From The Asian Reporter, V30, #11 (October 5, 2020), page
Virus Diary: In HawaiĎi, pandemic, pregnancy,
By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher
The Associated Press
HONOLULU ó I remember setting out for a late afternoon run
and the overpowering perfume of plumerias from the tree outside
my house. Thatís the moment I knew something was up.
Normally, for me, getting a whiff of the bright pink flowers
requires plucking one and holding it close. That afternoon, I
could smell them from afar.
I had temporarily developed a super-human sense of smell when
I was pregnant with my daughters, now nine and seven. So as I
breathed in the scent of plumerias, the thought crossed my mind:
Could I be pregnant?
I brushed it off as part of the longing Iíve had for years
after the birth of my (until now) youngest. Almost daily, Iíd
daydream about having a third child. I had a miscarriage before
my daughters were born, and it felt like our family was
incomplete. But I always tell myself itís not practical: We live
in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S.
Now is an especially bad time. The pandemic has decimated
HawaiĎiís economy. The state has been forced to pull the welcome
mat from throngs of tourists who normally purchase the food my
husband sells at farmerís markets.
Iím not pregnant, I insisted as I set off on my usual
Then I found myself jogging effortlessly into Waikiki, then
back up to my home near Honoluluís Punchbowl crater. My running
app showed I ran 8.9 miles.
Iíve read somewhere that thanks to a surge in red blood
cells, early pregnancy gives athletes a performance boost. It
proved true during my two pregnancies.
The next weekend: 10.25 miles ó my longest run in more than
Somewhere in between struggling through remote schooling for
my daughters, working from a very hot spare bedroom, and
worrying about the future of my husbandís business, the symptoms
became harder to ignore ó including cravings for pineapple
doused in vinegar and for limu, or seaweed.
During low tide, I scrambled over craggy reef at a spot near
Diamond Head where my mother took me as a child to gather a type
of limu called pokpoklo in Ilocano, her Filipino
language. I rinsed the sand off right there and ate it ó as if
my body desperately needed the chewy, dark green, nutrient-rich
I knew I should take a test. But I really didnít want to be
inside a store, and it seemed awkward to use Targetís drive-up
service for a home pregnancy test.
On Motherís Day, my husband couldnít take it anymore. He had
to know. I wanted to wait. (Honestly, I just really wanted a
mimosa that day.) He went to the store and returned with a test.
I had a feeling there would be no mimosas for many months.
I laughed when I saw "PREGNANT" in the plastic wandís tiny
window. Then I braced myself for a flood of panic because of the
But it never arrived.
I do worry about not knowing what would happen to the baby if
I catch the virus, and I fret about precautions to keep our
family safe. But mostly, this pregnancy brings a calming hope.
Iíve accepted that this one will be different. I have a new
obstetrician. I may never know what she looks like without a
mask, but she has kind eyes. My husband may not be allowed to
witness any ultrasounds, but if youíve seen one amorphous fetus
image youíve seen them all. And if a spike in cases forces
hospitals to revert to restrictions on visitors, he may not be
at my side when it comes time to deliver.
Until then, Iíll keep running. On days when Iím not bowled
over with nausea, I instantly feel better and stronger as soon
as my feet hit the pavement under that plumeria tree.
Virus Diary, an occasional feature, showcases the coronavirus
pandemic through the eyes of Associated Press journalists around