Oh Baby Baby

Madison Shuey and Rachel Park

On Jan. 6, 2020 Grayson Balint was born. Math teacher, Sara Balint experienced pregnancy as most people would. However, coming to the end of her maternity leave she experienced the surprise of a lifetime when she was told that the rest of the year would be online.
With the holiday season coming up, Balint and her family plan to make new traditions of their own since they have to be more cautious this year. Thanksgiving, which is usually spent with her family in Michigan, is now being spent here in Kansas with her husband and Grayson. Balint’s plan for Christmas has also changed to now just being with grandparents instead of the whole extended family in Mich.
Coming back to school while juggling a baby has been very difficult for Balint. However, COVID-19 hasn’t been all bad. Balint’s favorite memory during quarantine was the first time that Grayson got to see Bobby, BV West math teacher Tiffany Warnes’s baby, and Oscar, former BV West teacher Paige Mulvihill’s baby.
“That was probably the best part for me was being able to get him around other kids and be around other moms and my friends and be able to be somewhat normal again,” Balint said.

Tiffany Warnes’s surprise came one month early, right in the middle of quarantine. Due to unexpected conditions, as well as the pandemic, Bobby Warnes was born on April 28, 2020. Bobby Warnes’s birth was difficult, and he ended up having problems with his health right from the start.
“I couldn’t feel my legs still, my husband rushed up there for basically the next 24 to 48 hours. We didn’t know if our son was going to make it,” Warnes said.
Having an already more challenging time with having a baby than others, COVID-19 was just the “cherry on top” to make things even more difficult. Not being able to have a lot of her support system physically around was not easy. Warnes is still cautious with exposing Bobby to any kind of sickness and takes extra precautions to prevent anything from happening. One caution she is carrying is involving the holidays. With a new baby and the risk of exposure this holiday season, Warnes is coming up with new traditions that will keep her family safe.
This school year has been an uncomfortable journey for anyone. However, COVID-19 wasn’t just full of bad memories. Warnes’s favorite memory was bringing Bobby home from the hospital after weeks of staying there.

Coach Cat
Another math teacher, Danny Catanzaro, “Cat” had a daughter on Oct. 10, 2020, named Bella Catanzaro. Coach Cat and his family went through a pregnancy without having any serious problems during the process. Although the pregnancy went smoothly, COVID-19 is still a scary factor in their every day lives. It has been a struggle for his family, not being able to have people over and visit or being able to take her anywhere. It has been especially challenging for his wife to be trapped inside with the baby 24/7.
For the holidays, Cat has been able to work some things around and have only his extra-cautious family members come together. Although it won’t be like normal, and they won’t be able to spend the holidays with both sides of the family, Cat wants to make the best out of the circumstances.
With school and a newborn baby, balance is extremely difficult because of the pandemic. Cat mentioned that this is the craziest year he has had as a teacher, but thankfully, his wife has not been back at work yet, so she has taken on a good chunk of those responsibilities. That allows him to focus on school when at school and go home every night to spend time with his family. Family has been the best part of quarantine for Cat. He enjoys the weekends where he can entirely spend time with his daughter and make unforgettable memories.

Unlike the rest, ELA teacher Kara Abernathy is experiencing her pregnancy during a global pandemic. This has caused her to become more cautious, however, her husband is an emergency doctor and is in contact with COVID-19 patients daily.
“So a little bit is out of our control, in terms of contact with people,” Abernathy said.
Most people are very excited about doctors’s visits but COVID-19 has also put a damper on those. Abernathy has had to experience all of her doctor appointments alone except for the two ultrasounds. COVID-19 has also made her change some of her holiday traditions, including her husband’s family not doing any other traditional gatherings but Abernathy is able to see her parents and sister like normal.
Although Abernathy has not been able to experience her pregnancy normally, one thing she was able to have was a gender reveal party. Her friends and family were able to gather together to find out that she would be having a girl.
“I was like jaw to the ground because I had convinced myself that we were having a boy,” Abernathy said.

Madame Dunn
Not all of the teachers who had a baby were first time parents during 2020. French teacher Madame Anna Dunn, a mom to three daughters, got to experience having her third child during a pandemic. On June 5, 2020, Dunn gave birth to her daughter, Freddie Dunn.
“It was scary leading up to her birth, because we didn’t have a lot of research on how the virus affected pregnant women and the fetus. So we were a little nervous about keeping our distance from everyone,” Dunn said.
This holiday season, Dunn is creating new traditions and working her way through this difficult time away from extended family. Because grandparents cannot be around for the holidays this year, Dunn is doing her best to make the holidays enjoyable and keep things almost normal. On top of trying to find a new normal, Dunn has mentioned how, at times, juggling school with her family is overwhelming. As a teacher, she has to plan lessons, grade, and teach multiple classes. At the same time, as a mom, she has to also claim responsibility for her daughters education as well.
Although COVID-19 has been challenging for everyone, Dunn feels fortunate for her current circumstances and the safety of her family. One thing Dunn has loved over quarantine was getting to spend time with her family without the interference of regular, busy schedules.