‘Get off the frontline, you aren’t a hero.’ I wasn’t supposed to be seeing COVID patients at 8 months pregnant.’: Physician Assistant fights COVID-19 during 3rd trimester

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“I came home from shift emotionally drained. I wasn’t supposed to be seeing COVID patients at 8 months pregnant, yet I found myself treating multiple throughout my day. I felt overwhelming anxiety arrive at my doorstep, a feeling I have never experienced before.

‘What if I get sick, really sick, and pass away before meeting my child?’

‘What if I lose the baby?’

‘What if I get my husband sick, and his asthma becomes uncontrollable?’

‘What if…?’

The thoughts overwhelmed my mind. I walked through my front door sweating, dirty, and with a face full of tears, breaking down to my husband in a pool of ‘what ifs.’ ‘Shhhh,’ he said, stroking my hair, ‘God has this. Everything will be okay.’

Courtesy of Taylor Poynter

I am 33 weeks pregnant with our first child, although this is my second pregnancy in the last year. My plan was to work until I went into labor, literally. I love my job as an Emergency Department Physician Assistant and can’t imagine being in another field. I hadn’t created a birth plan, but have a general idea of what I want, with my medical knowledge allowing me to be realistic as well. I want a natural, vaginal birth. My lax birth plan in three words and I hadn’t thought much else about it.

Cue COVID-19. I continued to remain stress-free, despite the announcement of a pandemic. I received emails multiple times per day from my leadership team and followed the CDC guidelines very closely. My stress level remained minimal, and my workflow did not change.

Add the shelter in place, plus the new PPE guidelines, and in flowed a mixture of dread and anxiety. The anxiety was rooted in my inability to control the circumstances around me. My workflow was changing. I couldn’t go out into public, plus I was entering into my third trimester of pregnancy, which is supposed to be the most exciting. My baby showers were canceled, my OB appointments no longer allowed my husband to be involved, and all the moments I was looking forward to most in pregnancy vanished before my eyes.

Courtesy of Taylor Poynter

I was crushed. Yes, my pregnancy is healthy and yes, I recognize those things seem insignificant to many, but to me, they were moments that a first-time mom dreams of. These were the moments I no longer had.

Instead, my pictures on my social media featured me in my third-trimester wardrobe: personal protective equipment. Attempting to celebrate my third trimester and newly found, glorious baby bump, I began to document my growing sidekick while working amidst a pandemic. The initial anxiety I felt lessened, as I let go of the fear of the unknown of the coming months, trusting God would make good of all circumstances. I began to celebrate the sweet time I had left fully nourishing baby P and I continued to dive into intimacy with Christ, which has left me freed of fear.

Courtesy of Taylor Poynter

I have found myself sinking deeper into who my Father is, finding strength and comfort in His kindness, tenderness, and intimate love. Knowing my identity in Him as a woman, a wife, and a mother has cultured a quiet confidence in my Spirit, a confidence I had yet to encounter up until the last week.

As my due date is approaching and my exposure to COVID has increased, I also found out my child is breech. Medically, I know this can be totally normal at my stage in pregnancy. As a mom, my heart broke into a million pieces. I left the office alone, in my mask and in tears.

The thought of not experiencing a vaginal birth wrecked me. I didn’t realize how much I wanted this type of birth until the idea of not having it presented itself. Again, I found myself in my husband’s arms, sobbing into his shirt, questioning why God was allowing my plan to fall apart.

‘Shhh,’ Gene whispered, ‘remember that His plans are bigger than our own. It will be okay.’

Courtesy of Taylor Poynter

I later found myself doing flipping techniques to attempt to rotate my baby when I was notified that my personal Instagram post had gone viral. I was receiving hundreds of comments and messages. Most were pleasantly encouraging, others demonstrated the overwhelming need for Jesus in this world.

‘You are a bad mother.’

‘You are putting your child’s life at risk, how could you be proud of yourself?’

‘Get off the frontline. You aren’t a hero.’

Courtesy of Taylor Poynter

Heartbroken at the hatred, I closed my social media feed. I made the decision that I was going to proudly vocalize how I felt about being pregnant and working on the frontlines. The people of this world do not define who I am, my Father does, and with that, I found myself becoming more vulnerable at a public level.

There is a misconception that pregnant women on the frontlines long to be there. That we desire and enjoy exposing ourselves and child to the unknowns of COVID-19. We don’t. This time has brought pregnant women more anxiety than we should ever have to experience. There is such heavy grief that spills out when our pregnancy and birth plans change. Women aren’t able to labor with their significant other, some do not meet their child as they are sick with COVID. Some of us have to continue working on the frontline to support our family. It is heavy, it’s raw, and it leaves us feeling incredibly vulnerable.

Courtesy of Taylor Poynter

This third trimester has been the loneliest I have ever felt in pregnancy. Women laboring without their person is lonely. Saying goodbye to our families as we head to work is lonely. The unknown is lonely. The emotions that come with a pregnant woman on the frontline cannot be encapsulated into one word, a single article, or an Instagram post. There is no place for shame in motherhood. There is no place for fear in chaos. There is no place for anxiety in the unknown. There is only the resounding hope of Jesus Christ, and God’s unfailing promises.

As a soon-to-be mom, deeply involved in the crisis of COVID19, I find that I am thriving in my purpose and identity as a mom, a wife, and as a woman.”

Courtesy of Taylor Poynter

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Taylor Poynter from Bolingbrook, Illinois. 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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