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Giving birth at Peterborough City Hospital in lockdown was 'lonely and tough'

A new mum who gave birth just days after lockdown was imposed has revealed what it is really like going into labour during these uncertain times.
Her partner was only able to stay two hours after her son's birth (photo: Abbie Norton)

Abbie Norton, 22, gave birth to son Arlo at Peterborough City Hospital at 1am on March 27.

Baby Arlo arrived weighing a healthy 8lb 3oz but his birth was far from what Abbie, of Alan Close, Peterborough, had planned.

The young mum had been hoping for a water birth, with fiancé Dan Perkins, 25, and her mum by her side. The couple had expected to be able to invite family and friends to the hospital to meet their new arrival.

Unfortunately, due to the current pandemic and social distancing measures, Abbie was unable to do that – and instead, her birth was quite different. 

She said: "I went into hospital on the Wednesday morning and Dan wasn’t allowed in until I was in established labour. I went at 8am and he wasn’t allowed to come in until 5pm. I gave birth at 1am and he had to leave two hours later.

"It was days after the lockdown started, so they were still figuring things out and it was quite strict. When he came to pick me up – I had asked to leave earlier – he couldn't come in and get me. I had to walk out by myself; considering I had just given birth and was in a lot of pain, having to carry the car seat and all of my hospital stuff was hard. 


ABBIE NORTON 4Abbie Norton gave birth to her son on March 27 (photo: Abbie Norton)

"It was really tough, but the midwives and everyone who worked on the ward were so amazing, I couldn't have done it without them."
Explaining why she wanted to go home soon after giving birth, Abbie added: "I was on a ward and there were five other women on the same ward and we just had a curtain between us. Emotions were high and one woman was crying and screaming, and that was very traumatising to hear that going on.

"My partner was at home, making me more stressed because he was constantly ringing and texting to ask about Arlo and he had lots of questions, but he was just at home pacing the house. He was so worried about what was going on and not being able to be there. He’s just had a baby and he was told he couldn't see him. I think it was just as tough on him as it was me.

"I had all the help and support, but he was just pushed out the door and back at home as if nothing had happened." 

She added: "You could stick to the birthing plan, they did offer it to me but I was too far along and there was a wait. I would have loved my mum to be there. Usually, you would have your visitors there after you’ve given birth, and people would come and see the baby, but that couldn’t happen.  

"It is really tough, I have found it difficult knowing that I will never get that experience back.

"Everything is supposed to be so special and so amazing. I can have another baby, but it will never be that first time experience that you always dream of. You spend the whole nine months of your pregnancy planning this moment in your head and how it’s going to be and then when it’s taken away from you it’s really difficult. You just have to deal with it though, there is nothing I could have done."

Abbie's midwife has still been to visit, but only once – and just to weigh Arlo. 


ABBIE NORTON 6People have been able to see her son through the window (photo: Abbie Norton)

She added: "My midwife came out the next day but my partner had to go upstairs. It was just me, which was really hard on my partner, because he had questions too. The midwife sat away from us and it wasn't very personal, and she was so apologetic and you could tell she felt for me, but there was nothing she could do.

"I’m not allowed to register him. The midwife told me they will contact me when they’re back open and running, I can still go to the doctors and he’ll be under my name – but he won’t have a birth certificate until this is all over. "

Abbie's family members see Arlo from a distance through the window, but her family members haven't been able to interact with him. 

She continued: "That's what has affected me the most, not seeing my family have that first hold with him and make a bond with him."

Abbie has family both close by and in London. Her family locally have seen him from the window, but adhering to social distancing measures, while those further afield have still been unable to visit.

It's unknown when the restrictions will be lifted, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson should give further guidance when he addresses the public on Thursday, May 7.