I should be there.
I will be there.
I know it goes without saying, but this pandemic sucks! The massive health scare, communities becoming divided, the increase in depression and anxiety, the constantly changing rules and infringements on our rights has me more than a bit bleeped off. I realize my anger and frustration is no more justified than that of others, but right now I don’t care. This is about me and it is self-serving!
I’m about to become a grandmother in April 2021, my very first grandbaby is in the oven. I have dreamt of this since my daughter Savannah was in her teens. I have always wanted her to have a daughter one day, or as I always refer to it …a pay-back child. I would (devilishly) daydream about how my granddaughter (or grandson) would scream at her mom and tell her that she didn’t know anything or that she was ruining her/his life. (Hey, when I dream, I go big!) Then I would imagine what it would be like to drop in and rescue Savannah from her rebellious teenager. I would be the hero, my granddaughter/son wouldn’t yell at me, I would be her/his savior. We would drive off to grab an ice cream, or when she/he became a teenager we’d head to a concert. Because I am a cool glamma!
My daydreaming stints would often carry me into the delivery room of my grandchild, holding my daughter’s hand and guiding her through one of the most difficult, challenging—and yet beautiful–times in her life. I could visualize myself being the first to hold my little grandbaby nugget…okay fine, maybe the 3rd or 4th person. My mom was there for all three of my children’s births and let me just say that her presence alone convinced me that everything was always going to be okay. I desperately want to be that anchor and soothing presence for my own daughter. As recently as last week she said that it was the most important thing to her as well.
But I am worried. Her due date grows nearer and we are in the middle of what seems to be a never-ending pandemic. Savannah has to attend her doctors’ appointments mostly alone. Even Joshua, baby daddy, is not allowed into the ultrasound appointments. We just learned that barring any changes, she cannot have anyone in the labor room with her, and only Joshua can come in at the time of delivery.
Wait, what?! (Insert the sound my heart breaking into a billion pieces here)
You mean if I get a covid test and it is negative, and if I am fully-suited in NASA space gear (mask, gloves, robe and all) I STILL can’t be a part of this momentous occasion that will never ever happen again? Worse, you are telling us that my daughter will be ALONE while she is in pain, scared, and confused?!
No, sorry. I cannot-and will not–allow this to be the truth or the way of life when my grandbaby is born. My dilemma is that Savannah definitely wants an epidural, which means she must give birth in a hospital. Otherwise, the immediate and easy answer to my self-serving concerns is a home birth. (My daughter isn’t ready yet for this conversation, but I am a planner. I’m already looking into midwives and doulas locally, their ratings and reviews and availability.) I plan to have everything ready for Savannah to review once she can keep down more than one meal a day (month four and she is still a hot mess).
Frustrating me even more is the arbitrariness of the rules, which change from county to county, state to state. Do we wear masks or not? Can we open back up or not? Can we enter or must we stay out? I’m a data nut, and I am not finding a ton of scientific evidence to defend these restrictions other than “the virus is coming”.
Let me be clear, I know that there is a horrible virus killing millions, and I am not ignoring that or claiming it is a hoax. I am simply asking hospitals and doctors to reconsider rules based on community data, and to put permanent practices into place NOW if they will eventually become the new norm. Let’s have some continuity. For a start, swab testing for covid just hours before the baby is born to allow support teams in. Safety based on sound science and not on “what if” fears. I was so angered recently when I learned that the hair and nail salon closures in California were not based on scientific data, but on people “officials” voting behind closed doors based on their own opinions. Thousands of businesses forced to close permanently because of opinions, not data. This makes me sad and prompts me to take action in my own community. I have letters going out to the local hospitals. I want accountability, answers . . . and I want to see the data!
I’m going to be a grandma for the very first time and my one and only daughter is scared out of her mind about going through the birthing process alone. I always dream of better outcomes for mankind’s future, but now I need to not only dream it, but to help make it a reality. I need to make change happen for my little family unit. I know that we are all just a dot in this universe, but to me, my family’s moments and experiences on this planet are the main reason why I bother living another day. When disaster strikes or a scary event happens, communities come together. People are there for each other. What if a natural disaster, such as the wildfires, happens and people are prevented from offering support, healing, food, shelter?! Giving birth for the first time is super scary. It might not be as extreme a situation as a natural disaster, but it can feel like one when you are lying there on the table in the delivery room. Plus, it is a life-altering event that people should share. And if we can’t be there for one another, then what are we left with?