Unprecedented anxiety and low-level fear isn’t uncommon during a global pandemic. Throw becoming a parent of a special-care baby into the mix and it can make the happiest days of your life seem even more uncertain.
On the drive to the hospital, like most expectant mums, I was nervously excited to meet the little person who had been growing inside me for nine months.
Of course, there were the usual worries; I was anxious about the pain, the fact that my husband and I couldn’t agree on names and, of course, the years of sleep deprivation that were to follow.
What I hadn’t factored in was that the ongoing murmurs around Covid-19 in the wider world were about to descend on our lives – and the delivery room – in a very big way.
Around 36 hours into a seemingly straightforward labour with my mum and husband by my side, things took a terrifying turn; I was told the baby was in distress and I needed a category-one emergency c-section. Translation: there was an immediate threat to the life of me and my baby.
Thankfully, within 30 minutes of signing the consent form and following vomit, complications and blood loss on my part, Olga arrived safely at 5.30pm Wednesday 11 March.
To say I was exhausted and emotionally drained would be an understatement. But as I recovered the following morning, trying my hardest to breastfeed and smile for family photos on the ward, I was elated that our new arrival was finally here.
It was around midday that I noticed Olga’s right leg and arm twitching. It was a rhythmic motion that just didn’t seem like baby wriggles. I called the midwife into the room and was told that it was just because she was hungry and the jerking had stopped. My instincts told me she was wrong.