A special birthing experience in challenging times

How The Portland Hospital is continuing to provide maternity care for parents and parents-to-be

Krystina, Mario and baby Tony
We couldn’t have asked for a more magical experience.


Krystina and Mario couldn’t have been more thrilled when they fell pregnant after two years of trying to conceive. Thankfully, the pregnancy was plain sailing and they had their birthing plan prepared and ready. However, during a scan at Barnet Hospital at 37 weeks, the couple were advised against a natural birth as the baby had grown quite big. Krystina said: “I had always wanted a natural birth - it had been in our birthing plan from the beginning - but the baby had other ideas!” 
Not long after this decision was made, the risk that coronavirus (COVID-19) posed to the UK became more pronounced. Due to the outbreak, and the consequent need to free up capacity in NHS hospitals to treat patients with COVID-19, their care was transferred to The Portland Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK – something that was made possible due to a ground-breaking partnership between the independent sector and the NHS.  

Welcomed and assured on arrival

When the couple arrived at the hospital, they felt confident that The Portland Hospital was doing everything possible to minimise the risk of COVID-19: “Before admission, I was tested for the virus, and my husband was temperature checked on arrival, which was immediately reassuring. We truly felt that the hospital was taking a lot of precautions to keep us safe, which made the transfer easier,” Krystina commented. 

Mario added: “It was an anxious time, there’s no denying that, especially as we’d built up to this moment for so long. But I can honestly say, from the second we entered The Portland Hospital, every member of staff were amazing. From the reception team who greeted us, to the doctors, midwives, anaesthetists and porters – we immediately felt welcomed and at ease. I instantly felt that we could trust them.” 

When the time came for the couple to enter theatre, again they were quite nervous, as this wasn’t something they had planned for. Krystina explained: “There were a lot of people in theatre. But rather than it being daunting, every single person introduced themselves and explained their role in enough detail that I immediately felt calm. Mario said it was the calmest he’s ever seen me!” 

The caesarean went as planned, and little Tony was brought safely into the world by Mr Christian Barnick.

Baby Tony 100th NHS baby

Mario said: “We couldn’t have asked for a more magical experience. That first moment, when the midwife closed the door to our room and we were alone together for the first time as a family of three – it was so special and something we will never forget. We couldn’t be more grateful to the doctors and midwives who helped make it so wonderful.” 

I had always wanted a natural birth - it had been in our birthing plan from the beginning - but the baby had other ideas!


Adjusting to motherhood

During her pregnancy, Krystina wasn’t sure whether she would want to breastfeed, but she was open to trying it. She said: “Ellie - one of the midwives – was simply amazing. She was so encouraging and supportive without pressuring me. She gave me confidence as a first-time mother, and I was over the moon when I was able to. It really helped me bond with Tony, especially as I was unable to change him or pick him up at the beginning. I’m still breastfeeding now, two weeks later!”  

With mum and baby doing very well, after one night they were discharged home. Mario added: “Honestly the care we all received was second-to-none - we couldn’t fault it. We've already decided that if we’re lucky enough to get pregnant again, that we without a doubt will be choosing The Portland Hospital. After this experience, we honestly wouldn’t want to give birth anywhere else.” 

Now that they’re home – they're beginning to settle into life as a family of three, Krystina said: “Of course, having a new baby is tough during COVID-19 as we desperately want to show him off to family and friends, but that will come with time. Right now, we’re incredibly grateful to all be happy and healthy – thank you so much to everyone at The Portland”. 
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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