We know birth and delivery rarely go as planned. As expecting mothers, especially first time mothers, we feel comfort and reassurance in doing what we can to feel prepared. But we know to expect the unexpected. We know it’s out of our control  (though we still might make a color coded birth plan). Now enter 2020 and a global pandemic. Even the most relaxed of expecting mothers felt a tinge of unease when rumors started swirling of partners not being allowed in the delivery rooms. More rumors of babies being taken from their mothers if the mother tested positive for Covid, families in quarantine away from their support system, and I mean, cue the anxiety. But as restrictions begin to relax, despite masks being required and uncomfortable covid tests (sometimes during contractions-whyyyyy?), it appears that hospital births are beginning to feel normal again. That Covid is not made to be the main focal point but rather a safe delivery for all. As it should be.

So as we enter 6 months of this new normal, we asked women who have experienced giving birth during covid, including. one who got Covid in the hospital, to share their pre and post delivery experiences. If you have additional questions or would like to submit your story to our Birth in the Time of Covid Series, please send us an email and hello@lovechildmag.com

MARISSA

1. Did Covid-19 change your original birth plan?

Yes – our original plan was to have my sister at the hospital with us as our unofficial doula. Not only did I want her there to be my support person and advocate, but I wanted her to enjoy my birth experience as well since she has decided not to have kids of her own. We always joke that she’s our third co-parent, and really wanted to include her in the birth. Obviously, due to Covid, we weren’t allowed any visitors so she couldn’t be there.

How did you manage stress and emotions leading up your delivery? 

Some days were better than others, but Covid was constantly on my mind and causing stress throughout the entire pregnancy! Eventually I resigned to the fact that I can not control the virus, but I can control how we react to it and manage our lives around it. Once I accepted that as fact, I was able to feel less anxious. 

4. What would you say to someone who is pregnant and may be feeling anxiety over their delivery?

For first time moms like myself, we don’t know this experience any differently than during covid! So there is some level of comfort that among all the unknowns that come with delivery, Covid is just another layer that we are dealing with. The nurses I encountered at the hospital were unbelievably kind and accommodating and really downplayed the scary factor of Covid, in my opinion. When it comes to delivery, there are far more pressing matters to concern yourself with than Covid. So what if you have a mask on? It’s just part of life now…

5. What surprised you most about your experience? 

I was most surprised at how accommodating all of the healthcare providers I encountered were. Through all of my appointments and my time at the hospital, nobody made Covid the biggest focal point. Everyone still gave quality care despite the elephant in the room. Even at the beginning of the pandemic when we had very few answers, all of my providers made sure to reassure me that we would be okay and we’re sympathetic to the fact that this is a really difficult time to be pregnant! 

JESSICA

1. Did Covid-19 change your original birth plan?

It did not change our original birth plan. 

2. How did you manage stress and emotions leading up your delivery? 

It was so hard. I had my baby April 23, so there was still a lot of unknowns and Covid was still spiking in Austin. It was hard managing hormones and stress. I ended up journaling a lot. It helped me get everything out that I was scared and worried about and made me actually look and realize what i could control (wearing masks, staying inside, getting groceries delivered) and what was out of my control (basically everything else) But somehow seeing it physically written down really calmed me.  I would also make lists of what I wanted to do after Covid: travel, go to the beach, hug everyone, ect. and lists of what i started to do during Covid that I wanted to continue doing once it was over: cooking most meals together, buying from mostly local stores (not buying everything on Amazon) not being wasteful . It really put me into a headspace of gratitude. ++ I also only let myself check the news once a day for about 20 minutes (before that i was scrolling through the news all night, spiraling into anxiety, ugh that was such a tough time)

3. Any resources that were particularly helpful? 

The headspace meditation app was great for quieting my anxiety and bringing me back to the present.

4. What would you say to someone who is pregnant and may be feeling anxiety over their delivery? 

I would say be smart, don’t take risks, wear your mask, don’t go out if you can/ social distance, but also enjoy this time. It’s such a unique experience to be at home with your family for this extended period of time. I wish I hadn’t worried so much and just enjoyed the last month of being a family of three. That time for me was just so wrapped around fear and anxiety, i wish I would’ve been more present.

5. What surprised you most about your experience? 

The hospital felt so safe, other than everyone wearing masks at all times and not being allowed guests, it felt pretty normal. I had been so scared that me or my husband would get Covid at the hospital, but in reality it felt like a non issue (which i know is so crazy to say, but it did).

Caroline
1. Did Covid-19 change your original birth plan?
I had always planned to have a hospital delivery but our family implemented a strict two week quarantine pre-due date.  Since I knew I was going to be tested for covid prior to going into the delivery room, I wanted to do anything in my power to ensure that the test was negative so I could have my husband in the room with me (plus keep my toddler + newborn safe). We also asked any one who planned to see us (which ended up being just the grandmas) to quarantine for two weeks.
2. How did you manage stress and emotions leading up your delivery?
Ha, not sure I did very well! Maintaining some sort of exercise and regular exposure to Vitamin D helped, which during covid times meant walks pushing my toddler.  Being open with friends/family about my stress level helped too (even if that sometimes meant crying from the doctor’s office parking lot while texting my sisters).
Any resources that were particularly helpful? Lovechild Mag (duh), Hello My Tribe and therapy.
3. What would you say to someone who is pregnant and may be feeling anxiety over their delivery?
My doctors and nurses at Seton were amazing, and made me and my partner feel very safe and comfortable throughout the whole experience.
4. What surprised you most about your experience?
I had to have an emergency cesarean, which was not part of the plan. It served as a reminder that nothing about parenting can be planned or controlled.