Erin, Birch Run

The pandemic has affected everyone differently. For most life continued as normal, for others who were about to start a new journey were in for a rude awakening. “When I found out I was pregnant in 2019 it was the best gift that could have been given to my husband and I.”

Erin is a twenty-year-old from Michigan who had given birth to her son Mateo on December 29, 2019. After he was born, he had to have emergency surgery because he had a rare condition where his esophagus was connected to his lungs and not his stomach. They were in the U or M children’s hospital up until the end of January.  Because of the surgery Mateo was expected to have regular doctors appoints but “the pandemic had affected his visits because his dad can no longer accompany us to the doctor’s appointments. Which is hard because he is only getting half of the information. It’s very difficult to remember everything in an appointment when your child has health problems and it’s an appointment with his doctor or surgeon. Even making it to the appointments were a problem because of the covid restrictions .” Erin and her husband had to make do with the situation even though it was scary being it was their first time being actually parents. That sadly wasn’t Erin’s only health related problem though?

Babies and young children are typically on a tight schedule to receive vaccines and checkups because they are still developing and being introduced to new germs every day. Vaccines quickly became a back burner for little Mateo because the health department has very strict covid guidelines, and with his surgery and high-risk factor “It has affected me because my son was behind on his vaccinations and still is a little behind. He is slowly getting caught back up but it’s still very difficult because they can only do them on certain days and only certain health departments are doing them. I go to Tuscola County Health department.” Shopping was an even greater problem for the new parents.

Erin being the stay-at-home mom she is, it was expected she does the grocery shopping but “the pandemic made it very difficult to go to the store. I was so scared my son was not going to have an immune system because the first month of his life he was in the hospital and by the time we got released from U of M we started the quarantine I just felt like he needed to be exposed to germs. However, I knew he couldn’t go in public places due to his underlying health issue and the virus that was spreading neither of us went in a gas station or a store for months I had others due my shopping because I just couldn’t risk him getting sick.” Finding the supplies for her baby became even more difficult when everyone was stocking up. “Diapers and wipes were so hard to come by with everyone stocking up and buying them all I had a really hard time finding what he needed especially because he can only wear Pamper pure diapers and he can only use pampers pure wipes because everything else makes him break out in diaper rashes. So I would sometimes have to ask the person shopping for me to go to multiple places and sometimes I’d have to settle knowing it was going cause a rash because he needed diapers and wipes.” The family themselves learned how to cope with pandemic and raise their son to the best of their abilities. While the family had feared because of constant hospital visits that they or their son would catch covid, it was a relief that they have not. The parents and “the million-dollar baby” as Erin likes to say are doing extremely well and are hoping to add a new addition to family soon.

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