Family prepares for the birth of their first child in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic
In these times, many people have faced challenges that they never expected they’d have to face. From having to homeschool their kids, to learning to work from home, or even how to cope with not working. For one family, learning to bring life into the world during a pandemic was a challenge they will never forget. Kayla and Andrew Kizzire from Mora excitedly waited for the due date, scheduled in May, for their baby girl to finally arrive.
As the months came and went, and the due date got closer, a seemingly disastrous event took over the world. Coronavirus began to blow up social media, news, newspapers. “...I didn’t really have a lot of thoughts about it. I just thought, ‘Oh, another sickness’ at first until I realized how serious it all was,” Kayla said. Andrew had stated that he “still didn’t think anything of it.” It wasn’t until it had reached the United States, and even Minnesota that they began to worry about their unborn little girl.
As the weeks turned to months, and more and more regulations and restrictions were put on Minnesota, Kayla and Andrew had to get more creative with how they took care of their growing baby. Many things changed for them; Andrew came home and had to wash his hands immediately, and Kayla had to stop working to stay home in order to stay safe. “I did not go anywhere. I stopped working. I stayed home all the time.” It became depressing and lonely for her, but she knew that it was the best thing for the baby. Andrew, having to continue working, said that his precautions hadn’t changed much. Working with food and cashiering, he was used to having to wear gloves and wash his hands almost constantly. He adapted these practices while at home and made sure to sanitize himself and his home as much as he could.
As COVID-19 spread and the world began to shut down, Kayla had to make yet another tough decision; canceling her baby shower. It was something she had looked forward to since day one, but people had begun to cancel on her -- stating that they didn’t want to get sick. Holding out for hope, Kayla continued her planning “...about a week from the party, I had to cancel it. Everything got shut down. It was very hard…”
With the baby shower no longer happening Kayla’s family still tried to keep up the morale. They still gathered items for her, and helped her when they could while practicing social distancing. They would try to keep her excited because her baby was coming either way and it was something to be happy about. Heidi Hentila, Kayla’s mother, was a rock for both Kayla and Andrew during these times. “I kept positive and hopeful for Kayla and Andrew,” she said that they had to be safe for everyone.
Alongside keeping up the positivity, Heidi was also the main transportation for the young family. She would take Kayla and Andrew to appointments. She ensured extra safety by not allowing others to drive her truck, and would wipe down the interior to keep it clean. “We would use hand sanitizer everyday, all day long, on everything,” she explained. As time went on, and things began to change with the coronavirus, another challenge hit the family. Kayla couldn’t have anyone in the room with her during her appointments.
Heidi and Andrew found themselves needing to stay in the vehicle while Kayla went in for her routine check-ups. Andrew felt helpless being in the truck and not at his wife’s side. “(I felt) a little helpless, knowing Kayla was in there alone--scared and stressed.” He stated,”it sucked,” and made him feel uneasy.
Heidi had also expressed unease about Kayla being alone during the appointments. “At one point Andrew and I sat in the truck for 10 hours. It was miserable.” She went on to explain that if they needed to use the bathroom, they would have to drive to a gas station, and would oftentimes get meals there too.
Together the family got through it all, and that baby was doing wonderfully and was growing just fine. The due date was getting closer and everything was good to go. Until the final blow was delivered. Due to COVID-19, Kayla had to choose who was going to be in the delivery room with her. She had to choose between her mother and her husband. “That was very hard. Cause I wanted my mom to be there very bad. But Drew needed to be there, he’s the dad.”
Andrew had said that it was very hard to do it alone. He was nervous, but ultimately glad that he was there to help bring his baby into this world, saying”...I would do it again in a heartbeat, anything for this little angel.”
After hearing this tough news, Heidi felt heartbroken that this is what had to be done to keep this baby and everyone else safe. She said that dropping them off at the hospital was the hardest day she had ever had with her daughter. “My heart hit the floor knowing I was not able to go in.”
She described when Kayla had come out to the truck to tell her that she was getting induced that day, “Knowing I was not able to see the birth of my very first grandchild,” Kayla is her only daughter, and to not be there for the biggest milestone in her daughter’s life was devastating for Heidi.
Although the family could not all be there, technology played a huge part during that big day. Through video chat, Heidi was able to see Kayla in the hospital as they anticipated the arrival of their baby girl. Through video chat and the strength of husband, wife and mother, baby Ruby was born on April 23, 2020.
Throughout all of the many challenges this family had to overcome, they found a way to bring life and happiness into the most uncertain of times.
‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.’