Crisis baby

Steph’s water broke on Sunday, right after lunch, and with it she unleashed a river of sobs. So much tension, so much anxiety, just came gushing out. I felt it, too. We’d been sitting, waiting for the date of the scheduled c-section to come, watching helplessly as the Coronavirus situation got worse and worse, knowing that every passing day brought greater danger. We were constantly telling ourselves how relieved we’d be when we finally got baby brother back home, safe in the bassinet we’d set up for him in the nook attached to our bedroom. The water broke and those tears rushed in 48 hours ahead of the planned delivery. One thought was: “The earlier, the better.” Another was, “Shit. What might go wrong now?” For the next few hours, it was another layer of anxiety.

Baby brother is home now. Safe with us. He came out healthy and pissing. Seven pounds, seven ounces. A remarkably straightforward birth, followed by a fast recovery. Steph has been amazing. She is strong, resilient. It’s like those tears fortified her. She’s at home walking around like she doesn’t have a hole in her stomach. 

It feels like a little defiance to have this child now, to feel such love and euphoria with his arrival. It is sweet distraction. Defiance and just a little guilt. We do feel like we’ve persevered through a trying experience. But what we’ve done is nothing compared to the nurses and doctors who delivered this baby, who go every day to a hospital that is desperate for more gloves and face masks, and where people are going in increasing numbers for intubation. Simply by doing their jobs, those nurses and doctors will be exposed to a deadly virus, which they can pass on to their loved ones no matter how hard they try not to. Steph’s bedroom for two nights was the floor below the Covid ward. We had more luck than the doctors and nurses. We could leave.

We are incredibly lucky. We’ve been given a gift in the middle of a pandemic; a little warm spot in a global catastrophe. We face some minor hardships: we have to do this without the support of grandparents, whose travel plans have been canceled. Daycare for older brother has been shut down. We can’t go to the playgrounds or meet with friends. The weeks ahead will be confined to our small house. But we will be fine. It’s reason to hunker down and focus on the basics: love, shelter, sustenance, support, and hope. We will get through this.