A COVID 19 Birth Story in Italy: Daniela’s Story

Every birth is special and difficult in its own way but add a pandemic situation and you have the next level of an emotional birth story during covid19. On 31st of March 2020 at 13:00 p.m. my water broke, I was 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant, my son – Davide, seemed to be very precise. After calling the hospital and sharing the details regarding the liquid’s color and other symptoms, we were advised to remain at home for another 6 hours and wait for the contractions. If the contractions didn’t appear, we should have went to the hospital anyway to track for the baby’s heartbeat.That was exactly how things went, no contraction and I was stupidly happy thinking that I’ll have such an easy delivery, “I must be very fortunate” were my thoughts!

Arrived in the hospital I didn’t even think about the covid19 situation until the nurse announced that the father has to remain in the waiting room. He is allowed to assist me during the delivery but until then, he has to patiently wait outside. No interventions were going to be made for 24 hours, in order to wait for the birth contractions. I was so sad but was thinking that this pre delivery phase will not last that much, so he may wait in the parking lot and I’ll text him once the moment arrives. I couldn’t be more wrong.

The nurse announced that the father has to remain in the waiting room.

The hours past by and the contractions didn’t seem to arrive so I told Antonio to go to his sister’s home, which is closer to the hospital than our house, and wait there for my phone call. This was almost a criminal move as we were in quarantine and were not allowed to go to relative’s house but desperate situations ask for desperate measures. At 00:00 a.m. the contractions started to appear, very intense but not close one to another. I started keeping track and announced the nurse when they were 5 minutes apart. She gently told me to try to rest and not track them anymore, I was confused.

Of course she had the experience and understood that I was not going to give birth during that night, but that didn’t help me rest. The contractions were anyhow very intense and I spent the whole night in standing position as it was the only way I could get through them. The night passed so painfully slowly but I checked the clock and it was 10:00 a.m., the doctors came to reassure me that if the delivery contractions will not come before 13.00 o’clock, they will have to induce me. I was in such pain and full of it that I didn’t even care anymore, I just couldn’t wait for the pain to go away. Finally it was me who insisted to be checked and sadly, after 24 hours since the water broke, I was only 3-4 cm dilated. The good news was that the cervix flattened thanks to these contractions, so I could be induced the easy and fast way, using oxytocin.

Maybe all the exercises done during pregnancy for an easy labor and delivery helped at something. It was time to call my husband to participate to the second part of labor, the active part. I was thinking that after all this covid19 situation is not that bad, at least my husband is well rested and will be able to give me fresh support for the delivery phase. I couldn’t wait to see him and at the same time I’d have wanted him to not participate anymore since I was in such a painfully condition, I didn’t want him to suffer with me as well, but he came anyway.

My husband arrived, wearing 2 face masks and a green medical coat. I forgot to mention that I was wearing a face mask too since I entered in the hospital and I was gently informed that I’ll have to wear it also during labor and delivery. Despite of that I was super happy as the midwife that was going to assist me was the one that guided me through the whole pregnancy and we created a nice bond. At the same time I was also super tired after 24 hours of contractions. I was so tired that I couldn’t even scream during the now more intense contractions and I fell asleep between them. I remember that I had a different dream every time.

My husband was super supportive and we tried different positions to feel less pain but there is no such thing. After 3 hours of tremendous painful contractions (for the 1st pregnancy they say it’s normal) I felt exhausted and I asked for the epidural. Unfortunately they listened to me and gave it to me. Unfortunately, because I didn’t even have the time to enjoy the epidural effect as I felt the urge to push and in 15 minutes Davide came into our world. 2 hours of pure happiness are following, just the 3 of us in the delivery room, I couldn’t be more grateful to God, to the medical personnel, to my husband, to my son for collaborating so well.

We were informed that the father is not allowed to visit us anymore.

But it was a bitter sweet situation since we were informed that the father is not allowed to visit us anymore for the next period we’ll stay in the hospital. covid19 strikes again. I had no idea how I’ll be able to take care of our son and myself since I couldn’t even stay on my feet for the next hours. The nurses were very gentle and supportive but they were also very busy because some of them were sent to the covid19 maternity department, so they couldn’t fully support us as normally do.

I assisted to my son’s first bath, without my husband and with a blur vision. Fortunately that first night Davide was very calm and slept on my arms for the whole night. The morning after I felt better and managed to take care of ourselves. I can’t say the same thing about my room colleague who had a C section and couldn’t get out of the bed for more than 24 hours. She was suffering this virus situation much more than me as she would’ve wanted and needed her mom to help her in this post partum phase. I assisted to their phone calls and I barely hold my tears.

We had a room for 2 and we should have wear masks for the whole time and not leave the room for any reasons because of covid19 infection risks. I couldn’t wear the mask 24/24h because I couldn’t even see my son with the mask on. I just put it on every time someone entered the room. Anyway, so happy smartphones and videocalls exist, in this way I felt closer to my family and friends and shared with them in a digital way the joy that a newborn brings. After 3 days of hospital care it finally arrived the time to go home to our anxious daddy. I never saw my husband so happy and fulfilled in the 10 years that we’re together.

Not even the empty streets caused by covid19 quarantine could have take away this happiness, but I must say that it was quite strange. During the 3 days in the hospital, taking care of my son, I completely forgot about the virus so now I felt like in a horror movie where we’re the only survivors. I had a sad thought that we have to get used to this situation for the next period but I was also hoping that it will pass fast and we’ll return to normal, “this is just an extraordinary situation”, I was continue repeating like a mantra, in my head. I was afraid of the postpartum depression and of course the coronavirus didn’t help but then I was thinking that thanks to this situation I’ll have my husband at home for the next month and the quarantine didn’t look that bad anymore. In fact it was beautiful. Now Davide is 5 weeks old, Antonio started working and I realize how helpful it was this coronavirus quarantine period for my mental and physical recovery.

I was constraint to stay in the house because of the virus quarantine but my new mom situation would’ve constrainted me as well. It’s like the whole society “suffers” together with me the fact that you can’t really go outside and continue doing what you were normally doing, with a newborn. My colleagues at work cancelled all the events and they’re also staying at home. I’m not missing anything, it’s great! Our relatives and friends couldn’t visit us in this period which is quite sad but to be honest, I don’t think I would’ve been very comfortable welcoming them in a chaotic house with a colic newborn and a postpartum recovering all day in PJ mom.

All of Davide’s documents were made without leaving our house, via phone and email. It’s a huge advantage considering how fragile a newborn is and the weather that wasn’t very spring warm although we’re in April – May. People try to compassionate me for giving birth during covid19 and I’m smiling because I can only see advantages coming out of this situation.

I’m all for the bright side of a bad situation and I can see it also in this emotional birth story during the covid19 pandemic, hope you can see it too.

Written by: Daniela

XOXO Renee Reina

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A COVID 19 Birth Story in Italy: Daniela’s Story