Finding small joys in all the strangeness

I am 32 weeks pregnant, with 8(-ish) weeks to go until my third child is set to arrive.  This is my third pregnancy, and it’s playing out quite differently than the first two, and even differently from what was laid out by my OB/GYN back in November and December.

Most notably, I’m over 35 (“elderly multigravitas”!), so was slated for early genetic testing and many additional check-ups than in previous pregnancies.  This all changed in March. I’m a healthy woman and have had a healthy pregnancy, so last month my care team chose to cut down the number of in-office visits in order to reduce my potential virus exposure. I’m confident in my medical team and in how this pregnancy is going, so this is a welcome precaution.  As I get close to delivery, those protocols will also be different, and are in fact still evolving as the hospital responds to changing local and national status.

My daughters’ illustration of our family walk (baby already born in this version!)

While birth is always a dynamic process, these times of crisis demand an even greater need for adaptability. So far, we expect that I’ll likely be able to have one support person (my husband) join me in labor and delivery (pending healthy, normal delivery), but he won’t be able to leave and re-enter the room during my hospital stay (so, he can’t go home, check on our daughters, and come back). I’ll not be able to have other visitors, and likely will be sent home as quickly as possible (again, pending healthy mom and baby) to reduce any risk and exposure to any of us and our caregivers. Despite being a total planner, I know I can’t anticipate all changes, and I also can’t let myself focus my mental resources on what I know is futile guesswork.

Family walk while social distancing.

I think one of the most interesting – and counterintuitive – parts of this pregnancy is just how relaxed I am. Do not misunderstand me: the unknowns of risk and threat of COVID-19 to pregnancy and newborns are terrifying and cause me very real  anxiety. However, if I can take a moment (say, on my daily early morning walk) to mentally remove for a moment the overhanging threat of pandemic, thinking only of pregnancy: I am thoroughly enjoying this pregnancy.

My daughters’ threw me a “baby shower” complete with upside-down babies and their umbilical cords. Why upside-down? Proper birth position!

I am much more relaxed, more confident, and more fluid with the physical and emotional changes than in my previous pregnancies. I am not sure exactly why: maybe it’s the third time around (old hat?), maybe I realize how brief the time is, or I can savor these changes in what I know will be my last pregnancy. Maybe the global context dwarfs my tiny world.

Work from home.

Maybe I realize that given the global pandemic, I can find the constant kicking and swirling of this baby as a small, personal sign of reassurance, of life, and of hope.  I know that as our family has been in close quarters for nearly a month now, the growth of this baby has brought us so much closer, making this stressful time also one of great joy. I love the daily interactions as my daughters await their baby brother, and this is an unusual gift to my husband and I, so we can share so much of this time together. Yes, there is heaviness and fear and uncertainty, but there is also sweetness in adaptation.

Stay home, and stay healthy!

One thought on “Finding small joys in all the strangeness

  1. Joanne SANDOVAL

    Thanks, Mena, for sharing! Continued blessings of happiness and good health, as you all await the birth of “Baby Boy Donahue”!Love you all!Grandpa and Joanne

    Joanne Dupont Sandoval PO Box 429 Truchas, NM 87578 505-689-2404

    “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

    “Let’s BE blessings today.”

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