Motherhood, Pregnancy

Giving Birth During the Pandemic Reveals the Depth of a Mom’s Strength

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For most women, bringing new life into this world through childbirth is probably their most painful yet very fulfilling experience. But giving birth during the pandemic is an entirely different story. It takes a double portion of strength, patience, money, determination, and most of all, love. Read about this Bacolod mom whose story of physical and emotional struggle during pregnancy and childbirth showed how strong a woman can be when the mommy instinct kicks in. Meet Mommy Odi and her son Alfonso, with hubby, Architect Abemar Gegantoni.

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~ The Unang Yakap at the operating room is usually a very emotional time for the mom. Mommy Odi sees son Alfonso minutes after delivery via C-Section. ~

The Joys and Trials of Pregnancy

Bacolod mom and event stylist Odi Gegantoni and husband Abemar were married in 2015. She did get pregnant that same year but her baby’s heart stopped beating at 7 weeks. The pregnancy was terminated very early in the first trimester.

The couple has since been trying to conceive for the last five years, employing all means, including taking vacations from stressful jobs. But nothing happened.

Last February 2020, they decided to go on full tourist mode and just have a second honeymoon in Bali, Indonesia for 2 weeks.

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~ The proud Tatay Abemar showing his unborn’s ultrasound print. Alfonso may be considered a second honeymoon baby. Fathers are not allowed inside the ultrasound room anymore in order to minimize the number of people going inside the clinics. ~

But when they came back to the Philippines, Covid-19 was all over the news and a couple of weeks later, it was a full-blown worldwide pandemic. Bacolod City then declared a community lockdown.

At this time, Mommy Odi experienced a series of headaches. “That was the time I knew we were pregnant,” she says.

A Delicate Pregnancy and Profuse Bleeding

“The whole pregnancy was full of blood, sweat, and tears, literally,” Mommy Odi relates. “Alfonso was an Isoxilan baby. I had to take Isoxilan* most of the time because of the bleeding episode every month.”

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~ A framed 5D ultrasound of Alfonso at 12 weeks in the womb. ~

The scariest time during Mommy Odi’s pregnancy was a month before her scheduled delivery. During her routine monthly checkup, “I had massive bleeding. Good thing, I was in my doctor’s clinic for my monthly check-up when it happened. My OB-Gynes took care of me first, checked my opening, and then Alfonso’s condition. Then I was rushed to the hospital.”

Mommy Odi was immediately placed inside an isolation room because of hospital safety protocols in the light of Covid-19. In this pandemic situation, she was considered as a PUI because she did not have a swab test result. She was swabbed while inside the isolation room and had to stay there for 2 days until her results were released.

“Being isolated for 2 days in that situation was so hard,” she recalls. “The bed was small. I couldn’t have a bath since the bleeding happened at the OB’s clinic. I could not even get up to pee or poo. And the fear and anxiety for the safety of my baby were all way over my head. I was so scared for my baby and worried if my result will turn out positive.”

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~ The Gegantoni’s first family photo in the 5G ultrasound room. ~

After 2 days, the swab result came out negative so Mommy Odi was able to take a bath and was transferred to the labor room for further observation.

Full Bed Rest

She was discharged but was ordered by her OB-Gyne to be on full bed rest for a month.

Despite everything, Mommy Odi considers the pandemic as a silver lining. “If it wasn’t for the lockdown, I would not have been able to rest and slow down,” she says.

Pre-Natal Procedures

“The difference between my first pregnancy and my second would be the health protocols. Hospitals, ultrasound clinics, malls, and restos have a lot of health protocols and requirements because of the pandemic,” Mommy Odi relates.

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~ Mustering the confidence to have a maternity photoshoot because Mommy Odi didn’t feel too nice about her pregnant look. So many physical changes have taken place. ~

To make things easier for her monthly pre-natal checkup, Mommy Odi religiously followed the schedule given to her.

Moreover, she followed proper physical distancing, as her doctor was also very careful about this. In the clinic, she was not allowed inside if there were at least 2 other pregnant mommies in the waiting area.

She had to wait inside the car for the text msg that she is already allowed to go inside. Gone were the days when pregnant moms would exchange notes at the waiting lounge.

Plus, patients like Mommy Odi have to wear PPE every time they go inside the clinic.

Lab Tests

For the blood works required to be undertaken at the laboratory, Mommy Odi would go there early in the morning when there were not too many people. “To get my FBS sample, I had to go out and wait in the car for an hour for the next drawing of my blood. But I think there are drive-thru options now.”

Meanwhile, ultrasound clinics no longer allow husbands inside the scanning room. Covid-19 has really stripped us of that momentary joy of seeing our unborn together with our husbands inside the ultrasound room.

However, 5D scans are an exception, as husbands are allowed inside. They are also more expensive.

Pregnancy Cravings

Two of the things that make pregnant women unique from others are their cravings and aversions. Sometimes, we crave for something weird in the middle of the night. And we just got to have them. Or we hate something that’s cooking in the kitchen and we want to hide.

During the lockdown, Mommy Odi recalls that if she craved something, her husband can’t easily go out. While homecooks and food deliveries were available, these were limited as restaurants were closed. It was disappointing not to be able to have the food that she wanted to eat at a certain moment.

Giving Birth During the Pandemic

Here are the things that Mommy Odi had to go through in order to deliver Baby Ponce into the world. Yes, giving birth during the pandemic involves way too many preparations.

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~ Alfonso: Finally! ~

Hospital Delivery Requirements in the New Normal

Mommy Odi gave birth at the Riverside Medical Center, a private hospital. She was under the care of two private Bacolod OB-Gynecologists, Dr. Kk Parreno-Baustista and Dr. Jerie Gea.

For the hospital delivery, there were two requirements that Mommy Odi had to fulfill. “I needed to submit a Covid-19 negative swab result and a clear chest X-ray” before she was allowed to go inside the ER. She recalls, “During my first pregnancy, I can just freely go inside the ER, fill up the forms, pay the down payment at the cashier, then I was admitted.”

Mommy Odi’s last ultrasound showed that her placenta was still below her baby so normal delivery was no longer an option. It was decided that Alfonso would be delivered via C-Section, so the couple decided to give birth on November 11. Ponce’s birthdate would then be 11.11.2020.

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~ A very organized mom, indeed! These are what Mommy Odi packed in her hospital bag. ~

When the date was set, the OB-Gyne booked the operating room at the Riverside Medical Center. “I took a swab test at the Red Cross and waited 8 hours for the result.” This was 5 days before the schedule. When the results came out that evening, Mommy Odi packed her bags and took a breastfeeding class under Dr. Kat Villapando.

The Costs (and Stress) of Giving Birth During the New Pandemic

Mommy Odi gave birth through C-Section. So aside from her OB-Gyne, anesthesiologist, and pediatrician for the baby, a pulmonologist had to attend to her because of some result on her chest X-Ray.

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~ Mommy Odi was all ready to be with her son for the first time outside the womb. ~

Aside from the ultrasound and the blood works, there were the swab test and X-ray. Moreover, there are PPEs that the patient has to pay for.

“To be honest, I don’t know what I would have felt if I was not on scheduled C-Section. The additional steps before I was be admitted were so tedious and will literally stress any expectant mom,” Mommy Odi says.

~ Mommy Odi and Alfonso at the pedia for his regular checkup. ~

The Husband’s Crucial Role

More than ever, the husband’s love, emotional support, and physical help are greatly needed. The safety protocols have also limited a husband’s involvement in the clinics and hospital.

However, the fact that she doesn’t have to worry about the billing, the filing of the documents, and all the errands would make life so much easier for mom.

And most of all, helping in the of the baby when both mom and child are home would be the greatest help.

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~ Tatay Abemar with a newborn Alfonso — his first son. ~

Mommy Odi acknowledges that her husband had always been her rock throughout her pregnancy. And Tatay Abemar rocks being a father to Alfonso.

As a New Mom

Despite everything that she has gone through with her pregnancy and giving birth during the pandemic, Mommy Odi still feels fulfilled.

As a new mom, she underwent so many adjustments while her surgery was healing. “There were nights that my son will just cry for no reason and make my breasts his pacifier. There were also nights that he would sleep for four long hours and wake up all giddy and smiling. I am already so tired sometimes but my son won’t stop crying. Or sometimes, my son will only sleep in my arms.”

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~ For so long, Mommy Odi longed to have a family of her own. And now, they are with the addition of little Alfonso. In two years’ time, they are thinking of having one more babyto complete their brood. ~

The first week was the hardest but Mommy Odi is just so happy to finally become a mom. She is just so glad to witness Alfonso’s little miracles every day. After her first miscarriage, they have tried so many times and cried so many times as well every negative pregnancy test.

Despite the pandemic, God had a special plan for them. He gave them Alfonso to have and to nurture, possibly a sign from heaven that indeed, there is a good future for all of us.

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~ Alfonso is now the center of his parents’ world. ~
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5 thoughts on “Giving Birth During the Pandemic Reveals the Depth of a Mom’s Strength

  1. Wow! Kakaiba talaga ang power nang isang ina. Grabe sobrang matatag si mommy. Desserve nila talaga yong baby nila😍 They become Good Parents to their baby, alfonso😍😍. Godbless to Mommy Odi And Tatay Abemar😊

  2. Giving Birth in this time of Pandemic dami po talagang struggles.. Nasa point na nga po akong magdecide na sa bahay na lng manganak dahil ang daming requirements sa hospital at hindi safe kaso di talaga kinaya ng powers ko.. Kailangan sa hospital dahil emergency CS ako..B ut Thankful pa din po dahil safe po kami ng baby..

    By the way Congrats to mommy Odi and Tatay Abemar 😍😍

    1. Oh my gosh! Na CS ka din nung pandemic? Hayyy. Congrats that you and your baby are safe. God bless sis!

  3. NAnganak din ako during pandemic sa lying in and it breaks my heart kasi namatay ang anak ko may kumplikasyon sa baga at hindi naagapan at hindi inasikaso sa ospital dahil covid patient priority 😭😭😭😭

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