LAST week I had my baby, under what I can only describe as the most anxiety-provoking time of my life.

This wasn’t just because I was pregnant, which brings with it it’s own anxieties for mums-to-be, no it was because I was scared about coronavirus and it’s potential impact on me and my baby.

Being on the other side of the consultation table and being the patient is always an insightful experience. This however was beyond my imagination as I felt stuck and vulnerable in every way.

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Much like every other person in the country right now, the daily changes and reviewing of guidelines, is unsettling for me. Everyday we are updated on the rising death toll and confirmed cases and it properly stresses me out. If as a doctor, who understands this on a deeper level, I feel this, it makes me wonder how the general public are coping.

Everyday I hear about another healthcare worker whose died and I worry a little more as I watch my husband go out to do his duties as a NHS frontline doctor. Thoughts haunt me, “will he be next?”

Messages come in as my friends and colleagues – who are either key workers or NHS healthcare professionals – inform us that they are self-isolating due to COVID-19.

The irony is that this group worry less about themselves but more about whether they have passed it on to their clients or patients. They care less about getting better and more about scrambling to get tested to find out if they can return to work because we cannot stop. Our patients need us.

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Many of my friends and colleagues who have children feel the guilt as they have to drop their kids off to school only to return after longer working hours under increased pressure, to then worry about whether they will be passing it on to their families. What a desperate time we are all living in.

However, there is hope and I witnessed this during my short stay in hospital last week. I entered in fear of the very establishment I work for. Walking through empty corridors of what is a normally busy hospital, the eerie quiet was unsettling. Careful of what to touch, to stay away from everyone is counterintuitive to a medic.

We nurture by nature but now every healthcare worker felt like a threat, a potential carrier of coronavirus.

As the hours went by, and I was about to have my baby, something changed. I let go. I let go of the thoughts, I was too tired to worry anymore. “These humans are here to help me. I’m one of them. We are in this together,” I recited to myself.

I spent much time on my own as partners are not allowed until active birth begins so this time gave me space to process things. I looked through the windows at other mums, also in isolation, and we all gave each other a comforting look. “We are in this together”, became my mantra for getting through this.

From the midwives, the theatre staff, the anaesthetist to the incredible obstetrician who delivered my baby, I felt held. I was supported, taken care of, reassured and reminded that what’s bigger than this coronavirus is our solidarity. It’s our humanity and our abilities to be able to take care of each other in times of need.

I surrendered to my carers and as a result I experienced a surreal birth where a new life, hope and a ray of sunshine was brought into this world.

Having seen first hand how much kindness is being sprinkled across the city by everyone doing their best to support one another and having been a patient cared for by the NHS, I feel incredibly grateful in a time of such uncertainty.

No matter how grim this may get, we will all get through this and come out the other side to a new world that is full of appreciation for each other and our collective strengths and abilities to beat anything thrown at us.