My C-Section was due for 1st April which coincided with the week that Australia was placed into unprecedented lockdowns. My biggest concern leading up to my planned C-Section was that elective surgeries would be cancelled and my C-Section would fall into that category. Although elective surgeries did end up being cancelled a few days before 1st April, my OB assured me that if my elective C-Section was cancelled, she would schedule me for an ’emergency’ and I would simply be placed in the queue of surgeries for that day. Thankfully, we didn’t need to do that and my surgery happened as planned.
My experience at the hospital didn’t feel any different. If anything, there were less people around and the hospital itself felt very calm. The staff were all amazing and made sure to wash their hands before and after touching me. The C-Section went to plan without incident and I was in a flood of tears afterwards due to the shear happiness and relief I felt that it was finally over. There is a picture of me on the operating table with my baby afterwards and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a brighter smile on my face.
Back on the ward, we welcomed the quietness of not being able to have visitors. Many of the staff agreed that the lack of visitors had enabled women to recover and bond with their babies quicker. I had moments of sadness when I wished my 4 yr old could come visit us but I was in a quite a bit of pain from the C-Section so I just reminded myself that I should use this time to rest and heal.
I will never forget the first few days of my daughters life in that hospital, for the first time in my marriage my husband and I sat all day in complete silence and happiness just resting and caring for our newborn. I couldn’t think of another time in our 8 years together that we’d had such a gift.
We ended up leaving after 3 days in the hospital as we were starting to get cabin fever. Personally I think if COVI- 19 didn’t exist we would have a stayed a couple of days longer but I was desperate to see my 4 year old and I felt quite a bit of guilt about leaving him with my parents for so long.
My husband had gotten ill in the 3 weeks leading up to my daughters birth and so we had been isolating from him out at my parents house in the week before. Unfortunately at the time they had limited testing available for COVID so we will never know if he actually had the virus. But we followed the rules, he stayed couped up in our house and no-one else caught whatever it was that he had.
At home, we wouldn’t even have known there was a major worldwide pandemic except for having our son home from daycare. My parents helped a lot during those early days though so he was kept occupied. I’m now 6 weeks post C-Section and only my parents, my brother and my sister have met my gorgeous baby. It brings me moments of sadness but as I’m usually quite a private person, I’ve been thankful for these long and quiet days to bond with my baby and heal.
In hindsight, going into a birth with trauma in my history was extremely triggering. There were moments when I envision my entire medical team being struck down with the virus and being stuck in a overrun public hospital without any support person. These fears were unfounded. The experience was healing for me and I’m thankful that I have developed an emotional toolkit from my last traumatic birth to deal with situations like this.
Much like the rest of the world, I’m ready to get back into the normal pace of life.