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  • Renee Burns

March, 2020- A new Dad's perspective of life at home during a quarantine

Updated: Jan 29, 2021



Hello community-


Dad is on the hook for this Friday update so prepare yourself for tangents and poor punctuation.


The larger world is adapting to a global crisis and plans are being hatched and rapid responses are underway. Watching this feels a bit mirrored to our experience when Renee’s water broke and all our life plans changed rapidly. Each day we learned more, resulting in more things changing and shifting. As we were ultimately “quarantined” when Renee was moved into antepartum, we watched the change of seasons, leaves drop and snow fall- we attempted to stay our course with optimism, compassion and dedication to “our” bigger mission of a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Along the way we encountered many challenges, changes, and ups and downs. Looking back, especially at the time of being admitted to the hospital, the comprehension of new facts happened so fast, was incredibly overwhelming, and we were left to “trust the professionals.” What we are dealing with today with the information regarding the corona virus feels kind of similar.

In the hospital, each shift of staff brought another way to look at and interpret Renee’s water breaking at 22 weeks and the survivability and health of our unborn twins. The night /morning Renee delivered the attending resident did not see any reasons for c-section when she examined her, and as Renee slipped into labor, she moved moved on without much concern. Our attending nurse ultimately called the Labor and delivery team and requested to talk to the head delivery surgeon to come take a look- and within a moments notice we had a team of 3-4 people bedside, Renee was wheeled away, and I was told to get ready because I was going to be a dad in 20 minutes. What we had planned for once in the hospital (remaining pregnant until 34 weeks) quickly shifted and we had no choice but to adapt.

Since then we have been supported by so many, our community and the medical health services. We have continued to bend to numerous “course-altering” pieces of information along the way, and have had to shift our thinking/expectations multiple times over the last 6 months about life and what we thought was going to happen, versus what was and is happening. For example- we definitely didn’t plan on discharging the same week a global pandemic was announced.


And here I am this evening, being “Dad” nonetheless. My back aches and I am exhausted.

Zach/Dad’s job…to provide; I store energy and anxiety in my upper back and feel tremendous responsibility for Renee, Vivian, Eloise, plus our dog and cat Abe and Delton. I suspect my back hurts from arched-back-carrying-babies-syndrome, double-butt-wipe-bending-over-back mixed with over-watching-what-is- happening-in-the-world-idus. The world is quarantined, I am self-employed and my work is being cancelled, we’re not allowing any visitors….and our cribs are arriving from China.


Sleep comes in the form of naps, when we can. We typically sleep in 90 minute increments, assuming we are keeping up with dishes, laundry, making a “nursery,” dog walks, cooking, paying taxes and beyond- which is pretty much typical new parent behavior I’m learning.

I know no different and I believe our expedition-life has prepared us for this. Many moments during this journey, I have drawn from experiences of expedition travel and processes. Knowing that there is more in us than we know, and sourcing energy during times of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion is helping out these days. I’ve got the best expedition crew I could have asked for in my wife and my girls (nothing against all the fantastic co-leads I’ve had over the years).


I’m also here still operating as a Husband…This shit is amazing.

Renee is a bad-ass. I will put up any new mom against a masked-villain (extra points for moms of twins). I am amazed by the natural ability of Renee to be Mom and the instincts that flow from and to the mother-daughter”s” relationship. Sometimes I am jealous of it but mostly I am in awe of the power of the unspoken connections between Mom and her girls. Renee is forever a life source for their needs. I pride myself in attending to the girls, however Renee’s ability to know, adjust and attune to them is impressive.


Tonight Renee and I loaded up the girls and took a drive. We went north up the shoreline of the great and powerful Lake Superior. We sat in our car in the sunshine….had a beer and watched surfers and paddle boarders brave the hypothermic temperatures of the “big lake.” We had moments of jealousy –as we were not being the badass outdoors folks like we have prided ourselves in the past. But sitting in the car in the sunshine with my girls on the edge of lake superior for the 1st time (in a car) felt pretty magical.


So far being “Dad” is heavy- especially during these unknown and ever shifting days of coronavirus information, but at the same time it doesn’t feel all that different than what I already went through with the unknowns of how my warrior princesses have come into the world. I hope that they are going to get to enjoy this great big world, and am grateful they will hopefully have no recollection this.


Thanks for reading the words of an appreciative father and husband.

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