Why No Woman Should Have To Give Birth Alone – Please Sign The Petition


Today’s blog post was going to be about a totally different subject, but I’ve just seen this petition and I think it’s so important that I want to share and write about it now.

Due to Covid 19, many hospitals (not just in the UK) are restricting the presence of birth partners on wards before and after births, only allowing their presence for women in active labor. However, there is now concern that some hospitals may be considering stopping birth partners from attending at all, and requiring women to labor in hospital alone.

This is a serious cause for concern. Continuous support from a birth partner is associated with improved outcomes for women and babies, including a reduction in the requirement for interventions. Unsurprisingly, it can be difficult for women to advocate for themselves while they are in the middle of giving birth, and they need to have a supportive, trusted person on hand who can do that for them.

One of the reasons I feel strongly about this is my personal experience. When I gave birth, I was induced and I dilated extremely quickly, much faster than the midwife expected. I had been told they would check on my dilation after four hours, and they were expecting progress of about half a centimetre per hour. Until I reached 4cm dilated I was not going to be allowed gas and air, all I could have was paracetamol or an epidural. After 2 hours I was in so much pain that I asked for an epidural as I couldn’t see how I could cope with twelve hours or more of it, but no anaesthetist was available. Shortly after that, I felt my body starting to push, and told the midwife, but she didn’t believe I could be that far along. It was only because my husband was there and was insistent that they check what was going on, that the midwife looked, at which point she realised that I was fully dilated and in the process of pushing the baby out! Cue a massive panic because she was not ready for that stage of labor (and for some reason this seemed to require a lot of online paperwork) but at least I finally got the gas and air. If my husband hadn’t been there to advocate for me, god knows at what point they would have realised the baby was on its way, because I was in no position to have a debate and in the absence of any real pain relief could barely talk.

For some women, the presence of a birth partner and advocate is even more important. Black women are five times more likely to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth when compared to white women in the UK. Mixed race and Asian women also suffer a higher risk of death. These women are being let down by our health system and the professionals who attend them. They need to have the support of a trusted partner when giving birth, and are likely to be disproportionately badly affected by any ban on attending birth partners.

In America, where some hospitals had already enacted a ban on birth partners, they have been forced to back down after a public outcry. Let’s make sure that a ban of this nature can’t happen in the UK.

The irony is that in the US, the bans were enacted after asymptomatic pregnant women, who were carrying the virus without knowing, infected hospital workers during labour. But restricting the presence of birth partners obviously does nothing to reduce the risk of labouring mothers transmitting the virus – they still have to be in hospital. Instead, we would protect both women, babies and health workers far better by ensuring that UK midwives, doctors and nurses are provided with adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect them from the risk of transmission from women or birth partners during labour. So far the government and Public Health England have been absolutely woeful at ensuring staff are protected with sufficient PPE in line with WHO guidelines. We’ve heard a lot about companies being drafted in to supply more ventilators – but PPE is just as important.

Please sign the petition here: change.orgMe and Little Man


Quarantine Win: Veg Box, Baby


We usually get our shopping delivered by Sainsbury’s, as doing a big food shop with a tiny baby is really a two-man job. When Sainsbury’s announced they were restricting delivery slots to priority customers only just over a week ago, this created a bit of a problem. Given that Little Man is not even three months old yet, and given my exciting litany of health conditions including reasonably bad asthma (which has conveniently started early this year, thanks pollen), we are really trying to avoid leaving the house at all.

So I went online and tried to find a local vegetable box delivery company that wasn’t completely booked up. We live in a very agricultural area, so it seems logical that you should be able to get hold of fresh eggs and vegetables without going to the supermarket. It took a while but I finally found a company that were still taking orders and put in for a box. I had actually totally forgotten about it by the time the box arrived yesterday, because we had managed to get a delivery slot with Sainsbury’s. So it was an awesome surprise! The vegetables look amazing and we got a dozen eggs as well. If you’re struggling to get food delivered, it’s definitely worth looking for veg box companies near you.

Not pictured: two dozen eggs
coronavirus · health · top tips

Top Tips for the Coronavirus Outbreak #001 Social Distancing


The little man has some strong suggestions for maintaining social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak…

How are you finding lockdown so far? It’s a very strange time. We’ve been trying to stay in the house as far as possible… And trying to see the positives. For instance, at least it means there’s no risk of being caught out in public when Little Man has a major poo explosion! I’ve not really managed to get the hang of those baby changing tables you get in public toilets, so every time I had to use one I found it super stressful.

Plus, as my husband is working from home full time at the moment, he gets to see much more of Little Man than he otherwise would, which is really special at such a young age. He’s already growing so quickly! I do miss going out to the children’s centre and meeting other mums though.


The Mystery Of The Skin On Chicken Breast


The other morning I looked out of the window to see a strange tabby cat at the end of our drive, bothering something on the ground.

This is strange for two reasons; firstly, the presence of The Cats Next Door, Phantom and Sassy Cat. Sassy Cat is a cat who thinks he’s a dog. He wants cuddles and love and he wants them NOW. I don’t think it has ever occurred to him to chase a mouse, although he’s probably wondered whether the mouse might give him a stroke or a scratch behind the ears. Phantom, on the other hand, is the most hench cat I’ve ever seen. He views Sassy Cat as a sort of benign idiot brother, but his only interactions with other cats are to chase them away from his property, and he definitely views our drive as his property.

So when I saw the strange tabby cat, my initial thought was that Phantom was going to be piiiiiiisssed. I normally only see other cats shooting past in a blur of fur to avoid him.

The second strange thing was the question of what he was bothering on the ground. We have mice/shrews/voles/generic small mammals in the garden, but it seemed rather big and pale to be one of those. I asked my husband if he could see what it was and he concluded it must be some kind of bird.

The mystery deepened a couple of hours later when he went to take the bins out and reported that it was, in fact, an entire raw skin-on chicken breast. By that point, Phantom had re-emerged and taken possession of the chicken breast, which was looking increasingly sorry for itself.

In these times of panic-buying, where had the chicken breast come from? Did the cat steal it out of its house? Had someone thrown it away? How did it end up on our drive? A quarantine mystery that has bugged me ever since… It’s all about the small things at the moment.

Also kudos to my husband who actually disposed of the bloody thing.