'I wouldn't still be here if it wasn't for him' - Mother talks of emotional experience with partner after difficult birth in lockdown

A new mother said her partner is the reason she is still alive after going through a difficult birth in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak.

A new mother said her partner is the reason she is still alive after going through a difficult birth in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak.

Ana Gonzalez lives with her boyfriend Thomas McCrory and their new-born in Coleridge, Glasgow.

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The 38-year-old had an emergency cesarean in the Princess Royal Hospital to deliver their daughter Alice on March 31, a week after the country went into lockdown.

Ana and Alice shortly after she was born in Princess Royal on March 31

The first-time parent said she wouldn’t have made it through the experience without Thomas being there to look after her.

“If I didn’t have him with me I honestly don’t think I would have survived,” Ana said.

“Because of the coronavirus we are on our own, and if he wasn’t here helping me I wouldn’t have managed.

“The wound I have from the C-section needs a lot of care and I am less mobile because of it so he’s saving me and our baby.”

While the couple are isolating in their home, Ana said she went for hours without Thomas during the four days she spent in hospital.

Due to the restrictions, he was only able to visit her when she went into the labour ward and for a few hours after her cesarean.

“It was a horrible moment when he was told to leave after Alice was born,” Ana said.

“I had to stay in the hospital for three days on my own recovering, no visitors allowed when I really needed them.

“It was an awful experience to go through alone.

“I know it’s because of the current situation and to keep people protected, but it’s still terrifying when you’re a first time mum.”

No family visits

Ana, who is on maternity leave from her job as a tour guide at the Clydeside distillery, is originally from Madrid and her close family are currently in Spain.

Her mother tried to book a flight to Scotland to isolate with Ana, Thomas and Alice, but her journey was cancelled.

“It is so difficult not knowing when my family are going to meet Alice,” the mother-of-one said, emotion in her voice.

“With the current restrictions, Spain might not let people travel until October. By then Alice will be six months, it’s a long time. Thomas’s family have been able to see her, but only from a distance.

“I could also really do with the extra help in these first weeks.

“She has to be fed every two hours and, she’s such a tiny little thing but her lungs are so powerful.

“Thomas has just been fantastic though. He has taken on night shifts looking after her and he’s always looking after me, even when my hormones make me a little crazy.”

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Lack of guidance

Ana said one of the hardest parts of her experience having a baby was the lack of guidance before and after the birth due to the strict COVID-19 lockdown measures.

Many of her antenatal classes leading up to giving birth were cancelled.

“I was due to have a breast feeding class on March 18 which would have really helped me because I wasn’t sure what to do, but it was cancelled. I know you can read about things but it’s not the same as having hands-on guidance.

“I was also meant to have classes that advised you on what positions you could get into to be more comfortable, and what to expect in the hospital. All of these would have made my life so much easier.

“I was very much on my own. And we still are.”

Health checks limited

Ana and Thomas would normally have visits from health professionals once a day.

But due to the pandemic, check-ups have been restricted to about one visit every two weeks.

“For some mothers who have had children before there’s a bit of experience on what to do. But when it’s your first time, it’s overwhelming.

“It’s exhausting, but we will do anything to make sure Alice has all that she needs.”

The first time parents are also experiencing a financial strain during lockdown.

While Ana is receiving income from her maternity leave, Thomas, a self-employed brick layer, is out of work.

“We need to look at the benefit system, which is complicated and quite a lot to go through when looking after a tiny baby,” Ana said.

“But at this moment in time I am relieved Thomas is not working and is here with me, he’s been amazing.”

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