Baby · Kids · Life Lately

Having a Baby During a Pandemic

Hello, friends!  Wow – it’s been a while.  I never intended for it to be 12+ months since my last post and comically, I have several posts still in “draft” mode I never quite got posted.  Having 2 little ones 3 and under has been all time consuming PLUS, as the title gives away, we just added a 3rd!  It’s been on my heart to share our birth story with our newest addition and I wanted to capture it for his scrapbook as well.

2019 was a very rough year for our family.  The year started with losing my grandmother followed by our dog and then Adam’s dad.  Before we lost Adam’s dad, my other grandmother had a bad fall and was in the hospital for several weeks and gave us several scares.  I transitioned to a different job at work that brought on it’s own set of challenges – including transitioning back to working from the office vs home and more frequent business travel without the kids.

It was always in the back of my mind I wanted another baby and we decided to go for it.  We got pregnant right away and learned it would be an April 9th due date.  After some very wishy washy information at our first ultrasound, I was left scared to death we would miscarry and was so nervous to be excited for this new little one.  The morning sickness was much more severe this time and started super early into the pregnancy.  We thankfully made it through the VERY LONG pregnancy and into 2020.  I knew once the holidays hit and the new year rolled around the rest of the pregnancy would fly by and we’d be getting ready to welcome #3.  What I did not account for.. expect … or dream of would be facing giving birth during a worldwide pandemic.. COVID-19.

We all watched the news and learned about this awful virus that was attacking China.  We had just taken a trip to Disney at the end of January when the news came out about the first case in the US.  From that point to now – every day has been an evolution of news stories and millions of opinions on how to handle the pandemic and what the country should be doing.  Mid-March, news stories started hitting about hospital restrictions regarding visitors.. and then restrictions regarding births.  Some New York hospitals were not allowing partners in the hospital period due to the contagiousness of the virus and/or shortage of PPE.  That’s when my alarm bells started going off.. what was going to happen for us?  Was I going to have to give birth alone?

My OB appointments became weekly around Mid-March as well.  Around 35 weeks, I got a call from my OB office letting me know that no one would be allowed to come to the appointments with me and that I should remain in my vehicle upon arrival and someone would come get me and escort me straight to the exam room and back out after my appointment.  It felt so cold and out of a movie.

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As I sat down in the exam room, the nurse handed me a piece of paper with the revised visitor policy for the hospital in which I would be delivering.  At that point, no visitors were allowed except for a partner in the birth room and one other person in L&D.  No children.  That part hit me so hard.  I envisioned the sweet moments and pictures where Carter and Maddie would walk into the hospital room and meet their new baby brother.  That was very soul crushing for me and took me a while to get over the loss of that moment and future memory.  Even though Carter was only 2 when we had Maddie, he still remembers and talks about coming to the hospital to meet her and those pictures are some of my all time favorites.  I was relieved to know that at this point in time, I would have Adam and my mom with me.  My OB also discussed the possibility of me only staying in the hospital one night this time so that I could be in/out as fast as possible if everything went well.  There were pros and cons with that – pros obviously being getting back to the kids quicker, less chance of picking up germs at the hospital, being able to rest without the constant flow of people in/out of the hospital room.  Cons – risk of overdoing it too fast or other complications arising from the surgery.

At this point in the pregnancy, I was also having daily conversations with my mom about when she should come down.  We were worried she would be prevented from traveling and also wanted her to be “social distancing” with us to prevent risk of her from picking up the virus somewhere along the way.  Plus, I had Maddie a week and a half before my scheduled c-section so the odds were there that I would go into labor earlier this time as well.  Adam’s mom had also made the trip down and was here with us already.

Fast-forward 10 days and I was back for another appointment – actually my last before giving birth.  I had called before my appointment to see if Adam could possibly go with me.  I knew I would be getting a lot of last minute information regarding the c-section and general info and wanted him to be there with me.  Plus, this was our LAST appointment – it’s a milestone.  Yet, alone I went.

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This appointment was even more bittersweet to go to alone because we had our last ultrasound (unexpectedly).  I wanted Adam to get to see the sweet little face with me but had to settle for showing him pictures instead.

The day before my c-section, a nurse from L&D called to go over the hospital visitor restrictions and we learned they had changed – again.  Now, it was down to just Adam and no one else.  She said that once he came into the hospital with me he would not be allowed to leave and re-enter.  I asked if that meant we needed to take the car seat and everything in with us when we registered before the c-section and she said yes.  We even had to get permission to have the courier enter the hospital to pick up the cord blood/tissue kit to be mailed after the birth.  I did ask about having food delivered to the hospital and that was still being allowed which made NO sense to me… but, alas, I was grateful because I wouldn’t be eating that lovely hospital food!

When I initially packed my hospital bag, I packed it thinking my mom could bring me whatever I needed/wanted from home and that Adam would be going back and forth so could get fresh clothes at home.  Now I needed to repack and add extra items in the chance that we ended up being at the hospital longer.

Finally, the morning of April 2nd arrived.  We were up at 4 (I didn’t sleep hardly any the night before) and left for the hospital around 5:15 am.  Of course I had to make time for a few last minute pictures of the baby bump!  Always amazing to see how things progress over the course of the months.

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The hospital is less than 5 miles away so it was a quick drive over.  Adam dropped the bags and me off at the front door and went to park the car.  At the entrance, we both had to go through the new COVID screening and received a band to wear to show that we had “passed”.  Adam was also given a red sticker and told if he left he’d have to be re-screened and issued a new sticker.  A different story again from what we had been told less than 24 hours prior.  Regardless, we made the decision he wouldn’t leave in case something changed while he was gone and he wouldn’t be allowed back in.

I finished registering and made my way over to L&D.  You couldn’t help but notice all the areas blocked off and signs relating to COVID restrictions.

The biggest change this time with being at the hospital was that everyone was in a mask.  For our particular hospital/area, there haven’t been a tremendous volume of COVID-19 cases so the adopting of best practices was just starting.  The nurses commented it was their first day of being required to wear masks their entire shifts.  The prep for the c-section followed my other two with the exception of now being asked additional questions related to being around those who were positive for COVID, exhibiting symptoms, travel to hot spot areas, etc.

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The first thing I noticed in my pre-op room was the PPE laid out for Adam.  I literally wanted to cry when I saw these items.  The prior 7-10 days I had read article after article about partners not being allowed in the delivery room and/or hospital in some cases.  Not having my kids, my mom, other family and friends there was one thing – but being completely alone – was a devastating thought to keep replaying in my mind.  With COVID, the news is/was changing daily so each day you literally don’t know what to expect and you have no control over any of it.  I know not having Adam there is a small thing compared to the people who are losing loved ones or facing loved ones dying alone but to us – this is a big thing.  This is the birth of our child – I didn’t want to do that alone and I didn’t want Adam to miss it either.  I so wanted that moment of our kids walking into the hospital room and meeting their baby brother.  I wanted my Grandmother to get to meet her new great-grandson who’s named after her husband.  I wanted to see Adam’s mom meet the baby for the first time at the hospital when she didn’t get to with the other two.  I wanted my mom to help me change out of the hospital gown and into my clothes.  To help me bathe the baby and fuss over his outfit changes.  I wanted to share the happy news and adorable pictures with our friends and family – instead, we made the decision to not send any pictures to anyone until the kids got to meet him in person first.  I wanted the horrible hospital photographer to come around and take pictures of our little guy like we had done with the other two – not an option this time.  I wanted to not be terrified that Adam or I would have a temperature and not be allowed to be with the baby.   I just wanted the experiences.  I wanted the whole thing.  Now, I just wanted to get this baby out and get back home as soon as possible.

  • 6:15am – Ready to get this underway
  • 6:28am – I needed one last picture of us as a “just in case” for Maddie and Carter to have
  • 7:37am – Ready for my walk to the OR.  I still think it’s crazy you walk into the OR for a c-section!!
  • 8:02am – Adam finally joined and we were about to see our boy
  • 8:08am – My first glimpse of Camden Philip!

Camden was officially born at 8:07am.  He was 6lbs 10 ounces and 19.5″. SO tiny!  He had a head full of dark hair and came out peeing apparently.  He was one point away from perfect on the Apgar.  It seemed like this c-section took so long compared to the other 2.  I also remember thinking the second one took longer than the first as well.  It took a while for the spinal to be put in and it hurt way worse this time – the first two I don’t remember hurting at all other than it being uncomfortable.  I also had a different combination of drugs in the spinal this time because I asked to not have morphine.  I had too many side effects the last 2 times so we were working to avoid that.  My blood pressure dropped as soon as they laid me down on the table and the anesthesiologist was on top of it pronto which I appreciated and added some medicine to my IV to get me back to where I should be.  Before I went to the operating room, I had met with the anesthesiologist and we  mapped out a plan based on what my reactions had been the last 2 c-sections.  He gave me permission to skip the nasty “shot” they have you drink to neutralize your stomach acid before the surgery since it’s always made me throw up but then added several drugs to my IV that made me dry heave horribly before the party even got started.

Once I had Camden, I only got a brief glimpse and than it was over an hour before I got to be with him in the recovery room.  It felt like torture to not see or touch him!  At one point in the OR, I had tears rolling down my cheeks thinking just let me see the baby!  No one was even telling me anything about him and I was SUPER uncomfortable the way I was laying.  Not to mention, if I looked straight up I could see the surgery going on!! The way the lights were positioned my open stomach was reflecting off the metal on the light – no thank you!  It took a little longer to finish up the c-section due to us doing the cord blood/tissue and apparently my placenta broke into pieces so it took longer to be in a position to where my OB could close.  Also, can I just mention how grateful and thankful I am that I was able to have MY OB for all 3 c-sections?!  How awesome is that??

IMG_9173Surgery got wrapped up and I was moved to recovery and reunited with Adam and then they finally brought me my sweet boy!

From recovery I was moved to our final room where we stayed the rest of our quick hospital stay.  Since I didn’t have morphine and some other drugs, I was able to be off the IVs and monitors sooner than usual.  By 6pm most of my monitors and IVs were out and I was up walking around some – in a ton of pain.  I have had significantly more pain this c-section.  I don’t know if it’s because it’s the third c-section or due to the difference in pain medication but it’s been much much more painful this go round where the incision is and the contractions after birth were severe enough to cause me to double over in pain at times.

We took advantage of food being allowed to be delivered to the hospital entrance and my dad was on board to deliver whatever we wanted/needed which was super helpful.  As we had a constant flow of nurses and other hospital people in/out of our room I started counting up just how many people we had been in contact with during our 24 hours at the hospital – I stopped counting at 40.  So much for minimizing the risk of spreading germs… also, can we just talk about how you get NO rest in the hospital?  There was literally someone in our room every 2 hours either to check on me or ask questions about the baby.

My OB came by to see us the next morning and cleared me to be discharged and the baby was finally checked out by the hospital pediatrician and given the green light to leave as well.  We couldn’t get out of there fast enough!

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Meeting big brother and big sister for the first time!  You’ve also never experienced pain until you’ve squatted down like this 24 hours after abdominal surgery.. esp. when your 3 year old gives you a big hug and knocks.you.over!

We are so thankful that our sweet boy is here and healthy.  He is perfect.  I am grateful to be home and healthy as well, even if recovery is taking much longer this time.  It’s been hard embracing the fact that due to “social distancing” we can’t introduce our new addition to our friends and family.  But, for now, we are soaking up the baby snuggles and embracing our new reality as a family of 5!

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Baby announcement 2020 style – social distancing at its finest

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