Pregnancy During a Pandemic: Alissa’s Story
Lately, It seems that most people will admit to "having it tough" when it comes to surviving the coronavirus pandemic.
Trust me, I get it, there's no path that leads down an easy road these days.
Our first responders have their backs against the wall with constant calls, our healthcare workers are tired and risking more than just their lives on the front lines, and hundreds of thousands of Americans are jobless.
My question today is this: has anybody stopped to think about the women in the world who are currently going through pregnancy?
Originally from the town of Assonet, a local by the name of Alissa Travers is currently going through her second pregnancy. She and her husband Matthew currently reside in Warren, Rhode Island, and are expecting their second boy within the next couple of weeks and together are equally frightened by the COVID-19 virus.
Every time Travers has to go into a doctor's office, she is alone, since her husband isn't allowed in the facility. They take her temperature and she has to wear a mask. Recently they had a scare, as the baby's heartbeat wasn't present so they sent her to Women and Infants. This was the last time her husband was able to accompany her for a visit to the hospital.
"It's really scary," Travers said, "I'm trying to stay healthy, I'm trying to keep my three-year-old healthy, my husband is an essential worker and of course I'm 35 weeks pregnant now and my neighbor downstairs just tested positive for COVID. I cannot get this virus, or my husband or my son, because I do not want to deliver this baby alone and if you test positive, they take your baby for 14 days."
Fear-hoarding of essential items such as formula, diapers, and even toilet paper has been a stressful concern to many who are currently carrying, wondering what the future holds for their baby once it enters the world.
"It's really difficult because it's hard to prep for wipes and diapers, everyone is panic buying," Travers said. "The unknown is what's killing us the most, especially since we're under quarantine for 14 days, per my doctor, for precaution."
The thought of delivering a baby alone has been stressing out Travers, especially with the possibility of complications.
"There are so many women out there that will tell you the same thing: you can't have your significant other with you during appointments," Travers said. "Not at ultrasounds, checkups, typical things you take for granted every day. Suddenly you're alone. I was alone on my way to Women and Infants in the ambulance when we thought our baby didn't have a heartbeat. I was alone in triage. I've never been more scared than I was at that moment."
Judgemental voices have been battering Travers concerning her choice of carrying during these dire times.
"For me, it is really important to stress to other people that we did not get pregnant during the pandemic. We weren't careless; we planned this baby well before the coronavirus outbreak," Travers said. "They’re pushing for women to have C-sections because they can be controlled and scheduled. Yes, Matthew is allowed with me, but we will both be tested prior to admission."
The spread of the virus is affecting everyone, including those who have not contracted COVID-19, leaving both personal health and financial concerns.
"We live in a two-tenement and the single woman downstairs tested positive Tuesday, so we are now quarantined," Travers said. "We share a hallway to go to the driveway. If my husband or I test positive, I am alone for this birth. My son will be without both parents for the first time ever during this and cannot meet his brother until we come home. No visitors. My husband cannot leave and re-enter the hospital. Once we are there, we’re there. Can you imagine how much parking will cost for three days in the hospital? Five if I have a C-section."
Due to a health complication, Travers is stuck between a rock and a hard place, trying her best to put her baby first while balancing her own physical health.
"I have to get IV fluids twice a week at the doctor's office because I have hyperemesis," Travers said. "My body can’t handle the hormones and I'm projectile vomiting due to the fact that I have no adequate nutrition. It sucks. It’s either starve and lose the baby or risk picking up the virus in the office."
There's no doubt about it, women around the world who are currently battling an illness or who are expecting during this pandemic have not exactly had it easy lately. We are all going through something and yes, the stress factor has been high up on the charts. We'll only be able to get through it by working together to be as healthy as we can be. After all, it's an unknown and scary world we're living in, so be kind to one another.
"Unfortunately, it’s reality. My reality. And the reality for so many women." -Alissa Travers