I gave birth in the middle of a pandemic.
I write this as my newborn sleeps peacefully on my chest. The weight of her tiny body a reminder of what I accomplished during a very stressful time for so many.
It was just weeks ago that I was riddled with anxiety as I was preparing to head to labor and delivery for the birth of our third child. And in the months leading up to this moment, hospital protocols were changing daily. Even with these ever changing procedures, my level of care never wavered. Not once.
The day before my scheduled induction I needed to be tested for COVID-19.
It was a surreal and somewhat eerie experience, as I pulled up to see medical personnel fully suited. I imagine my older children would have described them as people in space suits. So, there I was on a beautifully sunny afternoon, rolling down my window to have a stranger shove a swab up my nose. Luckily, it was a very quick test and I was sent on my way.
If I tested positive, I would receive a phone call that evening.
My test was negative. So the next morning, my husband and I donned our masks and made our way to labor and delivery. There was an initial screening at the entrance to ensure we were in good health. The hallways and elevators were practically empty with the exception of medical personnel.
With my first two deliveries, I packed like we were moving in.
This time we arrived with our camera and one small duffel bag carefully packed with only what the three of us would absolutely need. No diaper bag, nursing or pregnancy pillows, etc. I will admit, packing light was nice. It forced me to be more intentional about the items we were taking with us. And for the first time, I used everything I brought.
During my first two deliveries it seemed like hospital staff and medical students were constantly coming and going. This time our room was quieter. There was more time just between my husband and I. It was a blessing.
But, I missed the family celebration that usually follows after giving birth. This time, there was no one in the waiting room. The grandparents and siblings didn’t file in, smiling ear to ear. It was just the three of us. It was hard. It is hard. Even now, the grandparents have only seen their newest granddaughter through video calls and photos.
After my previous deliveries, the hustle and bustle of normal life set in pretty quickly. I felt like we were always on the go.
Not this time.
I don’t have to rush trying to learn a new routine. There is no set schedule. No place we have to be. We get to spend this time quietly bonding as a family. Having this time together is a blessing.
Giving birth during a pandemic was never something I thought would happen, but snuggling this sweet baby girl makes it all worth it.
If you are an expecting mama about to give birth in this strange time, know that you are not alone. It may not be what you envisioned, but I promise all the fear and anxiety will melt away once you are snuggling that sweet newborn baby.