This week on the Mommy Labor Nurse podcast I have a birth story lined up for yall! And, let me just preface, this is not any ordinary birth story. This one is INTENSE and shall I even say the word? COVID-filled. Yup.
This week I had Laurel join me on the podcast to talk all about giving birth in the heart of this pandemic that we all know too well. Laurel and her husband BOTH got covid a few days before she was due, and unfortunately, her husband was not able to attend her birth, and she had to give birth in the hospital alone.
Her unique experience has taught her the value of advocacy before, during, and after birth. And…Not only did she give birth in a pandemic, but she also had COVID DURING her delivery. Yeah. Her recovery from her experience has been long, and heartfelt, and less than easy to say the least.
I wanted to have her on today to tell her story not only to shed light on what it’s like to give birth with COVID, but to help you understand a “worst-case scenario”, and understand how to fiercely self-advocate if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
This is an emotional, yet incredible story, so let’s dive right in and hear from Laurel.
To set the stage for Laurel’s birth I asked her to talk about her pregnancy. She shared about what it was like to find out she was pregnant, and how on the day she saw her positive the fact that a pandemic was happening completely left her mind.
She spent her pregnancy working from home, and noted how her co-workers never even saw her pregnant! Laurel recounts how wild it was to be pregnant during the pandemic. The way she had to share her news over Zoom with her parents, and how she had to process and come to terms with the fact that she would be transitioning into motherhood with only the support of her husband.
She was due in December and kept seeing the forecast of a dark and scary winter in terms of COVID cases. Laurel was worried that hospitals would change their policies and not let support people come in. She feared having to labor alone.
Preparing for birth
Laurel continues her story and shares how she took an early maternity leave right before Christmas. She had an induction scheduled for the day before she would be 41 weeks. She was so hoping baby would come before then and that she would go into labor spontaneously.
Flash to the day after Christmas, December 26th, and her husband woke up with cold symptoms. They find out that a co-worker of his tested positive for COVID and immediately began quarantining from each other, masking inside, etc. Because at this point Laurel was not symptomatic.
When you tune in you’ll hear about her husband’s positive test result, how that felt from Laurel’s perspective, and the fact that her husband would not be able to come with her to the birth.
Laurel’s mom volunteered to be there and flew from halfway across the country to be there with her. You’ll hear her detail her own positive COVID test, and all of the BIG feelings that were happening during these days before birth.
Laurel goes into labor
Her water broke on the night of January 2nd, and she labored at home for around 10 hours before heading to the hospital. Laurel explains what it was like to have her husband drive her to the hospital to only drop her off, and how she sat on a bench outside waiting for her mom.
Next, Laurel details how it felt to be a COVID positive patient in L&D. Everyone had on full PPE and things escalated quickly when she fainted after having her blood drawn. She came to find out that baby’s heart rate had decelerated and they were doing everything they could to get baby’s rate back up.
They gave her medication to stop her contractions which worked and effectively stopped her labor entirely. She was still admitted because her water had broken but things were a lot quieter. They started her on Pitocin and increased her dose every few hours. It took a while for her to actually get into labor again!
You’ll hear her talk about when she got the epidural, the fact that her husband was able to FaceTime during the birth, and how the rest of her birth progressed without any mishaps!
Baby boy was here!
Moving to her recovery room and going home
Laurel had to stay in her recovery room alone due to her positive COVID test. The experience was lonely, she didn’t get the lactation support she wanted, but when they told her could leave whenever she was ready, she jumped at the opportunity.
When you listen to the episode, you’ll hear Laurel talk about transitioning to home, what it was like for her husband to meet their baby, and how they finished out their quarantine at home with their newborn.
Laurel also opens up about her breastfeeding journey and how she found peace with the situation.
Laurel Hostak Jones lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, baby boy Arthur, and two cats, Claudius and Charlemagne. She is a writer and communications specialist who, along with her husband, hosts The Midnight Myth Podcast.
In her (now admittedly rare) free time Laurel enjoys travel, studying mythology and medieval literature, and birding.
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