What a time we’re in.
When I imagined my second pregnancy, I could’ve never anticipated I’d be embarking on this journey in the middle of a global pandemic. When I first learnt of my pregnancy, COVID-19 had just made it’s mark in the UK with only a few reported cases- only 1 reported in Bristol where I live- and life was pretty much still normal for me. Within a week, the announcement was made of the impending restrictions and I was advised, I’d be one of the first to be set up for working from home as I was considered high-risk.
It all happened so quickly.
Working from home was not as easy as I had expected it would’ve been. During my worklife, on any particularly gruelling day at work I’d often sit down and imagine how much less hectic my office day would be if I could break it up with some time at home. Boy, was I wrong. First and foremost, my son was home as was my niece but both my husband and my sister were still out to work. So, my first challenge was trying to juggle a day-to-day with two young children while undertaking the new processes involved with working from home – navigating Microsoft Teams, answering calls on my personal phone, having to work the same hours and attend the same meetings all while my background is super chaotic and my bed is less than a couple feet away.
The struggle was real.
Once I became furloughed and lockdown restrictions evolved, other thoughts about what the future of my second pregnancy would be like.
My initial concern was, “How long will these restrictions last?” I had estimated the due date to be sometime in late October/ early November as I had not yet had my first antenatal visit to confirm. Around the time I found out, in February, we would be expecting our second child, I was already about 3 weeks along and there were a lot of stories in the media highlighting experiences of mothers who had to experience labor alone as their partners were not allowed in the room. Although I’ve already experienced labor, the fact that this is my first child in a foreign country where a lot of the processes are already quite different from Barbados where I had Liam, I couldn’t imagine experiencing this one without the support of my partner. Restrictions are gradually reducing so I’m hoping by November at least this aspect would have changed.
Of course, I’ve missed going out freely, without worrying about the existing risks. Life has changed so drastically and while it may never return to “normal” as we know it, the last few months have been testing, even more so while going through pregnancy which comes with its own host of symptoms and moods. I look forward to the day when Covid-19 doesn’t dictate what I can or cannot do, where I can or cannot go and who I can and cannot see.
As I mentioned above, in the wake of the lockdown, 6 weeks had passed of my pregnancy and I had still not had my first antenatal visit. That, in itself, was extremely nerve-wrecking. Coming from somewhere where my experience was visting the doctor regularly from as early as 3-4 weeks pregnant and basically having that medical presence along the way in the most vulnerable period of a pregnancy, to not having it, was a drastic change and I didn’t welcome it, admittedly. My first appointment happened over the phone and was essentially a questionnaire of past history, medical history and the like to establish whether or not my pregnancy could be considered at high risk. The midwife determined it wasnt. Over the phone. Although I beleive now they must trust this is enough, given the current circumstances, at that point it still seemed so fleeting. Every bump to my stomach, wrong or sudden turn resulting in pain or over exertion made me nervous about the effect it was having on my pregnancy; you wouldn’t think this wasn’t my first go!
Lucikly, I had my first scan at 16 weeks and everything was okay andas it should be. But the experience of being practically in the dark up until that point was unnerving, to say the least.
I have followed the journeys of multiple women who experienced childbirth under previous and current lockdown measures and they vary quite a bit. Given my date of delivery and the differences from city to city, it is hard to ascertain exactly what to expect from my delivery. Of course, depsite the current climate, expectations of labour and child birth, in general, are usually far from reality. Trust me, I am speaking from experience. Everything I thought I would be capable of in my first labour experience went flying through the door when the midwife had to “feel for the head”- it was all over after that.
Now, I anticipate what this experience will be like and I imagine it will alsobe determined by where I choose to deliver as my two top picks have very different labour rooms and features.
I have accepted that Covid-19 is here to stay or probably will exist for a long time. I’ve also accepted life will more than likely not return to life as we’ve known it to be. As I imagine most new mothers or expectant mothers do, I do wonder what life will be like with a second child; a new baby- we’re basically starting all over again. I don’t plan to find out the sex so that adds another layer of mystery as to how the dynamicin our family will change depending on whether I have a boy or a girl.
Now, I wonder what life will be with a second child, a child expected to start big school and Covid-19. There are somany more questions and, not yet, enough answers. This whole situation has really given “taking it one day at a time” new meaning because we really dont have a choice but to. Future plans have now transformed to “let’s wait and see”.
Pregnancy already comes with it’s many challenges. Weird body changes. Fluctuation of emotions. Constant Google searches. Peeing when sneezing or laughing. Being unable to tie shoe laces. The list goes on. So, in the middle of a pandemic where you’ve lost control over much of your day-to-day, it would be expected to have a few freak outs every once in a while.
The journey so far has been a strange and challenging one to say the least but I can’t say I would change it for a thing as many positives have been borne out of this lockdown.
And it will be a great story to tell my little one when they’re older of how they were born during a worldwide pandemic.