I never expected any of this as I haphazardly glanced down at the pregnancy test I’d just taken one January evening.
For starters, as my husband and I weren’t trying to get pregnant at the time, I never anticipated the the test would actually come back positive. The “just to rule it out” EPT I took when my regularly irregular period ventured a few days past normal delinquency should, by all accounts, have come back negative. That’s what we both expected. We hadn’t even paused in our discussion of weekly activities and to dos as the three-minute wait ticked by, both so certain of it’s inevitable conclusion.
Little did we know.
I certainly wouldn’t have timed it this way had we’d actually been trying. I’m a planner by nature, and after two kids I’d learned the value of pregnancy timing. Wait until the previous child is potty trained before planning for the next two to three years of diapering servitude. Start trying early in the fertility cycle if I hoped to have a little girl this time around rather than go three for three on Team Boy Mom. And above all else, make sure the third trimester does not fall during the Houston summer months.
But it never would have occurred to me to avoid procreating right before a world-wide pandemic.
I can’t say it’s been all bad. On the one hand I’m exhausted from having my two older boys home all day without the promise of the two mornings a week preschool break I’d so enjoyed and needed. But as much as I’ve hated being trapped at home social distancing for weeks and weeks on end, a small part of me has loved soaking in all the time I have with them before their baby brother arrives. I know from experience how hard that transition will be, and how much I’ll miss this time we have together without newborn schedules and postpartum struggles.
And with my husband’s company maintaining limited office hours and staggered scheduling, he’s working from home more than he ever has in the past. Sure he’s sequestered up in our guest room most of the day while I do my best to keep two kids entertained in our limited environment, but he’s able to sync his lunch breaks with ours on days he’s not in the office and helps get our reluctant kids up to bed for nap time every day, two blessings I couldn’t possibly be more thankful for.
But the truth of the matter is, pregnancy during a pandemic is hard.
It’s hard not to be able to tell our friends and family in person that we’re expecting another baby. To not feel their arms around us as they celebrate this new life.
It’s hard leaving the safety of our house for my OB appointments. The fear of catching COVID-19 lurks around every corner, a virus that not only threatens my life, but the life of the child I carry with me out into the public while my other children remain safe at home. We wear masks and wash hands, they offer virtual visits when possible and limit the number of appointments each day to ensure wait times are low and waiting rooms are as empty as possible. But nothing feels entirely safe. And I wonder when anything will feel safe again.
It’s hard not having my husband by my side as I watch our precious miracle wiggle and kick on the ultrasound monitor. To feel robbed of the magical experience we had with our first two. They allowed me to FaceTime him after the exam so that he too could see our healthy baby boy, but it simply didn’t make up for the empty space beside me where he rightfully should have been.
And the truth is I fear this strange new world I’m bringing a life in to. As Texas opens back up and I watch the number of new cases like a hawk, I fear for the tiny life that will soon no longer be protected within the safety of my body. Will things be better then? Will it be safe to send my older children back to preschool in the fall knowing what they might bring home to our newborn? Will our family and friends be able to come meet him?
I wish I had the answers. I pray things will look a little brighter and my children will be safe. And despite the pregnancy aches, the weight gain, the discomfort and insomnia, I pray my baby stays in there as long as possible so the world might be a little safer before I hold him in my arms.