HAVING a baby at any time is life changing. But having a baby during the coronavirus lockdown brings with it a whole new set of issues.

And one Newport first time mum is backing a petition to have maternity leave extended by a further three months so she and her new daughter can experience things that new parents normally just take for granted.

Gemma Sandhu, who gave birth to baby Jasmine on April 1, said: "We had waited quite a while to have our baby girl so we were so excited to get her here and settle into Mummy and Daddy life.

South Wales Argus:

Rav and Gemma Sandhu with baby Jasmine

"We were so looking forward to her meeting family and friends, having an early family photoshoot, taking her to early swimming classes and everything else that normally goes hand in hand with having a new born.

"So far she has only managed to walk to the end of the road and back in the pushchair."


Gemma and her husband Rav, live in Newport.

She said: "Our princess was born in the Royal Gwent after three days in labour. She was eventually born by a forcep delivery - Jasmine obviously knew the world is a strange place at the moment and wanted to stay put.

"The staff at the Gwent were amazing. I would never have got through the ordeal without the care and compassion of so many incredible people.

"I was very nervous about going into hospital, mostly because I knew my husband couldn't join me until I was in established labour.

"Rav dropped me in the car park with my suitcase, contractions in full flow and tears rolling down my face. The walk from the car to the Birth Centre felt like the longest and hardest walk of my life. I was greeted by a lovely member of staff in full PPE and smiling eyes and knew I was in good hands.

"She handed me a mask which I needed to keep on, easier said than done when you have contractions coming every four minutes. I was handed over to my midwife - she was an angel.

"About an hour later I was in established labour and called Rav to return to the hospital. I have never been so glad to see him.

"We went through everything over the next 18 hours until finally our Princess Jasmine was born.

"Rav had to leave a few hours later as he wasn't allowed to come to the maternity ward. This was very difficult and I was quite worried how I would get through the night without him. I'd had two epidurals so mobility wasn't going to return for a while.

"But the midwives were just incredible and checked on us both every couple of hours to ensure we were coping. It was an emotional reunion the following day when Rav returned to collect us both."

Since getting home from hospital Gemma has had two visits from a midwife.

"She checked Jasmine over, weighed her and did numerous tests and was also able to check me over, we then saw another midwife the following week and had a chat with a health visitor on the phone.

"Jasmine is now five weeks old and we haven't heard from anyone since she was two weeks old. I know I could contact my health visitor if I was concerned about something but it would be nice to see someone. I have no idea what Jasmine weighs but I know she is doing well."


Gemma said: "The most difficult part is that Jasmine is a first grandchild for my parents. Luckily they live over the road so they have been able to see her. But it's a different story for my in-laws who live in Birmingham. Thank goodness for modern technology. We have been video calling most days but this isn't the same as them being able to give her a cuddle.

"As soon as we can, we will be piling everything into the car and heading to Birmingham so Jasmine can finally meet her other set of grandparents, aunty, uncle and her cousin. Then we will be looking forward to Jasmine meeting her Great Grandparents and Aunties back home in Newport."

She said: "We are never going to get these early days back but an extended maternity leave would give Jasmine and myself to opportunity to access Mum and Baby groups and hopefully spend some more time together as she is developing. I would also love my husband to be able to take another week's paternity. He wasn't able to add any annual leave onto his paternity as he is a key worker and was needed back as soon as his two weeks were up."