A first-time mum has paid tribute to the team on the maternity unit at The Royal Oldham Hospital after her baby boy arrived into the world on International Day of the Midwife, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
Lauren Beeney, 27, gave birth to baby Louis Joseph on 5 May following a particularly tough three-day labour, after unexpectedly spending the final few weeks of her pregnancy shielding with partner Frazer Hankinson at their home in Failsworth.
Following her positive experience, Lauren felt moved to write and thank the team on the antenatal, labour and postnatal wards at The Royal Oldham Hospital for the outstanding care she received.
“Thank you to the midwife that ran me a bath at 2am after I was induced to ease the pain.
Thank you to the midwife who listened to me as I cried about my worries of being without my partner.
Thank you to the midwife who made me a brew and brought me some midnight snacks when I was struggling to sleep.
Thank you to the entire team who made sure my boy was delivered safely with forceps after an 18 hour labour.
Thank you to the team who worked hard to stop the bleeding after a tricky placenta removal.
Thank you to the kind man in theatre who held a sick bowl next to me and held my hair back.
Thank you to Anne on high dependency, the most incredible woman, she was everything we needed and more. A special lady I will remember for ever.
Thank you to the midwives on the post labour ward. I have no words for how amazing they are.
Thank you to the midwife who saw I’d had no sleep and that my breakfast was going cold as I was feeding my baby, so she fed him instead. Thank you.
Thank you endlessly for the most amazing community midwives, the Juniper Team. I marvel in awe at what they do and I will remind my Louis of all these incredible people who helped to keep him and myself safe and healthy.
Our little pandemic baby.”
Lauren and baby Louis
As the pandemic unfolded, many women faced the prospect of uncertain birthing arrangements, leaving them feeling concerned and apprehensive, as Lauren explained: “Any woman awaiting the arrival of their first baby is anxious, but when the pandemic hit back in March, the reality of giving birth during lockdown became even more worrying.”
Changes to the lockdown restrictions in mid-March meant that overnight Lauren was unable to return to her job as a teaching assistant at St Aidan & Oswald Primary in Royton, and began shielding at home with partner Frazer.
She added: “It was such a shock, I didn’t get to say goodbye to my colleagues or the children at school, it was just awful. There was no baby shower, no enjoying my last few days before going on maternity leave, none of the nice things that mums-to-be usually go through in those final weeks. I felt cheated.”
A few weeks later, the home water birth plan that Lauren had hoped to put in place had to be adapted after a routine check-up showed her blood pressure was higher than usual, and she was admitted to The Royal Oldham where she prepared to be induced.
She explained: “Having to go into hospital on my own was incredibly daunting, but from the moment I arrived on the antenatal ward my fears were alleviated.
"Not having Frazer with me from the beginning was very hard, he’s my rock and I felt so upset that he wasn’t able to be there for the whole process, but the nurses, midwives and all the other support staff immediately provided me with total reassurance, building my confidence and making me feel that I would be able to deliver our baby safely.
“In terms of the Corona virus risk, we felt completely safe and secure in the hospital, and whilst the midwives and doctors had to wear face masks and PPE, I could feel their enthusiasm, their encouragement and most importantly their smiles shining through.
"They really were like angels floating without wings. They were everything I needed them to be – partner, mum and clinical expert around the clock – and made sure I had the best experience possible. I’ll never forget it.”
Lauren in labour
Since the birth of baby Louis, settling into family life has been challenging for the young couple, with restrictions on family visits meaning limited contact with grandparents and extended family.
Lauren added: “My mum and Frazer are my world, we’re a really close family, so it’s been incredibly difficult not being able to do all the ‘firsts’ with her that mums and daughters get to do, however I have had continued support from my midwife Beth Rooney since we came home, who has really been incredible.
"I think when we look back on this time, we will be so proud to be able to tell Louis the amazing story of how he arrived into the world, what an amazing experience we had, and about the wonderful team of people who helped make it happen. We are lucky and very blessed really.”
Simon Mehigan, Director of Midwifery at The Royal Oldham Hospital, said: “It’s always wonderful to hear stories like Lauren and Frazer’s, we are delighted that they had such a positive experience with us and thank them for sharing their personal story.
"Throughout the Covid19 pandemic we have been committed to providing the same high standards and levels of care to all of our families both on the labour ward, at our birth centre and in the community.
“Providing a safe, secure environment, enabling mums and their birth partners to have as much choice as possible within current restrictions and ensuring our Infection Prevention and Control policy continues to protect mums and babies, remains our absolute priority.
"We want to reassure mums to be who are due to give birth that our teams are here for you and will continue to be here for you, throughout the pandemic and beyond."
Mum Lauren, partner Frazer Hankinson, baby Louis Hankinson and midwife Beth Rooney.