Giving Birth During a Pandemic | The McAlpin's Story
August 14, 2020
Pregnancy comes with anticipation and excitement--of becoming parents and raising a child--but also anxiety about what it will be like to give birth and ultimately, care for a baby. These feelings are compounded by multiple doctor's visits, diagnostic tests and endless suggestions about what you should or should not be doing. Insert a global pandemic and new levels of stress and fear are suddenly added to the list. For new parents, Hannah and Tucker McAlpin learning to navigate this time was a challenge.
"Tucker and I are young, first time parents who had a baby in the middle of a world wide pandemic," said Hannah McAlpin. "Within days our life went from normal to pretty turned upside down just four weeks from expecting our baby."
Making the decision to have their first baby at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital was an easy one to make. Both Hannah and Tucker were born at LCRH and the convenient location, close to home, made it the best fit for their family.
On top of that, Hannah's team at LCRH Women's Center was very prepared and had the appropriate precautions in place to ensure the comfort and safety of Hannah, Tucker, and their newborn.
"We want to be sure that all of our moms and babies feel safe in our care and that means taking all necessary precautions to protect them from exposure to the virus," said Kristy Purcell, Clinical Supervisor of Women's & Children's Services. "Some aspects of delivery will be expected, but some may be a little different and we do our best to communicate that with the families and make them feel as comfortable as possible."
Since the pandemic began in early-March, LCRH has carefully monitored news of the virus, ensuring that all proper protocols and recommendations from the CDC were being followed, including limiting visitors, using the latest technology to clean and disinfect patient areas, maintaining proper and appropriate use of PPE, and even creating negative pressure (or safe air) delivery options, should they be needed at the time.
"I was nervous about coming to the hospital during COVID-19. Once we got there, I was less worried because I saw all of the safety precautions that the hospital was taking and the staff made the stay as comfortable and enjoyable as they could since it was such a difficult time to have our first born," Hannah said.
When it came time for delivery, everything went as planned and Hannah and Tucker welcomed their healthy baby boy, Lennon on April 10, 2020.
"Our experience was fantastic, believe it or not. We were not allowed visitors due to COVID-19 which was very disappointing at first, especially since we had waited until delivery to know the sex of our baby," said Hannah. "Hind-sight, it was actually very nice to spend the first few days with just my husband and baby before being overwhelmed by the exposure to the virus."
A special gender reveal
Even though LCRH has implemented necessary visitor restrictions, LCRH's Women's Center team still wanted to make the family feel like they were a part of the process. A special balloon release for the family was planned outside of the couple's room to announce the gender of baby McAlpin.
"We want to say a special thank you to Dr. Dale Rutledge and nurse Kristy Purcell for making our gender reveal so special to our family. We had dreamed of our families being at the hospital with us and having the special "It's a...." moment like in the movies," Hannah said. "Even though we didn't get to experience that, we have a wonderful story to tell about how we delivered the news."
Following discharge the Tuckers are doing what's best for their own family to keep everyone safe from COVID-19 and limiting exposure where they deem necessary. "COVID-19 has made me learn to roll with the punches. It's made me realize that the most important thing is a healthy, happy baby. The other things are just details that we can live without," said Hannah. "Every mother is going to approach the virus differently and parenting differently and that is ok. What's best for your family is what you'll choose to do because that's what being a momma is all about."