It’s been a long time between drinks on the blog. But, I’m back! Since my 2019 wrap up post at the start of the year, a lot has changed in our household. In April, we welcomed a beautiful (Yes, I’m biased) little girl into our lives! So, it’s been an awesome, but crazy few months.
Our daughter was born in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. And, while we have fared very well in Australia in terms of virus contraction in comparison with most other countries, having a child amongst it all was a memorable experience.
In the lead up to our daughter’s birth, a lot of Doctor’s offices stopped allowing anyone other than the patient to attend appointments. So, for our last pre-birth appointment with our obstetrician, I had to sit outside the Doctor’s office in our car, on loud speaker to my wife and our Doctor, with all three of us talking over each other accidentally on numerous occasions with awkward pauses following after as we all tried to let the other person speak.
As New York had already stopped letting partners into hospitals to attend the birth of their children, we were concerned that it may be only a matter of time before that happened here. So, we opted to be induced at 38.5 weeks to make sure that wouldn’t happen… As there’s no way I was going to miss the birth of our child and have my wife go through it all without a support person.
When we got to the hospital, everything was locked down. We had to buzz reception and outline who we were and why we were there before we were allowed in.
During this time, no visitors were allowed to the hospital. Just the patient and one support person for their whole stay. To ensure this, the hospital issued colour-coded bracelets to each support person, which granted access to the relevant ward only.
I was allowed to leave the hospital throughout our stay, but had to show my bracelet to come and go. To ensure that I wouldn’t give my bracelet to anyone else to use, hospital staff put it on as tight as possible to make sure it couldn’t be taken off my wrist.
As no visitors were allowed to the hospital, it was just the three of us night and day for the four days we spent in hospital. Whilst, this got a bit lonely, it was also a blessing as it meant we didn’t need to work around anyone else, and could sleep when bub slept. However, it also meant that we looked forward to the visits from our obstetrician, as she was the only person around that we actually knew, and therefore was the closest thing to a visit from a family member or friend.
Once we were home from the hospital, things were no less strange. Our home state of Queensland had shut its borders a few weeks before our daughter was born. Both of us are from New South Wales, and that’s where most of our family and friends still are. So, none of our family were able to visit us, or meet our daughter for some time.
In preparation for having a newborn, I had made and frozen us as bunch of meals ahead of time. As it turned out, this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as not only was it super helpful as new parents, but it meant that we didn’t need to leave the house much to get groceries. In the height of the first wave of the pandemic, not needing to go anywhere in public for weeks at a time was a godsend.
Despite the unusual, and sometimes challenging, circumstances of having a child during a pandemic, there were also some really fantastic advantages:
- Due to work from home orders, we had the first 3.5 months at home together as a family. Which meant more precious time with my wife and daughter.
- Having to stay home all the time has resulted in a nice, consistent routine for all of us.
- Having to stay at home all the time helped us to fall in love with our house as a home and appreciate the safe, comfortable lifestyle it provides.
- Being at home all the time with just each other reinforced how important my family is to me, and just how lucky I am.
Overall, the whole experience certainly wasn’t what we had envisioned having our first child to be like. But, despite the negatives, having our daughter during COVID-19 gave us a lot of opportunities to spend time together that we wouldn’t have had under “normal” circumstances. So, I guess the saying is true… Every cloud has a silver lining.