Giving Birth In 2020 Is Not The Same — Here's What It Was Like For 19 Moms
It's not business as usual.
(Please note that the protocols in the stories below may no longer be how hospitals are handling these situations.)
1. "Upon arriving, I was tested for the coronavirus (a nasal swab). Fortunately, my results came back negative, or else my husband would not have been able to be there with me and I would have been separated from my child after delivery."
The American Academy of Pediatrics now has new guidelines recommending that COVID-19 positive moms stay in the same room as their babies after they deliver, which hospitals should be following.
2. "I had to wear a mask the whole time, even during the pushing. It was very difficult and I threw up in my mask during labor."
3. "I gave birth completely alone. Our family couldn’t come help due to quarantine issues, so my husband had to stay home to care for our toddler. He listened to the birth over speaker phone. It sucked. It was difficult for both of us."
"Postpartum depression has been a big part of this birth, when it wasn’t with my last. I think it’s because my husband and I are dealing with it all completely alone. That, plus we have a toddler and are unable to get out of our apartment. We just continue to remind ourselves to be grateful that we are all healthy and otherwise okay."
4. "Honestly, it wasn't too bad. I don't like visitors anyway, and the pandemic kept them away without me being the bad guy. I only wanted my husband there while I gave birth, so the 'only one other person in the room' rule didn't affect me."
5. "I had my baby in July. Due to the heat of the summer, my initial temperature reading was 100.5. Less than a minute later, my temp was 98.7. However, my initial temperature caused me to be a COVID-19 'person of interest' and my husband and I were immediately covered in PPE (personal protective equipment) and taken to a separate wing of the facility to an isolation room."
"We were told that we would both be tested for the coronavirus, but until the test results returned, we were not allowed out of our room. We were very fortunate and received two of the remaining rapid results tests. My test came back negative two hours later, so we were moved to the regular Labor and Delivery wing. Our whole experience was lovely — the nurses and staff were kind and thoughtful, and our coronavirus scare was very well managed and handled."
6. "I had my first child in late March in New York (not the city), and the medical staff were rock stars. Because so much about the coronavirus was unknown at the time, the hospital's rules seemed to change daily (in terms of monitoring our temperatures, precautions, etc.), but they all just rolled with it. They were wonderful to us, even though I'm sure they were super stressed. We were (and are) extremely grateful for them."
7. "Labor with a mask on was not as bad as anticipated. I felt very safe, and I felt the hospital staff maintained their PPE properly as well. For reference, I’m a nurse."
8. "I guess the hardest part was no visitors. I had this image in my mind of my toddler coming to the hospital to meet the baby. I knew months ahead of time that wasn’t going to happen and I had to let that go."
"Overall though, I felt like the hospital and nurses did a wonderful job making sure everything was safe for my baby and me. I was pleasantly surprised how normal everything felt."
9. "My blood pressure dropped after my epidural, and I passed out. Still, I wasn’t permitted to take my mask off. I have a photo of myself right after my baby was placed on my chest, tears streaming down my cheeks, with a mask over my face. I am pro-mask for the safety of the healthcare workers, but do not ever wish to deliver a child while wearing a mask again."
10. "I felt the effects of the pandemic most after giving birth. My newborn baby boy and I had to stay in hospital for another three days and were totally alone, no visitors allowed. They had only skeleton staffing and had shut all the curtains in the bays, so we couldn’t even talk to each other. Now just imagine — it's your first baby, you have no clue what you’re doing, you’re sick and exhausted, and there's no one to help you. I sobbed with relief when we got home."
"I was so stressed by the experience that I was never able to breastfeed."
11. "I labored 35 hours in a mask and had a coronavirus test shoved up my nose without my consent when I was five centimeters dilated. I would have given it anyway, but it would have been nice to have been asked first. It was not the experience I had been preparing for, but I am still lucky to have had a healthy baby."
12. "I gave birth to my second daughter in June, in Texas. At this point in the coronavirus timeline, Texas was infamous for being very lax on infection control, so my delivery wasn’t much different from my first daughter’s. I had to wear a mask into the hospital, but was able to take it off in my room. All practitioners also wore masks, some had face shields, but I was told they had run out."
"I was informed that the hospital hadn’t seen any COVID-19 cases in Labor and Delivery. Overall, it was a pretty chill experience in Texas."
13. "I live in Southern California, where cases are high. So, at the hospital, we were not allowed visitors, had to wear a mask while with a healthcare provider, and couldn't leave our room — not even to go into the hallway. I was told I didn't have to keep my mask on while pushing, but out of respect for the nurses and doctors, I did. And it was totally fine. It was just an odd and quiet experience."
14. "When my water broke a month early, my midwife told me my home birth was no longer an option and sent me to the hospital. She was unable to join me as a birth coach due to visitor restrictions put in place because of the coronavirus. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, especially for a first baby."
15. "The birth experience itself was fairly normal, but the morning my son was born, an outbreak had arrived at the hospital so they rushed us home. The first night at home, I ended up getting a fever of 102. I called my primary doctor, who told me to quarantine for two weeks, stay away from my baby, and to get tested for the coronavirus as soon as possible."
"My son couldn’t go in for his first pediatrician visit out of fear that he was exposed. I spent the next four days at home stuck in my room, panicking, sick, and miserable. My test results came back negative and it turned out I had an infection that could have been caught had we been able to stay at the hospital longer."
16. "I gave birth in April and was required to wear a mask any time nurses or doctors were in the room, including when I was pushing. So, I have absolutely no sympathy for anybody who whines about wearing a mask to a store!"
17. "It was awful. I was supposed to be induced in March, but when I got to the hospital at 4 a.m. for the induction, I was told it was canceled. Neither my doctor nor me was told that I could not be induced, even though I was high risk. They told me I had to wait until I was 41 weeks or one of us was dying. Thankfully, I went into labor five days later, but still had to have a C-section."
18. "I am an American living in Germany with my husband, who wasn’t allowed to be there while I was in 'pre-labor.' After the baby was born, he was only allowed to visit for one hour a day. I ended up having to stay in the hospital for a full week because the epidural gave me a really bad spinal headache (like a migraine on steroids) and my doctors kept putting off doing a blood patch."
"So for the first week of my son's life, he only saw his dad for a total of about 10 hours and I basically had to raise my son by myself in a foreign country without knowing the language while suffering from the worst headache. I give every mom who has had to experience this a lot of credit. Y’all are warriors."
19. "I went in to be induced with my son in April, my vitals were off, so I went in for an emergency C-section. There were complications and my son was transferred to another hospital. My transfer to go with him was not approved because of cross contamination, so my husband had to leave me to go be with him."
"I sat alone in a room two days later and watched my husband hold my son while he died on FaceTime. The hospital had to get special approval for my sister to be able to come be with me so I wasn’t alone. They wound up approving a transfer for me to go hold him after he had passed. 2020 is the worst."
Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.