We have been home for almost two weeks and we are so in love with our precious newborn. Giving birth during a pandemic was definitely different than what my first experience was. I got a lot of questions regarding what my experience was like and I thought I’d take a second to share some thoughts. I am sure most of the people reading this will either be reading it because they are expecting or just curious. On my Instagram, feel free to ask me any questions. I know many of you that are expecting may be a little anxious right now.
Why plan a c-section in the middle of a pandemic?
I didn’t plan one for the pandemic (if that makes sense). I had a very difficult birthing experience with my first son. I won’t go into details but I needed an emergency surgery, two blood transfusions and I was on oxygen for 24 hours. It was actually the safest choice the second time around to have a c-section. It was also planned 9 months ago before all this even happened. Taking a chance and having natural birth would have not only put me in danger but my baby as well.
Were you allowed visitors?
No, we could have no visitors besides my support person which was my husband.
Did you feel scared at the hospital during such a crazy time?
No, the hospital I went to actually has a separate building for maternity. That gave me some peace. Some hospitals are connected to the main building and in order to get to the maternity area, you have to go through the main hospital, thankfully that wasn’t our case.
What if your husband had to leave for an emergency?
Unfortunately, we were told that he could not leave the building for more than 5 minutes; otherwise, he would not be allowed back in.
Did you have to wear a mask the entire time?
Yes, we were given one mask to wear the entire time. We were allowed to take it off alone but when we had visitors from doctors or nurses, we had to put it on.
Do you still wear a mask with your baby, now that you are home?
No, however we are staying with my parents so I can have help. They do not leave the house for any reason other than for food shopping. They shop early in the morning once a week, come home change and wash their hands immediately. If my Mom holds the baby, she washes her hands and wears a mask.
Has it been hard to not have family see the baby?
Yes, it’s been hard. My brother and sister in law have not seen our baby. My husband’s family saw him once through a window. I feel bad but I’d rather be safe than sorry. When it comes to my babies, their life is not worth any risk for a family member to “not feel bad” and my family is all on board with that.
How is quarantine life with a toddler and baby?
It’s really not bad. When you have a newborn, you have to quarantine anyways. So, I try my best to balance my time with Tommy and Zack as best as possible. Definitely having my parents around has been a HUGE help. My husband is an essential worker so he is still working. I have limited movement since I had a c-section so it’s been a challenge as far as being able to stay active with Tommy but again, my Mom and Dad have been a blessing during this time.
How are you still working and taking care of a newborn?
I am blessed to have help! I think my first baby I tried to be a “hero” and do everything. However, I had one too many breakdowns because of it. I accept the help, I’m not offended over it and I try to do a little work at a time. For example, right now Tommy is in the pool and Zack is sleeping, so I thought perfect time to get a little work done and write a blog post! If I couldn’t, then I’d do it another time. It is what it is and I can’t put pressure on myself to meet everyone’s expectations.
What does your husband do for a living that makes him an essential worker?
LOL, this was a funny question because I didn’t think anyone would care. A while ago in a blog post I wrote that my husband was going to return to school to get a specialty in Accounting. He starts in the summer and he works in specialty food distribution. My husband and his family has been in the grocery/ food distribution business for many years.
Were you able to receive food from family or get deliveries during your time at the hospital?
Yes! That was one of the first things we asked too! Many family members were gracious to send us food from different restaurants to my husband and I could eat. The food at our hospital wasn’t so bad either!
I’m expecting this summer and I’m freaking out about the hospital, what do I do?
I am not a health care worker or in mental health services but my only opinion would be to talk to your doctor and ask lots of questions. That helped me. I think the fear is mostly the unknown. Don’t Google anything. My doctor always jokes about that. But sometimes that can do more harm than good because everyone’s situation is different. I was extremely nervous the morning of going to the hospital. Take it a moment at a time. We are Christians and believe in prayer. We prayed a lot and are grateful for that support. My nurse prayed with us (without us asking) and it was like a weight lifted off of me. One thing I know is nurses are the biggest blessing to a patient.
Can I have my doula or midwife present?
I did have a midwife present but that’s how the doctor’s office I go to does it. He does the birth with the midwife. I do not know about bringing an “outside” midwife with you. You’d have to call the hospital or ask your doctor about that.
I don’t want to be at the hospital any longer than I have to….were you allowed to leave a day early if it was safe?
The hospital told us, if the baby and I were healthy we could leave a day early. They weren’t trying to “make us leave” early but if we wanted to, we had that option. Because I had a c-section, I technically was allowed to leave after 3 days but I left after two. I couldn’t wait to go home and see my son and just be with my baby and family.
Finally, I would say not to fear. I think after watching the news, it made me more stressed than what my hospital experience was. Remember, they keep you separate from the sick area to protect you and the baby. Yes, there are some frightening moments. When we pulled up we saw all the tents and personnel outside preparing for new COVID patients to arrive. The first thing they did was take my husband’s temperature when we checked in- if he had a temperature he wasn’t allowed to be with me. We had to wear masks the entire time during our stay (the same mask I also had surgery with). So, yes, it was unusual. However, I reminded myself it’s only two days (even though it felt like a week). I took it moment by moment. I called my family via Facetime often for support and prayed a lot. You have to advocate for yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable then tell the nurses. They don’t want complaints, so they will try their best to make you happy. If you need to talk to someone, then they will provide that too (at least my hospital did). Finally, you are not alone, I have several friends that have similar experiences. Just that alone gave me some peace of mind.
Essentials I brought to the Hospital
***Recent blog post on “What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag” here
***I want to thank every hospital worker, nurse, doctor and frontline worker. You are the true heroes and we appreciate your hard work and sacrifice. I hope by reading this it helps anyone who is worried about giving birth during this time. Remember, this too shall pass.