Kira Kennedy gave birth to a baby girl, Leona, on March 12th in Madison, Wisconsin. She also has a two-year-old son, Isadore (Izze).
The day after Leona was born, the hospital restricted all visitors. Kira and her husband Marty were able to briefly introduce Leona to family members, but during the week after having checked out of hospital, Kira was informed that she’d been directly exposed to someone with COVID-19. Since then, Kira, Marty, Izze and Leona have been in isolation at their home. They live on a remote property near Viroqua, Wisconsin. So far, everyone remains healthy.
A little background:
“My 1st pregnancy I miscarried in 2015. We’d just bought our first home. It was 4th of July weekend. The doctors did an ultrasound, and they found a growth – a six-pound tumor in my abdomen. It was hard to believe there was this ‘thing’ in me. They treated it at the UW Carbone Cancer Center. Thankfully it ended up being benign. There was a pregnancy hormone present that made it appear as though it could be cancerous.”
“Trying to recover – it was tough emotionally. It really made me take a step back and reevaluate how I was spending my energy – my priorities. After I recovered, we tried to get pregnant again. Between losing a baby, my life being in jeopardy and trying to get pregnant again – it was all so overwhelming – we eventually sought counseling to help us cope with the magnitude of it all, which helped tremendously. We took a step back and relaxed – tried not to be so hard on ourselves and, in 2017 I became pregnant again. Our son Isadore was born. We call him Izze and he’s now two years old.”
Reprioritizing after a life-threatening illness:
“I worked as a Director of Customer Experience. I loved what I did. I used to say the job was my baby – I was always there for it. After Izze was born, I took 10 weeks off before going back to work, but I quickly realized that I didn’t want to spend so much time away from him.”
“We made a total life change in 2018 – both of us were in leadership positions – but stepped back. I was able to move into recruiting with more flexibility and the ability to work remotely.”
“Our cabin is under 700 square feet (yes, we are tiny house living) in a remote location that allows us to be with nature, privacy, safety and the freedom to roam – plus, every amenity you’d expect including fiber optic WiFi!”
Our goal is for it to eventually become an Airbnb (after we build our new house and keep it as a little side income property).” @kennedyguesthouse
“With Leona, I’m on maternity leave now and plan to go back after Memorial Day assuming I still have a job. Who knows what will happen with the pandemic and how long it will last?”
On having a baby girl:
“I’m so used to golf clubs, trucks, Legos, skateboards and superheroes – I have a feeling it’s going to be a totally different vibe with a little girl.”
On having a baby born during the pandemic:
“It’s all pretty wild – we’re grateful to have a safe spot to be quarantined. I delivered Leona just as COVID-19 broke out. It was Thursday, March 12th. We were lucky that family was able to visit us. By the weekend, visitors were no longer allowed.”
“We went home on Monday. The following weekend I received a call saying I was exposed to someone in the hospital with Coronavirus. They told me if I didn’t have any symptoms by Saturday, March 28th– I should be in the clear.
“We were confined to the cabin for two weeks. I went out for the first time since Leona was born and did some grocery shopping. It felt great to get out.”
What to tell a two-year-old during the pandemic?
“Izze is so young he doesn’t really get it. He loves that his mommy and daddy are at home and playing with him all the time.”
How are you feeling about the world right now?
“After Izze was born in 2017, I became intensely aware of the world and the terrible things that happen. Of course, after having Leona and seeing the pandemic all over the news, the thought crossed my mind, ‘Is it crazy to bring a baby into the world right now?’ But you look at history and realize that every generation has its trials and tribulations – that life does go on and you get through the tough times.
It makes us thankful for everything. It’s kind of like a wakeup call for people. It forces us to consider where we want to spend our energy and what’s important to us.
“We made a big life change – leaving the city to raise our children in a more natural setting – going through COVID-19 and being locked down – it’s reinforced the decision we made two years ago to focus on our family and what is truly important. Afterall, life is short, and you don’t want regrets at the end. We made sacrifices to be extremely devoted and present parents – the pandemic is now making people sacrifice a lot, but I believe there will be some good that comes out of it. You don’t need a lot in life to be happy. In fact, we’ve found the opposite to be true.”
Quarantine Advantage: “I’ve mastered the art of nursing! With Izze, I was constantly on the go and probably didn’t give it the time, attention and patience that’s required. With Leona, I have nowhere to go and am ultra-focused on it – and it’s going wonderfully – she’s thriving!”
What does The Juggle is Real mean to you? How do you juggle everything you need to do?
“It means that, as parents, we all have a lot going on. Between work, childcare, driving kids here and there, making meals and having fun with them all at the same time – it can seem overwhelming if you allow it. Life for us got a lot simpler when we downsized and prioritized what was important to us. We became crystal clear about what makes us happy, made a list and continue to form our decisions using that list as a guide. We went from a 2,500 square-foot house to less than 700 square feet. Everything from maintenance time to expenses have drastically reduced – not to mention the amount of stuff we had accumulated! It’s allowed us more time to focus on what really matters (ie: spending time with loved ones, family vacations, impromptu trips to visit friends, unique experiences for our children and true quality time together where we are fully present and not anxious about stuff that really doesn’t matter). Also, don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help. That’s something we rarely did before having children. Now, we live closer to family and gladly welcome their offers for help.” @kirskennedy