I'm a planner. That's just who I am. And for a lot of things my plans work out and things go great. I plan things years down the road and when to start a family was no different for us. We (my husband and I) planned to have a baby together in 2020. This was decided years before. Many years before. We wanted several years together to go on adventures and more importantly prepare for a baby and a family. We spent years carefully saving and budgeting so that we didn't get used to living on money that we knew we would need for our family. I researched everything I could find out about pregnancy and children for years.
After all this research I decided that the best time to have a baby was early spring of 2020. This was based on many factors such as the frequency of birthrates. (It's lowest around this time) so that pregnancy healthcare providers wouldn't be overrun when I was having a baby and I would be assured a bed at the hospital when I was in labor. It was also based on when medical residents graduate from medical school and statistics on when most medical mistakes happen ( btw its in the summer when all the doctors are on vacation and there's a new batch of medical residents at the hospitals). This time was also based on tax reasons, income for the year, and when my shares became vested at my work.
Also the idea of emerging into spring and summer with my newborn appealed to me. I felt like a woodland creature that has its babies in the spring and spends the summer in their babyhood. I was having a baby in the spring with so many other creatures. It felt right. So we planned my pregnancy around this.
Everything was going well. I chose a OB practice with a low cesarean rate at a hospital that had a newly remodeled maternity wing. My pregnancy went well with every test coming back normal and my baby healthy. I hired a doula to help me with birth and postpartum. We had coupons for delivery services for groceries and food all set to use when the baby came. We were ready for this baby.
And then a month before my due date, the world fell apart. Covid-19 happened. Suddenly everything changed. The doula I had so carefully chosen was no longer allowed at the hospital and was not able to meet with me. The hospitals kept changing their policy for visitations and I was terrified that they were not going to allow my husband in when I had our baby. Everyone started wearing masks everywhere. The stores all shut down and I was unable to buy last minute items for the baby. Stores ran out of necessities like diapers and soap and I was left frantically trying to track down diapers and wipes at the last minute. Suddenly, I couldn't have a baby shower. I was told I couldn't have nitrous oxide during birth, which was what I had been planning to use for pain relief.
My excitement about having a baby was replaced by fear, anger, frustration, and uncertainty. I had tried so hard to plan for my baby and then a worldwide pandemic hit. I couldn't have predicted it or planned for it. The irony. I went into labor terrified to go to the hospital because I was afraid that they would take my baby away if I had a fever.
Fortunately I didn't have a fever and they did let my husband in and I had a beautiful baby girl without any pain relief. They did screen me for Covid during labor and tried to get me to wear a mask (which, I didn't, I just screamed). I was secluded to my hospital room with everyone who entered wearing a mask. We had no visitors. No balloons or flowers or people bringing food. My baby had a severe tongue tie that made it hard for her to even swallow. She lost weight rapidly with us unable to schedule a procedure to fix the tongue tie because it was an "elective procedure" and offices were closed. At that moment, I hated the world and everyone in it. We went home and the people I had thought were going to help us stayed away in fear with me unable to even hire help as we struggled through those early days. The services of grocery and food delivery were so overwhelmed in those early days by the huge influx of people staying home that we couldn't use any of them. My pediatrician finally got us in to fix my baby's mouth after she had lost almost a pound. Finally, she was gaining weight. We were overwhelmed as new parents and we needed support, but none was available. I could have sainted my Mother in Law when she came with freezer meals, groceries, and took the baby one night. We were so desperate for any help at all in our isolation.
The days went by and I struggled with breastfeeding. My right breast burned and felt like a thousand needles were inserted into it whenever my baby fed. I tried to get a lactation consultant. I had heard that they would come to your house and help you. That was before Covid. In the new world order no one cared about my struggles. I got an appointment for 2 weeks later to see a lactation consultant, meanwhile I cried through feedings, wishing I could just give formula but being too afraid to lose my milk supply as I read and heard about shortages of formula at stores. I was seen after 2 weeks and found that I had a yeast infection on my breast and given a prescription, the pain finally started to go away after a few days of the medicine. Between all this, the anger inside me grew. The injustice of all it. I hated how the world had abandoned me. I felt betrayed by the world. All of the advice for new moms was for a pre-Covid era with stupid advice like "Take all the help that is offered" and "get out of the house" and "have a date night with your partner". None of it applied to me.
Where were the people cooing over my baby? I was so proud of her. She was the most perfect thing that I had ever seen. But the months kept going by and many of my family and friends never met her. Never held her. Life went by and she stayed isolated with me and my husband in our house. I wonder how much longer this can go on. Her babyhood will soon be over, replaced by toddlerhood. She seems to belong to me and my husband in a way that I never anticipated. Turns out I didn't really have to share her. I thought that I would show her the world, but so far all she has seen is this house with some walks. But nothing as I had anticipated.