WORKING AS A 30 WEEK PREGNANT, LABOR & DELIVERY NURSE DURING COVID-19

Ashley King, a Labor & Delivery Nurse at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, PA, and her husband, Ryan, are expecting their first child, a baby girl, in June. Ashley shares her perspective of being in her third trimester and a healthcare professional during the coronavirus pandemic.


On Becoming A Nurse

“I’ve always loved babies and have been obsessed with becoming a mom since I was seven and my little sister was born. I just knew I wanted to work with babies in some way and I always liked helping and taking care of people. So, I became a nurse and I’ve been one for 14 years, working in Labor & Delivery for 10.”

What was your reaction when you found out you were pregnant?

“My husband and I were cautiously optimistic. The month prior to this pregnancy, I had a chemical pregnancy so that was hard and really disappointing. Having that experience made us weary for the first 12 weeks – we were scared to be excited. Once I started feeling her move, it became so much more real! I couldn’t wait to tell my nieces and nephew.

For my nephew’s birthday party, we put the baby’s heartbeat in a teddy bear, and dressed it in a “new to the crew” onesie. We gave this to my nephew and nieces, along with “cousin crew” shirts and a birth certificate with the baby’s due date. The girls were thrilled! My nephew had to adjust to the idea of not being the baby anymore, but he’s excited now – even if it is a girl!

I cannot wait to be a mom. I have wanted this my entire life and am so lucky that I get to finally experience this, though I’m equally terrified! I can’t wait to see what she will look like!”

How has the Labor & Delivery department been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic?

“In labor and delivery, we are fortunate not to be in the most at-risk department. But there have been many changes for us and our patients. Our patients and their support person have to wear masks throughout the whole labor process until about two hours following the delivery. Wearing the masks while laboring is hard, but they have all been wonderful about it. After delivery, patients are given the option of leaving as early as possible. Visitors are also restricted. Only one support person per patient is allowed, and they cannot leave until discharge. So far this has gone well, and I appreciate any attempt to improve our and our patients’ safety. 

For myself and my co-workers, we wear masks at all times, which is difficult being 30 weeks pregnant and asthmatic, as I get very short of breath. Being pregnant, I’m also able to report to my manager if I feel uncomfortable caring for possible COVID-19 patients. And luckily my manager and co-workers are amazing and supportive and would gladly step in for me as needed.”

How are you feeling about working in a hospital right now?

“I understand that this is my job and it was my choice to become a nurse. However, I cannot stand when people say, ‘this is what I signed up for.’ I did not go to nursing school to, at some point, knowingly put myself and my unborn baby at risk. I am incredibly anxious going to work every day. It feels like I’m putting the one thing I’ve wanted my entire life at risk every time I go to work, so there’s a lot of guilt there.

I just wish people would take this more seriously. Seeing and hearing about people still hosting barbeques, or letting their kids have play dates, or gathering with their neighbors is incredibly frustrating. People are dying and our hospitals are going to bombarded and overrun with extremely sick patients. I also wish people would be more educated about wearing gloves. I see people wearing them but touching literally everything, including their face, purse, and phone, while out in public. 

This is such a hard time for everyone, especially women who are expecting! I feel for all the soon-to-be moms out there having their babies with limited support. Having a baby is isolating enough outside of this, let alone when literally no one can help, or keep you company, or just celebrate these wonderful blessings with you!”

As an L&D nurse, what’s the best advice you can give yourself and other expecting mothers?

“Don’t sweat the small stuff and DON’T HAVE A PLAN. These babies will do whatever they want and come into the world however they want, so just go with the flow. Also, epidurals are life and I can’t wait to get one!” 

The Motherhood Community sends our appreciation and love to Ashley and her family as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay safe. The Juggle Is Real. #mhjuggle