There is a government website with updates to policies, and midwives that are able to give you advice on the changes at the Jane/Nobles. Call them, ask questions – especially from the people that actually know what is going on.

  • Try out hypnobirthing techniques/breathing exercises/yoga. We went to an Aveta Hypnobirthing course earlier in the year which was awesome, but as you can’t  physically go to a 1:1 or group course, you likely have the internet and there are many courses you can find, audio/books you can listen to/read and also loads of YouTube clips. The calming techniques are perfect to use, in any anxiety inducing situation – not just while in labour.

  • Delete the apps that pull you back into a negative mind-set, when you can’t help but read about other people’s stressors/drama, watch videos and read about Positive (Birth) stories instead. Read the daily IOM Gov updates on Gef, for a low-anxiety update on the key C-19 items of the day. 

  • Boost your oxytocin levels… there are many ways to do this (google it), and bonus – they all feel good. 

And remember, in a time where getting dressed into actual “day” clothes of a morning deserves a medal – curating, nurturing and birthing another life is nothing shy of INCREDIBLE. 

 


Manx Pandemic BabyManx Pandemic Baby

 

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