Having A Baby is Not Cancelled
Mamas, this is a wild time to be pregnant and have a baby. Let's acknowledge that you would not have chosen to give birth during Corona if you had a choice, but you can't put your due date on hold. It's ok to cry over a cancelled baby shower. It's ok to cry over your mom's cancelled trip. It's ok to cry that you can't have a photographer come to the hospital. It's hard when we can't share our excitement and joy with others. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you expected versus the reality you're in.
YOU CAN DO THIS
I'm here to remind you that you can still do this. You are still going to have a baby. You will have a unique birth story and a beautiful baby. To help you prepare for having a baby during Corona I gathered a few tips from moms who have done it.
1) Across the board mamas say to bring lots of snacks! The policy on outside food varies hospital to hospital. Some allow food delivery to security. Some do not allow delivery at all. Bring snacks for you and your partner. You will both get hungry. Think about what you want to eat after baby is born. Your body is going to be exhausted! You will get hungry. After both of my deliveries I craved cookies. My aunt brought the best chocolate mint cookies I've ever had after my daughter was born, and my mom and husband brought memory making peanut butter cookies from Susie Cakes after my son was born. Any cookie would have been the best cookies I'd ever eaten. Try to imagine what you'll want to eat once the baby arrives and pack it.
Photo by Tina Nord
2) Support person. The moms I talked to reported that one support person was allowed, but they could not leave and come back. This varies greatly depending on your hospital and the policies are changing frequently. Changes primarily revolve around if the support person can leave your room or leave the hospital. It's safest to plan on 1 support person who cannot leave your room, but call your labor and delivery department to get the most recent policy update.
Don't be afraid to ask for a different L&D nurse
This can be really hard if you planned on having multiple people in the room - a partner, a doula, a parent, a sister, a friend. With just one support person, the nurse assigned to you is going play a big role in your delivery. Don't be afraid to ask for a different nurse if you don't get along with your assigned nurse.
Lastly, I want to highlight some self massage and acupoint techniques that could help you during labor. My friend and acupuncturist, Alicia Masiulis, made this video to help you prepare for labor during COVID-19. I'd highly recommend checking it out.
A day or two after my daughter was born
3) Support staff at the hospital - nurses, doctors and other hospital workers might be more distracted than normal. I heard from a few moms that hospital staff seemed a little less attentive / distracted. With everything going on, and more women electing induction, they have a lot on their plates. Try to be kind, but also be vigilant about what you need, and ask lots of questions. Be your own advocate. Be your baby's advocate.
BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE
Also note that most well baby nurseries no longer exist. If you were planning to have the nurses watch the baby for a few hours while you slept, that may not be an option. Just mentally prepare.
4) Proximity to the virus. The mom's I talked to reported that labor and delivery was geographically far away from cases of COVID-19. It seems like hospitals are doing everything they can to keep mothers safe.
Photo by Anna Shvets
This may not be the 3rd trimester you were anticipating. This may not be the birth you planned. But when that baby is placed skin to skin on your body, I hope you're able to forget about the pandemic for a few beautiful moments. Let the world stop. Even without a photographer, your story, your birth and your baby are precious. Be present. Let the moments be etched onto your heart.
Sending all my love to the brave mamas who are having their babies during Corona.