I became a mother to a preemie during a pandemic! Hardships of Covid – 19

My water broke at almost 28 weeks it’s called PPROM(preterm premature rupture of membrane), my hospital couldn’t handle a baby under 32 weeks so I was sent to Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto. My son Xavier was born exactly one month later at almost 32 weeks They said 50% of PPROM deliver within 48 hours, the rest can go any time or go full term but I would be in the hospital until baby was born regardless. There was a risk of infection since I didn’t have any more amniotic fluid left; as well as the risk of premature birth at any time. So normally you can have visitors as much as you want on the antenatal floor but because of covid you couldn’t have anyone come see you unless you were in labour. So I went a month without seeing my husband. I only saw my parents a couple times when they dropped clean clothes, toiletries and snacks. I had to go down to the main lobby and a covid screener would take the bag from my parents and give it to me, only saw them through a window. At the time I thought it was the worst possible thing I could be going through. It was so emotionally hard. No physical contact with anyone, just laying in a hospital bed day after day after week after week. Not getting sleep because there’s constant alarms, or your “roommates” snore, and you get checked by nurses constantly. Also not enjoying my pregnancy, missing out on a lot at home and not having a “normal” pregnancy. I spent a lot of time thinking it wasn’t fair. I wrote in my journal daily and even met with a social worker to talk a few times on my really bad/emotional days. That actually helped because it was someone other than family/friends. I didn’t always want to tell anyone when I wasn’t doing well because I didn’t want people worrying since there wasn’t anything anyone could do. Nurses were amazing I can’t complain there at all. The food was okay. Not great but fine. 

Then baby decided to come, my husband Tyler missed the birth by 15 min because a)Xavier came quick and b)because of covid there was is a strict procedure to get in the hospital and it took a bit for him to get in.

Jessica and baby Xavier

Now having a preemie: 

The hospital was really really good at preparing you ahead of time. When my water broke and I got to Toronto they did a really good job at explaining exactly what will happen when I do give birth. But nothing prepares you enough when it actually happens. You deliver in the OR no matter what kind of birth you have because it’s the room right beside the resuscitation room. When I delivered they put him on my chest for 30 seconds and took him away immediately. Took him to the next room over to do the work up. Then they brought me back to the delivery room i was in when I was labouring. Then Tyler walked in. They brought him to go see the baby but only for a few min. Then they brought us back to the room I had been staying in for the month on the antenatal floor. We waited 4 hours before we heard anything about Xavier. They did x-rays and a full work up and didn’t come update us. That was hell. I finally asked my nurse what was going on and she found out he was up in the NICU. So we got to go up. Now normally parents can be together and go see their baby any time. Covid rules are only one parent at a time until mom gets discharged, then after that it’s only one parent per 24 hours. So with Tyler living at home 2 hours away and me living at my parents, only I’ve been coming to see him every day. Tyler would have a really hard time coming and seeing him like that, he said he doesn’t know what to do he’s scared to touch him. So I guarantee he would be seeing him a lot more if we could go together. Siblings or other family members can’t even come at all so Gauge can’t even meet his brother until he comes home home. 

Having a preemie baby is a constant roller coaster. Every single day is different. There are ups and downs every day. He is a strong baby and thank god there’s no major issues he has, I know other babies here have it a lot worse. But it’s still your baby and you just want to make everything right and make him healthy and all better. One of the worst days I have had so far was a couple days ago when I realized I haven’t kissed my baby yet. Because of covid you have to wear a mask at all times in the NICU. He was having a really rough day, really fussy and so unsettled. They thought there was problems with his stomach so they were doing x-rays and blood work and he just cried for hours. And the fact that you can’t just pick your baby up and rock him or kiss him or cuddle with him just broke my heart. I felt like a terrible mother and so helpless. And he is just so helpless. Just an awful awful feeling I can’t even put it into words. I was a mess. But then the next day was so much better, barely cried and all his tests came back fine. So like I said roller coaster. And it’s not close to being over yet.

– Jessica Colton

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