I didn’t plan to have a pandemic baby. I got pregnant before it all started. Never did I think it would be such a different experience than with my first.
Wearing a mask to appointments was so hard. I struggled with being nauseous my entire pregnancy and adding a mask to that just made it worse. Luckily, I could take it off when I was alone in the room. It felt weird going to nearly every appointment by myself rather than with my husband. I got kidney stones while pregnant as well and that made for a very painful experience. All this while being worried about the pandemic and struggling with being home so much with my toddler.
When it got closer to delivery, I was nervous about hospital policy and having to wear a mask while in labor, and not being able to have my husband there. I would have fought that. Luckily, by October, they were allowing one person and they could leave when needed and masks were only required while in the halls.
On the day my son was born, a week over my due date, we walked into the hospital for a pitocin induction. I had only met the midwife on call twice and had never seen her full face because of the mask she always wore. That was hard not knowing how she really looked. All of the nurses had both masks and face shields on. That made it seem very impersonal. I’m one that loves talking with other people and getting to know them. Masks made that much more difficult, especially with nurses I had just met. But thank goodness I didn’t have to wear a mask while in labor! Things went smoothly and later that night we had our sweet baby boy.
Now, my favorite part about the hospital policy was that visitors weren’t allowed. I know that may sound rude, but I loved having the time to ourselves. I got over an hour of uninterrupted time right after the birth with him on my chest. I didn’t have to worry about people coming to visit and covering up while figuring out breastfeeding. We didn’t have people texting to come by when I was trying to nap in the middle of the day. We got to know our nurses really well and that made the experience so much more meaningful and enjoyable. The nurses are what can make or break your hospital experience.
We chose to not have many visitors once we were home as well. Only close family members came by. I like having visitors, but that first week adjusting to life with a new member of the family was tough. I didn’t want to have to cater to people coming and going multiple times a day and having a large number of people in my home.
In the future, I will probably implement many of the same things, like no hospital visitors and limited visitors after the baby. It’s a huge life change when you have a baby and I loved the one-on-one, uninterrupted time. There were difficult things surrounding having a baby in the middle of a pandemic, but I choose to look at the positives. I only hope that next time, masks won’t be used as much so that I can connect with those who are there to support me through the hard work of having a baby.