HAVING a baby is one of the most emotional experiences of your life.

It can be scary, painful but ultimately the most joyous moment.

In these days of the coronavirus pandemic, birth is more challenging than ever.

East Suffolk and North Essex Trust has limited expectant mums to one birthing partner due to the risk of Covid-19 infection.

There is also no visiting to postnatal wards.

And for some mums, it can be a lonely and overwhelming experience.

However, three women who gave birth at Colchester Hospital have described how they shared a bond during this unusual time.

Jenna Mowbray, 31, from Colchester, had a routine growth scan at 38 weeks and was kept in due to complications caused by pre-eclampsia.

Her son, Jack, was born on April 25.

Jenna was kept on Lexden ward which she said felt “daunting and lonely” as her family couldn’t be with her.

But she was able to strike up a conversation with other mums on the ward.

Jenna said: “When you’re here with your partner or family you get into your bubble and you’re not really trying to be sociable as you have someone to talk to and distract you, but this made us talk to each other.

“It’s really scary and hard for everyone but I know it can’t be helped and the quality of care hasn’t been compromised at all.”

Catherine Hooker had twins by emergency caesarean section.

Newborns Chloe Rose and Jack Peter were taken straight to the hospital’s neonatal unit as they arrived six weeks early.

Catherine, 36, from Colchester, said: “It’s hard but it has been lovely having the curtains open and talking. You don’t feel so alone because everyone is in the same boat.

“It was quite traumatic and I thought I had lost the babies but the midwives were lovely and reassured me they were OK.”

The pair were joined by Nicole Reece, 37, from Harwich, who was in hospital as her baby was overdue.

Her son, Elliott, was born on April 25.

“You come in on your own, but you’re just made to feel really welcome, at ease and comfortable,” she said.

“It’s so nerve wracking, but it’s been a much better experience than I thought it would be and it’s down to the people who have been in here and the midwives.

“This is where you need contact and you can’t even see their facial expressions because of the masks, but they are doing the best job they can.

“I’d just encourage other people to do the same thing we did - open the curtains and talk to each other when you can’t have visitors.

“You have to remember everyone is in the same situation.”