My Pandemic Pregnancy

Stories from Missoula women who add a new page to the book of pregnancy

I was 7 months pregnant when everything shut down. It was the week my baby shower was supposed to take place. My work shut down and everything got canceled. I remember watching the news with my husband one night and just having this panic moment of "What are we bringing this little girl into and how do we keep her safe?" I had quite a few of those moments throughout the rest of my pregnancy. 

When I went into labor it was only my husband who could come with me. He did a very good job at coaching me but I had such an idea of what my labor and delivery would look like. My sister and mom were supposed to be there. Our family would be sitting in the waiting room. My dad would be asking the nurses how everything was going one too many times. And I would get this moment when my parents walked into the room and I'd get to hand them their new granddaughter. 

Instead, it was my husband and I alone in a hospital room. It was lonely and scary. I'm so grateful for my doctors and nurses, though. They met us with such a sweet and loving manner that I felt like my family was there with me. They gave us a small sense of normalcy in a very unfamiliar situation and that I'm forever grateful for. 

It was such an odd thing, trying to navigate new parenthood on top of living the new pandemic life. We try to find those bits of normal in everyday life. Those fears and anxieties are still there in the back of my head but my little girl has made me take in the moment and appreciate what we have, rather than focusing on what we've had to give up this last year. 

Grace and daughter Rory

My husband and I had been trying to have a baby for a little over a year and a half. We were both busy with work and life and were at the point where we were thinking maybe it will never happen and that's okay or maybe it will happen next ovulation cycle. I went to the doctor on March 5 because I was having some nerve issues with my hand and thought I may be Vitamin D deficient, so I wanted to get some tests done. The nurse asked me about my last period date and I realized I was a few days late so I took a pregnancy test. When they came out with the positive test, I burst into tears of relief and joy.

As I scheduled my first appointment with the OB, I was told that partners were not allowed in for visits. I remember Face-timing my husband during the first ultrasound and really wishing he were there holding my hand. During my entire pregnancy, he was only allowed to attend the 20 week detailed ultrasound in person, out of all of the doctor's appointments.

By late spring and early summer, I was working exclusively from home. I was so nervous about getting Covid, it was a constant stressor. We were very careful to wear masks in public, sanitize, and limit social interactions. We had family come into town by mid-fall to be here for us and the baby's arrival. We were very fortunate to have a great support system and bubble around us during that time. 

As the weeks narrowed down to my due date (November 11) we finished prepping the nursery, took virtual baby classes offered by St. Pat's, and waited nervously for the baby's arrival. The staff at the hospital was so kind and gracious and made us feel at home, even if everyone (except for me) had to wear masks the whole time. I really wish I could've had my family in the hospital during our stay, and my sister in the room during the birth.

The first few weeks and months of having our newborn earthside were challenging not only because of all of the ups and downs of being a new parent but also from navigating social interactions and trying to keep her from having too much exposure to the virus while her immune system was so fresh. As a breastfeeding mother, I wasn't sure whether it was safe or not to get the vaccine because the research was so new. My OB and the pediatrician both strongly recommended it so the baby could get antibodies, so that's what I did. Getting the vaccine has lifted a weight off of my shoulders and made things feel much safer for our family's health.

Adrienne and daughter June

I found out I was pregnant just as the world began shutting down. Talk about a mind trip. It’s all been chaotic, tiring, messy, magical, and probably the most incredibly unique experience of my life. I sit here 8 months later and I still can’t believe I had my first child during a global pandemic. You see, my brain works in pictures. I’ve always taken photos and I never envisioned this. I was raised amongst stacks of photo albums and kodachrome by a grandmother who documented her life all over the world.

I grew up envisioning myself and my kids adventuring just like my mother and her parents. I dreamt of having a birth photographer and newborn photos to start Wiley’s little life off well-documented. The pandemic took this from me. It didn’t let me have those precious photos I had so dearly dreamt of. It didn’t let me look back on those 48+ hours of isolated unmedicated labor or the joyous moment when I first held my son. As heartbreaking as this was for me it gave me two of the most important things in life; time and peace. My favorite thing about giving birth during a pandemic were these things. It allowed the three of us to just be together, especially those first few days. To stare and be still, to unravel and come back together. It took away the pressure to see everyone and do all the things. No one was coming over so the pile of dishes didn’t need to be done. The laundry could wait. All of the things that normally fill our “busy” lives weren’t so important. It slowed time down for a minute.

I’ve always appreciated the little things in life and the pandemic has given me an even deeper appreciation for them because they all stack up. Whether in a photo pile or memories that may fade with time. It’s all a blessing and it's all beautiful. This is by far my greatest and most important work and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Jane and son Wiley

My little one was far from planned. She was the largest shock of my life. The amount of fear I had in finding out I was pregnant was near debilitating but then you throw a pandemic into the mix and that anxiety sky-rocketed.

The pandemic allowed me to stay in my bubble at a very vulnerable time. I didn't have to feel the pressure of a normal world. No one asking to touch my growing stomach, no panicking to find clothes that fit, no shower to celebrate, no one to see us at the hospital or at our home once she arrived, and no need to travel far to have family members meet her while she was still so tiny. I had the ultimate excuse and it meant I got to just be. It was a blessing.

But I am seeing the effects of this situation as she gets older. She only knows her grandparents best through zoom and few have ever held her. This has brought a new layer to my husband's and my relationship. We have been through a lot in seven years but he has taken his love and compassion to a whole new level. He has been the ultimate support, caretaker, friend, and the best daddy to our little one. I am thankful to have two loves at home to hug when some have had no one during those endless days of quarantine.

Blair and daughter Raleigh

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