Pregnancy during COVID 19 is not for the faint of heart….

A grandmother. I soon will become a grandmother. The word sounds like it shouldn’t be applicable to me but instead to another generation. An older woman, but I am up! My turn. Wow, how did I arrive here? A half century of living plus would explain it I suppose. In actuality the title grandmother fits like a glove. I am simply ecstatic. Over the moon happy in fact. 

What name will this new little person in our small family call me? Gram? Gran? Grandmini?  A nickname already being floated around by my family.  My daughter lovingly has called me Mini since her college days as I am petite. We shall see. I am certain this first grandchild will find just the right name to call me and it will be as perfectly unique as our relationship. I just can’t wait. 

My daughter is due to deliver their baby in just a brief number of weeks. How is it my beautiful baby girl is going to have a baby? The stars have aligned. A magical reality. A baby girl. The announcement of her pregnancy arrived just before we all abruptly became ensconced in our homes due to the coronavirus. I have only been able to safely physically see her just a number of times during her pregnancy due to the pandemic. Normally I would be buzzing back and forth from Vermont to her home in Massachusetts via Route 89 as often as she would have me but not now in this very uncertain time. We have made the most of our daily texts, emails and chatting on the phone as we have shared thoughts, plans and some gleeful giggles around the new baby. Some days many days the conversation has spanned numerous topics from babies, nurseries, diaper services, her many friends that are also having babies, running always seems to seep in at some point, to the virus and at our lowest moments the administration. We prefer to stay on happy and hopeful topics while we enjoy each other’s conversation and excitement over the new baby. Our new baby girl.

Pregnancy during a plague? A first pregnancy during COVID-19?  An incredibly uncertain time shrouded with unimaginable worry and concern. Nothing is simple right now including prenatal care. My daughter’s inherent strength has always served her well but now it has become an integral survival tool. Protective instincts have had to be at the forefront of every thought and decision around daily living. My son-in-law is a physician assistant in Boston Hospitals so navigating COVID safely has increased the ante exponentially. No rest for the weary. No letting down of one’s guard. 

Virtual prenatal appointments have been a must. Not ideal but a must. Ironically my daughter’s safety and the baby’s well-being are best accomplished by remaining socially distant from healthcare. I took for granted how reassuring obstetric appointments were for me many years ago, but she didn’t have that reassurance which now feels like a “luxury.” My daughter’s husband a health care provider was like many others unable to join her for her prenatal ultrasounds. A handwritten note by the technician indicating gender would have to do. No immediate ultrasound gratification shared by soon to be first time parents. Instead the note would be sealed, brought home where in the comfort of their safe surroundings they would quietly share the much-anticipated new. A homemade Zoom gender reveal announcement was creatively done. My daughter and son-in- law employed their first “child” their beloved Brittany Spaniel to help with the reveal. In her eager search for a dog treat that was specifically arranged in a pink or blue option a “it’s a girl” response was shared. Nothing I can imagine would have meant more…. Magic.

We are all counting the number of days right now. The number of days until school starts, if school starts, the number of days until we have a coronavirus vaccine, the number of days until the election and in my family the number of days until this baby girl is born. New life. Renewal…

They are going to be amazing parents as they have already shown incredible parenting skills. In my quiet studio in my cherished Vermont home I think about the many moments they will have together as parents and as a family. One of my favorite moments will be the simple gesture and response by their newborn as her searching tiny fingers instinctively wrap around her parent’s finger. The delicacy of the moment is profound. A simple expression of trust and connection.  Parental hands represent strength and assurance. They sooth and heal. 

The power of touch. We are all missing that human connection right now and how I long for the feel of my child’s hand in mine.  A love like no other…

“Making the decision to have a child it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.”      

Elizabeth Stone

Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

2 thoughts

  1. We just had our first about a month ago. The whole fifth floor of the hospital had been dedicated to Covid; meanwhile, on the second floor in the maternity ward, we were more or less locked in–no visitors or anything–but we were so focused on the little newcomer that we almost forgot about covid. Quite the dichotomy. Hope all goes well with your family’s newcomer.

    1. Congratulations!!! So glad all went well and you were able to enjoy the time with your new baby…wonderful! Thank you for your comment and well wishes…I cannot wait to meet the new baby!

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