What is it like being pregnant after loss? Terrifying. What is it like being pregnant during a global pandemic? Terrifying. What is it like being pregnant after loss during a global pandemic? Fucking terrifying. For me, every day is scary. Every choice is difficult. Every decision feels like life or death. And now all of this has multiplied.
My toolbox is more equipped than most. I have tools to deal with the day to day. I even have tools in my tool box to deal with this national disaster. I have tools in my tool box to be fine with social distancing as I have been doing that exact thing for the past two years. i have tools for calming my brain. I have tools for expressing my fears. I have tools for advocating for myself. I have tools for setting boundaries. Believe me, I have already survived the worst.
But, I don’t have the tools for this. I don’t have anything for this level of daily fear. And believe me, I am freaking terrified. I have already lost one child. I can not survive the loss of another. There is so much that is out of my control, and I know that. But that doesn’t make any of it any less scary. Brett is no longer allowed at any of my appointments. I must go alone. And each time I go I am running the risk of exposure to the virus. I was being monitored twice a week to cut down on the chances of something happening to her as it did to Simon, to constantly have two sets of eyes on the baby. In order to cut down my exposure to the virus I am now only allowed to come once a week for observation. I was seeing my OB and an at-risk specialist. Now, I will only see my at-risk specialist one more time in the next 5 weeks. I will no longer have two sets of eyes on this baby. Just one. But what is better? Do I sacrifice the safely of my unborn child knowing she is not going to get the care that she needs, or do I sacrifice my exposure to the virus. Which is better? It feels like it is lose-lose. I’m tempted to say, just get her out! Get her the fuck out! But is she better off on the outside rather than inside? No, she’s not, not at all, especially in the middle of a pandemic. Especially when premie lungs are not prepared for a respiratory virus. But is she safe on the inside? Is she safe knowing that one day she is breech and one day she is not, just like Simon. Is she safe knowing that at any point she could “pinch” her cord. Our doctor doesn’t believe the peak of cases in our area will occur for another 4-5 weeks, right about the time I am scheduled to deliver. Right at the time where the hospitals will be full. Where every known virus will be right there. Right at the time where the hospital is the last place in the world where you want to be. Right at the time where the resources will be running out. Right at the time where hospital beds will be at a shortage. At what capacity will the Labor and Delivery units be running? What have those nurses been exposed to? At this point Brett and only Brett will be allowed to attend the delivery, but we were told that policy could change any day as everyday there are new policies. Just imagine giving birth to your child alone, without your spouse, without a support person. Just imagine how he would feel not being there. But imagine making that decision to save yourself, to save your baby, to save your family. We were told if either of us contract the virus we need to be separated from the baby for 14 days. Imagine being separated from her after already being separated from Simon for the rest of my life. What if there is an emergency like there was last time? Where do we take Nolan? When everyone is doing their part in social distancing, do they even want to take someone else’s child into their homes? Do they want to run that risk for their own family? And do we run the risk not knowing if that family has been exposed regardless of their own levels of social distancing? Currently I have a sore throat. Stuffy nose. Tired eyes. Sore ears. I am well aware that these are not the symptoms of Covid-19, regardless we have the constant worry that I am sick or will get sick. I’ve taken my temperature more times than we can count. I have sanitized more times that I can count. I have washed my hands more times that I can count. But I also only stopped going to work a week ago.
And maybe it goes without saying, but imagine that all of this is happening exactly two years after Simon’s death and birth. It is happening at the height of my grief. The height of my sadness. It is happening when the dreams have gotten more intense. It is happening when a comment, a sight, a smell, a sound takes me instantly back to the hospital triage room where I was told Simon’s heart had stopped beating. It is happening at the worst possible time. Imagine sleeping with all of this spinning around in your mind. I go to bed wanting the day to end and I wake up wanting the day to end knowing that we are only one day closer to hopefully meeting my daughter.
We have worked so hard to get to where we are today. We can’t lose it all now.