South Jersey woman gives birth at home after misunderstanding at hospital

BLACKWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- It's one of the most magical and frightening times in a couple's life: the birth of a child. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, new rules are forcing many women to do it alone without their partners to help.

A pregnant South Jersey woman says she left Virtua Voorhees Hospital after she was told upon arrival to the triage unit her husband had to wait in the car during labor and delivery because of COVID-19 restrictions.

After suffering a panic attack while waiting through contractions alone, she thought they might have stopped and left.

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"They were like, 'Ok your husband has to wait in the car ... he can't come back with you because of everything that's going on," said Erin Persia.

But the contractions came back.

Ameila Gracelyn Persia came into the world on April 3 at 10:30 a.m. Several hours after Erin left the hospital, she felt contractions again and gave birth with the help of her husband in the family's bathtub of their Blackwood, New Jersey home.

Persia describes the scary moments saying, "I was already in labor for maybe seven hours I was like, 'I can't do this for very long' and as soon as I said that, I felt her move down. He said, 'Should I call 911?' And I said, 'I don't think there's time.'"

Persia says she was never told by her doctor and did not see on Virtua's website her husband could not be with her during the baby's birth.

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Virtua tells Action News, "Patients are typically alone when they first present at the hospital and are initially assessed and triaged. If the care providers determine the mom-to-be should be admitted, that is when the support person (most often a husband) can join her for labor and delivery."

RELATED: Nicole Lamborne, MD, director of women's health services for Virtua Health, explains how Virtua is protecting mothers-to-be, and babies, amidst concerns about COVID-19.

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