What to Expect When You’re Expecting in a COVID-19 World

The Iuculano family soon after the birth of their son Noah.


Last week, CVW looked into how hospitals, specifically maternity wards, have adapted in the COVID-19 world. Today, two couples share their experiences – one that recently celebrated the birth of their child and the second that is anxiously waiting for that day.

A few weeks ago, Kelly Iuculano gave birth to her son Noah. She and her husband Vince have a toddler daughter so they knew what to expect regarding the birth experience. The couple was going to Glendale Adventist Hospital, trusting they would have as positive an experience as they had with their daughter’s birth. They felt confident as they prepared for the birth of their second child … and then COVID-19 hit.

“All I can [share] is what we went through,” Kelly said.

Charly and Sabrina Shelton are awaiting the arrival of their first child.

Before the birth, they were in constant contact with their obstetrician as “things changed daily,” Kelly said adding it was comforting that there were a lot of protocols in place that were the same. There were also some differences, including the couple going into self-quarantine before and after the birth.

“It was really [quiet] when we went to labor and delivery,” she said. “I know it ebbs and flows with labor and delivery. We were the only ones there but by the time we left there was another woman [there].”

She is not sure if COVID-19 had anything to do with the nearly empty hallways in the labor and delivery area, and she did notice there were fewer women in delivery. She also noticed a lot more hand washing, but that could be because she is now more aware of that practice, she said.

“We had a great experience with my daughter and a great experience with my son,” Kelly said. “And [everyone] was wearing a mask.”

Most mothers, and staff members, expect new moms to leave the hospital 24 hours after delivering. The thought is that, if the child and mom are healthy, they would do better isolating at home.

“They didn’t pressure me but gently suggested if I was feeling good and the baby was [well, they] suggested I go home but if [I] decided to stay that would be [okay, too],” she said. “We decided to leave.”

It wasn’t the fear of COVID-19 that helped guide their decision, she said, but rather that they had a toddler at home and wanted to get back to her.

Luculano Family

For CVW reporters Charly and Sabrina Shelton, their wait continues. Sabrina is due to deliver their first child in a few weeks and have been isolating for almost two months as they wait for the birth of their son.

The couple planned to see the obstetrician together at every appointment but several weeks ago that plan changed.

“At first I was told I couldn’t go in the room with Sabrina,” said Charly. “I would wait in the waiting room. Now I can’t go into the waiting room.”

He can wait in the parking lot because, as a precaution, the doctor decided to limit accessibility to the office to only the moms-to-be.

“I am concerned that the father won’t be allowed in the delivery room,” Charly said.

There have been hospitals in some areas that have limited access to the delivery room only to women in labor; however, it does appear birth partners, or visitors as some hospitals title them, are able to go as support for the mom-to-be.

The number of Sabrina’s regular doctor appointments has been reduced and it isn’t as easy to get an appointment when she has a concern. She normally doesn’t like to “bother” the doctor but now, in the world of novel coronavirus, she is even more sensitive of her doctor’s time.

“I was feeling a kind of tightness the other day. Charly encouraged me to call the doctor, but I didn’t really want to,” Sabrina said. “At each appointment I see her for less and less time, and she seems so rushed now. I don’t want to bug her if it’s not super-important.”

She eventually did speak with her doctor and found the tightness she felt was normal.

Both she and Charly have been spending a lot of isolated time at their home preparing for the baby. They have done what most new parents do including putting the baby bed together, organizing baby clothes and trying to figure out the stroller and car seat.

They are nervous about what else might change about their son’s arrival because during the last few months they’ve learned that nothing is guaranteed, they said. They had to cancel the planned baby shower but have continued to get support from family and friends – not in person but through delivery services. They had planned for their parents to visit the baby once they came home but that, too, changed since they plan to go back into isolation, at least for a while.

Charly and Sabrina are happy they have chosen their pediatrician, Dr. John Rodarte, and are looking forward to having family and friends meet their new son in person; however, for a period of time after coming home visitors will have to see him through the front window of their home or remotely. The new family will isolate – at least for a while.

That is something that Kelly and Vince are finding is a nice caveat to the “Safer-At-Home” order.

“Our friends and [family] are feeling a little robbed not seeing the baby at such a precious phase,” Kelly said.

But there is a positive side to having fewer visitors. Parents are able to take time with their new baby and do not feel an obligation to share this time, Kelly said.

“When you have a baby, you go into a natural quarantine anyway and, in a weird way, it is a great time to have a baby. The quarantine is easy,” she said. “It’s having a toddler that is hard.”