Becoming a mother while navigating the historic onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are many momentous events that occur in one’s lifetime. Some bigger than others. There are births, deaths, new jobs, and big moves. There are also some events that only happen once in a century – like a pandemic.
For Katy Crews – who was new to living on the South Coast, new to working at Southcoast Health, and expecting a child – life was full of big, exciting changes. Little did Katy know that she was about to experience the joy of becoming a mother while navigating the historic onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was early 2020, and Katy recalls having a planned trip to go skiing up north.
“I had called Southcoast Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) because I was concerned about skiing while in the early stages of my pregnancy,” she said. “They assured me that the baby was well protected in my body, so we went ahead with our trip. When we got to the mountain, many people were talking about COVID, even though at this point it had not been reported to have arrived on our shores.”
Naturally, Katy was excited and cautious for her pregnancy. This was not her first pregnancy, nor her first experience being cared for by Southcoast OB/GYN. In 2018, when she had just moved to the area, Katy experienced an ectopic pregnancy – a life-threatening pregnancy that develops outside the uterus in one of the fallopian tubes – and was treated at St. Luke’s Hospital.
“I was heartbroken, but every person who cared for us during that horrible situation was so caring. They really put us at ease and made a terrible situation bearable,” recalls Katy. Continuing her care with the same compassionate team was an easy decision.
When the pandemic became serious, employees were sent home to work, and wiping down groceries became a routine activity. As a Southcoast patient, Katy was still able to see her providers throughout this time.
“At every appointment at the OB/GYN office in New Bedford, I always looked forward to seeing all the providers. I would see whoever was available, so I was lucky to get to know multiple providers that way.”
Despite the uncertainty and chaos going on in the world, Katy worked hard at Southcoast Health and prepared herself as best she could for childbirth.
“I probably read too much,” Katy says with a chuckle. “I spent a lot of time reading up on childbirth to prepare my mind for it.” The St. Luke’s Women and Children’s Pavilion was able to accommodate Katy’s birth plan by offering a birthing tub and having alternatives to an epidural for pain management. “It was really important to me to not get an epidural. I figured if our ancestors did it, I have to do it just once!”
When her due date arrived and passed – as first baby due dates sometimes do – Katy and her husband were ready for whatever day their son would make his arrival. “Even in the midst of COVID, I was really happy that I could have my husband with me. We went in on a Friday night for me to be induced. I knew it was only a matter of time until I would meet my son.”
When Katy progressed and labor was becoming intense, Jennifer Anderson, Certified Nurse Midwife, was there by her side to coach her. Following her plan, Katy received pain management medication that allowed her to move and experience her contractions without slowing the process. “I was on a mission! Even though I could still feel the contractions, the pushing was a relief for me. I wouldn’t feel like he was safe until he was in my arms,” remembers Katy. “Jenny and everyone in the room was amazing. When you are going through something like that you really develop a bond. To this day I feel like Jenny is a soul sister to me.”
Then, the moment arrived … Katy Crews became a mom.
Her son Silas was born and laid directly on her chest. His little head was tucked in the cozy nook of her neck, and Katy knew in that moment her baby was safe.
“That moment was truly indescribable,” she says. “Everything I had gone through was worth it, because he was finally here.”
As many mothers can attest, that was just the beginning of the many challenges and triumphs that lay ahead. From the unexpected difficulties delivering her placenta to the first days, weeks and months of breastfeeding, the Southcoast OB/GYN midwifery team, surgeons, lactation consultant, and labor and recovery nurses that guided Katy to motherhood were always there with warmth, compassion, and encouragement every step of the way.
Katy Crews now lives in Florida with her husband, Nick, and her son, Silas, who is expecting a little sister in July of 2022. “I will always feel a connection with the South Coast and the St. Luke’s Hospital Women’s and Children’s Pavilion,” Katy says. “It is where my family started, and I will always remember the team that brought Silas into the world.”