THOMAS: To the parents getting ready to have a baby in a pandemic, you’re not alone

The obvious worry for most is the risk of possible infection to a newborn.

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Having a baby was a stressful ordeal before the world added the chaos of a pandemic to the mix.

Do I have everything I need? Are we ready for this? What if there are complications? These are just a few of the questions that swim through the heads of soon to be parents. The COVID-19 situation has taken anxieties and amplified them x1000.

The obvious worry for most is the risk of possible infection to a newborn. There was absolutely no way to predict we would be rocked by a virus that quickly spread across the globe nine months ago, there was no planning for this. Yet parents now have to deal with the reality they have to travel to ground zero for COVID-19 patients to give birth to their newborn.

This is something Alberta Health Services is rightly taking seriously. As a result, a number of changes have been made to the delivery process. Only one support person is being allowed into the delivery room, and once a couple enters the maternity ward, they cannot leave for any reason.

Nobody is going to argue the fact these steps are necessary to prevent newborns and their parents from becoming infected, but that doesn’t take away from how scary all of this makes the process.

Off the bat, the fact only one support can be in the room will be difficult for many parents to adjust to. Many mothers want their partners to support the baby once they are born and their parents there as a support system for them. While every mother is different in who they choose to have as a support system, only allowing one person in the maternity ward both before and after will undoubtedly be an unsettling hurdle for many parents.

As an expectant parent of my first child, I can tell you for myself at least, this process has been all about preparation. My girlfriend and I have spent months making lists, stockpiling diapers and wipes, and buying everything from diaper cream and baby oil to bassinets, cribs, and a seemingly endless stockpile of clothes blankets.

We, like most parents I imagine, just want to make sure our little girl is as comfortable as possible when she comes into the world. Now we have to deal with the reality we can be as careful as we want and there is still a chance we’re going to come into contact with COVID-19 on our way to the emergency room, or at the hospital.

The precautions are plenty, they are necessary, and they will absolutely work to prevent the spread in most cases, but there is no denying the possibility is there. For couples with a known risk for complications who cannot chance a home birth, there is no recourse.

In these unprecedented times, expectant parents need to hear they are not alone, and it will be OK. There are a million inconveniences associated with all of this I haven’t even begun to touch on, I get it; still, you will get through.

It will not be long before your baby will be home safe where you can keep them in quarantine and isolated from the madness while the world recovers. There is FaceTime or Skype, and when all of this is over, your family will meet your little bundle of joy.

For nine months, you have either grown a human being to full term, which will always be an incredible feat, or you have supported your partner through the ups and downs of pregnancy while preparing to bring a life into the world. It’s the home stretch now, pandemic or not, you will get through.