A Miracle Baby During a Global Pandemic
My husband and I desperately wanted a baby. For years, we prayed and waited but no such luck.
On March 15, 2020, as the nation started facing the reality that COVID was quickly making its way into our everyday lives, I found out that I was pregnant. We were ecstatic, but soon realized that things would be so much different that we imagined.
Like many in the Washington, DC area, we live far away from our families. The shutdowns and social distancing meant that our loved ones didn’t get to see me pregnant. We had a virtual baby shower over Zoom, where everyone sent gifts and I opened the big cardboard boxes with the help of my husband.
Doctors appointments were also different. New guidelines meant that I had to go to every single appointment alone and could only call or FaceTime my husband to see the sonograms or hear our baby’s heartbeat. I wore my mask and brought clorox wipes to open doors and wipe down chairs before I sat down.
I found that pregnancy in a pandemic could feel lonely and isolating at times. Because I was high risk because I was pregnant, I only ever left the house to go to the doctor. There were no mom groups, hospital tours or prenatal yoga classes. The flip side of this was that my husband worked from home and we spent some real quality time together as a couple before our baby came. It was time that we never would have had otherwise, and was a tremendous help during a difficult pregnancy.
We ordered all of our groceries through Instacart or Amazinfresh, always making sure that we thanked our shoppers profusely and tipping them very well. A few mentioned through our Ring camera chats that due to the virus, shopping was their only job. We sanitized our groceries with Clorox wipes and soaked our fruits and veggies in a wash to make sure they were clean. Coming in from the doctor meant immediately washing clothes on the sterilize setting and taking a shower right away.
When the time came for my baby to be born (4 weeks early), the hospital visit was nothing like I grew up seeing on tv. Upon arriving at the hospital, my husband and I waited our turn in a socially distanced like to enter through the emergency room at the hospital. We had our temperatures checked with a forehead thermometer and headed up to labor and delivery. When I was admitted, I had a rapid COVID test. We wore our masks the entire time - while in labor with my baby boy, delivery and even while sleeping. Our masks became a part of us, only to be taken off while eating. I now realize that I have no clue what my doctors or nurses really even look like because I only saw them in their masks. I saw them so many times while pregnant, but unmasked I’m not sure I would notice them while walking down the street. It was a nerve wracking experience for me. I was worried about the virus the entire time.
Scared for my baby and my family as we were in the hospital. The virus was a dark, invisible cloud that loomed over everything. We were afraid of it, and wanted to do everything we could to keep ourselves and others safe.
To meet the baby, our parents quarantined strictly at home and took Covid tests before making the drive up from Mississippi and Georgia - stopping only for gas (not even for a restroom break). Seeing my mom for the first time made me sob. I never imagined that I would go an entire pregnancy without my mother there with me. Reuniting with her made me realize how much I took “normalcy” for granted. Hugs mean so much more now.
I hope that when we come out on the other side of the pandemic, we don’t lose sight of how much the little things we once took for granted matter. The smiles we freely shared, hugging our loved ones, and being able to be near other people without fear. I hope that we can also take a better work/life balance as we go into the future as well. Even in dark times, there have been such beautiful moments!