Pregnant in a pandemic: how the Red Cross supported one new mum in lockdown
Coronavirus restrictions meant that Jasmine had no way of getting to her antenatal appointments during her high-risk pregnancy. Then, she met British Red Cross volunteer, Tracey
Jasmine was already experiencing a difficult pregnancy when the first set of lockdown measures were announced earlier this year.
Little did she know, the restrictions would mean she would also be kept apart from her baby when he was born.
Complications during her pregnancy meant that Jasmine was identified as ‘vulnerable’ and had to take extra shielding measures.
"The baby wasn’t doing as well as he could be,” said Jasmine. “I also had pre-eclampsia, which was affecting my blood pressure. There was a lot to worry about even before the change to my appointments."
As shops and schools up and down the country began to close, Jasmine - like many pregnant women during the coronavirus pandemic - was told that her doctor’s surgery was closing and that she would have to go elsewhere.
THERE WAS A LOT TO WORRY ABOUT EVEN BEFORE THE CHANGE TO MY APPOINTMENTS.
“I was already struggling to get what I needed to look after my three-year-old daughter,” recalled Jasmine. “I was grateful that I was still being offered midwife appointments, but I don’t have a car and I don’t drive.”
Her new clinic was at least two bus rides and a walk away – a tricky journey with a small child under any circumstances, but even more daunting when combined with a high-risk pregnancy at the beginning of a global pandemic.
Jasmine was put in touch with the Red Cross after telling her GP that she was worried about how she would get to future maternity appointments. And that’s when she met Tracey.
A Red Cross community connector covering the rural area west of Basingstoke, Tracey offered to drive Jasmine to her antenatal appointments.
“When I first met Tracey, she immediately put me at ease,” said Jasmine. “She was wearing PPE and had just cleaned her car. Not only that but she was friendly and chatty – a really wonderful lady with a fantastic personality.”
Tracey has been a community connector for a year, and has 30 years’ worth of experience in caring roles. She took Jasmine to two antenatal appointments but had a surprise in store when she tried to contact Jasmine to arrange her third pick-up.
“The third time I was due to drive Jasmine, I texted her to confirm the arrangements,” said Tracey. “She told me she’d had the baby early! As her son was six weeks premature, he had to stay in hospital for treatment, while she was sent home to recover. My own first child was premature, so I had a lot of compassion for her.”
While Jasmine’s new baby, Charlie, stayed in intensive care, Jasmine was allowed to visit but couldn’t stay with him, which was upsetting for the whole family.
“That was the hardest part,” said Jasmine. “Due to coronavirus restrictions at the hospital, my partner only got to meet our son twice in two weeks. It was heart-breaking for me having to come home empty-handed and explain to my daughter why she couldn’t meet her little brother.”
Fortunately, Tracey was again on hand to take Jasmine to Charlie’s side.
“It was such a relief to know that Tracey was still there to help us,” Jasmine added. “I had no way of getting to the hospital otherwise. Tracey knew just what to say and how to help. It meant absolutely everything to me to be able to visit my baby, and the Red Cross helped make that happen.”
Charlie is now thriving at home, having been safely reunited with his parents and his big sister, Ruby.
IT MEANT EVERYTHING TO ME TO BE ABLE TO VISIT MY BABY, AND THE RED CROSS HELPED MAKE THAT HAPPEN.
“I am so grateful to Tracey and the Red Cross,” Jasmine said. “I honestly have no idea what I would have done if she hadn’t stepped in to help. Saying thank you just didn’t seem significant enough for what she did. I feel very, very lucky to have met her.”
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