Since March over 1000 babies have been brought into the world at Norwest Private
Maternity in a “safety bubble” with their parents after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted
changes to visitor restrictions.

In late September, siblings of newborns were welcomed back for visits to the maternity unit which was greeted with “enormous excitement” by parents.

Women’s Health Services Manager at Norwest Private Hospital, Michelle McKenzie, said visitors have been restricted to a patient’s partner or support person only.

“We are unable to allow other visitors into Maternity to ensure the highest level of safety to our new families and their babies,” she said.

“We know that the visitor restrictions are very challenging for many families. However, people have been very understanding and know that we are doing our best to care for them.” said Ms McKenzie.

“In fact, some women said that they enjoyed the peace and quiet of fewer visitors. It meant that they could get more rest and recover more quickly to be ready to go home with their new baby.”

Krissie and Nick Webb from Marsden Park welcomed their first child, Mason, into the world at Norwest Private Maternity on July 10.

Krissie said with “lockdown” there was no opportunity to attend pre-natal classes.

“The kindness and care that we received from the midwives and nurses at Norwest helped fill in that knowledge gap and help us to find our feet into our first few days foraying into parenthood.

“With the nursery closed, having the nurses and lactation specialist coming to you in your room gave us a really hands on experience of support and learning.

“Knowing that I was not going to be able to have visitors was something that filled my extroverted self with more of the disappointment and anxiety that had accompanied much of the pandemic isolation I had experienced since March.

“It was something that I had been mentally bracing myself for … having overseas friends give birth and not even be able to have their partner present during the labour because of COVID-19 concerns really gave me some perspective – at least my husband was going to be able to be present for labour and for the additional recovery days in hospital.”

“But the ‘newborn bubble’ that we experienced was actually kind of relaxing … with no worries of needing to look presentable to visitors or photos, and just focus all our time on mastering breastfeeding, swaddling and resting with our little bundle of joy was an unexpected blessing of sorts.”

“Having a child during a pandemic has definitely been a different experience than I’m sure most women have had over the years. It has caused its own types of isolation, fear and exclusion from society. But it has also helped us to prioritise what is important and to immerse ourselves in the world of parenthood in a way that would not have been possible if the pre- 2020 fast pace of life was still the norm. The slower pace of a pandemic world has helped us to stop and ‘smell the roses’.”