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Giving birth in the height of the pandemic

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STAFF REPORTER

Rubenstein is worried about going into a hospital where there are so many COVID-19 patients. And the run-up to this moment hasn’t been much easier.

“It’s crazy, I’m having this baby in the worst possible week. I’m so worried,” Rubenstein told the SA Jewish Report just days before the scheduled c-section birth. “So many people around us are contracting this virus, it seems to be all around us. I’m worried that either Daniel [her husband] or I have the virus, because that will have an impact on what happens at the birth.

“While I have been overly cautious, there are many who find out they have the virus, and have no idea how they got it. Others are walking around totally asymptomatic. So, who can tell?” she says.

“I’m anxious about what will happen, but even more concerned about how the kids will be.”

Two days before her scheduled birth, she and her husband had to be tested for coronavirus so that there were no surprises for the medical team dealing with her birth. If they are both clear, they will both spend Thursday night at the clinic before an early morning birth. Then, Daniel will have to leave, not being able to see his wife or baby until she gets home.

If her husband has the virus, he will have to go into immediate two-week isolation. “If that happens, I have no idea who is going to look after our children while I’m in hospital. We don’t want my parents to get involved because we fear for their health. We simply don’t have a plan B.”

If Rubenstein is found to have the virus, she will give birth under far stricter COVID-19 conditions. “As the doctor says, the baby still has to come out, no matter what,” she says.

In the third-case scenario, if she goes into labour before the release of the results of their tests, she goes into hospital as a “person under investigation” and is treated as positive. “While my doctor is ready to deliver a baby to a person who is positive, he hasn’t done it before,” she says. He has had two husbands test positive in the deliveries he has done recently.

Rubenstein says this has actually been her easiest pregnancy. She has been so busy at home, especially being involved in the online education of her children – the oldest of whom is eight – and making sure that food is on the table, that she has “hardly acknowledged the pregnancy”.

Normally, she is a busy occupational therapist (OT) and businesswoman who shlepps her kids around, goes to gym three times a week, and keeps active. Now, she hasn’t been able to work as an OT and her business has been relegated to late nights. Her days have been dedicated to making sure Judah, eight, who is in Grade 2, and Olivia, six, in Grade 1, are able to carry on with school. And she has struggled to find enough time to work with Ezra, three, who is in his first year of nursery school.

Her daughter has just gone back to school between 07:30 and 12:45, which helps a bit, but there is still no rest for this heavily pregnant mom.

With all this going on at home, Rubenstein planned to have the baby on Friday so that she could be back home on Sunday, and be there for school on Monday.

“I guess I’m in complete denial,” she says. “I have convinced myself that I’m having the baby and going back to school. Having said that, I can tell that my kids, particularly the two older ones, are anxious.”

What with the unpredictability of this pandemic, Rubenstein was ready to give birth three months ago. “I got overly prepared back then, and bought what I would need because I didn’t know what would happen.”

Now, all she wants is to have the baby, and get home to the rest of the family without any indication of the dreaded virus.

  • A COVID-free Bianca Rubenstein gave birth to a healthy baby girl on Wednesday afternoon, 24 June. As the results weren’t yet out, they went through a memorable PUI (person under investigation) caesarian-section birth. The Rubenstein family are all well and extraordinarily grateful to be healthy and have a beautiful new addition to the family.

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