When I found out I was expecting it was the beginning of 2021 and we were almost a year into the pandemic. In March 2021, my husband and I married and then shortly after we started to prepare for baby. Now, the VERY first thing we did was go to a ‘gazillion’ doctor appointments. I had my blood drained almost weekly, which is a phobia of mine – I absolutely despise even thinking about the ‘B’ word. To add to the anxiety, a mysteriously & deadly virus is looming over every person on the planet. Much of what was available to new parents pre-pandemic was not available to us anymore; such as Lamaze, hospital tours and prenatal classes. Instead, I had to watch A LOT of YouTube videos and gained some very unrealistic expectations going into delivery. The doctor appointments were always so much fun – everyone wore masks, we all fogged up our glasses and sweated our arses off. I remember I had to go back to get my blood drawn a week after I had Elizabeth – I was sitting in a narrow hallway with at least 5 other people and a hot flash came on and all I had to fan myself with was my checkbook. About a minute later, I became irritated with the wait and when the phlebotomist walked out to call people in by name – I would raise my hand to every gender neutral name she called out! At least when I was required to wear a mask in the hospital, that the rooms had air conditioning. Regardless of the mask however, there were bigger hurdles to forge. My husband felt like he was forced to get vaccinated after we found out that he couldn’t be with me at the hospital unless he had a vaccine card or a negative COVID test within three days of the mysterious delivery day. (Baby was born at 37 weeks, unplanned) Since COVID19 test were no longer free to the public, the only way to attend the birth of our baby was to quickly get vaxed. I knew the delivery would be hard, but I never expected to have to choose between my mom or grandmother to be the first to see the baby. It was a really difficult decision to make. During that time in August 2021, the hospital’s rules were so strict that once you chose your ‘assistant’ that there were no other visitors allowed for the entirety of your stay. We eventually went home and were able to have a safe visit with Elizabeth’s Great Grandmother, but our troubles with the pandemic and safety for our health were not over yet. Just today, we had to skip Elizabeth’s 4-month checkup due to a high surge in COVID19 cases in our area. Too many people we know personally had caught the latest variant, Omicron and were fully vaccinated and boosted. My husband and I both had tested positive for antibodies after contracting the virus in January 2020. So we know how miserable the virus can be and not only that, but if we were to contract any illness right now it would just be damning. We need each other to be healthy in order to take care of our new baby. God help us if the baby gets sick! (knocking on wood). I guess to sum up what it is like having a baby during a pandemic – think about raising a baby in a chain-linked crib with toilet paper as a mobile and everything you introduce her to is like a jack-in-the-box full of various death toys. The more you wind up the box the deadlier the toys.
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