The unknown in the world right now is causing panic and anxiety for everyone. But being six months pregnant while living in the epicenter of COVID-19 adds an extra layer of fear. Everything is changing at rapid speed and many different messages are being sent across media. Our president is saying this will be taken care of by Easter. Our governor is saying this will go through July. Realistically, there is no telling when our lives will have some sort of normalcy again.

Two and a half weeks ago I was going about my regular plans, with the exception of no longer taking the subway. I was hearing about COVID-19 without really understanding the seriousness of it, with many Americans in the same position. I was still teaching my 31 first graders in NYC, going out to eat, and planning to fly to California next week for my baby shower. Then, suddenly it all changed. School was canceled for two weeks. Then six weeks. Then indefinitely. The thought of a baby shower was up in the air, then completely canceled. And then the REAL bomb dropped.

Most NYC hospitals no longer allowing spouses or support partners to be there for delivery. Women will be laboring alone. While the policies were sensibly put in place to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 it is still a terrifying time for anyone expecting. With a rapidly increasing rate of 1 death every 17 minutes in New York City, and having had a week to process this news, I understand where the hospitals are coming from. They are doing it for the safety of everyone involved. The logic behind it, however, does not take away the pain of knowing if this continues through the next couple months, my husband will not be allowed to be present for the birth of our first child.

I remain hopeful in knowing that we still have a few months before our daughter's arrival, but realistic in knowing we need a back up plan...or five. Again, the uncertainty brings upon fear and anxiety. We are living in the epicenter of COVID-19. Our hospitals have makeshift morgues outside because people are dying so quickly. Nurses and doctors are becoming a part of the statistics as they do not have the necessary protective gears as they are on the frontline of this pandemic. We all are living a nightmare.

With fear, uncertainty, and anxiety doing their best to creep in to my mind and heart, I am trying to remain positive and grateful. I am grateful that myself and my family are considerably in good health. I am grateful that I still have my job during all of this. I am grateful that my husband was able to attend appointments through the first half of our pregnancy, be there for our daughter's anatomy scan, hear her heartbeat for the first time, and support me when I was in the Emergency Room with complications at the start of our pregnancy. I am grateful we still have time to hope this passes before our daughter's arrival. I am grateful for prayer.

I pray for everyone on the frontline of this horrific pandemic. For the nurses, the doctors, the grocery store employees. The medical device sales personnel, police, paramedics, and delivery providers. I pray for all the parents in the thick of managing working from home, while caring for their children and making sure academic needs are met. I pray for all the expectant moms unsure of what to expect in their deliveries; the expectant fathers who will miss their child's birth. I pray that we as a country can come together and commit to staying inside to save others.

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