I meticulously planned my pregnancy. We knew we both wanted another child. Timing and planning of conception are crucial to a lesbian couple. What I could never have planned on is the pandemic that we are all living through. The entire world shut down in the two-week wait between conception and testing. I was terrified that it would be positive when it was time to take a pregnancy test. Who knew how COVID-19 could affect pregnancies? And I was also terrified that it would be negative. Because we were in quarantine. Who knew when we would even be able to try again? Little did I know that I would soon be a terrified mother-to-be.
I cried when I first saw the faint positive line. Even though I desperately wanted to have a second child. I am 38 and convinced that I’d be out of eggs soon. But I am facing a world that is changing by the day. My wife saw I was upset and immediately threw out the test. “Let’s not think about this today. We’ll try again tomorrow,” she said. It made me feel better. I know the likelihood of a false negative was pretty slim. But it gave me a chance to digest the information without having to deal with the reality just then.
I took another pregnancy test the next morning and the pink line was even bolder. This time I felt happy when I saw it. Even though I still cried (damn hormones!). I cried calling my mom on FaceTime. To say it was a surprise is an understatement. I always kept it a secret when I was trying to conceive. Because I never wanted to get anyone’s hopes up or be questioned about it when dealing with the disappointment of a big fat negative test. My sister had already announced that she was pregnant with twins. So we are more than doubling the number of kids in our family. 2020 was shaping out to be the craziest year yet.
My mom calmed me and remind me that there was nothing to do in those early weeks but grow my baby. I didn’t have to worry about being exposed to the virus during a doctor visit. It was too early for prenatal appointments. So I sat in quarantine. But the pandemic didn’t stop, and after a month it was time to go out into the world. Having to go to prenatal appointments alone is what really terrified this Mother-To-Be. I had no one to hold my hand while I was hoping and praying that there was a heartbeat in those early appointments. I could Facetime my wife. But she was stressed and felt helpless too. She was disappointed that she couldn’t share in the milestones as she had never missed one appointment during my first pregnancy.
My sister being pregnant at the same time really helped me. She was further along than me and seeing her have the courage to go to those appointments alone helped me find my courage. She was the one I texted when I was anxious and worried. I saw that hospitals in New York weren’t allowing any birth partners. But my mom told me that when I was born, she had to go into the delivery room alone to have me. She did it alone, and I could too. I don’t need anyone else but myself to go into that hospital and have a baby. I’ll get through it, no matter what happens with this pandemic.
My advice is to find your village. Find your support whether it be online pregnancy groups, group chats, or on Facetime. It might feel like you are going through this pregnancy alone. But there are plenty of other terrified mothers-to-be who share your anxiety.
Managing The Anxiety
I had hoped that the pandemic would be over. As I sit here 7 months pregnant, it is not. But my sister did safely have her twins. Through the anxiety that comes with being a terrified mother-to-be during a pandemic, we helped support each other. There are many things that are out of our control. But asking questions helped.
- If my OB/midwife gets sick and/or there is an outbreak and the practice needs to be shut down, what happens?
- Do I have to stop prenatal care if I get sick with COVID-19?
- Do I have to wear a mask during labor?
- How many support people will be allowed in? And what happens if my support person tests positive?
Focus on the things that you can do. There are no tours of the hospital, but I am practicing and timing the drive to the hospital. There are no childbirth classes offered through the hospital, but there are plenty to choose from online. Learn all you can. Read perspectives from the women who are living it, and who have gotten through it to the other side. Check out this post from fellow contributor Kelly Kennedy Giving Birth During a Pandemic.
And don’t forget that all the moms here at Tampa Bay Moms are cheering you on.
You can do this Mama!