PARENTS across Worcestershire have shared their experience of giving birth during the coronavirus lockdown.

Mhairi Ottaway gave birth to her ‘miracle baby’ Sophie Aislinn on March 23 – the night Boris Johnson announced the country’s lockdown.

Little Sophie was born weighing 8lbs 3.5oz.

Mrs Ottaway said she had been trying for a baby for seven years.

The mum said: “After over seven years trying to have another baby, and with 18 months of IVF treatment, it’s been a joy to finally have her here with us.

“With the lockdown in place, we have her eight-year-old sister, Jessica, at home instead of school, and it is amazing to watch their bond grow day by day.

“It is, however, very surreal to have her here but not to be able to fully share our joy with our family and friends or have her meet them properly or let them give her a cuddle.”

Amy Summerfield has thanked Worcestershire Royal Hospital staff for delivering her baby, Francesca Grace, on March 12, the day the government began to put more stringent coronavirus measures in place.

She described how grateful she is for her “rainbow baby” during lockdown, after her heartbreak of her first child being stillborn in 2018.

The 27-year-old said: “It’s very bittersweet because I have been a mum for the last 18 months but it’s a different kind of mum when you lose your child. People never know you are a mum.”

She added: “The maternity unit at Worcester is just amazing. Keeping women and babies safe yet offering the support to allow them to enjoy the birth of their baby during this time is their number one priority.”

Mum-of-two Gemma Walton praised the hospital nurses after they delivered her premature baby, Florence Scaife, during the pandemic.

Florence was born at 35 weeks and was put in intensive care for 24 hours.

The birth was brought forward as Florence stopped growing at 33 weeks - she was born weighing 4lb 9oz on March 29.

Miss Walton, from Clifton upon Teme, near Worcester, said: “With everything going on at the moment, I am so grateful for the NHS.”

Another bundle of joy that has come into the world is Blake Haddigan, who was born on May 13 at 9.55am.

Mum, Leanne Haddigan said: “Although it was definitely difficult going through this process alone, all of the women are in the same position and I was lucky enough to be in a room with other women who were eager to chat to each other and share their stories, rather than spend the day’s behind their curtains.”

Mrs Haddigan said all the midwives and hospital staff were “really nice and friendly” adding: “Apart from having to be there on your own at times and staff wearing full PPE, you wouldn’t know we were in the middle of a pandemic - they really do a fantastic job.

“Since having Blake, family have come to see him from afar but it’s definitely difficult for them and us with them not to be able to hold Blake or see him up close.”

Aidan Connell was born on Valentine’s Day weighing 9lb3.5oz. His mum, Zara Green, from Worcester, said: “It has been great to spend lots of time together, especially having James (dad) at home during lockdown whilst he’s writing the paper.”

“Aidan’s new cousin Theo Nicholls was born on May 19 weighing 8lbs10 also at Worcestershire Royal. Aidan’s looking forward to meeting Theo soon.”

Kimberley James gave birth to her daughter Penelope Grace James on May 9 at 7.11pm, weighing in at 7lb 6oz after a labour of 12 hours and 51 minutes.

Mrs James was admitted on May 6 for induction and stayed at Worcestershire Royal Hospital until she gave birth.

She said: “My pregnancy was not an easy one. Penelope was diagnosed with hydrops fetalis and a cystic hygroma at 12 weeks and was offered a termination.

“Penelope defied all odds and the hydrops disappeared at 16 weeks and the cystic hygroma also disappeared after 20 weeks.

“Since then I was under consultant led care and had many follow ups. We had a very rocky start to our pregnancy but had the most wonderful outcome and we couldn’t be more in love with our little girl.

“I also had to be swabbed for Covid-19 as the hospital had added in a new protocol that week of swabbing everyone that was admitted.

“Everyone that dealt with me was gowned up, wearing visors and masks, it was a surreal experience.”

Mrs James added: “I had the most amazing midwife during my labour called Rosie Smith who was so kind, caring and patient with me, even when it became a little eventful and things got a little hectic, she was always trying to make myself and my husband feel at ease.

“We can’t thank all the staff at the hospital enough for looking after us all.

“Unfortunately, due to lockdown I wasn’t able to have the baby shower I had planned, attend parent classes or mum meet ups that I was so looking forward to. However, none of that matters now we have our little girl.”