One could say Lim Ming Yang was lucky. She delivered two weeks before the start of the Movement Control Order (MCO) and little Avery Lee was born on March 3rd 2020, in Putrajaya Hospital via a C-Section. Because she was born before the lockdown, mum and baby initially got away from a number of obstacles such as curtailment to movement and access to important postnatal supplies and services. They even managed to get their confinement lady who had no issue at the time coming to KL from Kampar. They were also able to get their confinement herbs for two weeks before MCO came into force on March 18th. Avery is the third child of Ming and Daniel Lee. The two older children are Oliver \u2500 aged two and a half, and Sylvia, aged seven. Again one could say that Ming was lucky in the sense that as an experienced mum, she knew what to do with a newborn, she knew how to breastfeed and she knew there were somethings about newborn behaviours that may otherwise frighten many first-time mothers. Confinement & Food-Finding during MCO Ming and Daniel holding their newborn, Avery at the hospital. But even so \u2500 getting locked down while having to handle confinement, 24-hour care for a newborn, two very active young children who demanded attention and proper meals, a father who had to babysit, do supply runs and worked from home \u2500 posed quite a bit of a challenge for the family. For one, when MCO started midway into her confinement, \u201cwe ran into difficulty when needing to top up the herbs for the last two weeks of the confinement,\u201d recalls Ming. As all Chinese Medicine Halls for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) were closed because they were not listed as essential services under the MCO, where was Ming going to find the necessary herbs and fresh meat needed for the soups? \u201cI used to buy groceries via Tesco Online when I was in confinement with my older two kids but this time around, I had to find other options as Tesco delivery requires 10 days\u2019 waiting time,\u201d she says. \u201cLuckily we found out a friend's family owns a TCM shop and lived above the shop so they had access to get the necessary herbs. We just had to find a rider to collect from Rawang and send it to our house in Putra Heights, Subang Jaya.\u201d With help from friends, they managed to find a rider to do this for them. A close-up of baby Avery, who was born two weeks before MCO set in. \u201cOur usual kampung chicken supplier was able to supply to us before the MCO lockdown and that lasted us two weeks too. When it ran out, the Ketua Rumah had to figure out the \u2018hows\u2019 on his own. Lots of times, Daniel\u2019s parents would come to the rescue by guiding him where to find what, other times I had to ask around our neighbourhood groupbuy WhatsApp group for ideas on where to source.\u201d Getting fresh food supplies was a challenge in itself as only the Ketua Rumah was allowed out of the house, according to the directives of the MCO. On the other edge of the sword, only brick and mortar markets were allowed to operate. It resulted in a displacement of people who no longer had access to their regular stalls but had to head out to brick building markets instead. This caused long queues, congestion and a shortage of supplies. The limitation to travelling beyond 10Km from home also added to the inconvenience. So one had to be resourceful in these restrictive times. But there were some silver linings too. Since being in confinement also meant no going out, breastfeeding during MCO was not much of an issue for Ming. Her outing exception would be just doctor's visits for blood and urine tests either at the Klinik Kesihatan or Putrajaya Hospital and it wasn't that huge of a challenge for her. \u201cI just needed to be more conscious about not simply touching anything, and sanitizing our hands when going in and leaving, standing at areas with less people, and heading to wash and clean up once I got home and do the same for baby as well before hugging or kissing the older kids at home.\u201d Hypertension, a C-Section & COVID-19 A birth to remember: Coronial babies such as Avery would have these \u2018spoils of the COVID-19 war\u2019 to remember when she looks back at her baby pictures one day. Even in these trying times, Ming has kept her sense of humour as can be seen in the inclusion of toilet paper in the picture. Ming recounted that she had had hypertension during her latest pregnancy and alongside with the history she had with her second baby\u2019s birth, a C-Section was necessary as it was the safer route for her. However the \u201csafer route\u201d wasn\u2019t without its risk. \u201cRight after the anesthesiologist administered the epidural, my blood pressure shot up and I had a retching reaction to it. This also happened during my first C-Section so I wasn't that concerned because they managed to control my BP and bring it down to its normal range before the surgery began\u201d she recalls. At the time, it was already apparent that Malaysia was falling into the grips of a national medical emergency. As Ming remembers, just as her doctor walked in to perform the surgery, she overheard him saying to the nurses that the hospital was shorthanded. Two doctors were missing from the team as they had been pulled out of duty to work with the COVID-19 team. A total of five doctors had been pulled out of various departments to help out with containing the pandemic. But in the operating theatre, the atmosphere still seemed normal. The only time she saw doctors becoming more stringent was during ward visits. All doctors were in masks, gloves and they were using sanitizers before and after seeing each patient. Each bed would also have a bottle of sanitizer so patients, visitors, nurses and doctors would use it. Sylvia holding her little baby sister shortly after birth and Sylvia with Avery again when she was five weeks old. In fact, precautions had already gone up several notches before the beginning of March. Upon checking into the rooms for baby delivery, Ming and Daniel noticed that the hospital had stepped up security and were blocking people from entering the hospital through the Emergency Section. Instead, they were directed to the main entrance where there were a few lines of queues. There would be a person stationed at each line asking questions about recent travel and health conditions. They were also taking temperatures and ensuring that everyone sanitized their hands before entering. There were limits too to movement and the number of visitors allowed. First, visitors were only allowed during visiting hours, then they started limiting one person per visit. Now, it is understood that visitors are not permitted at all. Seats in the waiting area are marked with \u201cX\u201ds on alternate chairs to ensure people sat apart with one seat in between. The Writing was on the Wall \u201cIt isn\u2019t easy getting Oliver\u2019s picture because he wouldn\u2019t stay still long enough,\u201d Ming says, and sure enough, he ran away immediately after taking this picture. But she was able to get this shot of her three children together and here they are: From left: Sylvia, Avery and Oliver. In many ways, Ming and Daniel were kind of expecting some kind of action from the government. COVID-19 was already raging across the world since December 2019. Wuhan and China were in the throes of the outbreak during Chinese New Year and were in a lockdown. By the time March came around, Malaysia and many other countries were seeing an explosion of cases where clusters of infections were erupting everywhere. A lockdown was inevitable. \u201cDuring my last trimester,\u201d says Ming, \u201cI had already begun to stock up on our supply of hand sanitizer sprays, masks and hand wash at home. We also cut down going out by a lot compared to before and every time we did, we sanitized or wash our hands more frequently. Places we went to were limited to just our surrounding neighbourhood malls to get necessities. We rarely went window shopping to avoid the crowds.\u201d Ming and Daniel also explained about COVID-19 to their school-going seven-year-old so that she would be more aware and conscientious about sanitizing and washing her hands in school. \u201cAs for our two-and-a-half year-old, he would automatically put his hand out for us to spray every time we got into the car after grocery shopping as we had been doing this even before COVID-19 began.\u201d Redefining Father\u2019s Role during MCO\u00a0 Happy children: Sylvia and Oliver playing around the house and in the garden as one of their daily MCO activities. As in most births, the father\u2019s role is always somewhat simpler. He plays the supporting role such as getting supplies, driving Ming and the baby around for doctor\u2019s visits, handling non-confinement related activities and a lot of babysitting. \u201cAs we have two other children, most of the responsibilities of the man would be to take care of them so as to ensure that the baby and I did not get disturbed. \u201cWhen it came to the MCO, we were lucky to have Daniel's parents' help as we had moved in with them when the confinement lady left. They helped handle the kids every now and then so that the burden of taking care of them was reduced especially when we needed to get other things done. \u201cDaniel is working from home and work needs to get done. Otherwise, confining them to a room with toys and a handphone would be the last resort. But it certainly helps to have extra hands and we\u2019re lucky to have them. \u00a0Of course, we take turns changing diapers but mainly we try to help each other out like taking turns to hold the light in the middle of the night as the other changes the diaper.\u201d Daniel says, right now \u2500 even as no one knows if the MCO will be extended after April 28 \u2500 the best advise is to stay at home. \u201cWe\u2019ve learnt some new recipes to cook at home or we\u2019ve cooked with the older kids. We\u2019ve taught our kids about hygiene be it at home, in school, the playground or outside in shopping malls as this should be a habit for life for them. We\u2019re taking this opportunity to bond with each another at home as well.\u201d It is also great that Daniel is the hands-on type and he tries to help out in any way he can \u2500 be it with the kids or his wife or his parents. \u201cEvery now and then when the pressure gets built up, it helps to get some rest or cool off. At the end of the day, it's all about working together and taking turns. There's no way one person can handle everything perfectly, so to just do what we can would be enough. Of course, there's a lot of sacrifice in terms of time, money and others but in the end, it will be worth it,\u201d he says. Don\u2019t Sweat the Small Stuff COVID-19 hasn\u2019t gone away even if the number of new infections has gone down to two digits, heralding days when MCO may soon be lifted. Even if lifted, Malaysia\u2019s Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has said that there must be six criteria that must be fulfilled before the MCO can be lifted. \u201cThere is a possibility that we cannot completely lift the MCO, as there must be a soft landing.\u201d Those who are not related to the economic sector could remain at home, he had suggested. Suggestions for Mums A happy, bonded family. What\u2019s important in keeping the family together is teamwork and flexibility in handling the stresses. For mums who have just given birth or who are struggling with keeping it all together as stressors continue to be kept on, Ming has some nuggets to share. \u201cWhen there is any help given, take it. Don't feel bad asking for help be it from parents, in-laws or husband. Also the house need not be in impeccable condition, there are things that can wait or which are not that important such as laundry, cleaning or even cooking. Some of this can wait, or can be compromised, or can be ordered or \u201ctarpau-ed\u2019 from fast-food or nearby restaurants. Don't lose sight of what is important like taking care of yourself as a new mom and the happiness of your family. Stress can be lessened when one is flexible. \u201cIt is super challenging for parents who have to both work from home and take care of school-going kids who now have to take Google classroom but this too will come to pass. One day, when we look back at this time, we will laugh at how crazy our time has been during the COVID-19 pandemic as parents with young children.\u201d All images courtesy of Lim Ming Yang For more stories on the pandemic and how to survive these strange but historic times, don\u2019t forget to check back on Motherhood.com.my.