Perfect Pregnancy Plans, Ruined by a Pandemic
PHOENIX (AP) — It was the day after April Fool’s when I stared at a tiny window on a pregnancy test and watched a very clear plus sign quickly appear. I sprinted from my side of the house to my husband’s office (see: bathroom), banged on the door like a crazed person and jumped up and down as I told him the news.
Before she was even born, I knew I wanted to give my daughter a sibling, spaced exactly three years apart so they could be close buds but have autonomy and their own friends.
I am a quintessential Type A, a meticulous planner who perfectly timed my second pregnancy so that the baby would be born right after my daughter turns three but before the holidays — and with enough time to safely travel to a close friend’s now-postponed wedding in Ireland this summer.
A pandemic, however, was not in my plans.
Though motherhood had already softened my obsession with planning — tiny humans are the most unpredictable species — being pregnant in a pandemic has truly turned the concept upside down.
The thing is, I’m not the type of glowing, blissful pregnant lady you see in the movies. Or the kind whose sickness goes away after the first trimester, like it does for most women.
No, no. I’m the T-Rex-sounding, head-in-the-toilet type of pregnant lady who doesn’t feel relief until the very end of pregnancy, even with the help of anti-nausea medication. At that point, I’ve got other things to worry about (see: birth).
At least I can be sick in the comfort of my home, while my toddler bangs on the door and screams, imploring me to let her in the bathroom. There’s a lot of that these days. Where I go, she goes. So does the dog we adopted when the pandemic began.
But also: She can’t go anywhere else. I did not anticipate that there would be no support system or places to keep my child entertained while I struggled to keep my head above … above you know what.
My husband can’t take our daughter to the children’s museum or the library so I can recover and get rest. It’s so hot in Arizona now that they can’t even be outside for long. The guilt is overwhelming.
I know we’re lucky to have jobs and our health. But managing a needy tot, a full-time job and sickness has pulled at all the threads that compose my humanity.
Something else I didn’t plan for: going to all my prenatal appointments alone. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and mom came to the first sonogram. All of us shared the same gasp when we first heard that rapid thump-thump-thump.
My husband says those appointments were the only way he felt a real connection to the baby before she was born.
This time, partners aren’t allowed in the building. At my first sonogram, I FaceTimed home, but the connection was spotty. Thump-thump.
My son is due in the late fall, when many experts predict a second wave of coronavirus infections will take hold. So instead of planning out which rooms relatives will stay in after he’s born, I am just hoping my husband will get to be in the delivery room and that we can find someone to watch our daughter if no family can come (we don’t have any relatives in our city).
I am no longer mapping out my future as if I have any control. I don’t. All I have is my little family and my hopes that my baby boy enters a calmer world.
So I can start making plans again.