I’m pregnant. What if my husband is not allowed at the birth?
December 27, 2019. The day my life was forever changed.
My husband and I were back home for the holidays. The week was stressful. We had just started trying for a baby back in November and I was holding on tight to the hope that this was our time. And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to take a test. The thought of a negative result coming back was almost too much to handle so I put it out of my mind, attempted to be present with our families, and decided we would figure it out when we got back to LA.
Finally, a few nights before we would be leaving, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to know. We drove to Walgreens, picked up a test, went back home to my parent’s house and I sprinted up to the bathroom. I didn’t even have to wait the suggested 3 minutes to see the results. It read positive almost immediately. In a matter of seconds it was confirmed. My dream of becoming a mother was finally coming true.
A lifetime of waiting, done in the blink of an eye.
We decided to tell our families right away. Better to do it when we were with them in person than over the phone when we got back to California. They were overjoyed. We were all so happy. The tension I had been carrying with me all week disappeared.
I have held onto these moments throughout this pregnancy. It was one of the few times I was able to be surrounded by my family and friends to celebrate the little life that was now growing inside of me.
Flash forward and we’ve now been under lockdown for 38 days. What does pregnancy look like when you’re having to take extra precautions to protect your health and the health of your little one?
– I’m not allowed to touch anything. My husband has been in charge of all of the grocery shopping, handling of deliveries, opening doors so I avoid touching handles, anything and everything that has to enter our space must be handled by him first to clean it off and make sure it’s safe.
– I attend my hospital check-ups and ultrasounds alone. Hospitals are not allowing partners to join you at your appointments in order to limit the possibility of exposure to other patients and to yourself. The last time my husband saw our baby was at our first ultrasound. We were only 9 weeks along. We’re now over halfway through the pregnancy and the only way my husband has seen the baby’s growth has been through pictures and FaceTime. You arrive at the hospital in a mask, if you don’t have one they provide one for you, and before you are allowed to enter the waiting room a nurse is there to check your temperature.
Once you’ve been cleared to go in for your appointment you wait in the waiting room where all of the women are separated and quiet. Not like the first few times I visited when everyone was talking amongst themselves about how they were feeling, how excited they were, how far along they were, etc. When you’re in the room everyone is wearing a mask and the only contact you have with any of the nurses or doctors is if they need to give you a shot or take your blood pressure. Outside of that you are seated on the opposite side of the room from the doctor. Not the experience I was expecting, but it’s the one I’ve been given so I try to make the most of it.
Up until yesterday they were not allowing partners with you in the delivery room or anytime during your postpartum stay. I was staring down the reality that I might be bringing our baby into this world alone. Swallowing that pill hurt. Reading other women’s stories who have already experienced this has been heart breaking. There have been some women, who have gotten the virus, who are not allowed to see their baby after giving birth.
Am I even strong enough to go through something like that on my own? The thought still keeps me up at night but unless there’s another peak in the next few months we’re looking like we’ve made it to the other side.
(I believe this is when I’m allowed to stand on my soap box and say PLEASE STAY HOME SO WOMEN CAN HAVE THEIR PARTNER, MOTHER, SUPPORT SYSTEM WITH THEM IN THE DELIVERY ROOM!!! Ashley Graham said it best, “So now due to COVID-19, there are some hospitals in New York City that are not allowing mothers to have their significant others there in the room while they’re delivering — which means mothers will not have a support system when they’re actually delivering their child,” she said while breastfeeding her baby, Isaac, in a new Instagram video. “And I understand that hospitals have to protect their staff, they have to protect the patients, the mothers, the children, and everybody else who’s there. But I really believe that mothers need to have that support system, even if it’s just one face that they know and they trust.” Thank you for coming to my TedTalk.)
– I’m unable to share my first journey through pregnancy with my family and friends. I’ve waited my entire life for this moment in time and I never could have dreamt of the possibility of walking through this journey without my mom or my sisters or my friends being right next to me through it all. However, I am fortunate enough to have a support system that is continuously checking in on us and the baby. They find ways to be involved whether it’s through balcony visits, delivering meals, or indulging all of the #bumpdates that I give over our Zoom calls.
– Pregnancy cravings have to be stifled (as much as possible). It’s not in our best interest to run out every time I get the urge for a milkshake. The number one question I’ve been asked is “are you craving anything?” to which I usually respond “not really. Sometimes I want McDonalds fries but it’s not been that bad yet.” BUT IT HAS BEEN THAT BAD. I just have to pick and choose my battles and risking the health of my baby for a pregnancy craving just doesn’t feel like a battle worth fighting.
Instead, I “indulge” my cravings by watching hours of Chopped. I wish I was joking. All I want to do is hear about food, think about food, eat more food. If I’m not watching a food show, I’m eating a snack. If I’m not eating a snack, it’s probably because I’m eating a meal. And if I’m not awake – I kid you not – I’m dreaming about eating. The cravings are here. I simply pretend like they’re not.
– My desire to nest has to be put on hold. While I am ready to order everything we can for the nursery we can’t risk having it all come at once and only the must haves can take priority.
But not everything has been difficult. I try not spend too much time thinking about the negatives. It’s not good for my mental health (or my husband’s mental health) for me to sit around feeling sorry for myself all day long. Adding on extra stress and anxiety isn’t good for the baby either. (I can’t lie though, some days I can’t help but indulge the sad feelings. Being on lockdown with extra hormones raging through your body is a real treat.)
I’ve started spending time everyday reflecting on the blessings I have been given. My husband and I have been gifted with the time to stop and breathe and rest before our lives are turned upside down. I’ve spent my entire life waiting to become a mom and here it is – it’s happening! We’ve got a healthy baby. I’m not spending my days throwing up anymore. My husband is watching the changes my body is going through day by day. I have someone here to take care of me when the days feel too hard. The list goes on.
Pandemic or not, we are in the middle of a miracle and nothing in this world could ever bring me as much joy as this baby has. For that I am forever grateful.