Birth in the time of a pandemic

By The Health News Team | July 30, 2020
Maggie Garcia and Rowen Turner with their families

Rowen Turner, left, and Maggie Garcia, right, both gave birth at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pregnancy generally brings feelings of excitement and anticipation. But being pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic can also bring extra emotions and concerns.

While the idea of being admitted to the hospital now might feel anxiety-inducing, hospitals are a safe place to give birth. Your chances of being exposed to the virus are minimal, as many precautions are in place to keep moms and babies safe. Maggie Garcia and Rowen Turner know this firsthand as they both returned to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center for the birth of their second child in the middle of a pandemic.

Babies will come into the world on their own time, in spite of what is going on in society. Unpredictability is an inherent part of being pregnant during the pandemic, and Maggie Garcia never imagined she would have her baby in the midst of a global health crisis.

“I loved the way the nurses cared for me and the attention they gave us, which is why I decided to return to Sharp Chula Vista for the birth of my second child,” Maggie says about her experience in the Women’s and Infants’ Services department. “I would dream about the day my eldest son would be holding his new brother at the hospital. But because I gave birth at the start of the pandemic, I understood why they had certain precautions in place. I was at peace and happy that my husband was able to be there during my labor and delivery. We both felt safe and I knew the staff were doing everything they could to ensure our safety.”

Garcia hopes to pass along her message of resiliency to other women who find themselves in the same situation and in the face of the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was a beautiful experience and I can’t thank the staff enough for truly going above and beyond for me,” Maggie says. “From the moment they consoled me during labor, to the private lactation course refresher that we took, I could tell that the staff were passionate about the care they gave, and I was so grateful. There are things that are out of our control, but it’s important for us to focus on the joy that is coming and trust that everything will fall into place.”

Rowen Turner knows a thing or two about the resilience Maggie felt after giving birth at the height of the pandemic. She also delivered at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center.

“I’m very calm during a crisis, so I appreciated the extra precautions and comfort I experienced,” she says. Her second birth experience at Sharp was empowering. When she needed support during a moment when her husband was on his way to the hospital, she was accompanied by the incredible staff who were there for her during her first pregnancy.

“My husband was trained to be my doula and, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to have him with me in Triage, where I was progressing quickly. As soon as I was moved to Labor and Delivery, the nurse immediately called him to rush over. When he arrived, he was just 10 minutes short of the delivery and I already had our newborn son in my arms. We respected the protocol and were grateful to have a healthy delivery. I appreciated the staff that coordinated our scheduling and took plenty of photos that we’ll cherish forever,” Rowen says.

“The manager of Labor and Delivery came in my delivery room and validated that I did not want pain medication and took the coach role that my husband would have played,” Rowen says. “She had a lot of natural birth education and knew all of the cues. When I was in my postpartum suite, she stopped by, reintroduced herself and greeted us again at discharge. We also got a chance to see the nurse from our first son’s birth. I even had the same physician, Dr. Karen Kobayashi, for both of my births. Everyone was so helpful and supportive of my wants and needs.”

The Turners recently made a pledge for a room naming in Sharp Chula Vista’s Ocean View Tower and have made several Guardian Angel gifts in recognition of the caregivers who made a difference during Rowen’s stay.

The Turner and Garcia families know that the overwhelming love experienced when bringing a new life into the world cannot be diminished by timing or situation, nor can personalized, high-quality health care.

Learn more about childbirth and other care for women and infants at Sharp Chula Vista.

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