Kayleigh Docherty shared her story of giving birth during the pandemic as she paid tribute to the staff at South Tyneside District Hospital’s Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre.
The 33-year-old - who lives in Washington with her husband Tim, 34 and son Jenson, three - had planned for a home birth with her second child, but due to the outbreak of Covid-19 it was unable to go ahead.
Instead, Kayleigh’s daughter, Jessica, came into the world on Wednesday, April 22, weighing 7lb 8oz, at the birthing centre which opened last year.
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Now back home, Jessica is - in the words of mum - doing “fab” and Kayleigh has thanked staff for providing the relaxing birthing experience she had hoped for.
“I would absolutely recommend it to other mums. I actually enjoyed the experience and when I look back on it, it is with only happy feelings,” she said.
“My community midwife knew how much I wanted to give birth in a non-hospital setting and she recommended the birthing centre. I was able to go there and have a look and I absolutely loved it. Straightaway, I felt a sense of calm and relaxation and felt at home.
“It’s only a little thing but, given coronavirus, it was also reassuring that you don’t have to go through the hospital to get to the centre, just through one set of double doors.”
When she went into labour a few weeks later, Kayleigh’s mother, Michelle Watson, went with her to the birthing centre, where she planned a water birth.
“I was examined as soon as I arrived and then they took me to a lovely, large room where I could keep mobile and progress my labour,” Kayleigh continued.
“There was a comfy sofa for Mum to sit on while I was on the birthing ball or leaning on the bed and I was able to have my own music playing.
“It was so peaceful, I was falling asleep between contractions. When I was transferred to the birthing pool room it was just as nice.”
Kayleigh added: “The midwives were amazing throughout. They were in PPE but I wasn’t worried as I knew that meant they had taken care of all the necessary precautions.”
“They let my body do what it wanted to do which made it so relaxing and is why, I think, Jessica came so quickly in the end.”
Sheila Ford, Head of Midwifery at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, our maternity staff in South Tyneside and Sunderland are continuing to do a fantastic job, despite the extremely challenging circumstances. It is a real boost to hear from mums, like Kayleigh, and their families who really appreciate the outstanding care they provide.”