My pandemic pregnancy: ‘I was lucky I acted fast’

‘What a different experience this pregnancy has been’

Yvonne and Brian (Photo provided by Yvonne Palacios)

Author’s note: This is not MY personal story, per se, (despite the “my pandemic pregnancy” headline), but a story told by our readers, week by week. Today’s is shared by Yvonne.

You might have heard that being pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or delivering right about now is strange, in this age of coronavirus. But how? In what ways? We’re going to tell you. To contribute your own experience, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this article and tap the link.

When Yvonne Palacios learned that her boyfriend wouldn’t be allowed to see the couple’s baby boy via ultrasound at her doctor’s office, she thought maybe she could record it.

She was told that wouldn’t be permitted.

“I’m still struggling,” Palacios said. “They don’t let him in and won’t (let me tape it). While I understand they do this to protect others and their staff -- and I’m thankful they’re even open and I can still go get my sonograms, (it’s tough). … Unfortunately, they don’t sympathize with how much this affects our pregnancy experience as first-time parents.”

Palacios, 38, lives with her boyfriend, 37-year-old Brian Borders, in Davie, Florida. It’s been a challenging pregnancy, at times, considering the global pandemic that rages on around us.

“Brian mentioned to me he doesn’t feel as connected to the baby as he hasn’t been able to see him, which was heartbreaking to hear,” Palacios said.

The couple has been able to do a few private, 4D ultrasounds: one at 23 weeks and one at 31 weeks, so they feel grateful they had that option. Still, things just aren’t the same.

Palacios answered a few more questions about her pregnancy over email.

Here’s what else she had to say:

Tell me about your virtual gender reveal. That must have been cool, although very different from the usual in-person experience. How did you do it?

“My brother Jose and sister Mariela organized a virtual gender reveal for us, via Zoom,” Palacious said. “While it wasn’t the same as having my friends and family around for it, we were thrilled to be able to connect via Zoom with our out-of-state friends and relatives that normally wouldn’t have been able to be a part of it. So on that end, it was nice! We all did a countdown and found out we were having a baby boy (whose name will be) Dylan Joey Borders.”

The Zoom gender-reveal (Photo provided by Yvonne Palacios)
Yvonne and Brian (Photo provided by Yvonne Palacios)

After hearing about her mother’s Peruvian cooking, we asked about how often they’re seeing family, or what dishes she wishes her mother could make for her.

“That has been the hardest part about this pandemic,” Palacios said. “Not being able to see my family, especially my mom, (who wants to) be able to spoil me, has been hard. She had COVID, and was in the hospital for a week. I wish she could’ve made me ceviche the most, but I’m glad she fully recovered. My brother and father also had COVID. And although my father was asymptomatic, my brother did end up in the hospital with pneumonia for five days. I thank my lucky stars they all have made a quick and full recovery. My mom, brother and I were at the same hospital at the same time just a couple days apart. It’s been hard to not be able to show my belly and share my pregnancy with my family, as I haven’t seen most of them since the pandemic started.”

Tell me more about learning you were COVID-positive at 24 weeks along in your pregnancy. What was that like?

"My boyfriend and I were in the process of (moving and) packing up the apartment, as we lived on the third floor. And given how big my belly was getting and how hard it was to go up and down the stairs, we were moving to the first floor in the same complex. I started feeling sick the morning of July 23, but thought it was due to the packing and stuff. As the day progressed, I could tell it wasn’t pregnancy or packing aches. My whole body hurt so bad (my joints and muscles). I also had a terrible headache that wouldn’t go away. I was cold, which was uncommon for me as I was always hot, and didn’t have much of an appetite, which, at the time, was a huge red flag as I was eating a lot.

"I had no other symptoms at all. … I laid down for a nap and when I woke up, I took my temperature again and was at 100.9. I immediately left a message to my doctor, but since it was after hours, we decided to go to the hospital. We didn’t waste any time and headed to Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines that evening. I was convinced I was just being extra cautious and didn’t have COVID, as I had not been anywhere but the grocery store and back home -- and always wore my mask at all times. I had not seen my family in a couple weeks, so I thought I was fine. By this time, my mother had already been at the hospital two days with COVID. Even the hospital didn’t know where to put me as I was pregnant, and due to my minimal symptoms, they didn’t want me on the COVID floor unless my results came back positive.

“They did the COVID test, along with blood work and IV, and waited for about an hour, when the nurse walks in and tells me I tested positive. I was scared. Not for me, but for what that could mean for my 24-week-old baby. He was still so little, but my doctor assured me the baby was OK. They checked his heartbeat and ran several tests, and all came out normal. He said I went to the hospital before I got worse and that was key to my recovery. I was given Tylenol as that’s the only thing I could take. I was admitted on the evening of July 23, and by the next morning, I had zero symptoms. I was released on July 25. I was lucky I acted fast and made it to the hospital before I felt more sick.”

As of mid-September, Palacios was 32 weeks along, so she’s getting closer and closer to delivering. So we asked: How are you feeling lately?

She had one word: tired.

“I can barely get a good night’s sleep nowadays, so I’m tired all day long,” Palacios said. “Having a massive belly has been hard for my 5′2 frame, this baby is over two weeks advanced in development, so it’s been challenging to even walk at this point. Also, remembering all of this COVID (stuff is hard), but I’m just glad it’s all over for my family. We’re still growing big and healthy.”

At last check, she still had a virtual baby shower on deck.

“What a different experience this pregnancy has been,” Palacios said. “Now (I’m) just dreading not being able to have my boyfriend and mom in the room when I go in to deliver -- and hoping the hospital rules will change by the time I have to give birth. (There’s) lots of stress with this pandemic, but we’re trying to make the best of it.”

Yvonne and Brian (Photo provided by Yvonne Palacios)

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