Welcoming a new baby into the family is such an exciting time.
But imagine what it was like to get ready for the birth of your first baby in lockdown. Jen and Jamie share their story with us.
We entered lockdown when I was 8 months pregnant. I'd started my maternity leave and spent those early lockdown weeks staying safe at home - reading in the sunshine, attempting jigsaw puzzles, and eating my way through a variety of home baked goods all under the false justification of 'eating for two.'
All the while the anxiety for the birth was building. In the run up restrictions were ramping up, our birth plan had to change when our local birthing centre closed, and hospitals made the difficult decision to limit birth partners to one and ban visitors entirely - having to go it alone for at least part of my birthing experience was inevitable.
Three weeks, two books, one abandoned jigsaw and countless cinnamon buns later, I finally went into labour. We made our way to hospital, completing what would normally be at least a 40 minute car ride in 20 minutes - an unexpected plus point of lockdown!
Fortunately in the hospital, and in the throes of a long and painful labour, coronavirus was kept far from our minds. Our midwives' smiles may have been masked by PPE but through their care and professionalism we felt safe. We were only really reminded of its presence by the weekly 8pm clap which we took part in, albeit in between contractions!
Soon enough we were home with our newborn son, Joseph, wondering what on earth we do next.
The last few weeks have passed in a sea of nappies, feeds, walks and sleepless nights. At its worst it's felt a little lonely, the normal maternity experience is no more, no baby groups to attend and no passing the time talking sleep patterns and feeding routines in coffee shops with fellow new mums and dads. Introductions to family and friends have been few and far between, through glass windows or from a 2 metre distance in gardens. Joseph is yet to meet his grandmother who has been waiting a lifetime for a grandchild but lives some distance away in North Wales.
But with every negative there's a positive, and we recognise how incredibly lucky we are. Joseph has given us a focus and purpose every day, keeping us unimaginably busy during this difficult time. With restrictions starting to ease we're hopeful everything we're missing now is soon to come.