During pregnancy, expectant mothers-to-be are busy working on their birth plan, picking out nursery colors, and enjoying their baby showers. While this is all exciting and joyful, it can also be a stressful time, especially for first-time moms. Now, expectant mothers are facing the reality of how the coronavirus may impact their hospital and delivery experience. We reached out to three Birmingham moms — Savanna Gray, Katie Hayes, and Rachel Chesnutt — who delivered their babies within the last week as COVID-19 precautions began to be put in place. They’re sharing their experiences with us, and of course, lots of cute baby pictures!
When did you have your baby?
Katie: March 15, 2020, at 4:05 a.m.
Savanna: March 13, 2020, via scheduled c-section
Rachel: March 13, 2020 (Friday the 13th!)
Were any additional precautions taken in light of coronavirus?
Katie: On Sunday, the hospital had a strict policy of only two visitors to see us at the hospital, and that quickly changed the next day to one visitor and that counted the dad. The only way anyone else could come visit is if the dad left the hospital completely, so we weren’t able to have visitors at all our second day in the hospital. Visitors also cannot be under the age of 16. We have a 14-month-old daughter and not being able to see her for two days was really hard on us, but it was for her safety.
Savanna: I was only allowed to have three visitors total the whole time I was in the hospital. This included my husband. In the end, we also had both of our moms as designated visitors. The hospital itself had a few hiccups with supplies needing to be gathered from more places instead of in pre-packaged kits because they had been shipped from China. This was more stressful for my nurse than an issue for me. My baby has been in the NICU for six days. When he first went in, he was able to be visited by both my husband and me and our two designated visitors. They have since closed the unit to parents only. We knew a short NICU stay was likely for our little guy, and my doctor originally suggested they might keep me as a patient one extra night if it looked like my baby would have to stay at the hospital without me. By the time my earliest possible discharge day rolled around though, we all agreed that going home was safest for everyone, even though it meant I had to come home without the baby.
Rachel: Visitation hours and number of people were revised. No visitors were allowed after 8:30 p.m. and the number of visitors per room was limited to two people (dad being included as a visitor, so it was dad plus one).
What advice would you offer other pregnant mothers who are soon to deliver in regards to coronavirus and any fear they may have about heading to the hospital?
Katie: All hospitals are taking all the precautions necessary, so you don’t have to worry. Just focus on getting your baby here safely. There are things that are out of our control, and this is just one of them. Don’t be upset about visitor policies; just enjoy the quality time with the new addition to your family and get as much rest as you can. People can always come visit at home and in my opinion, it is better that way.
Savanna: Hospitals are working hard to keep a family-friendly atmosphere even with extra precautions. No one has this in their birth plan, so just try to take a deep breath and make the most of what you have. You can get through it. I also can’t recommend video chatting with family enough. They’ll have plenty of time to meet and bond with your little one when it’s safe. But even staring at a sleeping baby through their phone makes a big difference for them and you!
Rachel: The hospitals are taking the appropriate actions in light of everything that is going on. The hospital stay may look a little different than you had imagined it would with the new procedures in place, but just know everything being done is to protect you and your new baby!
What has been the best part about welcoming your new baby into the world?
Katie: The best part about our Lily coming into this world is watching our first daughter becoming a big sister. She is only 14 months old so it is so sweet watching her kiss her baby sister and try to share her toys and food with her. Lily was a big surprise! When we found out we were pregnant, we didn’t think we were ready for another baby, but God knew we needed her and we couldn’t imagine our life without her in it.
Savanna: Bonding with him in general! My little guy is a great snuggler and is growing and changing so quickly. And seeing my husband become a dad has been amazing. I honestly think having such an amazing new addition to our family to focus on has made me much less panicked about things happening outside that I can’t control.
Rachel: It’s hard to explain the emotion we felt when our son was born. The best part is just being able to see and snuggle this precious baby that you have carried and waited to meet for nine months. While the social distancing and quarantine has limited the interaction with friends and family, we are just thankful for the time we are given to love and bond with our little guy in these early days!
Thank you Savanna, Katie, and Rachel for sharing your stories (and your sweet babies) with us. Congratulations!
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