Confused. Waiting. Forgotten.

These are the words that will forever mark my first pregnancy.

Don’t get me wrong, those words have nothing to do with our baby - the words that will mark our first baby will still be excitement, gratitude, and love. That’s how we expected the pregnancy to feel and sometimes it does feel like that, when we forget the world around us. But one can only forget the outside world for so long.

I'll always remember the moment I found out that we were pregnant. It was 4:30 AM on a Sunday morning. I immediately woke my husband up to share the news with him. Our excitement was palpable.

I’ll also always remember the moment I found out that Covid-19 was sweeping the globe. I saw the pictures from Italy. I read the numbers from New York. I watched our city shut down around us. We thought it was temporary. It wasn’t.

Since March, we have been confused. My obstetrician said that pregnant women should treat ourselves as high risk because there are so many unknowns of how this virus could affect a fetus and pregnant women have generally weaker immune systems anyways. So we’ve been living the high risk life. We make the sacrifices to keep our baby safe - we would do anything for her. We keep our distance from everyone including family and we don’t go inside anywhere, besides the weekly grocery trip that my husband makes. But then I see other pregnant women who are traveling, welcoming guests, celebrating their last months before their baby arrives - all of the things I want to do. I envy them, always trying to remember what our obstetrician said but also desperately wondering what their obstetrician believes that would allow them to live such a normal life. I assume that the obstetricians are similar to the articles we find online - they all arrive at different conclusions. And then they change their information the following week.

We’re waiting. Waiting on a solution, waiting on advice. Waiting to see if guidelines have changed - waiting when guidelines change because we know they’ll change again. Waiting for things to go back to normal, waiting to see what the new normal will look like. As we wait on these things, we’re also waiting for our baby to arrive. Waiting to hold her and see that our efforts at quarantining ourselves have paid off because she is healthy. Waiting to figure out when we can introduce her to her loving extended family, who won’t be able to be in the hospital waiting room and may not be able to meet her for months. Waiting on answers to unanswerable questions, like how do we keep her safe but still allow for a joyous celebration? No one knows. Not now, and most likely not within her first few months of life.

I feel forgotten. It was so exciting to finally announce we were pregnant in March after the first trimester was over. By that point, quarantine was in full swing and we joked that anyone who didn’t follow us on social media would be so surprised to see us after Covid was over, maybe in June when we were 6 months pregnant. There was talk of baby showers, friends coming to visit, us flying out to visit family, and countless celebrations for this new life. Flash forward to 4 weeks prior to birth. Many obstetrician appointments were canceled and my husband wasn’t allowed to come to any of the appointments that I did have. The baby showers weren’t planned. The visits didn’t happen - not even local ones. The only people who seem to remember are ourselves, our families, and a few close friends. For everyone else, including some other close friends, it’s out of sight and out of mind. Sometimes it feels as if we’re not here. They’ve missed our entire pregnancy.

When the stress becomes too much, all we can do is focus on the good. And all around, there has been goodness and love. We're so grateful to the ultrasound technician who let me FaceTime my husband in so he could see our baby moving. We're so grateful for my mom and sister planning a socially distant gender reveal with just our family - even though we were far apart and couldn't hug, it was so special to find out the news with them. We're so grateful to the parking attendant at my grandma's retirement facility for allowing us to stop for a minute to put some pink balloons out the window so my grandma could also be part of the gender reveal - her first great-granddaughter. We're so grateful for baby girl's constant movement and videos that allow us to share her sweet kicks when no one besides my husband is able to feel them in real life. It's these things that keep us going and keep us from focusing on everything that we’re missing out on.

But most of all, she keeps us going. While the pregnancy may be hard - full of confusion, waiting, and loneliness- we know that it will be worth it. This little soul growing inside of me, this answered prayer, this new member of our family. We recognize that this is a hard time for everyone, but we also recognize that we have the greatest gift to focus on to help us make it through - our sweet baby girl.