Pandemic pregnancy brings lots of challenges, uncertainty

Baby On board: Jessica, Evangeline, and Liam Samaha at home in Calgary on Sept. 24. Liam Samaha now works from home in order to keep himself and his family safe. (Photo by Ryan Desmarais/The Press)

For new parents, Jessica and Liam Samaha, having a baby in the middle of a global pandemic has created new set of challenges.

“They actually gave me morphine to slow my contractions down because they didn’t have the staff to deliver my child,” said Jessica Samaha in an interview,  of the birth of her daughter, Evangeline.

“I ended up going into an emergency C-section, because I was in labour for 10 days,” she said.

Baby Evangeline was  born on Aug. 22, and debuted at six  pounds, nine ounces.

“I was doing a research thing through the U of C…and they said the number of emergency C-sections has increased since the pandemic because of stress on the body and on the pregnancy,” she said.

Having a child already comes with a plethora of challenges, but during a pandemic the process was a lot different.

“I had to go to my 20 weeks anatomy scan by myself,” said Jessica Samaha. “(Liam) wasn’t able to come into it.

“It wasn’t until June that I could start bringing a support person,” she said.

“It wasn’t until we were 28 weeks pregnant that he could come to the maternity appointments. (Before that) he had to wait out in the vehicle, and I know that was difficult on him.”

“If we had the baby last year, I definitely wouldn’t have been as conscious about the people I’m around,” said Liam Samaha.

He said that having the baby changed his perspective on what he pays attention to when outside the home.

Liam Samaha said that he would not want to get sick because if he got sick then he couldn’t work and provide for his family and, if he gets his wife sick then she won’t be able to care for the baby.

“If I get her sick then she could possibly die,” he said.

Now that the baby is home and healthy the family has to be more and more conscious of the unknown.

Jessica Samaha said that all of the uncertainties of the virus and the health of those around add to the difficulties of starting a family.

“It’s dangerous to bring your child around people, but obviously grandparents want to meet their new member of the family,” she said.

“You’re always on edge about whether or not your child is going to get sick. They have no treatment plan in place.

“It’s definitely scary because there’s so much unknown.”

For more information about the University of Calgary pregnancy study click here

Pandemic prize: Liam Samaha cradles his baby daughter on Sept. 24. Baby Evangeline was born in the middle of the COVID-19 Pandemic. (Photo by Ryan Desmarais/The Press)