Delivering a baby during a Pandemic

New mom and doctors walk us through the experience
Posted at 4:51 PM, Jul 10, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Many life moments can’t just “pause” because of a pandemic and delivering a baby is one of them.

Our FOX 17 family added a new member a just few days ago.

One of our producers, Dayna Wilkie, and her husband Jimmy welcomed their first baby boy on the 4th of July.

Even though they have nothing to compare it to, they say giving birth during a pandemic was as smooth as can be and they felt like they were in amazing hands.

Wyatt Ford Wilkie was born at 11:35pm on Independence Day with fireworks popping off sporadically in the distance outside Spectrum Health Butterworth.

Wilkie said, “I pushed for about 40 minutes and out he came.”

Even though he won’t know it for a while, Wyatt’s birth year is one for the record books.

Moms giving birth right now will notice a few small, but key changes in their delivery process.

“Right off the bat, I got a COVID test which was awful,” Wilkie said, “Obviously it wasn’t the worst pain that I would feel that day but not fun.”

Dr. David Colombo, MD, the Director of Maternal, Fetal Medicine at Spectrum Health said they want those changes to feel as minor as possible.

“Your birth experience will still be very similar to pre-COVID, we have not cut any corners in safety or quality or process because of the virus. Yes, we’ve changed a few things like visitor restrictions and we’ve started testing everyone who comes into labor and delivery, but in the big picture those are small things.”

Dr. Colombo added that only one other visitor is allowed during labor and they’re asking them to wear masks as much as possible.

“We understand COVID is a risk, but it’s not the only risk these mothers are facing, so we keep our current vigilance with every other condition and try to minimize mom’s exposure to the virus.”

Wilkie said they chose to find the ‘good’ in those restrictions.

She said, “It was kind of like a COVID blessing because this is such a special, intimate time and it was just Jimmy and I and we just got to do it together.”

They said the entire experience was nothing but amazing.

“It was surreal. It is still kind of surreal that we get to keep them and he is ours. I’m not a very good cook, so this was the best thing that I’ve ever cooked and it only took nine months,” she said.

Some doctors fear that more women will choose to deliver at home right now if they’re afraid to come to hospitals.

Dr. Colombo said, “I certainly think there are lots of good reasons for a homebirths and in the right situation, with the right attendant, it’s fine, but if you’re trying to prevent complications of COVID by delivering at home for that sole reason, I think you were making a mistake.”

Wilkie said if you’re torn about what’s best, just ask your doctors lots of questions.

“Knowing whether you have to wear a mask or what the visitation things are going to be and just getting informed from the person that you’ve trusted for the last 40 weeks,” she said
“There’s only so much worrying and stressing out that you can do and at some point, you just kind of have to live.”

So now the biggest thing for the Wilkies to worry about is adjusting to life with a newborn and helping their dog Henley become a big sister.

She said, “He sleeps great during the day and then at night, why bother?”

The little family is enjoying this time, because just like pandemics, these moments won’t last forever.

“I think I’ll just tell him 2020 was a wild year. So far he’s been the best part,” she said.

Dr. Colombo said at Spectrum Health, they’ve had very few moms test positive for COVID-19, but wants to assure them that even if they do, they have a team ready to take care of them and baby.

A big congratulations to the Wilkies from all of us at FOX 17.