“WHAT IT’S LIKE”

Four new and expecting mothers use the power of story this Mother’s Day.

There has been incredible planning across the globe, to ensure hospitals are providing safe care to mothers and their newborns during this time.

“While the rules may vary in different countries, they all share the same goal: keep things as normal as possible.” – Clare Livingstone, a midwife and professional policy advisor at the UK Royal College of Midwives, in this article.

Our Foundation sees immense value in showcasing the variety of women’s experiences, each bringing their own unique challenges and joys.

We have had new and expecting moms reach out to us, or post on their own social media showing gratitude to BC Women’s Hospital’s healthcare teams. 

Women across the globe are harnessing the power of story. As a way to show others they are not alone, to express gratitude, and to connect with their community — even if that’s just online for now.

So this Mother’s Day, here are four stories from new and expecting moms in our community.

 

KELSEY’S STORY

“My daughter was born on March 22, just a few days after the world seemed to stop turning in Canada. Once labour started and during our time at BC Women’s, I remember not even noticing we were in a pandemic. We were in our own little bubble…

It was my first birth experience and the care providers at BC Women’s made it an amazing, positive, and memorable one. Hearing about restrictions in the United States on support persons, I do not take it for granted that my husband, Chris was present for the birth of our first child. 

The only change to my birth “plan” due to COVID-19 was the restriction on laughing gas. I wasn’t phased. I was prepared to be flexible with the “plan.” Emotionally, the hardest part for me was the empty waiting room, and lack of visitors both at the hospital and at home afterwards. It’s sad for me to know for the first several weeks of her life, no one will have cuddled our sweet girl except for myself and my husband. Pictures and videos are wonderful, but they are not true substitutes for baby snuggles.

To other expectant parents right now, I would repeat what Chris continually reminds me: the steps we are taking in self-isolation now are protecting both our young baby girl, and her vulnerable grandparents (and great-grandparents!) so that we can all enjoy her in the years to come.  There are also some benefits to keeping the babe all to yourselves… did I mention baby snuggles are amazing?! In the early days I got sufficient rest and I’m sure the lack of constant visitors made establishing breastfeeding easier. Look for the silver linings!”

 

JAMIE’S STORY

“This being my second pregnancy, I am noticing many differences, one main one being that I am not around my family and close friends for support and to fuel excitement. 

I had my 20 week detailed ultrasound last week. My husband and daughter waited in the parking lot while I went in alone. I felt less anxious, being my second time around, but wished my husband could have been there to see our little guy. I felt very supported and safe at BC Women’s.

Every once in a while it hits me that our son might not be able to meet his extended family after he is born. I also have two new nieces/nephews arriving around the time our son is due, and it breaks my heart not being able to meet them. I just keep focusing on the positives, and that we are all doing this for a greater good and our children’s future. 

What is keeping me optimistic and positive is the mother daughter time I am spending with Dylan, my first born. Things will be changing in September with her brother joining us, and though it will be amazing, our time spent together will be less focused on just her and I. 

My advice for other women is: you may feel alone, but we can get through this time. Birth supporters, whether they are our partners, doulas, OBs, or midwives, are key during this time. Utilize that support as best you can, and always reach out to other mothers or expectant mothers you know. We are killing it!”

 

CAROLYN’S STORY

“I recently had a wonderful birthing experience at BC Women’s Hospital. My daughter Emma was born at exactly 11pm on April 25. The hospital care and experience was exceptional. My partner Michael was my one support person. 

Leading up to my due date, we were a little anxious and uncertain about birthing in a hospital given the COVID pandemic and potential restrictions regarding support people and visitors. We were worried Michael may not be able to attend if the hospital restrictions changed. 

We were quickly put at ease upon entering the hospital. The care by all hospital staff, nurses and doctors was outstanding. The nurses and doctors were caring, supportive, calming and attentive. 

This is my second birth, as I had my son 10 years ago. When my son was born, the room was filled with family and friends through our stay celebrating the birth. For now, we have those celebrations virtually. 

We didn’t have a baby shower or other family celebrations that usually accompany a birth, but we’ve enjoyed a lot of extra family connected time at home together. We are a blended family with my son Jack (10 years old) and his two sons Nate (11 years old) and Will (9 years old). We are now a family of 6 with the addition of baby Emma. 

We are both in excellent health now at home, settling into the newborn pattern of eat, sleep, repeat. It’s nice having the entire family at home to experience and share in the first moments of Emma’s life together.”

 

JASMINA’S STORY

“I went into labour with baby Anna on the evening of Friday, April 17th . While delivering, I felt a great sense of privilege and security, having a team of care providers and specialists who all took the time to introduce themselves and explain their role during the birth and postpartum care. I felt in full control of what was happening. Even though all staff were wearing masks, they made eye contact to make sure I was clear on every step and continued to ask for permission for every procedure or test

The anticipation of going home was always on our minds, especially because we could not introduce baby Anna to her grandparents yet. We also had to stop attending our biweekly parenting class, which was a good opportunity for us to meet first time parents in our neighbourhood. Fortunately, we have all kept in touch through our WhatsApp group, and still e-meet via Zoom. We have family in different parts of the province and other continents, so we keep in touch with weekly Skype call-ins. 

I am fortunate to have had an uncomplicated first birth, and the baby is doing well! I have started taking daily walks with the baby and husband during less crowded times, it helps that the weather is improving this time of year to take in the spring bloom. We all look forward to these walks.

My advice for others? I would first recommend finding a care team that you feel a good connection with. And join a pregnancy/parenting group (even if it is online) because you can learn so much from each other, as can your partner. 

Don’t be shy in accepting help from friends and family in a way that feels right to you.” 


STAY ENGAGED

  • Donate to our COVID-19 Response Fund, supporting new and expecting mothers.
  • Read BC Women’s Hospital’s article on Pregnancy and birth during COVID-19.
  • Share your story on our website, or tag us in your posts @bcwomens.
  • Submit a Message of Thanks to a healthcare team at BC Women’s Hospital.

BC Women’s Health Foundation is BC’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the full spectrum of women’s health. The information shared is intended to educate, inform, and point readers to credible sources. It is not intended to substitute professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of qualified healthcare professionals with any questions specific to your medical condition.