Pregnant And Worried During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Pregnant And Worried During The COVID-19 Pandemic
NPR's Rachel Martin talks to expectant couple Mikella Hurley and her husband Simon Schropp about how during the coronavirus crisis they won't be together during the birth of their daughter.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
The pandemic has changed so much in our lives, and in a lot of cases, it has forced us to release our expectations about plans that we had because the plan now is to just stay home and stay healthy. But you can't reschedule having a baby, and the hundreds of thousands of couples around the country about to have children are trying to figure out how to release those expectations and manage new anxieties.
MIKELLA HURLEY: I've been unprepared, I think, for the lows and the moments of probably pretty unproductive panic. But I think, luckily, we're having those moments at different times. And so when I panic, Simon can tell me to snap out of it, and when he does, I can say the same. So it's an odd time. And nothing that we expected to happen in this process is what's actually happening.
MARTIN: This is Mikella Hurley. She goes by Mikey. And she and her husband Simon Schropp live in Washington, D.C., and they have been friends of mine for many years. Mikey is having a C-section tomorrow. And like so many couples right now, there's a lot about the delivery of their baby that is not going to go the way they thought it would.
HURLEY: The big thing is we expected to have our moms here. And so I'm giving birth via C-section; I have to, medically. And so that's always been very clear. But we were looking forward to having our mothers here. And my mom is in Wisconsin, and Simon's mom is in Munich. And they were, of course, both very, very excited because they've been - you know, since we've been trying for such a long time, they've been anxious for us to have a baby.
And so I think that was the main thing, honestly, that we expected and, you know, to have family here. We've got lots of friends in the neighborhood, and everyone was excited to come over and to bring us food. And I think we expected a lot of people around to meet our baby.
MARTIN: Beyond that, you expected Simon to be able to be in the delivery room.
HURLEY: Right (laughter). Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, and so we just learned that that wouldn't be possible as of this week. And I know that the hospital is really, you know, having to make decisions minute by minute to protect people, and that's the right thing. We'll get through it. I would rather have him holding my hand because it's scary. But hopefully, as it stands now, he'll be able to be there when I come out of the delivery, and he'll get to meet his daughter.
SIMON SCHROPP: Probably like all parents, I personally feel woefully underprepared. But what exacerbated our situation is that we couldn't take any of the classes that, you know, first-time parents typically take.
SCHROPP: We haven't even been able to visit the hospital and the maternity ward. I sort of barely know what the word swaddling means at this point in time. You know, I don't want to complain, and I'm sure there's YouTube videos on that, but that kind of exacerbated it.
MARTIN: Well, yeah, because those classes help you just get comfortable because it is - it's a crazy thing, and it's - there's a lot of anxiety around it.
HURLEY: We, luckily, have lots of good friends, thought are, like - that have said, let's get on FaceTime...
HURLEY: ...And we'll - you know, it's not the same as coming over and helping you, but we'll be able to get you through this. So that's been wonderful.
SCHROPP: I always thought that having a C-section would be the - my biggest concern. But now, quite frankly, the thing that gives me most concern is, for some reason, Mikey has to go for a blood draw, and I really don't want Mikey to go - having to go to a hospital because of the exposure there.
MARTIN: Right. Mikey, are you worried about that? What have your providers told you to kind of ease those concerns?
HURLEY: In one of my moments of panic (laughter), we called and said, is this really necessary? And what they've done is they've - they're going to make some accommodations to really minimize risk to me. And I think that's how I'm choosing to think about it right now, is that they're really doing everything they can, and I really admire all of the people who are working in health care to keep not just COVID patients safe but everyone else who has a need to come in. And so we'll be OK. I'm not too worried.
MARTIN: Simon, where are you going to be? Like, during the C-section, are you just going to be in a waiting room? Can you be in a waiting room?
SCHROPP: That is the $64,000 question...
SCHROPP: ...To which I, at this point, have no answer.
SCHROPP: I cannot tell you at this point in time, A, where I'm going to be, whether I can stay. I think we're both going to pack our little suitcase and whether we're going to stay for two days or for four days, given that it's a C-section, and whether it's going to be both of us or one of us - I think we have to go with the flow and just trust in the professional assessment of health care workers.
MARTIN: I mean, there is always a lot of focus on the woman in these situations and what the mother has, intentionally or not, kind of mapped out for what this day looks like and the experience.
MARTIN: But, Simon, I just - how are you? Are you disappointed that this is going to be a different experience than you thought?
SCHROPP: I'm - at this point in time, nothing shocks me anymore, and we're living in such a such a bizarre world right now. So yes, in a way I'm a little bit disappointed. But at the same time, if we come out of this safe and not infected and we don't infect anyone in case we have the virus, which I don't think we have, but that's - essentially, that's my biggest concern, and that's everything I want right now.
MARTIN: Mikey, anything else you want to add?
HURLEY: Well, I mean, I - this morning, I was reflecting on not just, you know, disappointment for the fact that things that we envisioned aren't going to happen but new things that we didn't anticipate that are really good. And for instance, one of our dear, dear friends this morning (laughter) biked over to our place and slid homemade masks that he had sewn himself 'cause we don't - neither of us know how to sew...
HURLEY: ...Slid them through the mail slot. And that's - you know, that's something that when - you know, when we look back on this, we're going to be able to tell our daughter that, you know, Uncle Tony (ph) was worried about keeping her and us safe. And so I think my plan, if I can execute on it, is just to try to stay focused on the now and let the good things come with the bad and work on it that way.
MARTIN: Mikella Hurley and Simon Schropp - they are expecting their first baby in just a matter of days. I'm sending you guys all of my love and all my best wishes, and we will talk to you on the other side.
HURLEY: Thank you. Thank you so much, Rachel.
SCHROPP: Thanks, Rachel.
(SOUNDBITE OF EPIGRAM'S "THE STRANGERS WE ARE BECOMING")
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