My son was born at the start of a pandemic.
March 24th, 2020 I was scheduled to be induced. We were excited. Afraid. Anxious. Hopeful. Terrified.
It was 9:30 pm when we arrived. Walking into the emergency entrance felt like something out of a movie. There was a giant blue tent set up outside, and signage posted all around.
"ATTENTION, IF YOU HAVE BEEN TRAVELING AND ARE FEELING COLD AND FLU SYMPTOMS, PLEASE DO NOT ENTER"
Each step closer made our hearts sink further and further into our stomachs. What were we bringing our child into? Should I have changed my birth plans? Are we going to leave this hospital okay?
Walking through the doors, we were stopped by masked employees and immediately bombarded with questions. "Have you been traveling?", "Are you suffering from cold and flu symptoms?", "Were you previously running any fever?".
Our temperatures were taken, hands sanitized, and we were given masks before allowed to enter the hospital. Each doorway was locked and had to be opened by the authorized attendant. The hallways were silent. Waiting areas empty.
Everything felt so unreal.
After filling out the necessary paperwork, we were told where to find our room and to wait to be assisted. Everything was prepared and the room smelled of cleaning products. When I looked around, I could see where my baby boy would go once he was born.
Panic set in.
My mom wasn't there. My nana wasn't there. My sister. My brothers. My dad. Our family wouldn't be there to support us. Blaine wouldn't have the usual task of updating everyone as labor progressed, or get to tell everyone when it was time to push, or even announce his birth.
it was just us.
we were alone.
I was set up with a concoction of things to prepare my body for labor, and after little sleep, the induction began the next morning. Each drop of pitocin brought stronger and stronger contractions, along with waves of emotion. My husband did the best he could to support me, distract me, but he was also at a loss. We couldn't believe what was happening.
This is not what we planned.
Ten hours into labor, I was doubled-over in pain. Each contraction felt as if my entire body was ripping from the inside out. I could not hold back the screams. I could not keep my mind from racing and the tears were flowing uncontrollably. This was real. Our world is scarier than it has ever been, and I'm welcoming a new life into this? The anesthesiologist finally arrived, along with the new nurse assigned to my room for her shift. although the pain was unbearable, I was relieved knowing I would finally have a break from the contractions. My fears came true, the strongest contraction began to build as the needle entered my spine. I could feel a scream building in my chest, and as my face began to crumble from the pain, this nurse swiftly ran to my rescue. Masked face, gloved hands, and all, her gentle arms wrapped around my shaking body as she began to breathe. She took my head and placed it on the apron at her chest, as if she could somehow take on some of the pain with me. All through this contraction, she softly spoke affirmations to me.
"You can do this. Your baby is almost here. You were made for this."
She saw through the medical mask I was wearing. She saw a scared. lonely mother in pain. She saw a human in all this scary mess. She set aside her fears of this virus to be there for ME. A perfect stranger. This is something I will never, ever forget.
The epidural was in, and I was able to shut my eyes for a little while.
After a few hours, the nurses began to worry for Jude's heart rate, and his position wasn't changing. This brought on a whole slew of emotions, and I began to hyperventilate. Tears were streaming down my face as I began to accept the worst of scenarios. This was it. Something bad was going to happen. Jude will be whisked away from me and I won't be able to see him. What if he's not okay? What if I'm not okay? What is Eloise going to do? She won't understand.
Everyone's attempts to calm me down were to no avail. My anxiety had taken over, and my body was in active labor. Tears flowing, jaw chattering. It was getting real.
Finally, my doctor came in. She was sure Jude was coming and she could get him out fast.
"Are you okay with the use of forceps? You push as much as you can and I can get him out."
"Yes, I'm okay with that, just PLEASE get him out!"
With each surge of pressure I was told to push, and I did. I pushed with every ounce of power I had left. Lungs burning, legs tingling, I could feel the forceps in my body. She forced them further in and with each push of her hands, the bones in my pelvis popped and my feet twitched.
One final push, and his head was out. She pulled him out. He was here.
The nurses whisked him away before I could see him. His umbilical cord was cut without Blaine. But he was okay.
There is no other feeling that compares
to when your newborn baby is finally on your chest.
This is moment
I knew God never left.
Our baby may have come during uncertain times, but we are okay. We will be okay.
Mama, if you are struggling right now, just know that you are not alone. If you're struggling in accepting your circumstances, just know that it's okay.
If you're afraid, if you're angry, or if you're sad.
We aren't made to be perfect mothers.
We aren't made to know how to do this.
No one knows how to do this.