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Personal experience: Giving birth at the Queens Mary Hospital during Covid times

So there I was, on 4 July at my regular 37th week antenatal appointment at Queen Mary Hospital (“QMH”), when the doctor tells me that I need to be admitted immediately for monitoring - my baby was sideways instead of head down, as he should be by then.

I was shocked as all my checkups prior to that had been normal. I was sad too, as I had to cancel my 2 year old’s birthday party scheduled for that weekend 😅😅. The hospital made me submit a saliva sample for a PCR test, in preparation for getting admitted the next day.

I was no stranger to QMH – my first child was born there 2 years ago and I stayed there for a week after due to a suspected infection.

This time, I came fully prepared. Other than the birth essentials eg maternity pads/newborn diapers, I also brought additional items to make my “staycation” more comfortable: ear plugs, a thermos, cup + teaspoon, my kindle, laptop loaded up with movies, and LOTS of snacks. I even had my favourite pillow delivered by the hubby! Pillows in the ward were covered in tough plastic and smelt like it.

Upon reporting for admission at QMH 10am in the morning, I was given a RAT test to do, and also had to submit yet another saliva sample for a PCR test, despite doing one just the afternoon before.

The first 3 hours before my PCR test results came in, I was kept in the isolation area – which was on the same floor as the pre-labour ward and only separated by a foldable divider. I was told to keep my mask on, and no food/drinks or going to the bathroom was allowed - that was a tall order for a heavily pregnant woman! Thankfully, I had no need of the bedpan 🥳🎉.

The “isolation” area

After my negative PCR results finally came in, I was moved to my bed in the pre-labour ward. It was nice to get a window-side bed, although my request for the coveted sea-view window went unfulfilled.

My bed in the pre-labour ward

From then on, the days went by pretty routinely. Breakfast served at 5.30am (the same everyday – a hard boiled egg and congee). Nurses came to take my blood pressure and temperature, and check the baby’s heartbeat. Around 10.30am, the doctors did their rounds. Everyday, they asked if I wanted an induction, which I refused as I wanted to wait to see if the baby’s head would engage (i.e. move into the pelvis) by itself. Lunch was served around 12pm, and dinner at 5.30pm. Every few days, I had to repeat the PCR test.

A typical meal at QMH

No visitors were allowed in the pre-labour ward, but we could go out to meet family or accept deliveries downstairs. Hence, my 2 year old’s birthday was celebrated at the hospital lobby – we had a takeaway muffin from Pacific Coffee next door, unwrapped presents and played for a bit at the lobby.

Getting chased around the lobby by my toddler

On Day 10 at around 9am, I was happily engrossed with my book (Space Trilogy by CS Lewis) when my waters broke - I felt a warm trickle underneath, which quickly turned into a gush. There were no contractions yet. The nurses swiftly wheeled me off to check my cervix dilation and the baby’s head position. Then a doctor did another check, upon which he pronounced that an emergency C section must be done. The baby’s hand was in the way, and it would be risky to proceed with natural delivery. After signing the consent forms, I was prepped and wheeled into the operating theatre.

I had to keep a mask on throughout the procedure. I was asked to curl as tightly as possible into a ball while anesthesia medication was injected into my spine. This was painful, but thankfully for only a short time. After awhile, I heard the sweetest cries of my baby and my tears flowed while I got stitched up. I couldn’t hold my baby yet, but the nurses reassured me that everything went well.

This all happened quickly – within 2 hours of my waters breaking, my baby boy was born.

My baby boy

My baby and I spent the next 2 days at the post-labour ward. I was lucky that I could keep my baby next to me the whole time – some of the other babies were kept in a separate pediatric ward due to various conditions, and their mums could only visit a few times a day. God forbid that either of you get Covid – I heard stories of mums being separated entirely from their babies in such cases.

I was able to get down from bed and walk around the second day after the operation, albeit with plenty of painkillers! On Day 12, we were finally discharged.

The brothers meet <3

Overall, I had a positive experience at QMH – although some of the covid policies made no sense, most of the nurses were friendly, the doctors seemed capable, and to top it off, the bill was less than hkd2000 for 12 nights – that’s a pretty cheap “staycation”!


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