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I am so excited to finally write this blog post! If you've been following along, you might have seen a series of 5 different blog posts ...

A letter to my baby during a pandemic

With our first baby being born during a pandemic I wanted to document everything going on in the world right now. I typed up this letter below and printed it out to stick into his baby book. To all the moms having babies during the pandemic feeling down- you are not alone.

Dear Baby,
When we found out we were expecting you we were so excited! The first few months were such an exciting time and we loved thinking about our life with you. We loved going to the doctors to hear your heartbeat and see you on the ultrasound screen. Things took a fast turn and all that excitement was replaced with fear and unknowns. We would have never thought that the 2nd half of my pregnancy would be spent quarantined due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) which spread like a wildfire, shutting down the whole country and other parts of the world. I wanted to write you this letter to document how crazy the world is right now with you in my belly.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic, declared March 11th, 2020 (I was 23 weeks pregnant) 
  • There was a positive case in my office at work and I went home to work from home and have not been back since- same with your dad. Rumor has it we won't be back until the end of the year.
April 2, 2020 - (26 weeks pregnant)
  • Gas price was $1.55
  • School cancelled - yes cancelled. Kids are doing “distant learning” all virtually through computers.
  • Self-distancing measures on the rise.
  • Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers (6ft) from each other. 
  • Limited number of people inside stores, therefore, lineups outside the store doors.
  • Non-essential stores and businesses are mandated to be closed.
  • State parks and hiking trails are closed.
  • Entire sports seasons cancelled. (Your dad is sad about this one- no sports on TV)
  • Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events - cancelled.
  • Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings - cancelled.
  • No masses, churches are closed.
  • No gatherings of 50 or more, then 20 or more, now 5 or more.
  • Don't socialize with anyone outside of your home.
  • Playgrounds are closed.
  • We are to distance from each other, even family. 
  • Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers.
  • Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill.
  • Panic buying sets in and it is impossible to find toilet paper, paper towels, disinfecting supplies, hand sanitizer.
  • Shelves are bare at the grocery stores.
  • Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE.
  • Government closes the border to all non-essential travel.
  • Fines are established for breaking the rules.
  • Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients.
  • Press conferences daily from the President. Daily updates on new cases, recoveries, and deaths.
  • People wearing masks and gloves outside.
  • Medical field workers are afraid to go home to their families.
May 9, 2020 (31 weeks pregnant)
  • We are at 51 days of social isolation. As of yesterday morning in the US, there have been over 63,006 coronavirus deaths reported nationally and more than 1,069,826 cases of the virus in the US!
  • Schools have been closed since March 13th and are teaching remotely on-line. Schools will not reopen for the 2019-2020 school year with the possibility of not fully opening in the Fall of 2020.
  • Only “essential” retail stores are open such as grocery stores, hardware stores, and pharmacies. Amazon delivery windows average 3 - 4 weeks when they used to be max. 2 days. No gyms are open, and it’s almost impossible to find weights, exercise equipment, bikes, etc. online.
  • There are lines / tape inside the stores on the floors to keep people 6 feet apart. Markings on the floors to only go one way down the aisles. Only your dad goes to stores alone now.
  • Bars and restaurants are open only for takeout, home delivery & drive through if at all. We have been doing takeout every Saturday as it is the only thing to look forward to!
  • Playgrounds and sports fields are closed. Most beaches, parks and cemeteries are closed to the public. No visitors are allowed in hospitals, even if you have to take your loved one to the ER, you can’t go in with them, must drop off. Your dad can’t attend any doctor appointments anymore and there are not going to be any visitors allowed in the hospital when you are born.
  • Barbers, Hair salons and nail salons are not considered “essential” and continue to be closed. People watch tutorials online to learn how to cut hair. Luckily, I went to hair school so cutting your dad's hair and coloring my hair at home is not a big deal!
  • All major and minor league sports competitions have been canceled as well as kids' sports. The NFL draft was done virtually last week.
  • All festivals, carnival, Fairs and entertainment events have been banned. Movie theaters and malls are closed. 
  • Weddings, family celebrations, and graduations have been canceled. Funerals are limited to 10 people graveside. 
  • People are doing drive-by parades to celebrate birthdays.
  • Visitors are prohibited at nursing homes and assisted living residences.
  • Hugs and kisses are not exchanged. 
  • People are wearing masks, they are required to be worn in public over the age of 2. 
  • People are even sewing their own cloth masks for sale or donation to medical facilities, because there are no masks to be bought online. There’s a shortage of elastic for the homemade masks and most places now selling out of fabric. 
  • Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, bleach, antibacterial wipes and anything Lysol or Clorox is in short supply and limited per person.... IF you can even find them! (This goes the same for flour). You feel like you won the lottery if you find one of these items.
  • Store checkouts, pharmacies and even fast food drive thru windows have added plexiglass between the employee and the customer. Have to reach around or under to pay!
  • Australia, USA, Canada and Europe have closed their borders.
  • No one is traveling for leisure. Airports are empty and flights are traveling for urgent needs only (some with less than 10 passengers at a time). Tourism has the worst crisis in history. 
  • Disneyland has closed all of its theme parks across the world since March, with rumor talks that they may not be reopening until 2021.
  • The Las Vegas Strip has closed their hotels and casinos and all tournaments have either been postponed or cancelled.
  • Wi-Fi and cell phone providers have extended their limits to provide connection to the Internet for people to continue to work from home and for students to learn from their teachers. 
  • Stores open early to allow for vulnerable shoppers (65+, immune compromised, or pregnant).
  • $1,000 stimulus checks were sent by the president to everyone in America and those who are unemployed are collecting unemployment plus an additional $600 a week. 
  • My dad is a machinist and is working overtime (12 hour days) to create parts needed so that companies can build ventilators during the shortage.
  • Pediatricians are saying once a baby is born during the pandemic no one can hold or visit until a TBD date. All visits and meet and greets must be done through Facetime, outdoors 6 feet apart, or through a window. Your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins will all be meeting you through Facetime, a window, or from a distance outdoors. 
  • We haven’t been able to be more than 6 feet away from family in over 3 months. It will probably last multiple more months too.
  • To “hangout” with our friends during quarantine we either sit 6 feet away from each other in a chair or do virtual video chat rooms.
Times are so scary right now and it is not at all how I pictured my first pregnancy to go. I never was able to "show off" my baby bump, have a real baby shower, or go to the baby stores to test out products. Excitement has been replaced with fear and anxiety and days are taken one day at a time. People ask often how I am doing and tell me how they can't imagine being pregnant during a pandemic. I respond telling them I am doing well when really it is a tough time for me. I am constantly thinking during the day or in the middle of the night about how we have to be tested for COVID when we walk into the hospital and if one of us is positive I deliver alone, or how no one will be able to hold you until you are a few months old.

Your dad and I have been stuck together for months just the two of us having extra time to get ready for you to join us. For the first few months it will just be us three and we cannot wait., even though it will be hard without help. For now, it is safer for you in my belly- even though your dad wants you here now! I take this time day by day or I get too overwhelmed and break down. We can't wait to meet you and one day read this to learn how things were when you were born during a pandemic.

Your Mom