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  • Writer's pictureRev. Jessi Higginbotham

I've been asked a couple times what it was like giving birth during the pandemic. Violet's birth story is a tiny bit dramatic but not really because of the pandemic.

I'll begin at the beginning. First, we knew about five days before Violet was born (March 24, 2020) that no one would be able to visit us in the hospital. We also knew Wil would be the only person allowed in the delivery room with me. We were actually told by a snippy nurse we were "lucky even he was allowed in." This was the very beginning of the lock down. My water broke on March 22 in the middle of the day. We arrived at the hospital and after a rigorous security check, Wil was allowed to join me in our delivery suit. At this point no one was wearing a mask the only real difference was that the hospital was almost vacant -- the hallways were empty and quiet, some were even completely closed off. We spent all of our time in our room -- only Wil ventured out into the abyss.

I was in labor for 38 hours before it was clear I was not progressing. I only got to 7cm dilated and my contractions would get about 2-3 minutes a part but never stay that consistent. I had issues with my blood pressure the entire time and had a lot of drugs in my system. I was exhausted and not progressing. I had a c-section and Violet was born at 1:16 am on March 24.

This is actually when the drama began instead of when the drama ended. My blood pressure proceeded to go up and down but never really went low enough. I begged to be sent home after 5 days in the hospital but after less than 48 hours at home my blood pressure still would not go down and eventually got dangerously high (I have a cuff at home). I was readmitted to the hospital with complications from preeclampsia. I failed every test after that including a CT and Chest X-ray that showed I had a lot of fluid on my lungs. This sent the red flags flying high. That much fluid was a symptom of Covid-19 and I needed to be tested for the virus and isolated immediately.

I was alone, in complete isolation at the hospital, away from my newborn baby. Needless to say I cried for about 24 hours straight.

I want to pause and say this -- the hospital staff were amazing. The doctors and nurses were all kind, lovely, and very understanding people. They took exceptional care of me. I was treated with respect and dignity. I was scared, sick, and had just given birth, I was a mess. They were wonderful. I was given medicine for my blood pressure and checked regularly. At one point I asked not to be given a certain medication until my OB knew they were giving it to me (I had a bad reaction to it during labor). The Dr. left my room, called my OB and talked to him right then and there then returned to give me the verdict and plan they had come up with together. I was beyond impressed.

After 24 hours I was allowed to go home and had to isolate at home and wait for my Covid-19 results. They eventually came back negative and I have been in perfect health ever since.

I have a few thoughts for anyone who is going to give birth soon during this pandemic.

  1. Your birth plan is out the window. Sorry, but it is. Let the nurses and doctors take care of you and don't be afraid to ask for things you want. They know this isn't easy and are willing to go out of their way to help you if you give them the chance.

  2. This isn't anyone's fault so getting mad isn't going to change it.

  3. Relax. This is super frustrating but you need to relax.

  4. Speak up and advocate for yourself. They will listen. This is your body, your baby, and your health, say what you think and tell them what you need.

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