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Published on May 12, 2020

Nikki, Adam, McKenna and Harrison

Pregnancy and Pandemics: Moms Share Insight on Recent Deliveries

Expecting moms are familiar with the rollercoaster of feelings that rise and fall as the due date gets closer. When a layer of pandemic-related anxiety is added, it can be a bit much.

Two Sioux Falls moms say that while the current situation in society was on their minds, they still felt fortunate with the way everything turned out.

Nikki Foster and her husband, Adam, welcome their son, Harrison, to the family March 12, just as the changes COVID-19 is forcing upon the world were starting to unfold. Hannah Entenman and her husband, Travis, welcomed their first child, a son named Theo, April 16. The “new normal” took a little consideration for them both.

Hannah and TheoHannah and Theo

“Our provider (Nurse Midwife Lisa Van Gerpen, CNM, MSN) just so happened to be the midwife on call when we went in,” Entenman said. “We felt lucky she was able to deliver our son. Since everything was going well with both me and Theo, we were able to leave the hospital at the 24-hour mark, which is now what they suggest.”

For the Foster family, there were hints of the pandemic’s impact, but no real changes to life as Nikki and Adam made the final preparations to welcome Harrison.

“Our doctor, Andrea Miller (DO) was able to come in and deliver the baby, and nothing really hit us until after our baby came,” she said. “Harrison was born on the first day the no-visitors policy at Avera was implemented. We learned that his sister, McKenna, would not be able to join us at the hospital to meet him. Same thing with his grandparents – the whole world was changing around us. We were so excited to share Harrison with our friends and loved ones, but we realized the safety precautions were there for a reason – to keep everyone, including him, as safe as possible.”

As Entenman’s due date came closer, her appointments changed.

“The labor and delivery protocols were changing with each visit, and my last three visits were one where I went in alone, to limit exposure, a virtual visit and then an off-campus meeting with our provider,” she said. “The main reassurance I sought was that my husband would be able to be in the room with us when we delivered. We were disappointed that our doula wasn't able to join, but I knew if Travis could be there we would be OK.”

Both moms said it was reassuring to see the precautions. They gave them confidence that they were protected.

“Our team was so well-versed, and they were experiencing these changes in real time, just like we were, but they kept me at the center of everything they did,” Foster said.

“I’d tell other moms that your birth will not be like you imagined, especially if you were hoping for visitors. It will still be absolutely special and you will be treated with beautiful care and compassion,” Entenman said. “You might feel sad about those changes, but show yourself radical compassion. COVID-19 adds another layer of uneasiness amidst all these other emotions that came with Theo’s arrival. But I also have the chance to slow down and singularly focus on him. I’d encourage other moms to do the same: take advantage of the time to concentrate on your sweet baby and your postpartum healing.”

You can learn more at Avera.org/births.

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