Typically, by the time you’re pregnant with your second child, those first-time mom jitters are long gone. You’re not so concerned about what you need to pack in your hospital bag or how much pain you’re going to be in – you’re a professional by now, and under normal circumstances, giving birth to your second baby is like riding a bike. Well, that is until a global pandemic sweeps in and throws out any plan for routine or normalcy that you were looking forward to.
I was around 10 weeks pregnant in March of 2020 when we first heard the term, “COVID-19” or “Coronavirus”. I remember doing lots of research right off the bat about how the virus would effect pregnant mothers but of course, there wasn’t enough data yet at that time – there hadn’t been many cases amongst pregnant women yet – so it was just a waiting game to see what would happen. Thankfully, my employer was extra cautious and sent me home to work from home almost immediately.
I’ll never forget March to August of 2020. Schools closed, so Jonah, who was in Pre-K at the time, was suddenly home with me. My hours got cut back to part-time, so every afternoon was an adventure for us. We spent those months swimming, kayaking, exploring – soaking up every minute of Jonah’s final months as an only child. Those months were a gift, a special blessing that we wouldn’t have had under normal circumstances. I’ll forever be grateful for that special time with him.
I constantly monitored our hospital’s website for changes in their COVID-19 visitation policy. I had friends who gave birth at other hospitals in our area who were only able to have one visitor and that visitor had to stay the entire time – there was no coming and going. Basically, their husbands were stuck in the hospital – no trips to get food or check or home for a quick shower or a nap. I prayed that wouldn’t be the case for us. I knew Jonah wouldn’t be able to be there with us, which was hard, and I was prepared to not have any other visitors, but I wanted Justin to be able to leave at night to be home with Jonah. I had even heard stories of women having to wear masks while giving birth. Can you imagine??
September 7th quickly rolled in. We were scheduled to be at the hospital at 8pm, so we made plans for Jonah to stay with my parents that night. When we finally got settled in (it took hours, but that’s a story for a different day), we asked all about Covid restrictions. Thankfully, our hospital’s Labor & Delivery Unit was more relaxed than others. We didn’t have to wear ours masks in our room, and Justin could leave and come back if he needed to. In fact, I could have more than one visitor as long as they weren’t there at the same time. So, my mom could come visit while Justin was at home! We were thrilled! It was such a relief after worrying about those restrictions for months.
Janie Rose was born on September 8, 2020. Our beautiful 8 pound, 6 oz girl was perfect in every way. I remember holding her on my chest and breathing in that moment as long as I could. It’s almost like the second time around you know to soak it in as much as you can. It felt like time travel – all of a sudden, I was back in my hospital gown, holding my tiny blonde haired baby. It was just the two of us. In those moments, nothing else in the world mattered.
When it was time to go home, we got Janie dressed in her little going home outfit, Justin carefully put her in the car seat (he was a pro this time around), and the nurses wheeled me down. Again, this all felt so normal and routine because we knew what to expect – but then, reality set in that when we stepped out of those hospital doors, we were stepping into a whole new world. This new world looked like germs and masks and face shields and hand sanitizer everywhere. We wanted to do everything in our power to shield this precious new baby from the virus, which of course meant limiting the amount of visitors we could have at home.
I remember after having Jonah 6 years prior, I was so overwhelmed at the amount of visitors we got right off the bat. Our house was constantly full of friends & family. I remember having so much anxiety about the house being a mess, not wanting to breastfeed in front of everyone (which I couldn’t care less about now), and having to schedule everyone back to back for their visits with baby Jonah. We got home anticipating the knocks on the door but instead, there was silence. No one came (with the exception of my parents and Justin’s parents, of course). No one wanted to risk getting the baby sick. Everyone was cautious about spreading the virus. It was so quiet, so relaxed, so so refreshing.
Again, what we thought would be a sad time turned out to be a blessing. In the weeks to come, as Janie’s immune system got stronger, the visitors slowly started to trickle in, and life became normal again. We will always refer to Janie as our pandemic baby – and we laugh at the fact that there will be an entire group of kids her age dubbed “The Corona kids”.