Protecting My Growing Family during a Pandemic – What’s Truly Important

Think back to when your baby was born. The joy you felt seeing your little bundle of joy for the first time was indescribable. Friends and family anxiously waiting in the waiting room to meet the new addition. Months of planning, preparation and excitement have finally come to its pinnacle climax. Your life has now been forever changed because you are the new mommy and daddy to a little human. I still get choked up thinking about my daughter and meeting her for the first time. The moment was so special.

Now do me a favor and picture this….

You are rushed to the hospital to deliver your bundle of joy. You are immediately taken to a designated room on the delivery floor specially designed to take patients with infectious diseases with special ventilation, entrances and protocols to protect everyone else on the entire maternity floor from you. Everyone who enters your room is suited up in hazmat suits to prevent the spread to others patients, themselves and the hospital staff. All medical personnel only enter on an “as needed” basis. Your husband or partner are not permitted in the room. In essence, this long journey of delivery will be alone. Once you finally deliver your baby, he or she is immediately taken from the room and from there your quarantine begins. You are kept in isolation from all your loved ones including your new baby in hopes to not spread the virus and to allow you to get better. You miss those precious first few weeks of bonding with your baby and the little moments that brought so much joy in your first pregnancy.

I would never wish this scenario on any expectant mother, but unfortunately this could be my reality if I somehow get sick with Covid-19 and go into labor being that I’m in my third trimester.

I don’t share this for empathy or for you to feel sorry for me because the reality is that I am still healthy at this time and I am taking every safety precaution I possible can to limit my exposure to everyone and anyone.

Up to this point throughout all of this craziness, I’ve been able to stay pretty optimistic and positive even though life feels like a never ending rollercoaster ride I can’t seem to get off of. Like many across the country, the impacts of Covid-19 have had a dramatic effect on both mine and my husband usually successful careers since we both work with large scale events but for different companies. Being leaders in our organizations, we have been trained and developed to keep moving forward and focus on the outcome instead of dwelling on the problems.

Two weeks ago, I finally found myself at my breaking point. As I gave my daughter a bath, I couldn’t escape the overwhelming feelings and sat there dumbfounded and almost in tears. Part of me was angry and scared while the other part of me was jealous. Why do you ask? Early that day I found myself locked to Facebook seeing numerous posts from family, friends and aquantancies cheering on people in the town I grew up in protesting that they couldn’t go to the beach. My mind just kept spiraling with the thought that I wished that my biggest complaint and worry right now was not being able to simply go to the beach.

I had friends who live hours away from Huntington Beach commenting and complaining about it. As I sat there, I thought back to how many times I’ve actually gone to the beach over the past few years considering that I have lived less than a mile away my entire life.

I found myself wondering why people didn’t realize how insignificant going to the beach was and further more all I could think of was what if the thousands of people protesting in my hometown caused a surge in the infection rate around me.

I only have 10 weeks left until my due date. That is not a long time, but it is still long enough for things to shift dramatically for me and this pregnancy.

My small meltdown led to a rather rough week for me mentally. I found myself allowing other people’s actions, comments and beliefs to frustrate me and ware on my psyche. Normally, I am pretty good at blocking the noise out.

When you are on a quest for social interaction beyond work and your immediate family in your home you turn to the escapism of social media just to have some mindless entertainment. I found that my newsfeed was flooded with just complaints of people wanting this all to be over, protesting the governor, beaches being closed, being annoyed with their kids, conspiracy theories about the virus, aggressive political views, frustrations with not being able to do what they want and so on. It was hard for me to see it all knowing what I’m trying to protect in my household and what this pandemic could do to my little family.

2020 prior to the world shutting down has been filled with extremely high highs and some pretty awful lows. From the high of announcing that we were having our second baby to the low of our almost two year old daughter getting rushed to the ER due to experiencing a febrile seizure.

This past January at just shy of being 4 months pregnant, I got a terrible flu. I’ve never been that sick in my life and for those who know me well, I never get sick. It took me out for almost two weeks. I remember googling if I was going to have a stroke because my head wouldn’t stop pounding long enough to let me sleep longer than 30 minute increments. I lost a ton of weight within days (which is not a good thing especially for someone who is pregnant), couldn’t keep food down and was the sickest I have ever been in my life. Just getting a cold while pregnant can be very dangerous. Before quarantining yourself when sick was a thing, this was a best practice my husband and I already followed just because we never wanted to get our daughter sick. I didn’t see Hayden for over a week. It was awful.

Fast forward to February, my extremely healthy daughter (who had never even had a runny nose) came home on Valentine’s Day seeming extremely tired and exhausted. We really didn’t think much of it since she woke up at 5am that morning which was not her usual. She had a low grade fever but nothing crazy. I continued to put her to bed and left my mom to watch her so Aaron and I could have a long overdue date night. It had been almost 6 months since we had gone and done something just the two of us and it was Valentine’s Day so I felt like we owed it to ourselves.

My husband’s face will forever be burned into my brain as he sat across from me as we ate dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. He had just received an alert on his phone that there was motion at our front gate. Confused, he pulled up our security cameras to find our house surrounded by emergency vehicles. He immediately told me you need to call your mom now and showed me his phone.

It’s amazing how your entire body shakes in these moments. I remember looking at my quivering hand while I frantically called my mom’s cell phone. An emergency responders picked up. He introduced himself and all I could get out was “Who is it…My mom or my daughter?”

He calmly explained that Hayden had had a febrile seizure. Me going into immediate go-mode was firing of questions to him. Where are you taking her? Is she conscious? Was she seizing when you arrived? I was all business and wanted all the facts so I could digest what was happening.

We ran out of the restaurant so fast that we beat the ambulance to the hospital. Sitting in the lobby waiting for your child’s ambulance to pull up, not really knowing what is going on, and feeling guilty that you took two hours two yourselves is the worst feeling in the world. I remember when she got there and they came to get us. I could hear her crying. She was so frightened and I wasn’t there to comfort her during what was her scariest moment in her life to date. I don’t wish this experience on anyone.

After the seizure in February, her doctor stressed that the next 6 months are critical. She explained that if she was going to have another seizure that the probability was the highest in the next 6 months and we needed to make sure we avoided anyone who could be sick or get Hayden sick (this was before the world shutdown).

Then we all know what happens next, the pandemic. For many, this has been viewed as an inconvenience and a infringement on their personal rights. Many people don’t even believe it’s real. For me, it’s the scariest thing that could come next in our little world.

I’ve had to have some really scary conversations with my OB. We’ve talked about now being in my third trimester what it would look like if I got sick. Knowing how sick I got in January with the simple flu, it’s terrifying to think what this could do to me being that your immune system is compromised when pregnant.

I like to know every possible outcome so I went in to my last OB appointment with a list of questions. I share the story of what this birth experience could look like in hopes that this will give some perspective to those who aren’t taking things seriously and just maybe allow those who are close to me and our little family to think twice before complaining and putting others around them at risk.

If I were to get sick, it could cause me to go into premature labor. Besides that, which has a laundry list of issues and extremely scary outcomes for my baby, the worst was hearing what delivery and the postpartum experience would look like. Anyone who has covid-19 when delivering, delivers their baby alone. Having a baby although miraculous is one of the most vulnerable experiences a woman can ever go through. Your support person is key to helping you get through the process. That picture I painted for you was what reality would look like. You are kept there isolated from others for everyone’s safety. Your doctor and nurses come in with full blown hazmat suits on and once you deliver your baby is immediately separated from you. That is not how I want my delivery experience to be and let alone my new baby’s first weeks in this world to start.

On top of all that, I do not want to risk my two year old daughter having another seizure. It’s terrifying to think that the number one symptom of Covid-19 is a high fever which is exactly what causes febrile seizures in children.

My last delivery wasn’t easy and the thought of going through it again but by myself would be my worst nightmare. Then to think this little baby who has been growing inside of me would immediately be taken away and I would be in isolation locked away from my daughter, our new baby, husband and family is a horrific thought.

When I started my blog, my goal was to always make other moms feel supported and like they weren’t alone. As I write this, my motivation seems to be different. I hope my family, friends and acquaintances can take a second to reflect on things that truly matter and are important.

Trust me, I understand the financial impact this situation has had on many of you, we are living it too. We both took massive hits to our income and are trying to work in industries that might not be back in action until a vaccine is created. I get how you want to get out of your house, so do I, but please understand that instead of whining and complaining we should be working together for solutions. When you complain about not being able to go to the beach or how much of an inconvenience this is for you, please think and ask yourself if what you are complaining about it truly that horrific. I’m counting on each of you to make smart decisions and to ask yourselves what truly matters.

For me, I want to hold my new baby in my arms in just 10 short weeks. I want my daughter to stay healthy so she doesn’t have another seizure. I want work to go back to being the amazing, fun and exciting place it once was. I can only have these things if we all work together to make smart decisions and stay the course. Our normal is going to look different for awhile, but if we want something even close to what we once had we need to understand that we must take total responsibility of our actions and understand the role each of us play and how much we can make a difference.