A couple of weeks ago, my cousin's wife Kristy reached out to me and very sweetly - in the midst of a pandemic and being in the newborn fog to her third baby - offered to write a guest post sharing her experience with delivering their third baby during this pandemic. I think she provides a really solid point of view and I hope it will help ease the minds and answer the questions of some of you who are on the verge of delivering a baby. Thanks Kristy for sharing your experience!
As I neared the last trimester of my pregnancy, the Covid-19 numbers in my county started to climb. My OB required me to wear a mask during office visits and warned me that my husband may not be able to be present in the delivery room. I was mixed with excitement and fear for the coming months, because while I was excited to finally meet my baby, I desperately wanted my husband to see our daughter born. I was unsure of what to expect during delivery, and neither Google nor my doctor's office gave me the answers to my questions:
What can I expect from my hospital stay?
Do I pack my hospital bag differently?
How do I protect my baby, my husband, and myself during our hospital stay?
Before I answer those questions, here's the scoop. Years ago, I worked as a nurse. My husband also works in healthcare, so I was no stranger in navigating the ins and outs of disinfecting the house and taking precautions to keep our family safe. But for this hospital stay, I wasn't the nurse- I was the patient AND momma bear. So while I'd like to tell you I had all of the answers prior to my hospital stay, hindsight is 20/20. This is what I learned:
(Disclaimer: This was my personal experience at one hospital, and I'm wearing my Mommy hat. This is not medical advice and you should follow your doctor's recommendations and policies/procedures).
When I checked into triage, I was screened for Covid-19. They had a verbal survey, took my temperature, and required that I wear a mask *at all times* while in the hospital. I'm happy to report my husband was able to be there with me, and was screened in the same way upon entry to the hospital. I was only allowed to have 1 visitor with me (I had my husband) and I wasn't able to switch-off visitors during my stay. They discouraged him from leaving the hospital at all, and asked if he had to leave that he not be gone longer than a couple of hours. All of the hospital staff wore masks and gloves, and changed their gloves often. I was really impressed with the level of care the staff took in protecting us.
This is baby #3 for me, so I'd consider my hospital bag neither minimalist nor extensive. In addition to what I'd normally pack in my hospital bag, I also included:
The health and safety of my family was at the top of my concerns delivering during a pandemic. If I could send you with ONE takeaway from all of this, it is:
Advocate and (politely) demand for the best practices done for your family!
I typically shy away from confrontation, and it is hard for me to ask questions, but I cannot stress this enough. When someone came to do a procedure on baby, if I didn't see them wash their hands, I requested they do so. When the staff was changing out gloves, I made sure they washed their hands in between. If a machine or equipment was to be used on my baby, I asked that it be disinfected first. If a procedure needed to be done where I was able to hold the baby instead of a staff member, I did. The hospital was very diligent in doing all of the above on their own, however, when I noticed it wasn't done (or done correctly), I would kindly remind them. And when I did, the staff was great about responding right away to the request. My husband and I both were both watchful during interactions between baby and staff to ensure the best care was given.
Aside from a few different policies and procedures, I found that my hospital stay wasn't all that different from my previous deliveries. Not permitting extra visitors actually gave the 3 of us a really sweet bonding experience during our stay, and alleviated the stress of "hosting" visitors after delivering a baby. Hubby and I ordered lots of take out and watched movies while we snuggled our new little addition. Delivering during a pandemic can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be! With a few extra items in the hospital bag and these tips you'll be well prepared to protect and enjoy your sweet baby.
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