How has COVID-19 Impacted your care?

How has COVID-19 Impacted your care?

Well, it’s been a year now since COVID began to change our world, country, states, and practices. I wondered when it began how this would play out.

It started with a huge number of inquiries from pregnant Mothers not wanting to birth in the hospitals. This primarily related to two factors:

1. Not wanting to put themselves and their newborns in a more vulnerable area with COVID.

2. Not wanting separation from their support team.

For most Midwives I know, that involved lots of calls, lots of screening, and usually an increase in caseload. It required many of us rethinking our guidelines to better serve our communities. Striving to stay within safe limits but to maybe loosen our load restrictions somewhat; as to help more.

Most of us applied increased sanitization in our offices; including video appointments and classes, social distancing, masks, time between appointments (for cleaning), and even more home visits.

Many of us have calmed down somewhat now. It looks as if COVID has transitioned from a ‘Pandemic to an Endemic”. So, it is here to stay. Like viruses of the past; Swine, Nile, etc.

So now on a more personal level - I did immediately increase all my sanitization standards. We did all wear masks. We only allowed one client at a time in the office, allowing cleaning time between appointments. We asked for only Mother to come. I did teach my first ‘video’ childbirth classes. I chose to not do video care. Just not something I could see myself doing.

We are pretty much back to the old normal now. I have always been a clean freak. So, sanitization is no problem. Works well within what I do.

My appointments are 1 ½ hour each with 30 minutes between for other midwifery business. That pretty much handles social distancing.

I am back to teaching in-office childbirth classes again. My classes are always limited to 6 clients, so covered there.

But I just came across the most difficult part of COVID for me personally and professionally. I realize each Midwife has developed her own unique protocol for her practice. So please understand there is no judgement here at all. My care has always included lots of face-to-face care and support; prenatally, during labor and birth, postpartumly, and in the event of a transfer (elected change of care) / transport (emergency need for change of caregiver).

I just had my first transport to a hospital. It was with a Mother whom I had developed a very close bond over our 7 months together (her and her husband pictured). It was absolutely miserable for me to have them drive off to the hospital to birth via C-section and me not to go along for support. In 35 years of care, I have never ‘not’ accompanied. It broke my heart. I had a transfer of care back in December for HTN, but the Client was a COVID case that I had taken on late and the bond wasn’t as strong and we both knew she needed to be in the hospital.

This event made me even more aware of why I do Midwifery the way I do. Birth is so much more that just the baby coming out. It’s relationship, it’s compassion, it’s sharing, it’s education, it’s support, it’s assessment, and so much more than just a profession to me.

I was blessed that Daddy texted me several times in the night to update me. He even sent pictures to me as soon as the baby girl was born. Mother texted me when the baby was 3 hours old also. She and I talked for hours the next morning. She was blessed and I was consoled that the hospital staff was gentle and caring. That made this event more favorable for Mother.

In closing, I sometimes have concern that this COVID event has led us backwards 50 years in policies and concerned how long or if we will return to policies that allow supportive family and friends present with their Mothers again. Or will Families and Birth workers be starting all over again to regain that ground.

Time to reevaluate my care and stand my ground even firmer.

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