“You had a baby?! When? I didn’t even know you were expecting!” I’m sure this sounds familiar to lots of you who had babies during the pandemic. My daughter was born on June 24, 2020 and although it’s such a challenging year, I have been so grateful for my Miriam. However, it was certainly a journey to say the least, and I’m sure many you can all relate.
I’m already am quite the worrier when it comes to pregnancy. I befriend Google from the moment I see those two pink lines and ask ALL the questions. Can I drink hibiscus iced tea? Is papaya safe to eat? Will dyeing my hair impact the baby? What about nail polish? You name it, I’ve asked it! At the end of February when talks of the novel Corona Virus came about, I was concerned. I’m not saying I told you so, but it seems my worrier instincts served me well this time.
I recall phoning my OBGYN at the beginning of March and saying I’m not leaving my house till this is over. She knows me quite well and said whatever makes you feel comfortable; this will hopefully be over soon. March then April, April then May, and my growing baby wasn’t waiting for Covid to pass. I went to many appointments alone while my husband waited for my call in the car. Sonograms, alone. Heartbeat, alone. Glucose test, alone. I was okay until I received the dreaded phone call from a friend who was due to give birth in April. She said, your partner can’t come into the delivery room. I broke down. My husband would be on Facetime during my delivery? How can that be? I cried. A lot. I couldn’t imagine going through a delivery without my husband who was the ultimate support during the birth of my son in 2018. Oh, and my mom? Not a chance. I didn’t know how to react. I kept thinking about those moments when I physically and mentally leaned on my husband and mom and couldn’t imagine delivering and recovering without them by my side.
By the time June came around, it was signed into law that partners could be with delivering moms during delivery as long as they test negative. We decided to strictly quarantine in order to ensure we would not be exposed so my husband would be there during the birth of our daughter. My mom, a true New Yorker, did some research and found out doulas were allowed to be there during the birth and for 2 hours post-delivery. She reached out to some friends and found an incredible doula to train her for over 20 hours via Zoom (Thanks Mom!)
My baby was born healthy with her dad and grandma right by my side. Many friends of mine delivered their babies with their husbands on Facetime, doulas on the other side of the phone and families miles away. I was extremely fortunate and am grateful for my experience. When it came to recovery in the hospital, there was none. Masks were worn the entire time until I was placed on a non-Covid floor for less than 24 hours. Nurses were scarce, as contact was limited due to hospital restrictions. I kept saying to myself “Thank God this isn’t my first baby.” Now, 4 months later I am so grateful for all the time I get to spend with my daughter. There are no running errands, lunch with friends or events to attend. This time is about cherishing the moments with your child, with no interruptions. Living in this cocoon and appreciating the snuggles. So, to all moms of pandemic born babies reading this, may the strength you had alone during your pregnancy, delivery and postpartum stand as a reminder of how powerful women truly are. Although this moment in time has brought so many tragedies, many of us also got to experience the gift of a lifetime even under some of the most challenging circumstances.