NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many hospitals have changed protocols to prevent possible exposure to the coronavirus.
Even spouses and birthing partners are banned from labor and delivery rooms.
The birth of a child is “one take,” magical moment parents share together, but new COVID-19 hospital visitor policies are prohibiting fathers, other supporting parents and birthing partners from entering the hospital.
“That’s what makes this time challenging. Basically, I couldn’t even walk through the door this morning,” father Henry Chu told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez.
Chu, of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, could only drop off his wife at the hospital Tuesday morning to be induced. She’s pregnant with their second child together. Chu is heartbroken, not being allowed in the delivery room this time.
“I think it’s the unknown, the fear that if something goes wrong that I won’t be there next to her, won’t be holding her hand. And the other stuff, like just not being able to be there for the birth of my child,” he said.
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Evan and Rachel Puchalsky, who live in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan, have been overwhelmed, wondering if the rules will be lifted by May, allowing them to be together when their first child is born.
“For the chance that might not happen, it’s a little bit… It hurts me. It hurts my heart to know I wouldn’t necessarily be there when my child is brought into this earth. But I’m more concerned about her being delivered healthy,” Evan Puchalsky said.
“In the quote unquote ‘perfect world of labor,’ you think your partner is gonna be there to support you, so it’s a little scary to think that I’ll be alone,” Rachel Puchalsky said.
Ashley Blossom and her husband, expecting a son in April, say they’re uncomfortable with the uncertainties at hospitals, so they bought a medical supply kit for a possible home birth.
“We feel, my husband and I, as parents that it is our duty, unfortunately, to think worst-case scenario,” Blossom said.
Trinisha Williams, a certified midwife and director of midwifery at the Brooklyn Birthing Center in New York, says the center has been flooded with calls from expectant moms, worried their newborns might be exposed to COVID-19 when they deliver at a hospital.
“We’ve seen women say they are concerned, whether they were 32 weeks, sometimes even 40 weeks, and to be honest, we’ve even gotten a few phone calls from people in labor in the last few days,” Williams said.
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Obstetricians have been reassuring expecting parents that labor and delivery units are separate from areas treating coronavirus patients.
“I think it’s really important to trust their judgment and what’s best for them. I would never want to put any hospital employee or my wife or my newborn baby at risk by being in the delivery room if there wasn’t a chance that something bad could happen,” Evan Puchalsky said.
For now, expecting parents like the Puchalskys are focusing on keeping themselves and baby healthy for when and wherever the child is born.