I thought being pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic was already hard enough because of all the uncertainties surrounding Coronavirus and pregnant women & newborn babies, not to mention the fact that I, together with my family, was locked up in our house since March. Luckily, I was able to do a DIY maternity session during my second trimester before the lockdown happened. Don’t even get me started on all the pressure & stress that came with working from home while keeping my kids entertained the entire day before the 2019-2020 school year ended. Good thing my Dad was here to help keep the kids entertained so my husband and I can focus on work. But giving birth during the Coronavirus pandemic was even harder. And I’m sharing my experience in the hopes to help expecting moms know what to expect when they give birth during the Coronavirus pandemic.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN HAVING A BABY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
I’ve listed everything I have experienced when I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy during the coronavirus pandemic, including things that have happened before I had given birth to when we were released from the hospital. It is important to note that my experience is at the Reston Hospital Center in Reston, Virginia. Things that I have experienced may be different from what will happen during your delivery because the laws in Virginia may be different from where you live.
YOU WILL NEED TO TAKE THE COVID-19 TEST
Of course, you will be required to take the COVID-19 test to make sure that proper precautions are followed if you ever tested positive for the Coronavirus. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your delivery, you may need to take the COVID-19 test a few days before your scheduled delivery (for induction & c-section) or right when you arrive at the hospital if you go into spontaneous labor.
I had a scheduled induction so I was asked to take the COVID-19 test at the Reston Hospital Center 2 days before my scheduled induction. There were 3 expecting moms ahead of me but I waited for 1.5 hours for my turn. I wasn’t sure what happened during their turn but mine was finished in less than 1 minute.
As soon as I arrived at the testing room, the nurse had explained what was about to happen. She told me that if at any point I got uncomfortable, I need to let her know, we can pause, and we will restart the test again. She inserted the swab in my nose all the way back to my throat and she kept rotating the swab for the entire 20 or 30 seconds. I can’t remember how long it took for the test to be performed, I’m blaming it on the “mom brain”. And then it was done. The nurse told me they will be sending the swab to the lab & they should have the result by the time I am scheduled to be induce.
My eyes watered during the removal of the swab and a few minutes after. It didn’t hurt but it was very uncomfortable. Although I was very uncomfortable during the entire time, I decided to push through it rather than stopping and having the test redone.
Unfortunately, when it was time for me to be induced, Reston Hospital Center still hasn’t heard back from the lab; so I had to do a rapid COVID-19 test which I was dreading. The rapid test gives the result within 1 hour. The process in which they did the rapid test was very different from the one I did 2 days before. The nurse inserted the swab a little bit further in my nose but it wasn’t all the way up to my throat. As soon as the swab reached the desired depth, she pulled it out right away without having to rotate the swab for 20 or 30 seconds. The said process didn’t make the test any less uncomfortable though.
After all these, the result came back negative. I never heard back from the first COVID-19 test that I did so I am assuming it was also negative.
YOUR NURSES & DOCTORS WILL MOST LIKELY BE WEARING MASKS
My nurses and doctors at the Reston Hospital Center were wearing masks the whole time to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. I can’t remember if they were wearing gloves prior to delivery though. Again, “mom brain”. But of course, they were wearing gloves when it was time for me to deliver. None of them wore a face shield nor a special gown during the entire time we were at the hospital.
YOU WILL MOST LIKELY BE WEARING A MASK DURING LABOR & DELIVERY
As uncomfortable & irritating as it can be, I had to wear my mask while I was in labor and during my delivery. Believe it or not, because of the excruciating pain that I was in during both times, the mask never really bothered me during labor and delivery.
After I have given birth, I was told that I can remove my mask in my recovery room when there’s no one else around since I tested negative. So that’s what I did, and I kept my mask beside me all the time so I can quickly put it back on when someone else would enter our room.
YOU WILL MOST LIKELY BE ALLOWED TO HAVE 1 SUPPORT PERSON
This will probably vary depending on where you will deliver in Virginia. But at the Reston Hospital Center, I was allowed to have 1 support person (if and only if your support person doesn’t have the Coronavirus) and that support person must not change during your entire stay.
My support person was my husband. He was with me while I was in labor, during delivery, and while I was recovering. He was allowed to come and go as needed; but they prefer if you minimize that to prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19.
In our case, he had to go and check on our 2 older kids who were at home with my Dad and we didn’t make the cut off for dinner on our first day so he had to go out to get food. Both times, he was able to leave and enter the hospital without any issues.
YOUR SUPPORT PERSON WILL NOT BE ALLOWED AT THE HOSPITAL IF HE/SHE HAS CORONAVIRUS
At Reston Hospital Center, your support person will not be tested for COVID-19 unless they have a reason to believe there’s a risk he has it. If your support person has Coronavirus, he/she will not be allowed anywhere inside the hospital with you. So you will have to go through labor and delivery alone. I honestly don’t think this will vary depending on where you will deliver in Virginia, but it could.
GUESTS WILL MOST LIKELY BE NOT ALLOWED
During our entire stay at the Reston Hospital Center, we were not allowed to have guests. This may vary depending on where you will be delivering in Virginia.
The kids were very excited to meet and spend time with their baby brother but they were unable to visit at the hospital because of the pandemic. I really wanted to share that special moment with them, meeting their baby brother as soon as he was born, but they weren’t able to do that. As unfortunate as that may sound, that has been a blessing in disguise because my husband and I were able to focus and enjoy that special moment of being new parents again. We would have been very distracted had the kids visited us at the hospital.
The toughest for us was the fact that I will be away from my kids for a long time. The longest time that we have been away from each other since they were born was 8- 10 hours (when I was at work including commute). A day has never passed that we are not together. So as soon as the Coronavirus was considered a pandemic, I started to set their expectations that we won’t get to see each other for 2-4 days when it’s time for the baby to be born. It was tough at first, there were lots of crying; but I kept reiterating that and I was consistently clear about what’s going to happen until the day before I delivered. They did really amazing when my husband I left for the hospital; but they cried for me during our bedtime video call which broke my mama heart.
YOUR BABY WILL MOST LIKELY BE STAYING WITH YOU WHILE YOU RECOVER
I called the Reston Hospital a few days before my scheduled induction to find out about their COVID-19 policies especially if I tested positive because I wanted to be prepared for anything. Your baby will be allowed to stay with you during your recovery regardless if you tested positive for the Coronavirus.
They also still encourage breastfeeding regardless if you tested positive for the Coronavirus. I am guessing this is because there has been no evidence found yet of COVID-19 in breast milk.
If you do test positive for the Coronavirus, you must wear mask at all times, including breastfeeding.
Again, this will most likely vary depending on where you will deliver in Virginia.
YOU WILL MOST LIKELY BE DISCHARGED EARLY
Because my baby and I were healthy and didn’t have complications, we were discharged 24 hours after my delivery. My doctor didn’t really tell me exactly why they’re allowing moms to do so, but I am guessing this is another procedure they are doing to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. While this may vary depending on where you will deliver in Virginia, I have heard from other moms who delivered at other Virginia hospitals and they were discharged 24 hours after their delivery as well.
Since I know my 2 older kids will be ecstatic that we will be home sooner than they had expected, I didn’t question it. It was truly a sweet reunion when we went home from the hospital. They were very happy to see me home again; and elated to meet their baby brother.
YOUR NURSES & DOCTORS WILL BE THERE TO HELP YOU
Despite the difficult time we are all living in, nothing has changed, your nurses and doctors will still be there to help you.
Everyone was amazing and helpful during my stay at the Reston Hospital Center. The lady who does the lunch kept checking in on me to make sure I place my order on time. The lactation consultant paid me a visit & had a chat with me to make sure I have everything I need to ensure a successful breastfeeding journey. My nurses kept checking on me to make sure that baby & I have everything we need and we’re as comfortable as we can be.
To avoid the spread of Coronavirus (probably), some things did change like they no longer do the really nice meal setup for mom and support person complete with table, tablecloth, chair, and the works. The massage that they offer for moms before discharge is no longer available too. But everything else was still consistently amazing. I’ve given birth to my 2 kids at Reston Hospital Center too which is why I know about these things.
YOU’VE GOT THIS!
As with any childbirth, surprises may happen, even without a pandemic. Don’t be scared. I know it’s not easy to not be scared especially since we’re in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic; but try not to be. I was scared too so I absolutely understand. But being scared will do you nothing and will just cause unnecessary stress. Just relax (I know this doesn’t help at all especially when you’re ready to deliver & there’s no sign that baby is coming anytime soon, & in the middle of a pandemic!!!), be strong, and know that everything will be okay. Whatever happens, keep in mind that everything happens for a reason.
I am not going to lie, going through labor and giving birth to a child hurts a lot; like a lot A LOT!!! Seriously, in the middle of pushing, I told everyone I’m done & I can’t do it anymore (I’ll share more about this soon); I mean this is my third baby but this birth was the most painful of all (and the nerve of my daughter to ask for another baby because she wants a baby sister?!). But believe me, once you’re holding your baby, all of the pain & discomfort will be so worth it. And you will be beyond grateful that the beautiful baby you’re holding is yours.
You’ve got this, Mama!!!
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‘Til next time,