How These Parents Prepared For Their Child’s Birth During A Pandemic

Every day since the Coronavirus outbreak, our routines have changed drastically: from driving to work to work-from-home, and nights out to online hangouts with friends. While we struggle with these changes, Ciara and Joey Ong have bigger problems than most of us might imagine. Ever since the announcement of the outbreak, these parents have been concerned about Ciara giving birth to their baby boy.

How These Parents Prepared For Their Child’s Birth During A Pandemic

When COVID-19 blew up, Ciara was nearing her full-term in pregnancy. Instead of the usual worries of the delivery being smooth and the baby being healthy, the pandemic was hanging over their heads. The announcement of the lockdown made them realize the drastic measures that were needed to be made to contain the virus.

"We did our best to follow the rules. We stayed home 24/7 except for final checkups with my OB. Joey would only leave their unit for occasional planned errands and would have to disinfect by the front door which includes gear, masks, gloves, alcohol, and Lysol."

Their main priorities at that time were to stay safe and healthy, prepare for the baby’s arrival, and bring him home safely from the hospital to continue their quarantine with him.

They would get a bunch of messages from family and friends cautioning them on the possibilities like not having room to accommodate them in the hospital. She understood that this all came from a place of love and concern. At that point, she had to stay calm and stick to the facts rather than speculations.

"Our doctor assured us that while Makati Med was attending to COVID-19 patients, there would always be room and priority for births and new lives. That reassured us on some level, but we knew that since this was no ordinary time, we’d need to limit our exposure in the hospital as much as possible when the day comes."

Since Ciara was planning a normal delivery, they had no idea when the exact day would be. Her obstetrician-gynecologist (OB) said that if any of the signs came: hard tummy, bloody discharge, broken water bag, or contractions, they should head to the delivery room and avoid the emergency room at all costs.

Then came April 9, 6:00AM, when it was time for them to go. They had their hospital bags ready and grabbed them, put on their battle gear, and went straight to the delivery room of Makati Med. They both had the mindset that since this was not a normal time to give birth, that they have to be open to adjusting their birth plan.

The Delivery Day

They arrived at the delivery area and Ciara had to answer a questionnaire indicating any experience with COVID-19 as part of Makati Medical Center’s (MMC) safety protocols. She was then brought to the labor room where she waited for the doctor to arrive and check how far along she was.

"Since the hospital practiced social distancing, Joey and I were in touch through Viber the entire time. My OB said that I was only 2-3cm dilated and the baby was still high up my belly. She gave me two options—either I push for normal delivery but at the rate I was going, it may take all day and lead to higher risk, or I opt for C-section which would take a few hours only."

Both of them agreed to wait until noon and check again if there’s progress. But by then, it was still at 2-3cm. So after six hours of labor, she gave the go-signal for the CS, and her OB proceeded.

The Hospital Stay

The CS operation took around an hour. She stayed in the recovery room for a few more hours after while the doctor ran some tests on her and the baby. Joey got a room in the hospital where they isolated for three nights since it was a CS recovery. Her OB and pediatrician would visit once a day and run some tests, and they would have nurses and residents popping in often to check on her and the baby.

Baby's Face Shield

Before they left the hospital, Joey went to Mercury Drug across MMC to buy medicine for Ciara. He was thinking of how to they could safely bring their baby from the hospital room to the car when he remembered the photos he saw of babies in Thailand hospitals wearing tiny face shields.

"So I sourced some materials to create one for Joselito—a 2-liter soda bottle, facial tissue, a surgical face mask, surgical tape, and a pair of scissors that I borrowed from the nurse’s station to make my baby a face shield. It took me around an hour to put together while waiting for MMC to process our discharge papers."

Finally Back Home

To their relief, the family was discharged from the hospital, and they were ready to go home. Baby Joselito was healthy and ready to go back as his new home awaits him.


  "Finally, at noontime of Easter Sunday and with some reminders, we were discharged and able to go home with Joselito to quarantine as a family for the first time. It was a huge relief for Joey and me.

The parents mention that Joselito is healthy and growing quickly. The family of three is now safely isolating at home. For now, Jose can’t see other people in person so they just send photos and videos to those who want to meet him. They’re scheduled to have our OB and Pedia check-ups soon, depending on how the extended quarantine pans out.

Message to Moms

"First is to accept the reality of giving birth during this time of the pandemic, and to trust that your doctor will do what’s best for you and your baby at this stage. The hospitals have safety protocols in place so from the expecting parents’ end, just follow the rules, be honest and patient, pray, and also be open to adjusting your birth plan for the safety of your newborn. Once your baby is born, the whole experience all be worth it."

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