As if pregnancy in and of itself isn’t enough of an anxiety provoking experience, imagine being pregnant during a global pandemic.
When the initial shock of being pregnant wore off, I began to “prepare” for one of the biggest changes of my life. A baby. This included creating lists of the things the baby would need, preparing our home and of course submitting the list of baby shower guests to whomever would be lucky enough to be planning it. Amidst all of that, never in my wildest dreams did I think that not even six months later the world would be facing what we all now know to be the Corona- virus aka The Rona.
The virus itself did not initially incite significant fear as my doctor was very proactive with protecting me as well as my unborn child. He authorised me to work remotely before the island was placed under shelter in place orders, and not long after, schools were closed which meant my husband was safe at home as well.
Being a person who is usually very busy and involved in a lot, there were hidden blessings in what could be considered the worst possible circumstances. It made me slow down and get the rest my body needed in order to grow the healthiest baby possible. The unknowns surrounding the virus and its impact on unborn children resulted in extreme protective measures.
Groceries were only purchased via the pick-up service and family visits were limited to Houseparty and WhatsApp video. We believed it was better to be safe than sorry and for that reason I felt relatively little anxiety, taking all of these protective measures and was still looking forward to the birth of my first child. This all quickly came to a screeching halt when I was sent a document from Bermuda Hospital’s Board outlining the hospital policies as it related to safety surrounding the pandemic and expectant mothers.
The first policy that stood out to me was that fathers were only permitted to stay for two hours once the baby was delivered and the second, was that they could not be present in the Operating Room if the mother was undergoing a c-section. Knowing that our baby was breech, I was well aware that this was a strong possibility for us.
Apart from the fact that it made absolutely no sense, I had no interest in going through any of this without my husband. He had not missed ANYTHING up until this point and now they were telling mothers that we had to go it alone. I am generally a person who does my best not to stress over the things I cannot change, but this brought me to actual tears. I walked out of my last doctor’s appointment, got into the car and cried, a shoulder shaking, snot running cry. I did not want to do this without him, and I also did not want him to miss such a significant milestone in our lives.
My husband did his best to comfort and reassure me, but he was also devastated by this news. This revelation far overshadowed the fact that I could not have a baby shower and that the baby could not have visitors once home from the hospital. I made contact with any and everyone I believed would have some influence on the hospital policy with hopes that by the time I was due to deliver, things would have changed.
My hopes of things improving before delivery were dashed when my water broke almost two weeks early. When I arrived, I held out hope that because this was a somewhat emergency/unscheduled c-section, that they would let my husband come with me.
Nope! But the nurses did their best to comfort me and I appreciated their efforts. The entire hospital staff seemed to understand the stress I felt as a result of the rules put in place albeit in the best interest of public health. They were kind and supportive and I am particularly grateful to the Clinical Manager, Ms Lisa Blyden. Although not the ideal circumstances, I remain grateful that my daughter was delivered safely. We were discharged after 48 hours to conquer our next challenge…raising a baby during a pandemic. BPM