Birth story: having a baby during a pandemic

Baby T was born on March 12th, one day after Covid-19 was characterized as a pandemic and just a few days before the emergency state was activated in Portugal. There were 78 confirmed cases in the country and things were starting to feel more serious all over Europe. And there we were, preparing ourselves to meet the love of our life, in the middle of all that chaos.

person holding baby s hand
Photo by Lisa Fotios on

When we dreamed about bringing our baby home we never imagined it to be like this. This was the phrase we said more times in the weeks following taking our baby boy home. The experience was itself so difficult to comprehend and believe that I stayed in that state of disbelief during most of these past four weeks. Maybe it was just the “partolandia” (birthland? – wow state in which the new moms stay after giving birth) or the so-called baby blues, or maybe only the quarantine brain, or even a little start of PPD (postpartum depression). The truth is that these weeks were not easy. But they were memorable and we made sure we seized every minute of it so we could survive this as normal, happy and healthy as possible.

March 11th was our last medical appointment. Baby T was measured too big during the last months of pregnancy, so we were waiting on this appointment to decide if we had to schedule a c-section. It was confirmed. He wasn’t getting anywhere by himself. He was like: what? With coronavírus around? I’m going to stay right here, thank you very much! But well, it had to be done and we couldn’t wait to have him here. I got my big girl pants on, got over the fear and on March 12th we were entering the hospital around noon. Not without having a sweet morning before the chaos – more on this later.

SEE ALSO: A letter to my kid

A couple of days before T was born we got the news that no visits were permitted in the hospital. Actually, all visits were forbidden in all Lisbon hospitals and in other parts of the country. I sent the information to my mom and almost cried. This was not what I envisioned. But our baby was coming and meeting him in a calm and healthy state was more important, so I got my big girl pants on again and got over it without a tear. Our family understood and were supported: daddy was going to be on WhatsApp duty all the way sending all grandpas the updates, who would broadcast it to the rest of the family. Everything was figured it out and everyone got to see baby T a few minutes after he was born, still with his vernix “cover”. The joys of technology!

Being in the hospital without our family wasn’t easy but we got through. We had the best medical care we could dream of. I’m so blessed and grateful for all the team who supported us, teach us, took care of us during the 3 days we spent in the hospital. My heart is with them since I got out of those doors. We got to experience the change in the air it took over on those days in the medical scenery. It didn’t matter we were in a private hospital, just a few days before there was a coronavírus case in there and the medical staff was worried. These were parents who had to leave their kids at home who asked them daily why they had to go to work when the bad monster was outside and all the other parents were home.

I cried with them. I got worried for them. I lived those moments with them. Everyone was scared. On the first day only one or two were using masks, on the second the double and on the 3rd everyone were asked to use it. Outside the hospital it wasn’t much different, day by day the cars in the parking lot were fewer and fewer until there were almost none there.

On the day we left the hospital, it was informed that they would start operating for the national health service. They were going to join in the combat to this pandemic. The medical staff didn’t know what to expect of it. They were scared. This was a situation without precedents (a saying we heard a lot in the weeks leading here).

I am grateful for having our baby boy in one of those days. Even if I didn’t got to have my family there with me, as we planed, even if we were not allowed to have visits at home or have our family meet the baby yet, we are grateful for it to have happen on those days.

Just a few days after we got home, dads were forbidden to be in the delivery/OR room. Thankfully I got André right next to me on that moment. I will never take this for granted. Baby T was born just a few minutes after my water broke (which was a fun surprise – I actually have a video of me crying of laughter when this happened) with the umbilical cord around his neck (for everyone’s surprise). Which made us believe it was all meant to be on that exact moment, hour and day.

Continues next Friday with the 2nd part: How it was to take a baby home in the middle of a pandemic.

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