My niece’s journey to first-time motherhood

RAZZLE-DAZA Pat-P Daza (The Philippine Star) – February 22, 2021 – 12:00am
Last week, I wrote about three couples who decided to tie the knot despite the pandemic. This week, I will share the experience of my niece Billie Puyat-Murga, who became a first-time mom when she gave birth on Jan. 13.

Billie and Vince Murga were married in January 2018, and ready to start a family early in 2020. She found out she was pregnant last May.

Here is the chronicle of Billie’s journey to first-time motherhood in her own words:

“I thought that the pandemic would be over by the time I gave birth in January 2021. Clearly, I was wrong. Despite the uncertainty of the times, I’m still thankful that I got pregnant and safely delivered my daughter in the midst of a pandemic.

“Because of the quarantine, I worked from home while pregnant. I loved that I could take a nap in between calls or lie on the bed while answering e-mails. I practiced pre-natal yoga and meditation in the comfort of home. My husband and I also took birthing and parenting classes online to prepare ourselves.

“But also because of the quarantine, I sadly wasn’t able to celebrate my pregnancy with my friends and family. I told my extended family I was pregnant over Zoom and had my baby shower on Zoom, too. Most of those who are close to me never even saw me pregnant in person, and how weird is that? Next time I see them, I’ll have a baby with me. They never saw the in-between.

“I was always cautious whenever I had to go to the hospital for check-ups, lab tests or ultrasounds, especially early on. Luckily there were drive-thru labs. Once, the lab tech just took my blood in the parking lot. When I was about to give birth, I took a drive-thru PCR test. This was free-of-charge at St. Luke’s QC because I was delivering there.

“Having my husband by my side was so important for my emotional and mental stability throughout the pregnancy and delivery. Unfortunately, hospital protocols weren’t very supportive of (patients) having companions. My husband wasn’t able to accompany me to my ultrasounds. I would just take a video and show him the scans afterwards. He was allowed to be with me during labor and delivery because he had a negative PCR test. But his PCR tests were only valid for seven days compared to my 14 days. I found this so strange because we live together and are exposed to the same things. Why shouldn’t he accompany me? And why should the validity of his PCR test be shorter than mine?

“My friends who gave birth in 2020 didn’t have their husbands with them during labor and delivery. They updated protocols in 2021 to allow husbands to be with their wives, but I got a birthing room to be sure my husband could be with me. This gave us our own space, and we didn’t have to worry about being exposed to people other than the hospital staff.

“Another unique experience was going through labor and delivery while wearing a mask the whole time. You’re already uncomfortable with everything happening to your body, then you add a mask on top of that! Plus, the first time my baby saw me, I was wearing a mask. Everyone around us was wearing masks, too. I’m hoping that that’s not the world she’ll eventually grow up in.

“As an added precaution, we didn’t have any visitors during our stay in the hospital. I also didn’t want our visitors to be exposed to the hospital setting needlessly. My daughter roomed in with us instead of the nursery, which is the practice now. I cherish those first few days of just me, my husband and our daughter figuring out on our own how to take care of her.

“My pregnancy and birth were intimate experiences. My husband and I were able to focus on the essentials, on what really mattered throughout the journey. We relied on each other even more and it made our bond stronger. I’m grateful because it prepared us to be new parents to our daughter Charlotte Gabrielle, whom we call Charlie.”



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