Childbirth - Health - Women

Birth During the Pandemic

Yesterday I listened to a couple take about their birth experience. They had planned to have a home birth. Having had the experience of assisting at home births, I thought their choice was good—especially during the pandemic.

Unfortunately, the mom needed to be transferred to the hospital after many hours of labor. Soon after arriving she had a cesarean section. I was pleased to hear that they placed the baby on her chest, skin to skin in the operating room—a soothing and a bonding moment for mom and baby.

The baby was then taken to the neonatal intensive care unit due to a low blood sugar. The mom was tested for covid and although she had no symptoms, she tested positive. As a result, neither she nor or husband was allowed to go into the nursery. They were separated from their newborn for ten days.

It saddens me to hear how covid has affected procedures in hospital birth care. The couple has returned home with their baby. They are redeeming time together, bonding with their baby.

So many things are more difficult during this time. My heart goes out to new mothers who are recovering from the emotional experience of birth. How did it feel to be attached to monitors and intravenous lines with care givers coming in with masks and face shields? Did they have a support person with them throughout labor? As they think about the birth experience, they are in a process of physical recovery.

Recently I found a file with notes that I had shared with my Lamaze classes.

The physical changes that occur in a woman’s body in the days and weeks following birth are enormous. The uterus which has grown to a two-pound sac at the time of birth will reduce down to a two-ounce muscle in six weeks (hence the after-birth pains).

Vaginal drainage (lochia), which lasts about two weeks, marks the healing process of the uterine lining.

During pregnancy a woman’s blood volume has gradually increased, supporting the growing baby. In the first week after birth, approximately five pounds of excess fluid are lost through urine and sweat.

Following birth there are major hormonal shifts. Estrogen and progesterone drop off markedly and prolactin levels peak. The body prepares for breast milk production. All of this happens after the exhausting event of labor!

In a future post I will share ways to prepare for the recovery period following childbirth.

Note: photo is courtesy of T. Adriaenssen

This post is shared with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: REDEEM

Carol is a follower of Jesus and a wife, mom & grandma. She worked for many years as a childbirth nurse and prenatal educator. She recently retired from clinical work. She has written articles for nursing journals and devotionals. Her novel, Aliisa's Letter, was published in 2010 and she is currently working on another project.

6 Comments on “Birth During the Pandemic

  1. People die and kids are born
    in every time and place;
    even when the world was torn
    by COVID’s savage grace.
    How is this a grace, you ask,
    this tragedy that marked our time?
    Because, I think it took to task
    our hearts, and how we spent out time
    in those bright warm piping days
    ‘fore masks and social distancing;
    worthy, they were of high praise
    but in them we’d been missing
    connexions closest to our hearts,
    when life ends, and when life starts.

    1. Yes, those “connections closest to our hearts”–precious time with family at birth and death. Thank-you for this poem, Andrew!

  2. Our third grandson was born during this crazy time! Meeting him in a mask was so very sad to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful we were able to hold him soon after he came home from the hospital, but not to show my smile full of love to him was so different than with his brothers. It’s been six months since I’ve seen him now, also so different than with the other two. We’re looking forward to the time to reintroduce ourselves to him and to enjoy time with all 3 of our grandsons! Thank you for sharing this information, Carol! Your #fmf neighbor, Cindy

    1. Cindy, blessings to your family. I am praying for the pandemic and fear to go away. How do the little ones see our world? We need normal time with the children.

  3. Carol, I absolutely love your post. While my children are now young adults. I appreciated your lesson on the time and changes following delivery. I reflected back to my own after delivery healing. Blessings.
    Visiting from FMF#3

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