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When the Virus finally reaches your home...

You can do everything right for months on end, and your family still get struck by coronavirus. Masks, social distancing, no visitors, only essential trips to the store, grocery pick-up, contactless take-out orders, no dining out, remote working, virtual school, frequent hand washing, using hand sanitizer and still a member of our household tested positive for coronavirus.

Let me preface the following by saying I 100% believe coronavirus is a global pandemic that we must take very precaution to limit the spread of the virus. I share our story in an effort to advocate for the vigilance everyone must take as well as process the anxiety and mom guilt that has been ever-present but multiplied a thousand-fold this week.

For those who don't know, when this pandemic began last March I was 6 months pregnant with our third child, a little girl due in June. It was scary, when so much was unknown about how the virus affected pregnant women, It was stressful, a couple weeks later when Safer at Home orders went into place and our two older sons (then 7 and 3) were now home from school and daycare while I transitioned to remote working from home full-time. I am the finance manager for a Fire Department of a mid-size City, and for us the work would not ease up, frantically sourcing personal protective equipment, applying for grant funding, facing potential furloughs and layoffs in the midst of a severe budget shortfall.

Yet we persevered. I channeled my anxiety over the virus into using my ample fabric stash to make face masks to protect essential workers and those vulnerable in our community. I joined the admin team of our local mask making group, and together we sewed, sourced supplies and donations to contribute over 23,000 facemasks. Thank you to any of you reading who donated through this site and received facemasks from me.

Our healthy baby girl was born in early June. I wore a mask all through a 9 hour labor and delivery until the COVID test they gave me shortly after arriving at the hospital came back negative. It wasn't how I envisioned my last pregnancy ending. My husband was able to be in the room for her birth and had the option to stay overnight. Instead we went home to be with our sons who would have to wait a few days to meet their new baby sister.

As the summer began the boys started back at daycare and summer camp to give me a little break in caring for a newborn. Our daycare had very strict reopening guidelines in place to protect the children, the caregivers and all the families. This included daily temperature checks for the children at drop off, increased cleaning procedures, outside pick-up/drop-off, mandatory masks for the staff , parents and older children and a family pact to observe all of the social distancing guidelines to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.

In July mask mandates were put in place in our state, although we'd been wearing masks in public and indoors since March. We continued to observe all our county public health guidelines and continued with online ordering and contactless pickup for groceries and other needs. While cases never truly declined in our area we began to get used to this new normal. We celebrated the boys birthdays' (now 4 and 8) at home, sans friends and extended family.

By September my 12 weeks of maternity leave were over and we sent our baby girl off to daycare so I could return to remote working full time (although I'd already worked hours totally up 5 of my 12 weeks off). Our oldest returned home with mom to begin 3rd grade via virtual school. And our now preschooler continued at daycare with his little sister in the 4k program. It was a challenge for all but once again we persevered and believed we were taking every precaution we could... until this week.