When my friend snapped this photo weeks ago, I never imagined the story it would carry with it.
That was when I was Covid negative.
Today, I am Covid positive.
My baby’s due date is tomorrow - July 4th, my favorite holiday. It’s a holiday that for me always meant family, celebrations, good food and good music. Now, I sit isolated to my bedroom - just my unborn baby and me, and a virus that has taken over my every move and thought this past week.
Last Sunday, I started to feel tired. But, being 39 weeks pregnant, I didn’t think anything out of the ordinary. I spent the day watching my twin toddlers play in our backyard, splashing in the inflatable pool gifted to us by a family friend. I couldn’t fall asleep that night. My mind was racing - ‘Will my daughter come this week?’... ‘Will this delivery be harder than the last?’... ‘Did I pack enough in the hospital bag?’
On Monday, I woke up and felt extra weak. But, again, I equated that to end of pregnancy symptoms. By Monday afternoon, I spiked a fever and was experiencing aches and chills, plus an intense sore throat. I called my OBGYN and told them I had a fever of 100.4.
‘Is this normal?’ They told me to go in for a Covid test. My immediate reaction was - there is NO WAY I have Covid. I have been almost entirely house bound. Aside from doctor’s appointments and a few outdoor activities wearing a mask, how could I possibly have Covid? But, I of course listened, and headed into the hospital.
We went in for what I thought would be a quick in and out test. That didn’t happen. The nose swab rapid results test revealed my worst fear - I was fighting the virus that has brought our entire world to its knees.
When the hospital nurses told me, I sobbed. I felt immediate fear that turned into embarrassment that turned into panic. My chest felt tight from the anxiety of it all. This was the WORST TIMING. I was just days from my due date...how does this happen? The reality is, I will never know how I contracted it. Was I careful? YES. Did I wear a mask? YES. Did I bring hand sanitizer with me everywhere I went and use it religiously? YES. Did I purposefully avoid social gatherings? YES.
But here is what I didn’t realize: I could have been around someone who is a silent carrier who doesn’t even realize they are. I have spent almost every minute of every day beating myself up, ashamed that I wasn’t more careful. But, I have learned that mentally I need to let it go and realize that this is my reality and I need to remain positive to fight back. It hasn’t been easy, mentally, getting to this point.
So, where does my birth journey go from here? I need prayers - many, many prayers.
Ideally, my sweet girl is better in than out. If she arrives a week late, that is 7 more days of internal protection and 7 more days for me to continue fighting and possibly test negative. If she arrives in the next few days, I may not have my husband at my side in the delivery room. This being our last pregnancy, I am beyond devastated at the thought of him just dropping me to the front of the hospital to the care of the medical professionals, who have vowed to be by my side as much as they can be.
The thought of being surrounded by delivery nurses in full garb without my -1 support...my heart aches.
So, I am asking you to please pray and send positive vibes for my body to hold her in for as long as possible. I am also asking you to please, please take this virus seriously. I am 32. I am healthy. I have run half marathons, I chase around 3-year-old twins, and I love to work out. I have struggled this past week. I could feel the virus quickly make its way into my lungs and cause a burning, tightness sensation that is not only terrifying, it’s dangerous. Thankfully, my body is fighting hard and I am not struggling to breathe.
Going through this experience has taught me just how serious this pandemic is. I never doubted it, but I never thought it could happen to me. Wear a mask for YOU and for OTHERS. Avoid that crowded bar or beach - is one night of enjoyment worth being shut in for 2+ weeks or even worse, being secluded to a hospital room fighting for your life...OR, tragically, losing your life...OR infecting someone else who is medically fragile around you?
You may be wondering how my twins and husband are. We are counting our blessings that they have tested negative and are doing very well. I haven’t seen them or touched them since Monday, other than my husband dropping food to my bedroom door, fully masked. I FaceTime my kids multiple times a day to tell them how much I miss them, and bedtime is extra special with many ‘I love yous’. My daughter even sang me Happy Birthday through the the door - my birthday passed weeks ago, ha.
But virtual love is so cruel when your heart feels so isolated.
Thank you for listening to my story. Writing is my healing outlet. Thank you faith warriors for keeping me close to your hearts and prayers. I cannot wait to update you with better news because I know I will get through this and I know that we have a beautiful miracle ready to meet us...very soon.
**A huge, love-filled shout-out to Buffalo OB/GYN with special attention to Dr. Gelman who has been my medical rock through all of this and Sisters of Charity Hospital for their incredible support, so far and to continue.**
Kate Glaser is the spokesperson for Make-A-Wish. She has also helped produced videos for The Daily News. She posted this essay to her Facebook page on July 3. It is reprinted with permission.