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Clinton and Karen had no idea, when they celebrated the news of their pregnancy, that the labour and delivery of their baby daughter would take place during a worldwide pandemic

We’ve all heard the stories of women giving birth without their partners, and no visitors allowed to see mom or baby. So we decided to chat to a new dad to find out if it’s true that dads aren’t allowed in the labour ward or delivery room, and have to leave their partners at the hospital door.

We tracked down new dad Clinton, who managed to make some time (between feeds and naps) to share his experience – and what he was sad to miss out on – when Karen delivered their baby daughter Mikayla, on 28 June this year.

This was Clintons experience at a private hospital on the KZN south coast

Did your doctor/gynae explain what the process would be in the hospital regarding Covid-19 procedures?

To Karen yes, as I was not able to even go to any doctor’s visits once we were on lockdown. So I missed out on all those special times – seeing our baby grow and develop at each appointment. Karen would video the sessions, and I would watch, but doesn’t replace being there by her side.

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Were you allowed to be with Karen when she was admitted?

Karen was admitted early, due to her high blood pressure. I was only allowed to leave her at the door, and she had to go in alone.

Was it scary being a in hospital during a pandemic or did the maternity ward feel completely safe and distanced from the rest of the hospital?

No, I felt no threat being in the hospital, as they ensured all procedures were followed to keep us safe.

What were the rules for the delivery room? Were you allowed to be present for the delivery?

I was told I would only be called to be with Karen once she was in active labour. With being induced, one doesn’t know when that may occur and it was a tough and long waiting game.

Were you allowed to hold Mikayla immediately when she was born?

I missed her being born by four minutes, as Karen progressed very fast. She delivered within 22 minutes of me being called to come through. I did however still got to go to the delivery room to be with both of them, and got to hold my beautiful, newborn baby girl.

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Was it strange not being allowed to let visitors (like grandparents) visit and meet her in hospital?

Maybe not strange, but sad that we could not have anyone visit. It was a lonely experience for Karen, as she had to go through the entire experience with only the hospital staff as support, and us via WhatsApp, when she could.

Did you feel that you missed out on any experiences that you would have had if there was no Covid-19 pandemic?

I definitely do feel I missed out, as I’ve mentioned, I missed her coming into this world by a few minutes. This as a first time dad would have been something I would have loved to have been there for, and to support Karen through the entire process.

Is there anything else that you want to share about becoming a dad during Covid-19?

Frustrated that medical aid won’t pay for COVID-19 tests that we both were required to have done for hospital purposes.

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