I have had a lot of questions about the Covid Policy for doctor appointments, so I wanted to share my experiences so far, and how they have changed throughout the last year.
When I first met with my OBGYN in New York City in June 2020, my husband was not allowed in the office. At first I was not even concerned that my husband could not be at the first appointment, considering I was just going in for preliminary questions and to come off my birth control pills. Little did I know though, that I was really going to need my husband’s support, even if it was just questions. You never know what you are going to learn at each appointment, even if it is extremely preliminary. I will be sharing more about our fertility journey in my next blog, but at this first appointment that I thought I was just going in to ask questions, I was given bad news that I really wished my husband could have been sitting there to hold me and support me. Due to the Covid Policy, he wasn’t allowed to be there to support me on what at the time felt like one of my worst days ever.
In August 2020, we switched to a fertility doctor in Pennsylvania, but due to the Covid Policy we were not able to go into the doctor’s office to sit down and meet the doctor who we were putting our fertility journey in her hands. Thank goodness we live in such a modern era because we had the chance to do a zoom video call with our doctor and fell in love with her right away. It was really hard not going in person, but at least we had the privilege of a video.
Right after Labor Day I began weekly appointments with my fertility doctor, and sadly my husband was not allowed to come in. I used to have a fear of needles and my husband would always go in with me to hold my hand, but now every week I went into my appointments alone, had blood drawn and did it all by myself. My husband drove me to every single appointment and waited in the car with his phone ready to talk me through every moment. I must say I am now a pro at getting bloodwork done all by myself!
At this point, my husband was still not allowed in doctor appointments. He couldn’t be there for my ultrasounds, but luckily they let me video each one so I could share with him. We were at the time back and forth between New York City and Pennsylvania and both facilities would not let him be there to learn and support. At the end of October, we received our first set of bad news and yet again he had to wait in the car while I sat in the doctor’s office nervous, sad and alone.
In November, I was continuing going to the doctor every week with my husband still in the car anxiously waiting to hear what the doctor had to say. I also found it hard that I only met with the nurses and the doctor would call me later in the day to review any results. The only time I saw the doctor in person was for negative news or a procedure. So basically, November was no different than the rest of the fall. I went into my doctor appointment at the end of the month to receive good news again, but was doing it in a room alone.
My husband was still not allowed into the doctor appointments as we started the month again with bad news. It was kind of sad that I was getting used to being along no matter what the news would be. Because life was not going in the direction we expected, we had a personal zoom call with the head IVF nurse to learn what our next steps would be. Normally this would be an in-person appointment, but since both my husband and I had a lot of steps we needed to learn, they did a zoom call to make us feel like we were doing this journey together, even though they made it clear even for procedures he would not be allowed into the facility. I had a lot of fear as we started this process, and was truly concerned if I could do this alone.
I found out I was pregnant on New Year’s Eve, and we started our weekly doctors right away! I was in the office every week this month and my husband wasn’t able to be in the room to see our baby’s first heartbeat flutters on the ultrasound. I videoed everything, but it will never be the same as being able to share that moment together.
At the end of February, we graduated from our fertility doctor and moved over to our new OBGYN. I was so nervous because I had been working with my doctor since August 2020 and was used to going in weekly. Now I was going to be going in every four weeks for my check up and every eight weeks for my ultrasound. I found it really difficult that my husband could not attend these appointments because this would be the doctor’s that would be delivering our baby. There are multiple at the practice and now my husband will be going into our birth meeting the doctor for the very first time.
In March 2021, I was no longer allowed to video my ultrasounds. I was allowed to facetime my husband, but it was really hard for him to hear or see anything. He heard the heartbeat for the first time through a phone. After he was still not allowed to meet the doctor’s in March, we made the decision to hire a doula for our birth. This way we both have a common person that can help us prepare for our birth and be there in the room that day. (For more information on doula’s and how we chose ours feel free to reach out!)
April 2021 was the month that changed it all! I was scheduling my doctor’s appointment and ultrasound for 20 weeks when they told me that he could still not attend the doctor’s appointment, which was sad, but he was finally allowed to come into the ultrasound!!!! I know it is important for him to know the doctor’s that might be delivering our baby, but he was finally going to be able to be there with me to share a moment seeing our baby move at 20 weeks! At a 20 week scan the doctors do a full anatomy check, so I was relieved to have him sitting next to me holding my hand. We were so fortunate that baby had all bones and organs accounted for! Seeing my husband’s face as he got to watch little Bien and hear it’s heart beat for the first time really made us feel united as parents for the first time along this crazy pregnancy journey.
I know that the Covid Policy at each doctor’s office is for our own safety, but it has been one of the hardest years of my life to go through so many highs and lows without my husband and it has been extremely hard for him to not be able to be there for his future child. I will continue to take the little wins as we can, and I will continue to update this blog each month until the baby arrives to share the changes of the Covid Policy for my husband attending appointments!
“Strong people always have their life in order. Even with tears in their eyes they still manage to say, I am ok, with a smile.” –Anonymous