GUELPH - It was the first day of spring. It had been six days since the pandemic was declared and while the world was scrambling to deal with the novel virus, Rebecca Cameron was worried about her unborn baby.
On March 19 Cameron was nine months pregnant and ready to give birth to her second child. And the experience came with a lot of fear.
Cameron was taken care of by a midwife throughout her pregnancy. When news of the virus began to circulate in the province, she said visits with midwives became less frequent out of safety concerns to limit person to person contact.
She said her biggest worry towards the end of the pregnancy was to go to the hospital to deliver the baby.
“The biggest concern was going in and out of the hospital and making sure we were safe to do that,” said Cameron.
She said while there was fear, the pregnancy was a personable experience because she was taken care of by a midwife who attended her needs.
“The overall quality of care and feeling secure is phenomenal when you go with midwives,” said Cameron adding that she was able to contact the midwife anytime of the day or night and not worry about going to the hospital for a checkup.
After attending a morning appointment with a midwife on March 19, Cameron went into labour and had to go to Guelph General Hospital where they had to go through an initial screening and answer questions relating to their symptoms, whether or not they travelled or if they were exposed to the virus.
Because it was only six days into the pandemic, there were no rules on extra personal protection equipment or face protection for patients or midwives. She was also able to use nitrous oxide during labour.
“I got to use that during labour which they had taken away,” said Cameron.
With no visitors allowed and just her husband in the room, Cameron gave birth to her baby boy. Max Cameron arrived four hours after the morning visit with her midwife.
“It happened very fast,” said Cameron of her healthy little boy.
She said although she gave birth when COVID-19 cases were low in Guelph, it was scarier to give birth then than it would be right now because news about the virus has taken over the media by storm.
“It was scarier at first because we didn’t have nearly as much information. Now, two and a half months later, there’s all these protocols and ways that things have to be done,” said Cameron.
She said the entire experience with the Guelph General Hospital and the Family Midwifery Care of Guelph was phenomenal because they took every step necessary to care for her and her child to make her birth-giving experience comfortable especially during a pandemic.
“They just met our needs and made sure that we were safe,” said Cameron, giving the example of midwives staying for hours after birth at the hospital.
“Everyone was washing their hands and doing exactly what they should have been doing.”
She said even with the implementations put in place by the hospital now, everyone has been really well cared for.
Once they reached home, the couple had to shelter the baby from outsiders.
She said any visitor who wants to see the baby comes, drops off food at the door and sees the baby through the window.
“It’s not the same,” said Cameron
“It's definitely not the same as the warm fuzzy feeling of holding a newborn baby,” she said adding that none of her friends or her husband’s family have been able to meet him in person.
She said with everything going on, she's grateful that her children are young and not hit hard by the pandemic.
“My two-year-old is so young he's so oblivious to it. I have a kind of a sweet spot for the age my kids are in which I think is kind of a silver lining,” said Cameron.
She said everyone can only do the best they can and take it day by day.
As for Max, she says “he's a happy little two-month-old."