GUEST POST BY LOVY MICHAEL
In January 2020, my husband Heli and I found out we were pregnant. We did a home pregnancy test and went to a clinic nearby to confirm the news. We were thrilled when we got the good news because we believed the timing was perfect. Our first child, Sarah, was soon turning 4 and we felt it was time for her to have a sibling after enjoying 3 years of undivided attention.
THE FIRST TRIMESTER
The first trimester went about smoothly as I was feeling healthy and had no morning sickness. I had lost a few kilograms and therefore was able to fit into clothes I’d worn when I was 18!
Since this was my second pregnancy, I decided not to visit a gynaecologist until the second trimester. From the first pregnancy experience, I had loathed waiting in the queue for hours for a 5-minute discussion with the doctor. So, this time, as I did not have any complications, I took general advice from my gynaecologist friend who gave me a list of vitamins and nutrients I had to intake. I got my blood tests done at the laboratory nearby.
In February, for Valentine’s Day, I decided to surprise my hubby to dinner at a fine dining restaurant. I got a friend to babysit Sarah and the dinner was delightful. Little did we know that, after this, we would not be dining out for a long time.
The scenario had completely changed in March. Our social lives took a U-turn and by the end of the month we were locked down, or rather locked in. Within the four walls of my home, the new words added to my vocabulary were COVID-19, Corona, C-19, lockdown and social distancing.
THE SECOND TRIMESTER
The first visit to the doctor was an unusual one. We had to wear masks. We had to carry a declaration note with reasons for being outside our home, along with details of our whereabouts and return. The roads were almost empty. On the way, we would drop Sarah at my parent’s place to avoid unnecessary contact with others. There was no queue at the hospital. We met the doctor in just half an hour. We took a shower immediately after we got back home and washed our soiled clothes.
Despite the peculiar situation, I liked the fact that meeting with the doctor was quicker and people did not step on my toes or intrude my personal space at the hospital. So, I agreed to meet the gynaecologist every month from then on as the hospital visits were delightful!
I assumed that everything would get back to normal by the time I had to deliver at the end of September. But, soon the COVID positive cases were on the rise. Helps were restricted from entering our apartment complex. My dust allergy wasn’t helping while I swept and mopped the house almost every day. Gradually, the news and increasing numbers started building anxiety in me.
THE THIRD TRIMESTER
I was growing bigger. Though I was trying to get as much rest as possible, I was exhausted with all the cleaning. I couldn’t risk ordering in the food that I craved for, as many delivery boys were also turning out to be COVID positive.
Yet, I felt that the best thing about the lockdown was that my husband was home, so Sarah was well taken care of. I also decided to ignore the news and spend more time with her instead. We made sure Sarah was aware that we loved her to bits and that wasn’t going to change in any way.
In the 7th month, we got the news that a few doctors and staff members were tested COVID positive at the hospital where my gynaecologist was. I called my doctor and she reassured me that it was safe to keep my scheduled appointment. As my check-ups were necessary, I tried to think less about the contagion and more about my baby. We had to be careful about being in contact with others. The baby was fine and my reports were good. Also, spending less time on WhatsApp and more time with my daughter helped reduce my anxiety.
During my 8th month, fortunately, the Residents Association decided to start allowing helps at the employer’s own risk so my help came for a few days. Soon though, a family in the neighbourhood tested COVID positive and helps were restricted again. Our helps worked at several houses so the risk of contracting the virus, through them, was high. Again, I was left with no help.
I began to grow concerned about my stay in the hospital and managing things after the new baby arrived. On noticing this, my mother suggested that we stay at her place post-delivery. I wasn’t sure if depending on my aging mother was a good idea but it did seem to be the best option at the time.
In the 9th month, by God’s grace, the lockdown was relaxed, not because of lesser numbers, but because it seemed that no matter how long we stayed at home, it was impossible for the country to control the community spread. As my help was allowed to come home, we decided we would return to our humble abode after the delivery.
With the due date getting closer, we managed to spring clean the house with the help of a few friends. My sister decided to come home so that it was easier for us to leave Sarah with her and her daughter while we were busy with hospital visits and the delivery.
I began to get labour pains a few days before my due date. My husband and I packed our bags and rushed to the hospital. As a new process, we had to get a quick COVID test done before I could get admitted. Our reports were negative, and I went into labour for 4 hours. The most frustrating part was having to wear a mask all through the breathing and pushing.
On 24th September, our bundle of joy was born. He was beautiful and all my pain and discomfort vanished. My family was around me and my daughter was happy she had a sibling to care for. And, with the Corona pandemic still around, this was definitely a pregnancy to remember!
All through the pregnancy and delivery, the following are the few things that we learnt from our unusual pregnancy experience during the Corona pandemic:
1) Keep calm and worry less. Staying strong during testing times is the key to having a comfortable pregnancy.
2) You cannot expect things to be perfect all the time. Be happy with imperfections too.
3) Be thankful for the little things in life. Or, find things you have and be grateful for it.
4) Being close-knit as a family is important. Also, spending time with your loved ones is vital for our well-being.
5) You cannot control things outside your home, but you can definitely focus on what you can control within your Queendom.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lovy was born and brought up in Kuwait. Along with her parents, she moved to India to complete her graduation. She loves to meet people and get to know them better. She left her corporate job after her first child was born. Her hobbies include watching comedy shows and listening to music. She prefers keeping things simple. She now resides in Kerala.