This year, I gave birth to my first child, a beautiful baby boy; just like I had prayed for. Being a first time mom has been an exciting and spontaneous journey. However, going through pregnancy and delivery in the midst of a pandemic was a game changer. COVID-19 certainly made everything change and with safety being a first priority, I didn’t get to experience pregnancy in the way I had hoped I would.
The seriousness of COVID-19 didn’t begin until I hit my third trimester, the most crucial trimester of the three. In March, everything shut down here in Georgia and in almost all parts of the U.S. What did that mean for me? No maternity photos and no baby shower. I had been planning to travel back to my home state: Michigan, to celebrate the coming of my baby boy. I had everything planned; the date, the invitations, the games, the decorations, the food, etc. As the rate of positively tested individuals went up, it became too much of a risk to travel back home and be around so many people. I ended up having to cancel my baby shower and only accepting gifts through my Amazon registry. Thankfully, I had purchased most of the items on my registry myself. Otherwise, I can’t even begin to imagine how unprepared I would’ve been to bring my baby boy home. As far as maternity photos go, I’m more than happy with the many photos I took myself, just simply recording the growth of my little baby bump.
Labor and delivery is where things became surreal for me. First things first, I never had my final appointment before labor and delivery. The last appointment I had was around 30 weeks and every appointment after that kept getting rescheduled. By the time I was scheduled for an actual appointment, I gave birth 3 days before then. You can only imagine how confused and anxious I was about going into labor. I didn’t know what to expect, what it was supposed to feel like for my water to break, who to call, what entrance to go into, etc. I started active labor around midnight on April 24th. No one was allowed to be with me except for the one person I chose to list as my support system, my child’s father. Us not living together meant that I had to wait for him to get there and no, I couldn’t have my parents sit with me until he got there. Only one person could be with me at all times; no switching out. This lead to me having to have my first cervical check and epidural alone, with just the nurses present until my child’s father arrived.
The hardest part for me was not being able to have my parents present. I’m the only girl of my siblings and I wanted my mom to be there, but she selflessly backed out so that my child’s father could be there instead. It was weird to send photos to everyone via text because I had imagined my family and friends being able to come visit me once Aayan made his entrance. That’s they only way I’ve seen it done my entire life. I can say though, that I’m grateful that I got to have at least one person with me. There were other hospitals across the country that didn’t even allow that and many mothers were forced to give birth alone with dad watching via Zoom. I was so ready to go home, I didn’t even stay the 2 days that most women do. I was blessed enough to have the easiest delivery ever that I opted to go home the next day once I found out that I had the option to.
It doesn’t stop there. Now that my baby boy is here, I’m more cautious than I ever was before. He’s 4 months now and I take every precaution possible, when I’m out, to make sure that I sanitize before coming into my home and before picking him up. As if being a first time mom doesn’t make me anxious enough. My vision of being able to be out and about while bonding with my kiddo has been somewhat clouded. I find myself having to ask his pediatrician about being able to do simple activities such as taking him for a walk in his stroller.
Going through this experience has been bittersweet. Bitter in a sense that I didn’t get to do all the things I wanted to do while pregnant and I my delivery didn’t go as I had imagined it would. However, it’s been sweet in a sense that my baby arrived safely, healthy and has stolen all the love in my heart. There’s a whole new generation of babies out there: The Coronavirus Babies. Being born during a pandemic this huge is going to be one for the history books and to say that we made it through this treacherous time is a blessing because so many others didn’t. This experience has definitely given me a different perspective on life. We take so many things for granted because it’s what we’re accustomed to. We don’t even think to expect the unexpected at times. Never in a million years could someone have told me that I would have my first child in the middle of a pandemic. I’m just grateful that we both, my baby and I, made it through together. Every day I wake up with him next to me and I feel warmth in my heart. I can’t help, but to smile at my perfect, little bundle of joy.