At my wife’s last prenatal visit, something was said by the doctor and a nurse that struck me. They said that I was a great guy for still being at every doctor’s appointment, despite the fact that I’m regulated to the parking lot because of COVID-19 protocols.
I’m sorry, but guys, what are you doing?
I get it. COVID has thrown a kink into practically everything. Due to COVID, I’ve not been able to be with my wife when she goes to her prenatal checkups. That means no meeting or talking to the doctor, no hearing the heartbeat for the first time in person, or seeing my little guy on the ultrasound. I don’t get to be in the room with my wife. It sucks because if not for COVID, I would be there. Where am I though? Sitting in my car, in the parking lot, outside the doctor’s office.
Why? Why wouldn’t I be? I don’t see COVID protocols as a get out of jail free card, and neither should you.
Just because I can’t physically be in the room, doesn’t mean I can’t be there. My wife’s doctor allows her to FaceTime me during each appointment. So I’ve heard the heartbeat, I’ve seen the screen as the Doctor has performed ultrasounds. I’ve experienced what I could, how I could.
Do I have to be in the parking lot for that? No. So why am I you may wonder? I’m there on the off chance, the worst-case scenario, that I’m needed. I’ve never thought twice about it. Never hesitated. I was always going to be at every appointment, so I am. I’m there for my wife, and I’m there for my unborn son. Not because I necessarily need to be, and I pray I never “need to be”, but because I can and should be.
I understand, I’m fortunate in that my job is flexible enough that it allows me to be there for each appointment. I’m fortunate enough to be able to work remotely, so I can answer emails or make calls while my wife is checking in or sitting in the waiting room. I don’t take for granted that I’m fortunate there.
However, guys, there are still tons of ways to be involved with prenatal appointments, even in this crazy COVID world. Here are just a few of the ways I’m maintaining involvement.
It seems simple enough, but based on my wife’s Doctor’s comments, apparently, it’s rare right now. Again, I get it, I realize with work and schedules, it’s not always feasible for you to be there. If your partner is able to schedule appointments early in the morning or later in the afternoon where you have an opportunity, take it.
I get it, it sucks to be just sitting there. Most places don’t let you come in now. It probably feels like a waste of time just sitting in your car, but what about the alternative? What if something was wrong, or something happened and you were needed? My wife’s Doctor has already said, that while I can’t come in for a normal appointment if something was to happen and I was needed, I would be allowed in there. I can’t imagine it would be that different for others.
So sure, riding the pine isn’t all glamour and grandeur, but you’re still there cheering on your team. You’re there and ready to be called into the game.
And don’t take my sports metaphors as colorful writing. You and your partner are a team. Your circumstances and number of children may determine if you play man-to-man or zone, but you’re a team. Never lose sight of that.
Even if you can’t physically be at the Doctor’s office or sitting in the parking lot like I am, if you’re able to take a 5-10 minute FaceTime call, and the doctor allows it, then do it! You may be on the other end of a phone, but you still get to experience things with your wife, albeit in an untraditional fashion. The end result is you were ultimately there in some capacity. You’re part of the experience and the memory. You’re not getting everything second hand.
Note: You can Screen Record your FaceTime calls as a bonus, however, the recordings will be audio-only. You’re unable to record the audio of a FaceTime call with Screen Record.
Send questions through your partner
This can be just for you or for you and her both as pregnancy brain kicks in. I know I’ve had to text my wife a few questions to ask the doctor that I would’ve been asking if I was in the room. Don’t be scared to ask questions guys. As the Dad, we’re still involved, and sometimes we even come up with questions that our significant other never thought of!
A piece of advice: I of course wait until my wife is sitting in the waiting room before I send her my questions, to help ensure their existence is fresh in her mind. Sometimes you have to go on offense guys. Don’t shy away from that.
While physically being present would be optimal, if you’re not able to physically be there, at least try and be there mentally for your partner. My wife and I drive separately to the Doctor’s appointments so we’re able to both go our separate ways to work after. Despite being on FaceTime during the bulk of the exam, we still sit in the parking lot and have a quick convo. We talk over the exam before our I love you’s and go about our days. Maybe it’s something the Doctor said offhanded or their demeanor. Maybe the nurse was being weird over something. Who knows. Sometimes your partner may just feel overwhelmed and she needs reassurance after an exam. Be that presence for your partner. If you’re able to, it’s really quite effortless to be what she needs during this time.
Thanks to COVID, things clearly aren’t as simple as they used to be, but there are still ways to work around obstacles. Obviously, my solutions aren’t going to work for everyone, but it’s also not a square peg in a round hole situation either. Be creative, but be present, in whatever fashion you can be, while you can be. Come on guys, step up!
If you or your partner have ways of working around COVID protocols, feel free to share. Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts and ideas.