I shared what it was like to be pregnant in the thick of the pandemic last year, unsure of what the rest of my pregnancy and delivery would look like as it see med things were changing each and every day.
With my advanced maternal age for this pregnancy, I had been prepared for extra ultrasounds, NSTs, and visits, but I did not expect to be attending them by myself, masked, and with this sense of urgency to get me in and out as quickly as possible.
Covid was weird for all of us and this experience made my fourth (and last) pregnancy so much more different than my previous three. I hope by sharing my experience, other moms who went through a similar experience, know they aren’t alone with their feelings.
I was scheduled to deliver July 13th, which ended up being shortly after things were shut down again after previously being reopened in May. My family decided to host a small, socially distanced, outdoor version of our baby shower just weeks before he was born (previously postponed from April as originally planned). I am so thankful we got to celebrate in that way as this is my last baby and I feel like we missed out getting to share a lot of this pregnancy and our excitement around the birth of our son.
Banner Gateway required Covid testing prior to my scheduled cesarean, so the Thursday before I was set to deliver, I went in for my test. And the next 72 hours, I was a complete wreck. We had been SO careful, but what if I somehow tested positive?
My parents, who we had been quarantining with since the beginning, were planning to care for our girls while we were in the hospital, but I absolutely could not risk further exposure for them if I, in fact, tested positive, so what would we do? I could not fathom being separated from my baby or restricted from nursing. And I also did not want my husband to not be with me. When we finally got the call that my test was negative, I breathed a sigh of relief and allowed my anxiety and fear to transition to joy that we would be meeting him soon. I could soak up the final moments of my final pregnancy.
The day of my delivery, we took our girls to my parents and said tearful goodbyes. The room had been filled with family and friends when the girls were born, so it was emotional to think they and my parents would not be there when our son came into the world.
Checking into the hospital, we took temperatures and wore masks throughout. It sounds silly now, but I struggled with the mask during my c-section. Not only because I was having a hard time breathing (flat on my back with a 9lb baby in my belly didn’t help), but it made it difficult to look down to see things as they were happening.
And then he was here!
And he was perfect.
The hours post delivery all felt the same as they did with my previous deliveries, with the exception of no one being in the recovery room waiting for us. We soaked up our time with our precious boy and sent pictures and videos to everyone as quickly as we could.
When we were in the room alone, we could be mask free. My husband was allowed to leave and come back once a day. But the rest of the time it was just us. That aspect of things was actually an unexpected blessing. What was normally a revolving door of visitors (which don’t get me wrong…we loved and were so thankful for) with our daughters’ births, was replaced with just the three of us hanging out and getting to know one another. My 4th cesarean, this recovery was a little more intense, so I had space to be uncomfortable and not try to hide my discomfort in front of guests.
Our wonderful nurses suggested that if we wanted our girls to come and meet their brother in the hospital, we could use the courtyard adjacent to the unit to bring him outside and they could meet him through the fence. I was so overwhelmed with emotion walking outside that afternoon and seeing my parents and older kids anxiously approaching the barrier in masks to greet him. Both thankful and struck by the strangeness of it all.
We were anxious to get home as quickly as possible, so different from previous deliveries, we were cleared to go home in just under 48 hours. My husband and I had discussed how we would handle visitors while we were still in the hospital (making decisions on a case by case basis based on our comfort levels) so I feel like we managed this element of the return home well.
We asked our guests to wash hands, wear masks if they had been outside a small circle, and kept baby holding to a minimum. In hindsight, I don’t know that I would have done anything differently though I now think back on that time with a little anxiety for how unknown things were at the time.
Now, a year out, that time feels both like yesterday and like a lifetime ago. I am so grateful we had our delivery go as planned because with all the other stressors around that time, I don’t know how well I would have handled other hurdles. He was such a light for us during the pandemic and I can’t wait to celebrate how bright that little light has shined over the past year!