Childbirth and coronavirus: how these mothers lived the birth

Accouchement et coronavirus : comment ces mamans ont vécu la naissance

Four mothers who gave birth during confinement tell us how they experienced the birth of their baby. Were fathers able to attend the delivery? How was the stay at the maternity ward and the return home? Testimonials.

Usually the concerns of pregnant women about to give birth relate to the epidural, the episiotomy, the caesarean section in emergency or the possible complications related to the birth of baby … But in the middle of an epidemic period, future mothers who are coming to the end of their pregnancy are asking a multitude of additional questions: can papa be present at delivery? Is there no risk in going to a hospital where there are patients with Covid-19 ? How to protect your baby? To answer the questions of mothers who will give birth during confinement, four mothers were kind enough to tell us about the birth and the first days of their baby’s life.

“The virus stole daddy’s magic moments from the first days”

Émilie, 40, gave birth to her third child, a little boy named Candide, born on 1er April 2020 at the maternity unit of the Brétéché clinic, in Nantes. “The term was scheduled for April 9. To avoid giving birth in the middle of an epidemic peak, we planned with my obstetrician a trigger on 1er April. The appointment was set at 8:30 am, but my contractions started the night before, and Candide arrived naturally a few hours before the scheduled appointment “, she explains. The birth of her son went well, the epidural was placed and the father was able to attend the delivery. My fear was that he could not be there, and that is the reason why I had oriented myself towards an induction of childbirth “, specifies the young mother. In accordance with the recommendations and to limit the risks of spread of the virus, dad had to leave two after the baby was born, and came to meet them after leaving the maternity hospital, three days later. “The separation was hard. I feel like the virus stole daddy’s magical moments from the first days. For her partner, the separation was also complicated to live. “For him, it was difficult to separate from us right after giving birth. And he was very frustrated not to take advantage of the baby’s first days and not to be with me to share this bubble of happiness. also feared that his son “rejects” him after this three-day separation “. At the maternity, Émilie and her husband did not have to take any special precautions. However, their temperature was measured as soon as they arrived, and the father should have left if one of the two had had a fever.

For this Nantes girl, being in confinement had a little impact on her end of pregnancy. “I dreamed of rest during the start of my maternity leave, I had to take care of my elders and I feared giving birth when I was exhausted. As for giving birth during an epidemic, it is extremely disturbing. It was fast and brutal, our plans were disrupted: my parents could not come to help us and look after our children while the dad stayed with me for a few days at the maternity, as for my other deliveries “, says Emilie. His return home went well. The young mother was able to find her family, and a liberal midwife comes to make regular checks at home. “Candide was eagerly awaited at home and I couldn’t wait to go back to find my family and start our new confinement with an extra baby. We are really in our bubble and we now feel protected. “

“I had an emergency Cesarean”

On March 21, Emma (26) gave birth to her little Maddie at the maternity hospital in Brive-la-Gaillarde. For this mother, the birth did not go as she had planned. Childbirth went wrong, I had an emergency Cesarean. Fortunately, I am one of the lucky ones, my spouse was able to accompany me to the maternity hospital when my delivery was started. He may have been present during labor, but not during the cesarean “. As the young woman gave birth to start of confinement, his companion was able to come to visit him and their granddaughter the first two days of their stay at the maternity hospital. “But from March 23, he was no longer admitted at all”. In her maternity, barrier gestures have been put in place to protect patients and their newborns. We had to wear a mask during childbirth, and I had to wear one afterwards during the whole stay. I had to stay confined to my room and, the nursery being closed, all baby care took place in the room, she says. At the exit, the father was able to come and collect them, but had to wait in the car while a midwife helped the mother to get their things down. Giving birth under these conditions was a source of concern for Emma, ​​but everything went well. “Obviously, fear was present. We were not really reassured to know us in hospital premises with cases of Covid-19 with a newborn. Today, we are relieved to have come home. Containment also allows us to discover ourselves as a family and create a cocoon, even if our baby does not yet know the other members of our families … “. Maddie’s dad struggled to accept separation from maternity, but the couple believes they were lucky. “My partner felt put aside and deprived of the first moments of his daughter, although he was lucky to be present during his first two days of life.” Since then, the maternity has taken new measures following the recommendations: dads can attend the delivery, but they must leave two hours after the birth of the baby. “So we still consider ourselves lucky, because if I had given birth two days later, we wouldn’t have had the chance to spend two days together at the maternity hospital.”

“Covid-19 positive, the return home was complicated”

Estelle (32), gave birth to her second child, Eva, born on April 2 at the Senlis maternity hospital. For the young mother, who was tested positive at Covid-19, the apprehension was present at the time of birth. “When I knew I was positive, I immediately panicked and I was really afraid of giving birth alone, or being put aside by the medical team. So I took care to prevent the motherhood and to ask them all the questions that I wanted faced with this situation, and they were rather reassuring. Fortunately, the delivery went very well, the midwife who looked after me was really friendly”, she tells us.“The only downside is that despite a short job (4 hours), I felt that the medical team was trying to speed up work in order to reduce their interaction time with me. They gave me oxytocin when I had only started work for a few hours. Suddenly, my daughter arrived in 10 minutes and I could not benefit from an effective epidural “, she regrets.

Her husband may have been with her for the arrival of their daughter. “Fortunately, the father was present for the delivery, because the baby arrived so quickly that, if it had not been there, I could not have done it alone”. For Estelle, the postpartum was more complicated. “I was deprived of my spouse for 72 hours and, coming out of illness, I needed a helping hand to take care of Eva. The medical team came to see me twice a day, great maximum, and I felt abandoned and alone facing the situation. I do not blame the medical staff, because it lacks equipment and everything must be saved, but we must take into account the state of the mom and the fact that the disease struck us a few days before. JI did not want to breastfeed because, in the circumstances, I did not want to take any risk, especially since the medical team was not very present following childbirth. ”

When he returns home, Estelle must take precautions with her daughter, like her spouse and her son, who have not been screened.I came home exhausted physically and psychologically. We have to take a lot of care with the baby, to make sure he doesn’t catch anything, but with the lack of masks, it’s very complicated. I am no longer sick and I normally spent the fourteen days of quarantine, but the medical profession asked me to continue taking precautions for another week: wearing a mandatory mask in the presence of children and impeccable hand hygiene, you need to space the cradle 1m30 from our bed and clean the changing areas every day. Clothes should also be cleaned regularly, such as sleeping bags, blankets and sheets. It’s frustrating that no one except me has been tested, because we don’t know if my son or my husband is a carrier. When in doubt, young parents forbid the elder to approach his little sister … As for the father, he experienced the separation with his daughter very badly. He had the impression that his paternity was being stolen from him, that part of him was being ripped from him. He had a lot of trouble resuming and bonding with normal papa life. I don’t think we should forget about dads. They need to be there for their baby and to support the mother in this beginning of life “. Emma adds that she has a message for all the mothers who give birth during this epidemic period: “We are warriors because the context is really difficult for us.”

“After giving birth, I felt alone, unaccompanied”

“Before birth, I was not really afraid of giving birth during the epidemic. But I was very worried that the dad could not be present “, says Océane, 26, who gave birth to her first child, Liam, on the 1er April at the Corbeille-Essonne hospital. Liam’s father witnessed the birth of his son from the time labor started.“He must have worn a mask when I was put on the epidural. During the delivery, the nursing staff and the midwives were adorable, even if the conditions were special. I felt very well supervised. had a dream birth. ” Right after birth the father stayed three hours before he had to leave the hospital.

If the birth of her son went perfectly, Océane cannot say the same his stay in maternity. Even if some members of the nursing staff were very accommodating and attentive, some were rather rude, particularly with regard to breastfeeding. “I tried to breastfeed my son, it was a disaster, I was not accompanied at all, as for bathing. One of them even raised his voice on my son because he couldn’t suck, and ended up slamming the door saying “there, I can do nothing more for you”. She explained to me that their schedule was disrupted, that they were on duty for 12 hours. I can hear, I understand, and I agree that it is difficult and that the caregivers are overwhelmed. But it is not for the patients and their babies to suffer, it was complicated for me too to give birth under these circumstances. I cried every day, I was alone with an infant, which is very difficult. This is my first child and I really needed help and to be surrounded. When I called them to help me, I felt like I was annoying them, they were not available. If I could have had Dad during the day, I think I would have been better off. ” Océane had a bad time during her maternity stay, and her partner, for his part, had a lot of trouble getting used to the idea of ​​not being able to be present. “He had difficulty accepting that he could not stay or visit us. It is sad not to have been able to be there for the first days of his son’s life, and all the more so since he is his first child. Besides, as I called him in tears, he was worried and really wanted to be with us, but he felt helpless in the face of all this. So for him too, it was very very complicated. We understand that it is to protect caregivers and patients, but it is unfair that a dad be deprived of these unique moments. ” The young mother was able to benefit, like most new mothers under the current circumstances, from a early maternity leave. Two days after giving birth, she was able to go home, a real relief. “As my delivery went very well, I could relive it ten times if necessary. But my stay at the maternity, never. Fortunately, at home things went much better. I stopped breastfeeding and started bottle feeding. A real pleasure to be able to feed my son with complete peace of mind! “.

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