As some of you may know, I delivered baby #2 back in April. He was 10 days early but was perfectly healthy. Today I want to share with you what it was like having a baby amid the COVID-19 pandemic and how it differed from when I had my first son.
Due to COVID-19, I was only allowed to have my birthing partner (my husband) in the room during and after the baby was born. No one else could come visit while we were in the hospital. I knew this in the weeks leading up to having my son and cried a good bit about it. My mother wasn’t allowed to be there. She had always been there for every woman in my family and was there when all of my cousins were born. She was there for the birth of my first son, but now, she wasn’t going to be able to be there for the birth of her second grandson. In addition to this, I knew I wouldn’t be able to have that moment in the hospital where my first child come to meet his new baby brother. This would have to be put off until after we were discharged home.
The birth was actually very quick, as most second and third babies are. In the days leading up to the birth, I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for hours at a time, but they didn’t hurt so I brushed them off as this is normal. The day before actually giving birth, I told my husband it was either going to happen that day or the next, mother’s intuition I suppose. The day of the birth, I woke up having Braxton Hicks contractions. I took a shower while my husband went to pick up our online grocery order from Walmart. Immediately after my shower (about 1:00 pm), the contractions got stronger and uncomfortable. I didn’t want to go to the hospital prematurely so I waited a while longer to see if this was really it. About 1:30-2:00, my husband got home and was disinfecting the groceries and bringing them in. I told him he needed to hurry up and this was it. I was very uncomfortable with every contraction and they were getting closer, now about every 3.5-4.5 minutes apart. It was time to go to the hospital. He called his parents and they come to pick up my oldest son. As soon as they gathered up my son and his things, we headed to the hospital, face masks in tow. I sent everybody the text that it was about to go down. We got to triage about 3:30 and they put me on the monitor. I kept my composure as long as I could but eventually I was getting somewhat loud with each contraction. They finally checked me at about 4:00. I was 5cm and they were going to admit me. Five minutes later, they’re rolling me to my room and my water breaks. They check me immediately after getting to my room. I’m now 8cm and they’re calling the doctor. One nurse is putting in my IV, another is getting me admitted into the computer, another is breaking down the bed, and yet another is getting the baby stuff ready. I’m begging for my epidural, knowing good and well I’m out of time. The doctor comes in and checks me again. I’m now 10cm and it’s time to push. Two pushes later (at 4:37pm) and the baby is out, no epidural y’all (but not by choice!).
Because the birth went so quickly, I didn’t have time to be upset about my family not being able to be there. My husband was in charge of sending updates and pictures of baby once he was born and he did a great job. That night, we Facetimed each of our parents and talked with them. Admittedly, a few tears were shed.
The following days were surprisingly peaceful, in comparison to when my first son was born and everyone come to visit us in the hospital. We didn’t have to stress about visitors showing up unannounced or having to breastfeed the baby around visitors, etc. Even the hospital staff tried to keep there presence to a minimum to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Masks were always worn by all the staff and of course they were on top of washing their hands when entering the room. Luckily, the days went by quickly without any problems and we were able to be discharged two days later.
Leaving the hospital, I was super excited about picking up my oldest and introducing him to his new brother. He’s 2.5 years old, so you can imagine, I wasn’t disappointed with his reactions. He was adorable! He wanted to interact with him but every now and then you could see some hesitation like he didn’t really know what to think of his little brother. Bringing them home is another post for another time though– there really is an adjustment period for going from one child to two. My oldest also showed out a couple weeks, making it even harder (but thankfully, he’s better now).
As for introducing our newest addition to the rest of the family, we decided to wait several weeks (six, actually). With the steady incline in COVID-19 cases, we wanted to decrease the chance of catching the virus as much as possible, especially while he was still brand new. Just recently, we finally allowed our family to meet and interact with our new son. Everyone enjoyed meeting him and we have tons of great memories from it. I am happy that we waited six weeks to allow his immune system to build a little bit but it was frustrating to have to keep our distance from our family for so long.
In summary, having a baby during the pandemic is scary and different. But, it will be okay! You and your baby’s health and safety takes priority. It’s okay to be scared and to cry. For me personally, although leading up to the birth of my son was scary, the birth and postpartum period wasn’t so bad. Dare I say it, there was a bit of calm to delivering during the pandemic. It was kind of nice to be able to just relax at the hospital and at home with our new family and adjust without being bombarded by guests all the time.
Momma, you will be okay!