“Alright, so they are lacking manpower and I need to go back. I’m not sure when I’ll be back. But text me.” my husband leaves hastily after checking me into the labour ward at 5.30 am even as the nurses confirmed that I have entered into labour.
Like many dreamers, I romanticized the beginning of a new decade. 2020 will be fantastic. At 28 years of age, after having gone through a confusing decade of angsty teenage years, spiraling into the world of adulthood (bills, bills, bills!), joining the workforce, and navigating romantic relationships, I thought I had finally settled. My husband graduated from medical school, our finances all lined up nicely and here I was, eager to be a mum especially after almost losing my baby during the first trimester due to many episodes of bleeding characterized as a “threatened miscarriage”.
But everything pivoted when the news broke out on 23 January 2020 that Singapore had the first case of Covid-19. Although we were not feeling the effects of the pandemic yet as the cases were mostly confined to visitors from Wuhan, my husband’s schedule as a new House Officer became even more hectic. Still haunted by the effects of SARS, the healthcare sector geared up quickly, split the medical teams to ensure they would not meet each other (just in case the other team gets infected), were briefed on wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and more night shifts were added in due to the shift in manpower. As the cases started rising, and fear started growing among Singaporeans, so too did my vision of what giving birth and becoming a first-time mother would mean in the face of a world that would change drastically. I was mentally prepared to be in the labour room alone since the risk of my husband getting infected was high due to the nature of his work.
Thankfully, our child decided to emerge into the world before all hell broke loose. Although my husband could not be with me during the first 2 days of labour, when my body entered active labour at 1 am, he had just finished work, took emergency leave, and joined me in the delivery suite. The labour was long and arduous, and ended up in an emergency c-section — another trial I was not prepared for.
3 days later, we carried our special little human home. We started a month of confinement with a middle-aged Malaysian lady, and just as I had entered my confinement month, so too did my fellow Singaporeans — the Circuit Breaker (often seen as a…