Expectant moms are facing a new reality when it comes to giving birth amid the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has caused many hospitals to revise their support partner policies and some have even banned birthing partners here in the United States as well as around the world.
In Hamilton, New Zealand, Aroha Nicola, a mother of four, experienced complications with her pregnancy when she was 21 weeks along. She required treatment at a hospital that took days, but her partner Lee Paaki was not allowed to join her until the very end.
Nicola experienced difficulties throughout her pregnancy.
Nicola, 23, spoke with CafeMom about her pregnancy which included issues with her placenta and bleeding from the start.
The difficulty “started off as a subchorionic hematoma which didn’t stop growing and turned into a partial placental abruption, which made my bleeding a lot worse,” Nicola told the outlet.
As Nicola tried to weather the difficult pregnancy, she lost someone very close to her.
On March 7, Nicola’s brother, Cody Ayers died of a heart attack.
She took the loss very hard. “My brother was like a father to me growing up,” she told CafeMom.
Nicola was expecting twins until her condition worsened.
At eight weeks pregnant and just three weeks after her brother died, Nikola lost one of her babies “due to the hematoma.” After the loss, she and the remaining baby were monitored closely by both her midwife and staff at the hospital.
Two months later, she started to bleed again. “I was in a lot of pain,” she said.
At the hospital alone, without her partner, Nicola waited as her unborn son battled for his life.
Nicola returned to the hospital, where her partner, Pakki was not allowed to join her. The couple was told that their baby wouldn’t survive long after being born.
“I knew that my baby wouldn’t live long after birth,” she says. “Just dealing with that without my partner or mom by my side was hard, and my anxiety was through the roof.”
Days later, when Nicola finally went into full labor, Paaki was allowed to join her.
Nicola went into full labor on April 2 and officials at the hospital finally let her partner join her. She described the experience as a “real mix” of emotions.
“I ended up having complications I would rather not go into, as it’s still quite hard for me to talk about it,” she said. Her son was born at about 4:20 PM and died by 4:35 PM.
After their son’s death, Paaki set up a fundraising page to help raise money for their son’s burial. He wrote that their son, “lived a short time before grabbing his mum’s finger and taking his last breath.”
After the tragic loss of her son, Nicola had to spend another night in the hospital for monitoring.
Nicola had to spend the night of her son’s death in the hospital so nurses and other health care professionals could monitor her condition.
She explained to CafeMom, that she is Māori and it’s customary for friends and loved ones to be near her at such a time. Because of social distancing guidelines, Nicola was barred from participating in her cultural rituals.
“Due to the rules of lockdown in New Zealand, we weren’t allowed any family or friends with us or even when we buried our son, so it was extremely hard and still is,” she explained.
Nicola and her son both tested negative for the coronavirus. But, she’s sharing her story to encourage others to stay home and keep others safe.
“Follow the rules of the lockdown,” she urges people, “because the more we break the rules and the virus continues to spread, the more people are going to die.”
Nicola understands that many other people will be robbed of their mourning process because of the pandemic. She said that many others won’t have to chance to “see their [loved] ones one more time.” And that they will, “even have to do the whole burial/cremation alone.”
Unfortunately, many more will have a similar story as Nicola’s as the pandemic continues. The privilege of certainly we were once afforded is gone. We’re thankful to Nicola, a fearless mother, who experienced so much tragedy in such a short period of time. We think her willingness to talk about her experience and to encourage others to do their part is heroic.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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