I’m pregnant with my first baby and we are due this July. We are elated to begin this new adventure, but when I envisioned this journey, it was more of a one-way plane ticket type of ride. Not an off-road, chart-your-own-course type of adventure!
We found out we are having a boy on March 4, 2020 and celebrated by lighting up the Myriad Garden’s Crystal Bridge Conservatory bright blue for our close friends and family. The feeling when the lights flashed on is something I’ll never forget. There were screams of excitement and hugs filled with joy and encouragement. “Boy mom! Boy mom!” I didn’t realize this would be my last time for a while to see all of these wonderful people in one location.
On March 16, Mayor Holt declared Oklahoma City in a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. My husband and I took these precautions seriously and were fortunate to have the opportunity to work from home by the start of the following week. Like so many during this time, we were flooded with questions. My first questions were: Am I more susceptible to this virus? Does this mean I’m in the category of “pre-existing conditions”? Who is providing the most accurate, up-to-date information for women who are pregnant? If I were to contract this virus, does it then transfer to the baby?
On day two of this new reality, someone shared a story from the news that pregnant women are the most at-risk population for this virus. This threw me into a tailspin. I started to tear up. I felt an insane amount of concern, grief and fear. A quick visit to the CDC website calmed me as I read, “pregnant people seem to have the same risks as adults who are not pregnant.”
The best decision I feel I’ve made so far is to limit the sources of my online research. Just as you’re recommended not to go down the rabbit hole of diagnoses via WebMD, I’ve done my best to find the most accurate, straight-to-the-point information about what is best for me and my baby during COVID-19. Apps like Baby Center and Baby List have compiled resource pages that I refer to frequently. I share a primary concern among others in that there is just not enough data to share definitive answers. Terms like “seem to be” and “should” flood what I read, and I try not to dwell in the uncertainty.
I’m thankful to have my husband as my support system during all of this. He goes out for all of our essential errands and is my primary source of local updates. The number of my questions grows each time he’s out of the house, and it can be pretty comical. It resembles a full-on interrogation: How many people did you see? What was it like? Were you able to stay away from other people? Was it crowded? Did you find everything we needed? How many places did you have to go? He takes all of these questions one by one and responds calmly. It is his art form; he’s always been the calm to my crazy!
My pregnancy journal has also stirred up a few chuckles. Published just last year, it includes prompts for me to get this pregnancy brain going. I read questions like, “When is the first time someone got up from their seat for you?” During times like these, it should now read, “When is the first time someone purchased toilet paper, hand sanitizer, or Clorox wipes for you?” Another prompt: “Pick a date for your baby shower.” Ha! That probably shouldn’t happen, right? Virtual baby showers seem to be the trend now.
Through this pregnancy, my husband and I have encouraged each other to not think too far ahead of ourselves, taking in new information in bite-size form to not become too overwhelmed. Books I read and blogs I follow prompt you to take the to-do list and divide it into tasks for each month. Now that I can do!
During these uncertain times, developing any sort of birth plan must include a “be flexible” contingency. Ultimately, what we plan for may not be feasible. From an in-person baby shower, hospital delivery or delivery with my husband by my side … these are all things that very well may not be feasible. I cling to my faith and my support system and, in the end, I know my body is preparing to bring new life into this world just as millions have done before me.
Are you pregnant during this pandemic, too? Share your tips and advice with us, or simply reach out for solidarity and encouragement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marissa Raglin is MetroFamily’s director of events and an accomplished artist, volunteering with the local art community and showcasing her mixed-media collage work across the country. Marissa and her husband Nathan are expecting their first child this summer.