Today I did an interview with Jaclyn McLoughlin. She has been my dear friend since birth. We grew up together, traveled together, got married in the same year , and now we are both pregnant together ! Jaclyn is only a few weeks behind me in her pregnancy. During her time of pregnancy, Jaclyn has also been exposing herself to the masses as a nurse during Covid-19. I have always looked up to Jaclyn during our friendship. She always had a plan , a drive, and success in everything she put her mind too. She will laugh when she reads this because I say it all the time, my favorite memory is when she received her award for having the highest average in the top nursing school. I am excited for all of you to dive in to our interview and see all the amazing qualities in her that I see!

First things first, how excited are you to be a mom?

As an OCD planner, this has been part of my timeline for many years and I cannot be more grateful to be pregnant with my baby girl.

What has been your favorite part about pregnancy so far?

So far I’ve absolutely loved how very little this pregnancy has changed my daily life. I was always so nervous how I would feel or the challenges I would face because my life would be so different – so far I’ve maintained normalcy in all the ways that I can control (i.e exercise, date night, work, etc.).

What has been most challenging?

Physically, pregnancy has been a dream so far but I would have to say, emotionally there have been more challenges. Between COVID social distancing and working nights, there have been a lot of big moments in my pregnancy I couldn’t share in-person with my family and friends. Even though its just the beginning, and this may seem insignificant to many, it was definitely been a challenge in my personal life.

What are your feelings about working during COVID as a nurse?

COVID has been mentally, physically, and emotionally draining and life changing for many nurses, especially in intensive care units such as the one I spent the last 3 months in. BUT I can also speak for many nurses when I say, I have never felt more proud of my profession. Working during this pandemic has showed the world the immense strength, resilience, and importance of nurses and I wouldn’t change my experience for those reasons.

Are you judged for being a nurse during your pregnancy, and do you ever feel outcasted?

Only very few coworkers knew about my pregnancy during the pandemic, mostly because I was still in my first trimester and not showing but also because I never wanted the focus to be taken off the pandemic we were facing. After the curve started downtrending I announced the good news and this is when everyones unwarranted opinions came into the universe. “I would never have taken that risk.” “I don’t know how you did that, I’d be so scared.” I never felt outcasted, but I definitely felt judged for the very hard decision I decided to make, for the greater good.

What are the protocols when it comes to treating a patient, and do you feel safe?

COVID patients require special personal protective equipment (PPE) – an n-95 mask, a face mask, a face shield, goggles, hair cap, and gown. These patients also require special ventilation in their room to remove the disease from the air and can only share a room with other COVID+ patients. Initially I was nervous but overall I felt very safe and protected during the entire experience – I was covered head to toe and never took any shortcuts that could potentially harm myself or my baby.

What are your biggest fears?

My biggest fear is cliche but if I’m being honest, I’m scared of the unknown. Did I have an asymptomatic case of COVID? Did that affect my rapidly developing baby during the most crucial weeks of the first trimester? Did choosing to continue working to save those in need, harm the most important new person in my life? Everyone has to wait 9 long months to meet their baby, but to add this fear of the unknown is making time go a little slower.

What is one message you would like to pass on to your daughter one day?

The lack of control I’ve had over recent of events in the world has reminded me of one very important message that I will surely pass along to my daughter. Life is unpredictable, and some times uncontrollable, but one thing you can always control is how you respond to those situations. I want her to live her life making decisions rooted in her passions and moral values. In compassion, and empathy, in justice, and most importantly in love.

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