Babies born at the start of the pandemic are beginning to hit a big milestone — turning one. Allie and Brian Casavant, who gave birth to daughter Lucy last June, said their daughter's first year of life has been a completely different experience than when they gave birth to their first daughter, Rose three years ago.
"The hospital experience was very different because everyone was wearing masks, like I said, Brian was the only one with me and they tried to really limit the amount of people who were coming in and out of the room," Allie said. "We’ve kind of just navigated this first year with a lot of differences being parents, than three years ago when our daughter was born."
The parents of two say their experience with their second pregnancy was different because of health and safety precautions put in place by the hospital as well as precautions their family took to limit spread.
Allie said wearing a mask, not having her husband there for all her appointments, and not having visitors at the hospital was all a new experience.
The family also had to adjust to not having family come help when she had complications after childbirth or visit them once they got home, but it wasn't all bad.
"One of the bright sides of the pandemic has been that we really got to soak Lucy in all by ourselves in the beginning. No one was there trying to vie for holding her or get her attention or our attention. It really got to be just us and my mom had our toddler so we didn’t have to worry for the first few days with having to know our baby," Allie Casavant said.
In addition to the birthing experience being different, Rose and Lucy differ in personalities according to the parents. While Rose is outgoing, Lucy is a homebody.
"They are complete opposites and I think a lot of it does have to do with circumstance," Allie Casavant said. "[Lucy] is not as comfortable with other people as Rose was at that age. There’s not as many pictures of her with family. She'd much rather be at home with Mom and Dad and, I kind of wonder, as she grows up if she’ll grow out of that a little bit as we get to venture out in the world more."
The Casavants aren't the only ones experiencing all the new challenges that come with giving birth in a pandemic, such as being isolated from family.
Dr. Emily Patel, a specialist of maternal-fetal medicine at Methodist Women's Hospital, and the Casavant's physician, said missing out on the family experience has been one of the biggest difficulties she's seen all of her patients' faces.
"I think that old adage of it takes a village to raise a child — I think it’s really true. I know that from my own personal experience it’s so helpful to have family and friends around who can help out and be there for you all the time and that has greatly shifted during this time period," Patel said.
Patel and the Casavants urge pandemic parents to cherish all the moments, despite this crazy time.