Perryville mom shares experience of giving birth during COVID pandemic

Published 9:32 pm Thursday, April 23, 2020

The world is an interesting place to be in 2020, but for one young Perryville resident, it’s all she’s ever known.

Cora Maelee Elliott was born on Friday, April 3. She weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces and was 19 inches long. Her parents, Austin and Amanda Elliott, say this experience has been a unique one.

Cora has three older siblings, and this birth has been nothing like the previous three for Amanda.

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“It’s definitely been a different experience this time around,” she said. “First, it was no visitors at the doctor appointments, then it seemed like every day up to her birthday they were changing the visitor policy at the hospital. One of my biggest fears was that Austin wasn’t going to be able to be there.”

Cora was born at Baptist Health in Lexington, and Amanda said it seemed as if each day the policy on visitors became more strict. She said she kept track daily of the policy, and only the week of Cora’s birth did they find out that Austin would be allowed to be there as her support person for the delivery.

On the morning of April 3, she checked in at the hospital at 6 a.m., and after having been on bed rest since January, the big day had finally arrived.

“I had to have a cesarean section this time around, and normally they let the dads go back with the baby to the nursery while they send the moms to recovery,” she said. But given the situation with the COVID-19 crisis, that wasn’t the case.

“Austin was unable to do that. They weren’t letting any dads go back,” she explained.

Other visitors were also off limits. Cora’s brother, Kamdyn, 11, and her sisters, Kaydence, 7, and Kyla, 2, didn’t get to see her at the hospital. In fact, Amanda said they didn’t get to meet their new baby sister until she was a week old because they had been spending spring break with their dad.

Amanda’s hospital stay was shorter than usual due to the virus. She said mothers who deliver by C-section typically spend three days in the hospital, but doctors offered to let her go home the next day.

“They just wanted to get us home as soon as they could safely,” she said.

Once they were home, Amanda and Cora didn’t have any specific restrictions, but Amanda said the pediatricians were strict on the “no visitors” rule. She said otherwise things have been normal, other than the “tons” of hand sanitizer and Lysol spray the family is using to be proactive.

Cora was seen by her pediatrician on April 6 for her first check-up. Amanda said she was the only patient in the doctor’s office, and the nurses screened them as they entered the office and immediately directed them to an exam room.

The check-up went well, and Cora would regularly have another when she is 1 month old, but Amanda said with the situation as it is, doctors are trying to keep patients out of the office unless absolutely necessary. Cora will have her next visit when she is 2 months old, and she will also receive her vaccinations during that visit.

Doctor visits for Amanda are also a little different due to COVID-19.

“I had a check-up last Friday, and it was a telehealth visit, so it was all online,” Amanda added.

The family is sticking to the no visitor rule, sort of. While nobody is getting to come in and see Cora, she has had some immediate family drop by and take a peek at her through a window, while others have asked for FaceTime sessions or pictures on social media, and Amanda has gladly obliged.

The birth of a child is obviously something special, and a memorable time for a mother, but Amanda said this one is a little more so. After all, she’s now not only a mom of four children, she’s also adjusting to homeschooling two children and keeping up with a toddler, all while Austin works from home during a global pandemic.

“It’s definitely been an unforgettable experience,” she said.