My husband and I found out that our family would be growing again right as the world was shutting down because of COVID-19.

We have always wanted at least two children, so despite all of the uncertainty in the spring, we were overjoyed.

The pandemic meant that this pregnancy would automatically be different than what we experienced two years ago with our son. Two years ago, neither of us would have ever dreamed we’d be wearing face masks every time we go into the doctor’s office. We never would have imagined visitor restrictions during my delivery stay at the hospital.

But here we are, and all of it is very, very real.

Nevertheless, it has also been a complete blessing, and our daughter is the positive spot, the light in an otherwise tumultuous world.

Announcements and Appointments

Social media has been of huge importance this entire pregnancy, as we used Facebook to tell the majority of the family about our little one coming because we couldn't drive to their homes and safely tell them in person, especially our grandparents. We didn't want to risk potentially exposing them as we have both been essential workers and our toddler has been at daycare, when its open, during all of this. 

We let him announce that he was going to be a big brother with custom made shirts from my friend Kelsey. He also got to announce, with a pink popsicle, that he was going to have a little sister to love and protect. 

We have been fortunate that my husband was able to attend, in person, at the most important appointment and ultrasound we have had.

He got to be there to find out that we are indeed having a little girl. I know women that have not been so lucky. Their spouses have had to find out over the phone or video chat.

I have done most of them by myself, though, because I don’t feel we both need to be there for a quick belly measurement, doppler listen and blood pressure check. He has gone for one regular appointment, but for the most part I just call him after it’s over and fill him in on how my doctor and midwife feel the baby and I are doing.

Birth Plan

Unlike with our first, my birth planner appointments this time have had to take place by phone instead of in her office because of hospital visitor restrictions.

Thankfully, after a four-day stay with my son, I am already familiar with the maternity floor at Cameron, which is where we plan to have this baby as well, and I know the staff are top notch so I’m not worried about seeing the unit or meeting some of the nurses ahead of time.

Much like my first pregnancy, our ultimate birth plan is just a healthy baby at the end and otherwise going with the flow.

This time will be a little different, though, because instead of waiting to go into labor, I will be having a repeat c-section that is scheduled for December 21. So yes, our baby girl will be a Christmas baby.

In my first meeting with the birth planner by phone, I told her my plan is to just roll with it and make sure my daughter is healthy. I don’t have any hard and fast rules, other than I want to have plenty of time to hold my daughter once in recovery from the surgery and I want my husband to be there.

Which, as of now, he can be. We were told he will be able to be in the room with me during the procedure so he will still be able to see our daughter be born.

No Visitors

Unlike with our first, we won’t be able to have any visitors in the hospital this time once baby girl is born.

With our son, we had a steady stream of family and friends into my room to meet him over our stay and while it was nice to get to show him off, I am looking forward to the peace and quiet of a couple of days just the three of us and hospital staff.

The part that makes me sad, though, is that my toddler can’t come to the hospital to meet his little sister. He’s starting to grasp that sissy is coming soon. He will point at my stomach and ask for “sissy” now and then and he absolutely loves carrying around a stuffed llama we bought for her and he will tell you “this sissy’s” in his cute 2-year old voice.

We will be taking my laptop with us to the hospital to Skype with him so he can at least see us and his sister on video while he stays with my parents. It won’t be easy, but we’re hoping its only for a couple of days and then we’re back together as a family of four.

Once we get home, which should be by Christmas Eve if all goes well, we’re planning to limit visitors there as well for her safety and mine. We won’t be attending family gatherings for Christmas, as much as we’d like to, to limit exposure to people until her immune system is stronger.

Preparing

Preparing to become a family of four and a mother of two has been a challenge all in itself.

With our firstborn, we were comfortable having not just one but two large baby showers where family and friends were able to gather to eat and celebrate.

With the pandemic, that couldn’t happen this time, though we did hold a much smaller shower that was socially distanced and everyone wore face masks. A few family members of mine and two friends, for a total of eight people gathered because I am a believer in celebrating every child. We just had to celebrate a little bit differently this time.

We’ve also had to quickly clean out our guest bedroom to turn it into a nursery. We’ve lived in our home since the beginning of the year, and it was a combination of guest room and storage room with boring, white walls.

The walls will very soon be done, being painted purple and grey, and then it’ll be time to move her furniture into place.

Before we can do that, though, we have to get our son transitioned from the crib to a twin bed because rather than buy another crib, we are reusing the one he has slept in for two years.

We’re washing clothes as they come to us and getting them hung in her closet by size that way, when we need to change sizes everything is organized and ready to go.

We’re also washing our bouncer, infant swing, bassinet mattress and sheets to make sure everything is ready to go and as clean as can be for her arrival.

Excitement grows daily

As my c-section date gets closer and my last few appointments with my doctor come up, the excitement for her arrival grows, pandemic or not.

I know delivering in a pandemic will be far from normal. We will have to have masks on when staff are in the hospital room, most likely, and any time either of us is outside it for any length of time.

Knowing our son won’t be with us to meet his sister will be hard, and I know that, but having them meet at home will be so sweet and we are so excited to see him morph into being a big brother.

Every movement, every doppler sound at the doctor makes us even more excited to see our little girl.

We have just under a month to go, and I know the excitement will continue to grow until she is in our arms, our little Abigail Jeanette Hoos.

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