We made it. We got through our first month with Charlotte smoothly, despite the fear. I won’t lie, I must’ve rolled over a hundred times a night to check her breathing monitor “just to be safe” the first week she was home. In reality, I still do that. She can be downstairs with Richard, but I still have to have the monitor running to my phone in order to sleep. It is just something that is part of our life now. I honestly can’t believe the first month has passed. It was a month full of love, snuggles, and joy.
Charlotte started to heal parts of me that I didn’t believe would ever be fixed. When you become a mom, you hold your heart in your arms. So for me, when we lost Addison, a piece of me went with her. And the rest got locked away, it’s shattered remnants stuffed into storage never to be seen again. It was the only way for me to survive. It amazes me each day I spend with her, to feel the love in my heart grow beyond what I believed possible. And that love, those smiles – they are worth every ounce of anxiety I feel. Without fear, there is no risk in love.
And then it began: COVID-19
We watched. As a world, we stood by as this virus began to take hold in China. I think, as a society, we exist in this feeling of invincibility sometimes. We never imagined it would take hold on our shores. China is far away after all.
We had a limited amount of visitors to our house to begin with. Cold and flu season is upon us, and can be incredibly dangerous for a newborn. So for us, amping up the restrictions was not a far step. I watched as this virus began to appear in other countries. I tried to stem my anxiety, avoided researching too much about it, knowing I would quickly spiral into obsession if I wasn’t careful. But I continued to follow the developments as they came through. By the time Italy went on quarantine, we had minimized all visitors to our house. Fortunately, Richard works in a field that doesn’t have him interacting with many people, so our risk of having germs come into the house was low. And then it landed on our shores.
This is a time of great uncertainty. No one knows what’s going to happen day to day. Tensions are high, and the access to media is both a blessing and a curse. I raged at individuals sharing misinformation. People posting things about it being a “conspiracy” or a “hoax”. Statuses and posts saying that everyone is overreacting, and that it’s just a flu. I couldn’t believe the ignorance of people. I couldn’t understand how quickly they discounted the facts – ignored the situations unfolding in places like Italy, and Spain. I didn’t understand the selfishness being exhibited, how these individuals didn’t understand the major risks it posed for vulnerable people.
Before this outbreak, people were respectful of our “rules” when it came to visiting, but still expressed that perhaps they were a bit “over the top”. I have thick skin – I can take the criticism, because it was never about them. It’s about Charlotte. It always will be. We’ve been officially “quarantined” for 10days now. Protecting Charlotte is our top priority. I refuse to allow anything to happen to her. Raising a rainbow means understanding the fragility of life, and the lengths you must go to protect it.
There’s a part of me that knew the “other shoe would drop”. A piece of me, deeply rooted in my anxiety, is always waiting for the worst to happen – because that’s what I am “trained” to expect. However, a global pandemic when Charlotte is one month old is even bigger than my anxiety could have cooked up. Having someone vulnerable in your family makes these frightening times personal. At this point, there is nothing we can do but wait. We follow the instructions laid out for us by public health, and the government. We watch ALOT of Netflix. We video chat with friends and family. We stress clean – often. Last week, I pulled our stove out, and scrubbed all the baseboards in the kitchen. By the end of this, our house will be sparkling.
The optimist in me wants to say that “This too shall pass”. I would love to believe that 2 weeks of quarantine will allow us to fix the issue. But I have a solid understanding of our situation. The realist in me won’t lie to myself and say that everything is going to be fine and that this 2 weeks will work. Social distancing WILL stop the spreading, but our time in social isolation is going to be longer than people think. Things will get worse before they can get better. We have the advantage of learning from the mistakes of other countries, so we can be better prepared. We have been sent to our rooms by Mother Nature, to think about what we have done. Recently my “motto” in life has been “seems right”. So as the world battles this global pandemic, the selfish part of me looks around at our new life with Charlotte, shrugs my shoulders and says hmmm… “seems right”.
My advice to everyone in this time: Take pictures. Take pictures of the people you love. Write. Let your kids write. Call your friends and loved ones often. Making connections online. Do what you can. It is okay to be afraid – it is a scary time to be alive. History will remember this time – we are living in a time that will be recorded in history books. Create something that can be your personal experience of this time, that you will show to your loved ones when you’re older, to explain this period of time. But above all else, be kind. Humanity needs love and hope more than anything now.
Stay safe friends. Social distancing will save lives. Hugs and positive, healthy vibes to all.
My heart, and my extreme thanks goes out to all the individuals on the frontlines of this pandemic. I am so thankful for the work being done by our doctors, and nurses who are currently working to increase our ICU capacity in local hospitals, and are running towards this, while everyone else is stepping back. My heart goes out to the PSW’s working to help those most vulnerable, to keep them calm, healthy, and safe. My heart goes to those working as truck drivers and store clerks, helping to keep essential goods available. You, the helpers, I thank you for your service. Make no doubt: this is a war, and our frontline workers are our soldiers. ❤️