On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic as COVID-19 spread worldwide. Five days later, Richmond Hospital manager Jordan Beard and his wife arrived at Richmond Hospital's Birth Centre to welcome their second daughter, Haley, into the world.
Despite it being a stressful time for health-care workers, Jordan recalls how welcoming the labour and delivery team was when they arrived.
"When we first arrived the team was extremely warm and welcoming and by the time we left, we felt we had all the necessary information and support to be safely discharged with our newborn daughter," he says.
For Alfonso Cyegkeng, Director, Special Projects, having his first child, Maxine, in the middle of a pandemic brought many mixed emotions.
"The staff and doctors were beyond exceptional. They were approachable, knowledgeable, caring and ensured we were well supported throughout our whole birthing experience. This really helped relieve some of our anxiety during the delivery. They kept the mood light, made us feel that we were always in control, and most importantly, made us feel very safe and comfortable." says Alfonso.
And while Jordan and his wife felt much more prepared for this delivery than with their first daughter three years ago, raising an infant during a global pandemic has had it challenges.
"Little things that you wouldn't have even given a second thought to – like getting your child vaccinated – were challenging as many non-emergent health-care services had been put on hold," he says.
Both Jordan and Alfonso had great experiences at the hospital, but the new fathers agree that the hardest thing about having a baby during a pandemic has been not being able to have close family and friends interact with their newborn.
"It was sad not being able to experience the birth of our daughter by having our family and friends come visit us in the hospital, but we certainly understood why," he says. "We've had to rely on a lot of video chats and Zoom meetings with family and friends."
"The restrictions on travel prevented family abroad from being with us during this time," adds Alfonso. "Even visits from family and friends who live locally has been much less compared to what it could have been."
Looking back on the experience, Alfonso says it was truly remarkable to witness the exceptional care he's always heard about at Vancouver Coastal Health, first-hand.
"We always talk about the great care our staff provide every day, but experiencing it firsthand was a truly eye opening experience," he says. "Despite the many limitations our staff have to deal with, the spirit of patient-centred and exceptional care is truly alive in Richmond Hospital's Birth Centre. It reminds me of how important a great team is in ensuring the best patient care and how this makes a world of difference in the moments that count."