…You stay the f*ck at home
Welcome back friends.
I’ve been using the pandemic as a time to regroup mentally, work my ass off in my real life job, eat snacks, and grow & birth a human. Some of those things were more difficult than others (I will let you speculate).
A lot of people have asked me about my experience having a baby during a pandemic, and I thought I would take some time to get my thoughts down, alongside my return to blogging.
Please keep in mind that this was my first pregnancy and child, so this plus a pandemic is really my only frame of reference. I will also say I was BLESSED with a really easy pregnancy, and whether it was “blessing”, healthy eating, and/or exercise, whatever it was I can only hope for the same experience with any future pregnancies. My main “complaint” was extreme fatigue, I think I threw up maybe 2-3 times total, I ran until 30 weeks, and biked/peloton until 2 days before Em was born.
I found out I was pregnant in November of 2019, so the first half of my pregnancy was not impacted at all by COVID. In fact the last appointment Pat was able to attend with me was in late February/early March, and that was the anatomy scan. A month later when I went back for my glucose test, and routine blood work – everything was completely different.
With living in Michigan, I think we were one of the more strict states in terms of shut downs. With my job we quickly converted to a work from home/virtual education model -which I am still grateful for, and Pat was home with me shortly after; the transition was not hard for us at all (I know that is not the case with everyone), we were already kind of homebodies, and we loved being able to walk Luna on a lunch break, and snuggle her in between meetings. I think the other piece that made it easier to swallow was expecting a baby. Also, 10 days before everything was shut down, we put in an offer on a house, and it was accepted, so we knew we were moving and therefore spent time packing and purging.
The week everything shut down I was supposed to have an appointment that ended up being a shortened appointment, due to the fact I was so healthy, and having an uncomplicated pregnancy I it was just a quick in and out – little did I know this would be Pat’s last chance to hear the heartbeat until she was born (and no- he did not go with me).
Fast forward 4 weeks, I return to my OB’s office for routine blood works, and my glucose test, I was told due to Covid my office’s lab was closed, so I would need to start my appointment with my OB, leave, go to another lab to drink my glucola, wait there for the blood draw, then return to my original office again for another injection.
Maybe it was the hormones, but I found it mildly comical- even looking back I remember driving back and forth just shaking my head (there was nothing I could do about it). From there things only intensified, my OB office did not allow any visitors unless they were essential for care (since I can make my own decisions Pat stayed at home), I had to call when I was in the parking lot, but then was always promptly shuttled into an exam room, and shuttled back out – my visits with my OB were just like they were before except we all wore masks. The only thing I missed out on was the 3D ultrasound – as it was not essential – it was not done. I did have one done around 32-ish weeks because I thought she was transverse (sideways), turns out I just have a small torso, and everything was perfect fine.
Around late May my Ob brought up the possibility of induction to ensure the Birthing Center would not be over-crowded/to ensure social distancing etc. Fortunately this was something I needn’t worry about- as again, as things progressed we knew more about COVID.
I was very nervous about birth, thankfully – I was due in July, so we had more information by that time, versus the limited info in April. I was reading articles about women having to give birth alone, HOPING I would not have to do that. I was ready to go through all of labor with a mask on as long as It meant Pat would be there. Thankfully he could be – our hospital was pretty strict though- just one person, and they were not allowed to leave the unit.
*In fact you were told if you were a smoker to bring nicotine patches or gum as you would not be permitted to leave the unit (or building) – I’m not a smoker I just wanted to give perspective on how strict they were. We also had COVID tests done once I was admitted, and then we were permitted to take our masks off in our room.
Since having Emilia in July I have been back to my own doctor – the protocols there have loosened a little – the waiting room is now back in use (I will not lie – I actually kind of preferred just going right into an exam room) 🙂
What is VERY strange is when we take Emilia to the Pediatrician, she is great, and so is our office, but this doctor could be on the 10 Most Wanted List, and I would have no clue – I have never seen her face. I have also learned the hard way that my dry sense of humor does not always translate well through a mask (when there is not full facial expression).
The same can be said for all of the incredible nurses we worked with during our time in the Birthing Center – I could pass any one of them in the grocery store and not recognize them (but they were the LITERAL best).
I think the other thing that has made this more digestible, for me personally is having no frame of reference, as I said before Emilia was my first of firsts- so it will be very interesting to see how things change if there is a baby #2 down the road.
The main things I missed out on where a baby shower, and really being able to see my family & friends in person to share ultrasound pictures, and updates with.