“Whoa! You really know how to up the ante, huh?” My friend isn’t wrong. I am already a high-risk pregnancy patient, between a clotting disorder that requires daily blood thinner injections, a history of preterm labor with neonatal demise at 23w, a preemie at almost 35w, and gestational diabetes. Who in their right mind would add a global pandemic to their already precarious prenatal situation? In my defense, when we conceived, COVID-19 was not making headlines and we had had two preconception consultations with my maternal fetal medicine doctor. We knew exactly what we were signing up for – blood thinners starting at 6 weeks, ultrasounds at 6, 8, and 12 weeks, preventative cerclage between 13-15 weeks, likely biweekly ultrasounds to check cervical length until 24 weeks, and weekly progesterone injections. All of that I was prepared to handle. But then, COVID-19 came in like a wrecking ball and completely changed my plan.
Anything that seemed straightforward before is no more. When I walked in for my 12 week ultrasound, I was told my husband had to wait outside. Going in for my cerclage surgery, I was told they would prefer if my husband stayed home until I got into phase II recovery. This was after two weeks of fretting that my surgery would get canceled altogether because while it is not elective, it was preventative.
While logically I know that our current global crisis requires an entire community response, it is so hard to prioritize the needs of the many over my needs and the needs of this little being kicking around inside me. I have to keep finding new pockets of strength I never knew I had to weather each change in my prenatal routine. What I took for granted before I now realize just how lucky I was that I only had to worry about myself.
I am now preparing mentally for a delivery room situation that will not include my husband. My husband who supported me through the preterm birth and loss of our first child, and who helped me push through all my fears when bringing our second baby into this world. Who has seen me at my weakest moments, picked me up, and held me close. But if there is one benefit to being a loss mom and a high risk pregnancy patient – I have learned how to advocate for myself. I have gained the confidence to navigate the system because I know that my child’s life is at stake if I do not speak up and speak out when I think something is wrong. My motto after two high risk pregnancies is “I don’t trust my body, I know my body.” This time around, I have to trust that that knowledge and experience will carry me through again no matter what comes my way.