Saskya Vandoorne, CNN senior producer, near her Paris apartment.

When social distancing extends to the birth of your own child

Updated 11:54 AM ET, Fri March 27, 2020

Saskya Vandoorne is a senior producer for CNN based in the network's Paris bureau.

Paris (CNN)"Be prepared to give birth alone," the midwife said placing two round plates on my bump. As I let her words sink in, my eyes welled up and I watched my baby's heart rate quicken.

In just over four weeks' time, as the world continues to reel from the worst global health threat we have seen in at least a century, I'll welcome a baby, my first. And, because of Covid-19, I'll work through the animal pain of labor with a stranger by my side. A midwife, not my husband, will be the only person who can hold my hand.
During a pandemic, it is of course a privilege to be worrying about the circumstances surrounding a new life rather than mourning the death of a loved one.
As a journalist I'm used to planning ahead. When I understood France and its 67 million people would be on lockdown I immediately went online to order the crib, pram and newborn necessities, I figured that if France followed Italy it could also close its nonessential factories.
Over the past week, I've adjusted to life in isolation with my husband. I canceled the baby shower, signed up to live prenatal classes online. And I've embraced the new steps taken by the French government to erode personal freedoms.
To justify venturing outside my Parisian apartment -- for groceries or medicine from the pharmacy -- I handwrite a government-mandated permission slip and I walk within a kilometer radius of where I live, if I stray any further I risk getting fined.