Born in lockdown – the babies bringing joy to families during the pandemic
- Credit: HOLLY ALGAR/MEG EMENY/SOPHIA SOUTHEY
Lockdown has changed our lives in so many ways and some families across Suffolk have even welcomed a new member – here are just some of the special deliveries which have brought light during these unprecedented times.
When we asked readers to send in pictures of babies born during lockdown, we were inundated with replies from across Suffolk.
Here is the first selection of stories to remind you that life has still been going on during the pandemic.
Maeve Algar – born Tuesday, April 21
Holly Algar who is a dental nurse and lives in Halesworth said her newborn baby girl Maeve has “helped her through the pandemic”.
Maeve was born at Ipswich Hospital on Tuesday, April 21 via a planned c-section and mum Holly, 25, said it was a very strange time giving birth.
She said: “I had planned for my husband to be there the whole time and for my parents and in-laws to visit after as I knew I would be staying in, but unfortunately this wasn’t able to happen.
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“The day I had Maeve, my husband wasn’t allowed on the ward while I waited to be taken to theatre, he had to sit in the car and wait to be called.
“After the birth he was only allowed to stay for an hour which just wasn’t enough time for us to be together as a family.”
Holly had only been on maternity leave a week before the lockdown was introduced, forcing her to cancel her baby showers.
She said it “took her independence away” as she was put in the ‘at risk’ category and wasn’t allowed to leave the house and has not been able to attend any baby groups.
Despite this, Holly said: “I love being a new mum to Maeve, she’s such a content baby and I think if I didn’t have her I would have found it a lot harder not being able to see my family and friends.”
Finley Theodore Emeny – born on Monday, April 20
Meg Emeny describes her son Finley as their “second rainbow baby”, but said that him being born during the pandemic has now made him their “rainbow baby in more ways than one”.
The 30-year-old, who is a deputy manager at a local pre-school, said she had planned very carefully about when she wanted to have her second child, but this did not include the country going into lockdown with six weeks until she was due.
She said: “Being my second child, I expected it to be more laid back this time round however after a previous miscarriage this wasn’t the case.
“As anyone who has suffered pregnancy loss will tell you, your anxiety level is always higher. This was then compounded by the additional worry of a fast progressing pandemic and the knowledge that I would be giving birth during the peak.”
Towards the end of Meg’s pregnancy there were concerns that her placenta was failing and she had to attend growth scans and consultant appointments without her husband.
Eventually the decision was made to induce her at 38 weeks.
Meg said: “I was incredibly lucky to have had such an amazing midwife, Minnie. She was such a huge support and I can honestly say her and the whole midwife team made me feel so at ease.
“I must also give some credit to my husband who was allowed to join me once my waters had broken. He was, without doubt, the most amazing birthing partner, back rubs for near on six hours, the man did good.”
Meg said that being in hospital was nowhere near as scary as she had envisioned and that was down to the amazing care she received.
She said: “Unfortunately due to the virus Finley has not yet been able to properly meet and have cuddles with friends and family or enjoy many of the exciting first experiences we were hoping he would.
“Adapting to another addition to the family is difficult at anytime but not having the support system I would have had if it wasn’t for the virus certainly added it’s difficulties.
“However, I must say that I feel lockdown has been a really good time for my eldest to bond with his new baby brother.”
Elsiemay Rosealee Southey – born Tuesday, April 28
Elsiemay’s mum Sophia didn’t even make it to the delivery room at Ipswich Hospital when she was born – finding out she was 6cm dilated when she arrived.
She said: “I rang the hospital as I was having a lot of contractions and pain, but they didn’t think I was going into labour and said it was my choice whether I wanted to come in.
“I wanted to go and check so got to hospital just after 5pm and she entered the world at 7.04pm after just gas and air, we didn’t even make it to the delivery room.”
Elsiemay weighed 6lb 2oz when she was born and mum Sophia said everyone at the hospital was “absolutely amazing”.
She said: “You couldn’t see the doctors smiles under their mask but you knew they were smiling and just so happy and helpful. This really made me feel 100% better and you really wouldn’t even know that anything was going on around us.
“There really is no reason to be scared about going into hospital at all. This time round I found more relaxed than when I went in with my twins as they kept coming to make sure I was okay.”
Elsiemay is Sophia’s third child, after having twins a few years ago. She is excited to extend her family during the lockdown.
Speaking of her three girls, Sophia said: “They all mean the world to me. Elsiemay’s sisters absolutely love her to bits, just like we all do.”
Ella Fiona Victoria Graham – born on Monday, May 18
Ella is the daughter of Lauren Graham and she was born at West Suffolk Hospital.
Lauren said she felt “like a new mum” all over again after having a big age gap between her last child.
She said the “level of care was second to none” at the hospital and the experience was “far from terrifying” like people had made it seem.
She said: “We had our beautiful girl that we had been waiting for what seemed like a lifetime on May 18.
“I can not fault the midwives one single bit. They where so nice on the labour ward my midwife was called Vicki and she was incredible.”
Lauren’s husband was to stay after the birth until she went home, so there were no worries for me.
She said: “The only thing that I struggled with was attending my consultant appointments alone, I really needed my husband or my mum with me for support.”
Despite this, Lauren said it “feels amazing” to be a mum again.
She added: “Covid-19 has one positive for new mums, we get our husband/partners home with us when they would normally get just two weeks at home.
“The memories we will all have are amazing, it’s just the four of us in this crazy little world we are living in. But my word what a story is it to tell Ella when she is older. She is our little pandemic baby and she is perfect.”
Minnie Garrod – born Sunday, May 24
First time mum Megan Garrod had a rocky pregnancy and experienced a few complications in labour, but said being a mum to Minnie “is a feeling out of this world”.
The 25-year-old, said: “I absolutely love being a new mum and it fills my heart with content. But it is also tough, especially not having family to help due to the pandemic.”
Megan gave birth on Sunday May 24 after she was induced two weeks early due to gestational diabetes which she developed at 35 weeks.
She said she started to panic towards the end of her pregnancy about the labour and the birth being alone.
She said: “I developed sepsis during my early stages of labour and was moved over to the isolation ward due to having a temperature.
“Once my baby was born she was taken to the neonatal unit and as I was isolated I wasn’t allowed to go see her which was the toughest time of my life.
“My husband had to leave shortly after birth so we only had 20 minutes with Minnie before she was moved to the neonatal unit.”
Megan said she felt alone in the isolation ward, but “the midwives were incredible at West Suffolk Hospital”.
“It was heart breaking,” she explained. “Being so poorly without anyone in the hospital like my husband or family to support me and help was extremely hard.
“I had a total of about seven hours sleep over four days between feeding and caring for my newborn baby, as both myself and Minnie were being treated for sepsis.”
She added: “I was totally exhausted and never had chance to digest what happened or recover from the long labour and difficult birth, before being thrown into motherhood alone with a newborn.
“It was emotionally and physically the hardest days of my life, however the midwives really were amazing doing what they could to try and help where they could.”
Megan is now home with Minnie and despite suffering from postnatal depression, she said she is loving motherhood.
If you have had a baby during lockdown and would still like to be included, simply send us a photo with details of the name, town and date of birth here. Along with your personal story of your lockdown labour!