I need to begin with an apology - I have been wrecking my brain for a good, catchy title (if you own a wix.com site, you'd know that they actually tell you to "Add a Catchy Title") and this is the best I could come up with. I know POV doesn't rhyme with COVID but I tried, I promise!
I've wanted to share more about my thoughts regarding the current tightening of COVID measures and how it will certainly affect parents who will be delivering their little ones in these times. So, for this post to be authentic, I asked myself: What would I do if I were expecting and about to deliver?
And thus, the content for this post.
As always, I'd like to put this caveat here - we can never be FULLY prepared for birth. I maintain that it is a wonder and force of nature. However, we can certainly choose to place ourselves in a more advantageous position by being informed and more aware of what is. It is in being informed that we can then ponder, think, have discussions about the possible solutions and the options we have. Hence, when presented with the situation, no matter the form or the slight changes which it may present, we feel more prepared; causing us to respond calmly more than react anxiously.
Okay so, without further delay, here are my TOP 5 TIPS for delivering during COVID.
1) Ask, Ask, Ask
You know how toddlers continuously ask how and why questions for you to answer till you're blue in the face? I'd say, if you have any doubts on how your delivery is going to go on the day, just ask!
Ask the hospital that you're delivering at.
Ask your doctor (OBGYN) or even your doctor's clinic.
If they need a little more time to get back to you - given the current situation and how busy I would anticipate phonelines and email inboxes to be - so be it, but get the answers and make sure you understand them.
I say this because I know that some hospitals have put in the time and effort to send leaflets and guidelines out to their patients but I also know that after having read that wealth of information, some of my clients are still puzzled and don't understand exactly what the protocols entail. It might help to go through it together or with someone who can be your soundboard so that you can talk it through. Mess the paper up - highlight what you don't understand and make notes where necessary as you go along.
I've included a possible list of questions for you below as a guide of what you could ask. Of course, it's non-exhaustive:
2) Do Some Homework
Find out which food outlets deliver to the hospital of your choice and have that list handy. I think this tip isn't just good for times of COVID-19 but even when all this craziness is over and done with :) It saves time - especially for partners and spouses!
For those who prefer going into the details (and scoring points with birthing mama), categorize the eateries into different cuisines and ensure there are plenty of your favourites!
Oh, I really think that it’ll help to (I know this is going to sound like I'm getting you to draw up an evacuation plan) take note of the entrances and exits. While you may be familiar with the ins and outs of the hospital, things would change given stringent measures and knowing which doors are accessible may mean that you can get to the delivery suite just a tad quicker and save you from any frustration. It also helps to know where your favourite food delivery rider can wait for you so that you can get the yummy meal for yourself when you're ravenous!
Also, ask if the hospital is still able to loan you items like birthing balls, mats, stools, etc. This will help you figure out what else should go into your hospital bag which brings me to my next tip.
3) Re-pack that Hospital Bag
Based on the answers you've gathered from your doctor or the hospital, you might have to throw in a few more items - it could be that birth ball you're so comfortable with sitting on when using comfort techniques at home or a pillow that smells like home :) Remember, you might have to stay in the delivery suite all the time so bring along items that will ensure your comfort and relaxation. Oh and lots of sustenance i.e. sweets, water bottles, gummies, protein bars, honey sticks, granola bars, chocolate - just don't take the kitchen sink with you :)
Partners and daddies! We've got your back! Make sure you've got some of your favourite stuff in that bag too coz you're important. Afterall, we need you to be that pillar of support for mama!
Another tip I have is to bring along an extension cord with multiple sockets. You never know how many power sockets will be available so if you're going to need to charge 2 phones, an iPad and a computer, you’re probably going to need more than one :)
4) Manage Expectations
The birth of a newborn baby is a time for celebration where everyone wants to fawn over the little one and come visit. Perhaps it would be good to explain to family and friends how you appreciate and are thankful for the care and concern and that they want to share your joy; however, it would help both of you if the visits and video calls could wait until after you've had to manage everything in the light of the current measures being implemented.
You're not saying no to the outpouring of love and concern, you're just saying, not yet :)
5) Give the Birth Plan a Second Look
Take a look at your birth plan - what changes would you need to make? Perhaps you'd like to labour in the comfort of your own home a little longer. Communicate with each other about your individual anxieties and concerns. Discuss options with your OBGYN or your doula. Given that doulas aren't quite allowed in many hospitals during this given time, you could have your doula on a video call. Give room for flexibility in your plans with, of course, explored boundaries in place AND more importantly, get everyone on board so that you feel supported and safe.
So there you have it!
I hope this helps and if you have any other suggestions or tips for all the parents out there, do drop me a line or a message. In times like these, we all need to support each other.
Take care and stay safe everyone! All my love to you!
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