BY KODIA BYERS, A MEMBER OF THE TMOM TEAM
It was a warm, peaceful morning in late August, 2019—you know, those mornings when the season is slowly changing from summertime heat 24/7 to balmy early autumn mornings, paired with excruciatingly hot NC Piedmont afternoons when everything feels rushed and sluggish all at the same time? When the birds’ morning songs change slightly to a note of sadness because they know they’ll be leaving soon.
I was sipping my first cup of coffee, enjoying a bit of quiet time, when I had a tugging feeling I should probably take the test. I hadn’t noticed any typical signs, but in my heart, just as with my first pregnancy, I knew I was carrying a child, but never sensed the timing was right for a valid result. My daughter, then 17 months old, was still blissfully sleeping, unaware of how her life would change in months to come.
Confirmed—pregnant with our second child! Something my husband and I had hoped for, and if my calculations were correct, we would be expecting another April baby. April, what a great month! Springtime, everything is new; the earth is coming alive again and waking from her winter slumber.
Fast forward several months. Everything has gone incredibly smoothly and right on track, with our biggest problem being who can get to our house the quickest to watch our daughter when I go into labor…well, that was our biggest problem…until the end of March.
When the quarantine began, I honestly believed our daily routines would pick back up after two weeks of being home, but clearly, that has not been the case. Here we are, still physically distancing ourselves from people and places we love. I suppose my naive, optimistic expectations were that Americans would see the toll COVID-19 had taken on Europe, and we would have a different outcome. Boy, was I wrong.
Our “Now Normal” (y’all, I refuse to call it our “new normal,” this is not normal—it’s our current reality) is sheltering in place, only going out for essential visits, and feeling like we’re walking around in a Sci-Fi movie.
I am currently full term and could quite literally have a baby any day now. I have felt all the feelings and I have felt them separately and all at once.
I’m grieving about the fact that I probably will not get to deliver this child the way I wanted—see ya, birth plan (which, okay, let’s be honest…birth plans rarely go as desired, but I wasn’t really expecting to have to schedule a C-Section “just in case” I go past my due date, either). I’m still worried about who will take care of my daughter. Our closest family is an hour away and are on the front lines of this pandemic as essential healthcare workers (or living with said essential healthcare workers), so truly self-quarantine, they cannot. I’m sad that aunts, uncles, and cousins won’t get to meet this little love until all this is over. I’m excited about bringing a child into the world who will deliver so much joy and love during this crazy, uncertain time. And who will remind us that through it all, there is always hope. I’m thankful that my husband is able to work from home during this pandemic and also gets paternity leave—what a blessing! I’m anxious about what the hospital will be like at the time of my delivery, but know we will be safe and that our health is our doctors’/nurses’ priority. (Huge shoutout to all the healthcare workers sacrificing each and every day.)
I’m striving to find peace with it all, coping in ways I know how to cope. Leaning on my husband. Crying when I need to. Savoring all my daughter’s hugs, kisses, and “I love you, mommy”s.
Controlling what I can.
Letting go of what I cannot.
I will not be the first woman to give birth during this pandemic, and I certainly won’t be the last. I am not alone, and I find peace and comfort in knowing that.