• Katy Rigg

Pierre-Liam, Martine and Noah - 23rd March

This is the eleventh and final lockdown baby story in the series and an extra special one for several reasons. This is the story of my cousin and his wife, and not only did the couple write their account together, but they have written it in French, with a translation provided by my aunt. You can choose which version you prefer to read, as both are shared on my website.

Lockdown in France was so much stricter than here in the UK, with people not being able to leave their homes for reasons beyond absolute essentials, and all outings had to be documented. They were lucky that Noah was born no later than he was, as the following day, fathers were not allowed to be present at the birth of their child at all. Once at home, Pierre-Liam and Martine were unable to take baby Noah for a walk, or to the park for several months, and visits from loved ones were completely off the cards. The fact that they were able to derive so much joy from their lockdown experience, despite all this, is a testament to their love, gratitude and optimism.

I hope you enjoy reading it.

We are so happy to have welcomed our first child, Noah, into the world; our little boy, who is so full of life. Each birth is unique, but Noah’s is even more so as he will always be a ‘lockdown baby’.

A week after his due date (March 17th 2020), we had to go the maternity clinic to check the baby’s vital signs. Pierre-Liam couldn’t come with me for these check-ups because of the lockdown security rules so he went through early lockdown frustration, in the car, without being able to come and hear the baby’s heartbeat while I was half-terrified at having to go to all these appointments alone, especially as Noah was over a week overdue…

On March 22nd 2020, we went to the maternity clinic for an induction. Pierre-Liam was able to be present for the birth almost ‘normally’ - except for having to wear a mask and not being allowed to leave the room at any time. We were lucky, as from the day after Noah’s birth, fathers were no longer allowed in. The separation was very difficult, with mixed feelings going from happiness to tears to fear… It was a horrible separation and the situation was even worse for me because I’d had a c-section so it was very complicated to carry my baby and be alone for 3 days without Noah’s Dad. Noah was adorable during his father’s absence, as if he knew the situation was unusual. The maternity department was very busy because there were no fathers around and the staff were running around helping lonely Mums with their babies. Being alone with Noah was a challenge but also a wonderful opportunity; it was a unique moment, and we realised how incredible the human mind can be to pull through in any situation!

The day we left the maternity clinic - a day earlier than planned - was a bit problematic; I had to carry Noah because fathers were still not allowed in, so I had to take Noah down, then make three further trips to collect all our stuff and load the car to meet up with Pierre-Liam outside without anybody’s help. After 5 days at the maternity clinic, coming home was a huge relief. In France, lockdown was extremely strict; outings had to be documented and were limited to the bare necessities. So we feel very fortunate, happy and content to have spent Noah’s first two months with him 24/7 (as Pierre-Liam was in lockdown, his paternity leave which would normally be 2 weeks, became 60 days…!) Our baby’s medical care was (and still is) subject to certain strict rules; midwives and nurses came with masks, disinfectant and gloves following an extra special procedure. Each appointment at the paediatrician's (at age 2 weeks, 1 month and each month after that until his fifth-month) could only be with one parent at a time so it was very frustrating and complicated not to be together at those important times.

The main downsides have been not being able to take him out - for walks in the park for instance - but most importantly, not being able to see our family or our friends after Noah’s birth. It was very hard not to be able to show him to the family, especially his grand-parents who haven’t been able to hold him, let alone cuddle him, since he was born.

In conclusion, we’d say we got through this unique experience pretty well. Time just flew by during the first 2 months of his life in lockdown, we hardly noticed it and Noah has been doing very well indeed since lockdown was lifted.

Nous sommes si heureux d’avoir accueilli notre premier enfant Noah, un petit garçon rempli d’énergie. Chaque naissance est unique mais celle de notre Noah encore plus car il est pour toujours un bébé du confinement. Une semaine après la date du terme (le 17 mars 2020) nous avons du nous rendre trois fois dans la semaine à la clinique afin de contrôler les constantes du bébé. Pierre-liam ne pouvait pas m’accompagner pour ces contrôles en raison des règles de sécurité. Il a donc vécu la frustration du début du confinement, dans la voiture, ne pouvant venir écouter le cœur du bébé. Moi, un peu terrifiée de me rendre seule à tous ces rendez-vous sachant que Noah a eu une semaine de retard après la date du terme. 


Le 22 mars 2020 Nous sommes partis à la maternité pour le déclenchement de la naissance. Pierre-Liam a pu assister à la naissance quasiment normalement si ce n’est l’obligation du port du masque pour tout le monde et l’interdiction de sortir de la chambre. Nous avons eu de la chance car le lendemain de la naissance de Noah les pères n’était plus autorisés à la clinique. La séparation a été très dure entre pleurs peur et bonheur. Cela a été une horrible séparation, la situation était encore plus dure pour moi car j’ai eu une césarienne. Il a donc été très compliqué de porter bébé, être seule durant trois jours sans son papa. Noah a été adorable durant l’absence de son père comme s’il savait que la situation était particulière. La maternité était très agitée car les papas étaient absents. Le personnel courait partout pour aider les nouvelles mamans restées seules avec leurs enfants. Être en duo avec Noah a été un super défi et une merveilleuse chance, c’était un moment unique et on a réalisé à quel point le mental est extraordinaire pour surmonter n’importe quelle situation. La sortie de la clinique un jour plutôt que prévu a été sportive. Les pères étant toujours interdit de séjour j’ai dû porter bébé, faire trois aller retour pour charger la voiture et rejoindre Pierre-Liam avec toutes les affaires de la semaine sans aide de quiconque. Après cinq jours à la clinique, le retour à la maison a été Une délivrance. En France le confinement a été total et les sorties strictement limitées aux besoins de première nécessité. Nous avons donc eu le bonheur et le plaisir de profiter pendant deux mois, 24 heures sur 24 de notre petit Noah, Pierre-Liam étant confiné (normalement le congé paternité en France n’est que deux 14 jours, il en a eu 60 finalement ). Les soins pour notre bébé ont été soumis à certaines règles strictes : visite de la sage femme et infirmiers avec masque désinfectant et gants en suivant un protocole particulier. Les Rendez-vous des 15 jours, un mois et jusqu’à aujourd’hui les quatre mois de Noah, sont soumis à un seul accompagnant pour aller chez le pédiatre. C’est donc un peu frustrant et compliqué de ne pas pouvoir profiter ensemble de ces moments importants. Les points négatifs ont été l’interdiction de pouvoir aller se balader avec notre enfant mais surtout l’impossibilité de voir nos proches nos parents nos amis après la naissance. Ça a été très dur de ne pas pouvoir le présenter à la famille et surtout à ses grands-parents qui n’ont pas pu le porter depuis sa naissance. En conclusion, cette expérience unique a été globalement très bien vécue. Nous n’avons pas vu passer ces deux mois de confinement et Noah se porte très bien depuis le déconfinement.

En conclusion, cette expérience unique a été globalement très bien vécue. Nous n’avons pas vu passer ces deux mois de confinement et Noah se porte très bien depuis le déconfinement.


 

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