Mothers across Hong Kong are giving birth alone as public hospitals in the territory are banning partners from labor wards in a bid to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Dee Cheung, 34, a Canadian-born Hong Kong resident, gave birth to a baby girl at 6pm on Monday, January 27. She found out her husband wouldn't be allowed into the delivery room -- or the labor ward to meet the baby afterward -- when she arrived at hospital.
"He was pretty bummed ... but I thought there’s not much he can do anyway," Cheung said, adding that she understood why the decision had been taken. "It would have been nice if he could have been with me to rub my back. But honestly it was fine."
Sandra Marco Colino, 42, a Spaniard who has lived in Hong Kong for 10 years, gave birth via a planned C section at 37 weeks, as she had placenta previa, which can cause severe bleeding during delivery.
Because her baby girl was just 2.2 kilograms at birth, she had to go to the Special Care Unit at the Prince of Wales Hospital. While Hong Kong battles the coronavirus outbreak, all parents have been banned from the unit to protect the most vulnerable babies from infection, meaning Colino and her husband didn't meet their daughter until she was six days old.
"I felt nervous having to go through the procedure on my own, and my partner was devastated to have to miss his daughter’s birth. We did understand though that public safety comes first," she said. "There was an eerie quietness everywhere in the building which I had never witnessed in a local public hospital before."
Colina added that nurses took photographs of their baby in the Special Care Unit and would give them to her husband every day as an update.
Veronika, went through 30 hours of labor on her own at the Queen Mary Hospital, on Hong Kong Island.
"I felt lonely during long and painful labor hours ... I just wanted someone to hold my hand and just be close. But they don't provide those services ... I understand the concern for virus spread prevention, and no visits of family, but it's just unfortunate to have no support not only during delivery but anytime before or after. Plus, I can say that even if the staff is professional, you don't get warm words or advice on how to breathe during contractions, how to relax, how to cope with stress.
Kloub's husband met their baby girl, Aurora, on the street outside the hospital while he gave her some bags to take up to the ward.
CNN reached out to the Hong Kong Hospital Authority for comment but did not receive a response.