‘My husband misses every kick. I have to birth and care for this baby by myself.’: Pregnant Air Force paramedic works alone during Covid-19, ‘I swore to make sacrifices to get the mission done’

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“I am an Active Duty Air Force Paramedic stationed in the United Kingdom. I am married to my amazing husband, Adam, and we have two dogs and a baby girl on the way come July 2020! I am originally from Vancouver, Washington and grew up in a gorgeous home with my older sister and younger brother. Our family was an adventurous one. We spent a lot of time taking trips, snowboarding, camping and all of us had a sport we loved (I was a dancer). As a kid, I never focused on the future. I always lived in the moment and never really thought too hard about what I wanted to do when I grew up. During my senior year, with no idea of what I wanted to do after graduation, I decided to join the United States Air Force. The military was nothing my immediate family had ever done before and I was really intrigued by the idea of challenging myself and devoting myself to something bigger. About a year after high school graduation I swore into the United States Air Force.

Courtesy of Meghan

After Basic Training I was sent to train as an EMT. I worked as an EMT in a pediatrics clinic for about a year and a half, stationed in North Dakota, until I got accepted to go to paramedic school. I wanted to really invest myself in true emergency medicine and get to that next level of skill and knowledge. I also wanted to do more in my Air Force career and I knew this was the best opportunity. During paramedic school, I found a passion for emergency medicine and absorbed every experience and class like a sponge. I loved how rewarding the job felt and no matter how rough or traumatic the calls got, the EMS community always had each other’s backs.

Courtesy of Meghan

After graduating from paramedic school, I got orders to be stationed in the United Kingdom with my dog. I am now one of just a handful of paramedics working in the emergency room on the base. Our main job is to take care of the patients who come into the ER and also respond via ambulance to 911 calls when they come in. After about a year of working, I had seen countless patients and gained a lot of experience. I’ve worked tons of busy shifts and tons of slow shifts. I’ve run lots of intense calls and I’ve run some minor ones. I have learned a lot of new skills and had tons of practice on my basics. During my first year in the UK, I also met a lot of new friends, traveled through Europe, and eventually found the love of my life. Adam was a firefighter at the station we would do rotations at. At some point, after meeting me he decided to slide into my Instagram DMs and four months later, we were dating and moved in together! We adopted another pup and then got married in November of 2019 under a waterfall in Oregon state.

Courtesy of Meghan

A few days after getting back to the UK having just gotten married, I felt the sudden urge to take a pregnancy test. Those two pink lines popped up almost immediately and I didn’t know what else to do but cry. We knew Adam was scheduled for deployment soon and I had been on birth control since high school, so a baby was completely unexpected. I called my mom to calm me down and then called my husband, who laughed and assured me we’d be okay and made sure I knew what a blessing this truly was! We had a couple of months until his deployment so we made the most of it. His parents came to visit for Christmas, we did the first couple of prenatal visits together, and we even bought and put the crib together early just so he could be a part of the pregnancy since we knew he’d be missing most of it.

Courtesy of Meghan
Courtesy of Meghan

Once he left, I was about 12 weeks pregnant. It was sad but we kept a ton of communication and positivity and I luckily was able to keep busy with work, the gym, and the dogs. I called my husband, my family, and my in-laws as much as I could and we all remained positive and so, so excited for the baby. Then, a couple of months until the deployment, the news hit. A respiratory virus called COVID-19 was spreading around the world and things were getting bad. People were frantically trying to get back to their home countries, the stores were packed with people but empty of supplies, and we were being prepped at work with a plethora of new protocols for the virus. Every day there were new rules to follow in the country, on our base, and especially at our hospital. At first, I was nervous about COVID-19. I didn’t know what it meant for my baby and I worried about my husband who was so far away. I worried about both of our families as well. The uncertainty caused a lot of anxiety, but I knew I had to stay calm and keep myself as healthy as I could for our baby girl growing inside me.

Courtesy of Meghan

As time went on and we learned more about the virus, we had a system at work to keep ourselves safe and our patients properly cared for. My husband had his new rules too, and we both reassured each other every day that we were safe. With me being in the medical field and both of us in the first responder fields, we had to make sure we took every precaution we could to keep ourselves healthy, one of our biggest motivations being our growing baby. Each day I see more and more patients, hear of the growing number of cases, and I still continue to do my job. People always ask why I’m still working in this pandemic while I’m so pregnant. I tell them that as a military member, I swore to make sacrifices to get the mission done and as a paramedic, I made the commitment to care for my patients, even if it means risking my own health. That doesn’t mean I don’t care for my and my baby’s health. It just means I’m willing to take the extra precautions to guarantee our safety while also getting the job done.

Courtesy of Meghan

The worst thing about the virus for us was the fact that no family would be able to travel to be here for the birth of our baby. My husband wouldn’t even have the chance to come home early for the birth of his daughter. I had done this entire pregnancy by myself and I had to plan to birth and care for this baby by myself until he was able to come home. As heartbreaking as this realization was for us we were able to make it through each day by remembering how grateful we are for what we have and why we do what we do in the first place, but of course, we still had and have our bad days.

Courtesy of Meghan

I remember calling my husband after a rough shift. I was completely exhausted and moody and had to deal with a few difficult patients at work along with more stress about the growing number of COVID patients. He said to me, ‘We’ve had every obstacle come our way and we’ve managed to make it through them all. We’re going to be just fine, you’re going to be just fine,’ and he was right.

This pregnancy was not the ideal vision I once had. None of my family has seen me or would be here before or during the birth of the baby. My husband had to watch my belly grow through video chats. He missed every single kick, every appointment and ultrasound, the incoming nursery and baby gifts, and so much more. I can’t count how many days I’ve felt so heartbroken about the pandemic. Watching families suffer through illness of loved ones and seeing the medical professionals around the world working as hard as they possibly could trying to care for their patients. I’ve felt heartbroken because this virus left me without any family to help me while I’m working and trying to care for my dogs and home while getting bigger and feeling more uncomfortable each day.

Courtesy of Meghan

However, as horrible as the COVID-19 outbreak has been, I have also seen some good things happen. My military family has grown stronger because we’ve all had people to worry about at home so we come together to help each other feel better. The fire department has checked on me and sent people my way to help with groceries or my lawn because they are truly my husband’s second family, and they know they need to take care of me in order to take care of him. We healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers all share a huge job and we’ve had to work extremely hard during this time. This pandemic has brought extreme hardship to the world and every person has been affected in some way. My story is just one of the countless others.”

Courtesy of Meghan

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Meghan. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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