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  • Writer's pictureKatie Hallum

A Letter to My Pandemic Baby

One year ago, we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our second child. We were in the midst of a global pandemic, racial tensions were at a fever pitch and we had no idea what kind of world we were welcoming this child into. I wrote these words (and many others) to my unborn child...

MAY 30 - JUNE 12, 2020

I don't know your name yet. I don't even know if you are a boy or a girl yet. But as I lay here in bed feeling you kick, I am already so in love with you. We can't wait to meet you, get to know you, learn about you, snuggle you, nurse you, introduce you to your big sister and all of your family.

This has been a challenging season. We would not have chosen this timing for you. But we trust in God's timing and he has a plan for all of this.

Last summer, your dad and I decided we wanted another baby. God gave us you very quickly and we were so thrilled to tell your aunties and uncles and grandparents. Shortly after, we decided that we would keep you a secret - it would be the biggest surprise of our lives to wait to find out who you are on the day you are born.

The new year started and we were ready for a hectic and busy spring before you arrived.

And then everything changed...

In early March, our government became concerned with a new virus, a coronavirus called Covid-19. At first, it seemed like not a big deal - something that would blow over. My job suddenly disappeared as all of our clients cancelled their trips and festivals. It was a super scary realization. We worked tirelessly to process refunds and reassure our clients. School was up in the air for your dad and Disney was closely watching this situation.

On March 14, your dad and I decided to go on preemptive self-quarantine to stay safe and healthy. I didn't go back to my office. Disney closed that weekend and the school followed shortly after. The following week, the entire state of California was on stay at home orders. It was an unprecedented move and we knew we were experiencing something unique in history. All while pregnant with you and anticipating your arrival.

We have been on quarantine now since March 14 - 91 days and counting. The 2 weeks we anticipated quickly changed into indefinite orders. The state has now slowly started to open - we are in stage 2 of a 4 phase process, trying to move forward into stage 3. Because we are waiting for you to arrive, we have decided to continue quarantining to protect our family of 4.

Life has been difficult and beautiful all at once. We have had so much quality time together and have loved watching your big sister grow and learn and change. It's been a blessing to have so much time with her before you arrive. We have developed some cool traditions - church at home on Sundays, kid's yoga almost daily, walks around our neighborhood. We also have tried new things - 2 campouts in the backyard, making smores and homemade ice cream, bowling in the garage, a bubble machine.

Our country is now rioting for the lost life of an African American man named George Floyd. Many others have gone before him, inhumanely treated and murdered unjustly just for the color of their skin. The news is horrible and my hope and prayer for you little love is that we can build a better world for you - and you and your sister and your friends will do a better job of loving and respecting and honoring human life than any generation before you.

We have seen curfews in place the first 3 nights of June to avoid looting and rioting.

Thankfully so far all the protests within blocks of our home have been peaceful. But laying awake at night listening to the police helicopters with our doors and windows tightly shut has not been a reassuring experience. We are trusting in God's timing but the world is in chaos right now.

Your great grandmother, Charlotte Devine, died yesterday, June 2. She battled dementia for many years. Your big sister Abbie got to meet her in the summer of 2018. She didn't know who we were but she was smitten with your sister. I am grateful I have pictures of the 4 generations.

We also lost my great-aunt Merdie and your dad's Uncle Barry last month. Our family is not big so losing 3 people in a matter of weeks has been quite overwhelming. Your grandpa had to make the tough choice not to participate in person at his brother's military service in order to protect himself, Nana and Uncle Drew so they can come meet you.

I was able to keep working for my job until the beginning of May and then I went on early maternity leave. It was hard for me to stop working as I love my job. Dad thankfully continued working for the Brea school district doing remote learning. He has worked so hard these last 3 months to supply awesome lessons and support to his over 350 students. He had them create solos for a virtual concert and had over 100 submissions! Mama is very proud of him.

We've been surviving on instacart grocery deliveries and Walmart parking lot pick up. We did some take out throughout March and April but stopped doing that in May to be hyper-vigilant to protect you. Our biggest concern is both mama and daddy being at your birth. Hospital policies have shifted and adjusted so much through this whole pandemic and it's been a cause of anxiety and forced us to be flexible.

Your dad has not been able to go to any of my Dr appts since March. I am so thankful we took your sister to our early appts because she was so excited and loved hearing your "heart beep."

At one point, mamas were being forced to deliver babies all alone. Thankfully this did not last long.

About 2 weeks ago, I was told that if I need an emergency c-section, dad will not be allowed. Thankfully, it appears that that policy has since been reversed. I will have to have a covid-19 rapid test upon entry at labor and delivery. Your dad will have to drop me off at the front door of the hospital and I will have to go to triage by myself. Dad won't be allowed in until after my test comes back negative. I am very anxious about this. My plan was to labor at home with you as long as possible but now we plan to go to the hospital earlier so I can hopefully get checked in and tested before really hard labor starts. Our birth plan has been altered so much just by these few variations of care. Most days I am at peace about it all but I have cried a lot about this not being what I hoped or planned for you or us.

Your due date of June 7 came and went with no sign of you. I am legitimately surprised as your sister was early. I visited the Dr on June 11 and you are doing well inside me still. Unfortunately, this new OB was extremely abrasive and pushy - I did not care for him at all and he treated me like a small child. I left very upset and unsure what to do moving forward. After sleeping on it and praying about it, we've decided to move forward with an induction tomorrow, June 13 at 8 am. We went to the drive thru covid clinic today for my test (wasn't as terrible as people say!) and I should be ready to be admitted in the morning. So unless you decide to come tonight [EDITED TO ADD - HE DID!], we should meet you sometime tomorrow with the help of the Kaiser doctors.

We can't wait to meet you. This has been such a strange season - so much anxiety yet so many small and large joys - mainly your sister and you! We love you so much little one and are thrilled we finally get to discover who you are tomorrow!

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