A pandemic pregnancy

Emma Slattery with her two daughters Aurelia and Lilly. (Picture: Daniella Camillo)

Alesha Capone and Alana Richards

For Emma Slattery, being pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic presented her with several challenges, but also allowed her to have more family time.

The Truganina resident is a mother to two girls, five-year-old Lilly and three-year-old Aurelia, and the newest addition to the family, Spencer, born mid-July last year.

Emma said there was always a fear of the unknown, and as an expectant parent, the pandemic had amplified this.

She said medical appointments this time around were “very different” when compared to her previous two pregnancies.

“Not having as many, and most of them being over the phone, was a difficult thing to get your head around,” she said.

“It’s hard enough trying to remember all the things you want to ask in a face-to-face appointment, let alone when you are on the phone with kids fighting for your attention.

“When you did have appointments, ultrasounds, specialists, etc there were no support people or children allowed to come in with you.”

She said that had presented more things to think about, such as: “Who can I leave my children with while I have appointments?” and “Who has been self-isolating so that I know it’s safe to leave the kids with them?”

Emma said she understood and respected the precautionary measures medical outlets implemented during the coronavirus outbreak.

But she said not having as much contact with the hospital meant she didn’t find out her iron was extremely low until late in the pregnancy.

“I spent a lot of days on the couch where all I wanted to do was sleep, but then I felt so guilty for the girls because I just didn’t have the energy to play with them or do anything with them,” she said.

“As soon as that problem was fixed, I had so much more energy and was so much happier, I just wish I knew sooner.”

On the positive side, Emma did enjoy having the time at home to play, cook, learn and have fun with her two daughters.

“I felt lucky to be able to use the time to watch them grow and learn,” she said.

Even when pandemic restrictions were easing, Emma was still worried about bringing a baby into the world while COVID-19 was still such a big factor.

“As a family, we were doing what we could to prevent the spread, and we knew it was just a case of getting through it as best we could,” she said.

“We just had to stay hopeful that we would all stay happy and healthy, and continued to do what we were doing.”

Emma was induced at Werribee Mercy on the first day of the big lockdown, with a new set of strict rules from her previous hospital visits.

“No visitors were allowed and although partners could come and go as they needed to, it was recommended this be limited as much as possible,” Emma said.

“As we were in one the birthing suites, one of the doors was open and we overheard a nurse mention a suspected case of Covid next door, which was a bit worrying. But we didn’t hear anything else about it, so I guess it was all ok!”

“Being my third baby, I hadn’t planned to stay in hospital long, so I was only in there for 24 hours.

“For us it wasn’t really any different with the visitor rules because we were in and out so quickly. However, I don’t have any photos of myself at the hospital from this time and the girls didn’t get to meet their new brother until they came to pick me up.

“They met me outside and they were very excited because the baby was finally here.”

And what did big sister Lilly think of it all? “It was the best day ever because I got to have mashed potato and chicken nuggets – and I got a new baby!”