The past few months have been filled with worry, concern, and anxiety. Social distancing, stay at home orders, working from home, unemployment, the economy… The ongoing list of everything we’re concerned about are in the news and at the forefront of our minds.
If you’re expecting a baby, you likely have even more concerns. Should I stay at home? Is it safe for me to go to work? How will I keep my baby safe and healthy? Should I switch to a midwife and deliver at a birth center? We want to help answer some of your questions and alleviate some of your concerns and fears with information in our Pandemic Pregnancy Blog Series coming to you over the next week.
Part Four: Firsthand Experiences
We’ve talked to a great number of women that are experiencing first had how this pandemic is affecting them and their pregnancies and birth. We thought we’d share some of their experiences.
“After starting down the infertility treatment path, my husband and I were over the moon to find out were pregnant last October. I had no idea in just a few short months our lives would look completely different at the hands of a global pandemic. I never imagined a pregnancy, my first pregnancy, during a time like this. I knew coming into this pregnancy that I wanted an unmedicated vaginal birth. When I think about this birth, the words “peaceful” and “empowered” are what I envision. We found a wonderful Certified Nurse Midwife who supported every single one of my choices, and we even were accepted into a no/low intervention birth program at a local hospital. I hired an amazing doula and couldn’t wait to start the Birth Boot Camp classes. Everything was perfect and on track for me to have the kind of birth I imagined.
We went into quarantine as Covid-19 ramped up, but every birth professional I spoke with assured me life and hospitals would be back to normal by my due date in July. As time went on and things only seemed more frantic and restrictive, I started having a lot of anxiety about my upcoming birth. I was concerned my doula wouldn’t be able to be with me. I was worried if I spiked a fever during labor that my husband would be forced to leave. I was disappointed about the possibility of not being able to bring all the comfort measure items I had planned to the hospital. I had significant anxiety over the thought of laboring with a mask on, maybe not being able to walk around to progress labor, my baby being separated from me if I tested positive. There were so many unknown issues that threatened the peaceful and empowered birth I wanted, and it felt like the rules changed weekly. At the start of my third trimester, we decided to interview home birth midwives to explore the idea of a home birth. I felt like I needed some control back. My husband had concerns with the safety of a birth outside of a hospital and we were both concerned with the cost of an out-of-network provider. After speaking with several midwives, my husband’s fears were assuaged, and we actually found an in-network midwife group! I am so excited to be able to plan for a home birth. During a time of feeling so out of control, I feel like I can now truly have an empowered and peaceful birth to bring our son into this world.” – Erin
“Yes, I’m worried. I’m due in June, which is when they are anticipating a spike of hospitalizations where I live. As of now, my partner is allowed in, if he passes temp check, but doula is not. Clinicals have moved to another offsite location but to my knowledge births are still happening at the hospital. There is little to no communication, midwives are on limited rotation. My checkups are getting cancelled. My last appt was in March, I will have telehealth appointments in May, and then a physical appt for the GBS test. Our plan is to labor at home as long as possible and spend as little time in the hospital as possible. We looked at switching to a birth center with a home birth option, but the closest one to us is 90miles away one-way. They would require me to come in for regular site visits which defeats the point, so we are sticking with our hospital and hoping for the best.” – Anne
“I’m 37 weeks and we’ve been planning a birth center birth from about 20 weeks. That being said, there’s definitely anxiety surrounding the possibility of a transfer (based on history). In that case, my midwives would not be able to accompany me, nor would my doula or photographer. The “one support person for your entire stay” rule at the hospital is really, really tough to swallow. My first birth was somewhat traumatic, so we’re planning for a normal, beautiful, and healing experience, but things are so far from normal…Virtual support just isn’t the same. But we’re trying to be prepared in the best ways we can and are really trying to focus on the positives. And finally, being able to see the chiro this week is definitely a win!” – Jennie
“I am 38 wks with my first baby and we switched over from a hospital birth to a birth center at 32 weeks. I did a lot of research and initially I switched over because of fear and uncertainty of the pandemic, however, as I was brought up to speed with knowledge and the care of a birthing center, I am certain that I was meant to switch over and I’ve never felt safer. I am so comfortable, and I feel that I’m ready to birth this baby with no fear.” – Diana