Watch: “Keep positive, pray and stay patient” – giving birth during coronavirus

Rachel Fabri Camilleri gave birth to her second child Julia (her elder daughter Hannah is two-and-a-half years old) on the 26th March 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic.

She told how she coped with the fact that she gave birth during unusual circumstances, to say the least.

The Waiting Game

As the coronavirus pandemic started to become more ‘serious’, what were her first, main preoccupations as a pregnant woman?

“The waiting time before giving birth was actually tougher than it is now that my little one is here – I had so many unanswered questions in my head… will she be ok? Will I be ok? What if I get the virus? Why does this crazy time have to be now? It’s supposed to be a joyous time and grandparents and family can’t even meet her or help out much and so on. I tried to stay indoors as much as possible and took as many precautions as I could. I had a few sleepless, weepy nights when I realized the situation was getting worse and my due date was drawing nearer. I kept wishing the baby would show up sooner rather than later – before the virus situation got worse… but then again I wanted her to stay inside as long as she wanted and needed too.”

The day before she gave birth, both Rachel and her husband Andrew Camilleri were both given a temperature check at the hospital entrance and then, later that day, Rachel was swabbed to check if she was positive for coronavirus – she wasn’t.

On the day Rachel was admitted to hospital to be induced, she says that the rules and regulations were changing on an hourly basis.

“We were asked to leave and go home, to wait for my labour to start at home… and then as we were leaving, they told us the rules changed again and that we could stay. The doctors and midwives were doing the best job they possibly could under such difficult circumstances… you can’t get mad at anyone for these inconveniences- the situation is what it is,” she says.

” I thank my lucky stars that he was allowed in the delivery suite with me”

Her husband was allowed to be with her during the labour and delivery – which went by with no complications – however after that, he was only allowed a few hours with the healthy mother and newborn daughter, and was then asked to leave (both Rachel and Andrew were told many times throughout the day that this would probably be the case.)

“I had the loveliest midwife – Lara, – shout out to you for your incredible support!” smiles Rachel, “I had a bit of a panic attack after the birth but she and my husband really helped me through it. As we travelled back to the room, a room I was to share with another lady who was about to give birth, they reminded us how my husband would soon have to leave and it broke my heart. I felt worried that I wouldn’t have his help that first night with the baby… but the situation is unfortunately what it is and I thank my lucky stars that he was allowed in the delivery suite with me.”

This too shall pass

What advice would Rachel give to mums-to-be who are about to go through this experience?

“The best piece of advice I can give to them is that this too shall pass… try to see the joy of bringing this exciting new life into the world as your only goal – it is your main goal and keep looking forward to it. Stay positive as much as you can. The midwives were super helpful and some of them had a great sense of humour too which I was grateful for. It’s these little things that help you get by. They know very well that things are constantly changing and that it is not ideal timing – they’ve got your back. I came up with a few little mantras leading up to the birth too. My personal favorites are simply: ‘I breathe, release and let go’ and my three ‘Ps’: ‘Keep Positive, Pray and stay Patient’.”