Other aspects of my pregnancy were familiar to me too, down to the fun lightning crotch and the more fluttery baby kicks. However, there were other things that were significantly different in the COVID-19 era.
Instead of attending a group class at the hospital, I opted to take an online course. Instead of visiting the hospital’s birthing room, I watched a video tour. Instead of going to my sister-in law’s house to host a baby shower I used Zoom to connect with friends.
Lewis says that many of his patients were using the internet to get work done and socialize. “Everyone just switched once childbirth education, doulas, and lactation consultants were available.”
- There are good and bad things about going virtual
- Virtualization also has unexpected benefits.
Working from home allowed me to wear sweatpants every day. Because I don’t meet up with random people, I didn’t have to be concerned about strangers touching my stomach unprompted.
I don’t mean to be negative, but virtual everything was not a COVID-era necessity. It’s easier to breastfeed when you can see your baby in person than through a computer screen. However, I felt a bit guilty and a little lucky that this was something I had done before.
Because I had already had the chance to bond with other parents-to be, I didn’t feel like I missed having a baby shower or a real one. Because I had already established my parenting network during my previous pregnancy, I didn’t feel the full effects of social isolation so many pregnant women experienced during the pandemic.
Lewis says that first-time parents don’t have the experience of a different life. They may be grieving for what was.
One afternoon, five days before my due date, I started feeling contractions. This was it.
We arrived at the childbirth centre just after midnight with our husband. Once we were admitted, we received a COVID-19 testing. The “fun” nasal swab was only one of many differences in my pandemic experience and the previous.
Everybody, including myself, wore a mask during my birth and delivery.
Lewis clarifies that the official policy is to cover to prevent transmission of virus — even if you are the birth parent. We also want you to test negative to protect yourself from possible exposure.
However, the nurses and doctors were extremely supportive and encouraged me to tell them if I needed to remove my mask to be able to breathe better during labor.
Lewis says, “We understand how difficult it can be to wear a face mask, especially when you work really hard during labor.”
While pushing, I was so focused that I didn’t notice I was wearing a mask. After my baby was born, I forgot about everything else.
The most notable difference in the pandemic was the hospital’s recovery experience.
When we were alone, my husband and I would take off our masks. We then put them on when staff members came to check our baby’s vitals.