‘I sat in A&E alone beside myself crying for five hours. Honestly, I just wanted the world to end. The baby could have died’

Hollie talks to Matthew Childs about her pregnancy scare and her experiences being pregnant during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Finding out you are pregnant is one of the most memorable and amazing moments of life, regardless of whether coronavirus is around every corner. But then the bleeding came. Sitting in A&E by yourself for five hours conjuring the worst outcomes in your head because you simply do not know if your child is going to be ok.

For Hollie, a 21-year-old nurse from York, this is what she had to go through at the start of her pregnancy.

“I sat in A&E alone beside myself crying for five hours. Honestly, I just wanted the world to end. The baby could have died,” she says.

“I had to have an internal scan and I was so scared of what the result might be. All I wanted was to have Ryan with me to let me know everything was going to be ok, but coronavirus meant that I was on my own for five hours.”

Luckily, everything was OK, but now there is the impending doom of coronavirus and what effect it might have on the child.

With the background of ongoing Covid restrictions Hollie and boyfriend Ryan, have decided to go private for the remainder of her pregnancy.

Hollie says that the coronavirus has brought special measures to the NHS, and this means that Ryan would be unable to be with her during her pregnancy scans or any other pregnancy visits. She says that going private means that Ryan is able to be there by her side for all their special moments.

“Ryan is really excited and supportive of me and the baby. Ever since the day I went into hospital bleeding I am certain I want Ryan with me as much as I can.

Going private was a tough choice but definitely worth it. This means that Ryan can be by my side for the pregnancy scans rather than him having to wait in the car and only be able to see pictures,” she says.

Hollie is now 25 weeks pregnant. With her pregnancy scare on the forefront of her mind she does not want to take any risks with coronavirus.

“It’s a completely different ball game. I have to be the one to restrict visitors now and when she is born. It is even more different than usual, I just want to be safe,” she says.

“I’m scared to see friends because a lot of them have been socialising with other people. It’s really irritating at times as I do not feel supported, I ultimately have to put my foot down for me and my child’s safety.”

Having a child during coronavirus has its difficulties. Not being able to see family and friends is isolating. You would not usually be worried about simple things such as going shopping but because of coronavirus even getting food is a challenge.

“You are always conscious about everything you do. I have realised that even going shopping has its difficulties. I either have to go really early or late at night,” she says.

Before coronavirus being pregnant still had its difficulties, of course, but there was a greater access to support and group talks. Some of these are vital for young parents to understand things that they may not have considered before. Unfortunately, now these are limited or not happening all together, which has an effect on young parents.

Hollie says, “There are no opportunities for me to do antenatal talks or group sessions. This is hard as I am unable to connect with other mums and raise any issues that I have. Since I am a young mum its very difficult because I don’t want to get anything wrong when the child is born.”

Part of the reason why Hollie is finding it difficult to find support or attend group sessions is due to her work as a nurse.

“I have gruelling 12 hour shifts and the next day I’m just recovering due to fatigue. Since I have more to carry now, I have got sciatica in my hip which makes me very tired and anxious,” she says.

Hollie also expresses her concerns about working with face masks for long periods of time. “Masks have made it worse for me. The measures I need to take to protect myself have made it worse. I’ve been sick in my masks and I have fainted because of the hot air blowing into my face. I have been given the option to use a visor, but I don’t feel comfortable wearing that as I don’t think it’s as protective as a mask.”

“I could have cut down my hours at work from 12 hours to six, but that would mean I would have to work more frequently increasing the risk of catching coronavirus,” she says.

Working as a nurse during coronavirus is so much different for Hollie now because along with protecting her patients, she has to protect her child.

Hollie’s baby is due 6th February 2021. Although it is still three months away coronavirus isn’t going anywhere and will create problems for Hollie. One of these will be when she is ready to give birth.

Hospitals have got regulations to maintain and one of these is that whilst Hollie is giving birth, she is unable to have anyone at her side until she has established labour.

“Ryan will miss out on my contraction period and won’t be able to support me until I have established labour. This is scary as all I want is for someone to be by my side to support me and tell me that everything is going to be OK,” she says.

“Even after the baby is born Ryan will only be able to stay with me for two hours. After this he is able to see me in visiting hours. This is shocking because if something happens to the baby he might not be here, and I will have to face the problems by myself. I really want him by my side, but it is something that I will have to live with.”

Having a child in the face of coronavirus comes with extreme difficulties and precautions, but having support from friends and family makes it so much better and reminds you of how special having a child really is.

Coronavirus isolation for students: ‘The three of us formed such a strong bond and supported each other’

By Adam Rear

With lockdown restrictions becoming ever tighter and the number of COVID-19 cases increasing every week, the prospect of going into isolation is becoming more of a possibility for students due to the nature of social mixing in university halls of residence.

According to the GOV.UK website, the government guidance if a person in your household tests positive for COVID-19 is that you must stay at home for 14 days.

The 14-day period starts from the day the first person in your house developed symptoms or, if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken.

Also according to the guidance, if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 yourself you do not need a test. You are urged to only arrange a test if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.

Third year Law student Chloe Moon went through 14 days of self-isolation after her housemate tested positive.

“It wasn’t as bad as I feared, mainly because I had good company and people who were willing to help. However after isolating for two weeks, I understand how some people could fear going into isolation alone or even how people had bad experiences with it,” she said.

Chloe, 21, enjoying the last day of isolation with a celebratory drink and celebration

 “There were a lot of adjustments to make to our lifestyles. A simple one was getting a supermarket delivery rather than popping to the shops.

“I feel like it was very hard to separate work from pleasure as we were contained within this six room house. So we had to regroup and think what was convenient and best for all.”

With universities and residential halls welcoming back thousands of students, the likelihood of isolation is becoming a harsh reality for many.

That is especially the case in Leicester where the Government’s latest lockdown regulations see the city placed into the Tier 2 high alert category.

For Chloe and her housemates, they worked together to make sure everyone coped with self-isolation.

“We had to discuss that it was okay for us to get up and leave if we needed some space and that we shouldn’t always take each other’s actions personally,” she continued.

“The three of us formed such a strong bond and supported each other. We had more movie marathons and binge watched more TV episodes than I’d like to admit, but it definitely helped as it’s things students don’t always have time for such as our 24 hour Harry Potter movie bonanza.”

NHS nurses unhappy with declining PPE quality

By Luke Pawley

Nurses worry over PPE quality amid rising COVID-19 cases

NHS nurses across Leicestershire are unhappy about the declining quality of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The issues have arisen over a number of weeks, affecting nurses working in NHS hospitals and out in the wider community, including midwives and district nurses.

Nurses are feeling increasingly unsafe at work as the number of daily COVID-19 cases continues to rise and with Leicestershire remaining in the ‘high’ tier of restrictions imposed by the government.

“There has been a massive decline in the last few weeks,” said one community nurse, whose colleagues conduct a lot of home visits and must ensure their safety in unknown environments.

“There have been constant changes and each set (of PPE) has got worse and worse,” she added. “Our masks are snapping as soon as we put them on, the aprons are terrible and you only have to look at a pair of gloves for them to rip.”

Nurses working in hospitals have also noticed a decline in quality over time and are unhappy with procedures. The problem is understood to stretch across many hospitals across the city and county, increasing anxiety across several county NHS Trusts.

“The quality of PPE has been affected massively,” said one nurse at Leicester General Hospital. “We’re having to deal with more infections now than at the height of the pandemic as we have resumed loads of operations and procedures.”

With routine procedures continuing to run as the number of COVID-19 cases rise, the situation with PPE across the county is worse than ever for many members of staff.

“But with the pandemic still going on, and more COVID-19 patients in hospital than in March, we’re using more PPE than ever. Cost-cutting measures have been taken and the quality of material is getting poorer,” she added.

“There have also been problems with standards of infection prevention as use of disposable aprons is not being managed properly.”

Staff have been told that downgrades have been made due to a lack of local NHS funding. No further explanation or solution has been offered.

The NHS Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups were asked for a comment but, at the time of publication, have not responded.

Leicestershire County Council’s Director of Public Health Mike Sandys has also failed to reply.

Web developer struggles in COVID-19 pandemic

By Kira Gibson

A web developer has learnt the struggles of being on mandatory lockdown from the government.

Scott Mokler (32) worked as a web developer for Profile Digital Agency in Huntingdon until they announced a temporary closure via their social media channels on March 23rd and let him go the same day via email due to a lack of income from clients.

The company ran off a number of clients bringing in an income and paying their retainers. However, due to the Coronavirus, clients have pulled out and aren’t paying the deposits so unfortunately the company had to make hard cuts as they couldn’t afford to pay a lot of the staff.

Scott is also a parent to five children and is having to deal with the ramifications of having the majority of his children under one roof all of the time.


Scott Mokler (Photo credit Kirstie Mokler)

He said: “The kids are struggling without the routine of not going to school.”

He added that because of the financial problems coming with being laid off, and companies closing due to this country lockdown, he is “trying to keep busy at home but limited to what we can do really.”

Unfortunately, the restriction on what you can do and where you can go has also had a negative impact on Scott’s mental health which has significantly changed his life.

There are pathways to get help for the mental health side of things but they are hard to access at this particular moment.

Despite all of the troubles that Scott faces being at home and dealing with this crisis, he still manages to smile and make his kids feel less stressed and upset whilst everything is going on.

For any help with your mental health in Cambridgeshire the crisis line is 111 and option 2. In Leicestershire, the crisis line number is 0116 305 0004. This line is open office hours and for an out of hours crisis please call 0116 255 1606. The Samaritans are open 24/7 in all areas on 116 123.


Coronavirus impacts on Pokemon group

By Kira Gibson

Many of the local Pokemon group in March, Cambridgeshire have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Almost all of the group have started working from home, if possible, and those who can’t have been trying to cope with the early closure of schools and worrying about keeping their families safe.

Laura Collop-Miller, one of the group admins, said: “I’m very fortunate that I can do my job easily from home with no disruptions.

“If anything, it [the outbreak] has increased my productivity.

“Socially it’s a struggle, I live alone and not seeing people for days at a time is not easy.

“I’m a carer for an elderly friend once or twice a week so my main priority is making sure that when I do go out, I’m much more aware of who’s around and how far away.”

There have been a multitude of different responses to the outbreak in the UK with some being frustrated as they’ve lost their job because of everything closing to try and halt the spread of the disease.

A parent in the group, Chantelle Banks-Tahir, said: “It’s not too bad apart from having to entertain the three kids all day long and the issues around food with supply and demand.”

Overall, the group has placed a ban on raiding (battling and catching rare Pokemon in groups) unless it is in keeping with government guidelines as many of the group use the game as an escape and an outlet for their mental health difficulties.


The Pokemon Group in July 2018 (Photo credit Stuart Mokler)