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Kelly on having to go to prenatal appointments alone because of Covid-19 restrictions

family selfie with mom, dad and toddler son sitting on the couch - essay on pregnancy during Covid-19

Content warning: Discussion of postpartum depression, birth trauma, domestic abuse or other tough topics ahead. If you or someone you know is struggling with a postpartum mental health challenge, including postpartum depression or anxiety, call 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (tel:18009435746)—The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline This free, confidential service provides access to trained counselors and resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English, Spanish, and more than 60 other languages. They can offer support and information related to before, during, and after pregnancy.

My Covid-19 pregnancy journey has definitely not been an easy one. A little back story on my growing family—my husband and I had our daughter in 2017 and she was very unexpectedly diagnosed with two CHD’s at two weeks old and had open heart surgery right away.

Fast forward to February 2020 and we learned we were expecting again! We were excited and worried about all of the possibilities with this baby. We knew we would be monitored a bit more given what happened with our daughter. I was very ill from the start and it was ROUGH to say the least, with being quarantined with my daughter when everything had been shut down here mid March.

We had our anatomy scan and appointment with the genetic counselor which I had to go to alone and we were told the baby was healthy and a boy! Once I got home we celebrated and cried happy tears.

Related: This viral post explains how pregnant women everywhere feel right now

I told everyone over the phone and on video calls that the baby was perfect and we had something amazing come out of this crazy time. The genetic counselor ordered a fetal echo to err on the side of caution and it was scheduled for five weeks after my anatomy scan.

I again had to go to this appointment alone, which didn’t seem like a big deal because baby was healthy, right? After the echo was completed I was shown back to the waiting room to wait for the cardiologist to consult me on the results—standard procedure.

I got called back into the room where the echo was done and he took a few more pictures and videos. This is when I knew. He handed me a towel to wipe my tummy off and said, “Let’s go to another room. I have a diagram of the heart to show you.”

Related: Could at-home ultrasounds soon be part of prenatal care?

All alone I braved the short walk to that room and that’s where he showed me the two defects baby boy had and a potential two additional ones. I was utterly shattered.

After he was finished talking and I could go, I walked very quickly out of the hospital and to my car. As soon as I sat in my seat and began dialing my husband’s phone number, who thankfully was home with our two-year old, I sobbed—trying to explain everything that just happened as I’m still processing it and sitting in the parking lot alone.

Related: We found out about our baby’s heart defect when I was 20 weeks pregnant

I drove home trying to hold back tears as I attempted to understand what happened, feeling sorry for myself. “Why is it this happening again? We just got over all of the trauma with our daughter. Why did I have to receive this type of news by myself?”

I have continued to have to isolate and process hard conversations over the phone with multiple doctors I have never met. It’s not their fault, but I’m still processing and wish there was someone or something more than a virus to blame. It’s difficult finding these things out with support, but alone, it’s on another level. I whole heartedly sympathize with others receiving news like this and worse during this time. Pregnancy during Covid-19 is like a cruel cosmic joke.