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Preparing to give birth during COVID-19 Pandemic
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Image - hillary300.jpgColorado Voices: My husband and I found out we were going to be parents in October 2019. I can’t tell you how excited we both were. We could not wait to start planning for our baby’s arrival.

Planning for parenthood comes with many stresses, but it also brings joy in celebrating with loved ones and sharing the exciting news with our friends and family.

Fast forward to March, where my mother, grandmother and I were planning a baby shower for my husband and our baby girl sheduled for April. The theme was going to be ice cream, because her nursery will be covered in images of this sweet treat (I picked this theme because I was craving it at the time).

March was also the month that COVID-19 started to become a real issue in Colorado. I’ll be honest and say that at the time I wasn’t very concerned about the virus. I thought this crisis would go away in a week or two and everything would be fine. Honestly, looking back at that time, I was probably in denial. I didn’t want to think about what the pandemic would mean for myself and our baby.

My denial remained as the pandemic got worse. I thought everything would remain the same. I was wrong. Things did start to change…and they started to change quickly.

In mid-March, I went to one of many check-ups. The appointment was to check my glucose levels. The next day, I received a call from the hospital. I needed to come back in for a three-hour gestational test, because my test results were worrisome. My heart dropped to my stomach. I called my doctor’s office just to make sure this wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t.

That same day, I received an email from St. Mary’s Hospital saying  the virus was causing the cancellation of all pregnancy classes until further notice. My heart sank deeper. As a first time parent, I was really counting on these classes about pregnancy and breastfeeding.

As a visual learner, these classes felt like a “safety net” to me.

The next day I drove myself to St. Mary’s Hospital, right when they opened at 7:00 am. This was my first experience going to a medical building during the pandeminc (besides my doctor’s office), so I wasn’t sure what to except.

I was already nervous for the results that would determine if I had gestational diabetes. I did not want to contract the COVID-19 virus. I felt like going to the hospital was probably one of the worst places to go as a pregnant woman.

When I walked in the front doors I was immediately greeted by two nurses wearing masks. The first one asked if I had any respiratory issues and if I was feeling well. I told her I felt fine. The next nurse took my temperature. I was cleared. I sanitized my hands and walked upstairs.

After nervously scrolling through my phone in the waiting area, I was finally called-in and poked for the first time. I had three more to go, while waiting an hour in between each one. It was a stressful waiting experience. I wasn't just waiting for the testing to be over and to get my results. I was also carefully watching other people as they came to the office , staring them down, making sure they didn’t sit next to me. Normally I am a friendly person and wouldn’t mind, but because of the circumstances I was very uneasy.

The testing was finally done, and I was back in the safety of my own house. After washing my hands, I received my results and it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulder. I was cleared.

A few more days went by, and there were more challenges. My mom, grandma and I decided to not have a baby shower, but instead wait until the baby is born. I was bummed, but I also didn’t want to get my family or my friends sick, so I knew it was the right decision.

I’m sure you are thinking to yourself, “why didn’t you just do a virtual baby shower”, I thought about it, but it wouldn’t have been the same. A virtual shower probably would have been less stress on my husband and I as we prepare for our baby's arrival, but I still want the human connection, so waiting it is.

I now feel like a year has already gone by since this virus started. I try to take it day by day and keep a positive attitude, but as I watch the news and social media, I find myself overthinking, stressing about what other “bad” or “challenging” news I'll face  as I prepare for childbirth in June.

A friend of mine recently posted that he may not be able to be in the room with his girlfriend as she gives birth. The virus might keep him out. That made my heart sink, It also made me angry, frustrated and scared. I can’t imagine going through childbirth without my husband in the room.

My doctor reassured me that he can be there.  However, I don’t feel reassured, and as this virus gets worse, how many other things am I going to have to be “reassured” on before I feel at ease.

Will I feel at ease before she is born? After? I’m not sure. What I do know is that planning for a newborn in this “new world” is challenging, scary, and frightening and it’s something I’m sure no new mother was planning for either.

God bless my family, my doctor and the people in my life who are supporting me, my husband, and our baby,  so we can be strong and wise parents for our daughter.

I know there a many people out there like me so I'm sharing this link. I hope it helps. https://everymothercounts.org/covid-resource-hub/.

 

Read more stories about people in Colorado finding ways to make it through the pandemic.

http://www.rmpbs.org/colorado-voices/ . Share your stories too.