Updated: Apr 2, 2020
On Dec. 18th, 2019, I looked down at the pregnancy test, and sat there in silence for about 15 minutes. I had been feeling fatigued, and sick but figured I would eliminate the possibility of pregnancy in my mind. My 32nd birthday was approaching and, as usual, my husband and I discussed pushing back growing our family. We initially told God that we wanted kids at 27, then we said, 30, then we said 32… I had even asked my doctor about having children past 35. I figured we could accomplish everything we wanted before embarking on parenthood. As an Industrial Engineer and Tyler as a Financial Analyst, we both are paid to analyze, forecast and plan… But what is funny is when you tell God your plan…
Proverbs 16:9: “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps”
Even though we had pushed children down the road, I had the urge to meet with an OBGYN to discuss my plans to start my family later and had also ensured that my benefits covered any unforeseen surprises. I had recently been introduced to a prenatal chiropractor who also taught birthing classes and began to see her regularly for adjustments. Our parents reassured me that we were prepared and ready for this next phase...
I looked down at my pregnancy test, and my initial thoughts were blank. I just smiled, laughed, and felt as though the whole moment was a dream. After about an hour, reality started to settle in, and I rushed to the pharmacy to purchase more tests. I was extremely grateful to my prior self for having found an OBGYN that came highly recommended! I immediately called to schedule blood work in order to check my levels.
I had taken the pregnancy test during lunch in the middle of the week, so I had to continue working. I was also on schedule to teach two yoga classes that night. I frantically reached out to my fellow teachers to see if anyone would be able to pick up my classes as I had an emergency. I wanted my husband, Tyler, to be the first person I told, and I did not want to wait 10 hours from midday to tell him the news that night in person. Unfortunately, no one was able to help me, and I remember feeling angry and alone, and wanting to call my mother. I prayed and asked God for strength and peace, because even though I was feeling frantic, anxious, nervous, and did not want to work, there were things that needed to be done. At the yoga studio, the theme for the week was TAPAS which means "Fiery Discipline". That evening I told my students,
"… sometimes things happen in our lives that are not in alignment with what WE may have planned for ourselves, but that is a reminder that God is in control. In the midst of uncertainty, we have to stand on faith. In the midst of fatigue and discomfort, we still have to move from a place of discipline and accomplish what needs to be done, allowing the Lord to be our strength.
Galatians 6:9 - “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
To this day, I still have students that tell me they remember the words I spoke that night.
I arrived home after a full day, fatigued but empowered, and surprised my husband with the wrapped pregnancy tests! Seeing his excitement put me at ease, as God reminded me that I am not alone. The blessing of pregnancy may have been unplanned but was definitely not unwanted!
After the confirmation visit, Tyler and I fervently began to plan out the next stage. We scheduled all of our pre-natal visits, birthing classes, maternity photo-shoot and began discussions with friends and family about our baby reveal and shower. I started to get more and more excited. Like many people, my husband and I are major planners, and feel most comfortable with a well thought out plan. Everything in our lives had happened according to plan from graduating college, working in our professional fields, marriage, completing an MBA, becoming certified as fitness trainers, creating our own business with various streams (podcasts, clients, etc) and finally travel was next on our list! So, when the news of Baby Hall came, we began to rearrange our lives and started planning for our addition. I was excited to say the least! The reality that Baby Hall was coming was becoming more and more real, and as my belly grew, so did my excitement!
The first trimester was rough for me. I never knew that morning sickness could last ALL DAY… I was later told that it was called “morning sickness” simply because the sickness starts in the morning. I was unable to eat much, nor workout, but I was able to teach a few gentle yoga classes. Around week two of my 2nd trimester, the sickness had slowly subsided, and I had planned on picking up my regular workout regimen at the yoga studio, gym, and teaching my regular yoga classes. Everything was coming together. We had most of everything set in place and then… COVID – 19…
This is my reality today. Initially, I did not anticipate the virus to completely unravel all of our plans. At first, many reports stated that the virus was similar to the flu. The news was focused on case counts overseas. I was saddened as I watched highlights of Asian and European case numbers increase daily. Slowly, the US trend started to increase as well. The mandated crowd sizes started to become more strict as we learned more and more about the virus. At first, the mandate was “no large crowds”, which quickly turned to “Shelter-In-Place” after Washington, New-York, and many other states began to see an upward trend in cases, and deaths. This is my unplanned reality… We had gone from a plan, to an unplanned plan, to REALLY UNPLANNED. I watched in tears as people mourned the loss of love ones and listened to others stress about furloughs, layoffs, and closings of businesses. I had become inundated with information! I slept with the news on, and I immediately picked up my phone every morning for the latest updates.
I am reading that many women have been birthing alone based on new hospital restrictions that do not allow anyone else in the birthing room. I am now realizing that the thought of having a traditional birth with my family nearby, my mother, mother-in-love, sister and friend next to me as I labor and breathe, family visits of the newborn, baby moon, reveal, shower, etc. will all probably not happen. This is my parent's first grandchild, and my in-loves' 10th and they both were excited about planning celebrations, feeling their grandchild kick, and supporting us in closer proximity. I had one moment where I broke down and could not explain to my husband why. It was everything coming to a head, and I had not even realized that I had become overwhelmed. After the release, I was able to breathe and think more clearly. At this point, I was beginning to feel little flutters, which quickly became a reminder that I was no longer only responsible for me. Baby Hall can feel everything that I am going through. For my own sanity, and the wellness of my unborn child… I am learning to shut off the noise and turn God up! My mom helped me change my perspective. She said when God was planning our lives, He knew we were capable and could endure this challenge.
Jeremiah 1:5 - Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
I am learning to release control because ultimately, God is the master planner.
I called my doctor to get updates regarding the current birthing restrictions at our selected hospital. This week is our 20 week appointment where we find out the gender. This is the last appointment Tyler will be able to attend in person. I was also informed that if myself or Tyler come into contact with anyone who tests positive with COVID-19, we would be quarantined away from our newborn baby for 14 days, and the thought of this breaks our hearts. The good news is that Tyler will be able to attend the birth. Initially, I had plans for additional support, but God knows what I need. I am still blessed.
This is my reality. I am learning to maneuver my new norm, but I know that I have the strength to endure whatever crosses my path. God saw fit for us to endure this during our pregnancy, so I will not question His plan. I still do not have it all figured out, and I am working on letting go of control. We have decided to self - quarantine, because going outside is challenging as we cannot control the people who choose not to follow the 6 feet physical distancing mandate. In our home, we watch church online, we ZOOM family members and friends regularly, cook, work from home, and have increased our home workouts, which has kept our lives very full, and has brought us closer to each other and God. This self - quarantine has afforded us the opportunity to spend more time together prior to the arrival of Baby Hall, in lieu of a Baby Moon. :)
But honestly, this is still a challenge…
I am extremely grateful for my mentors, friends, family, and other supporters who have encouraged us along the way. Their words of support, love, and prayer have been very comforting during this time.
This whole experience has challenged us to live what we teach and find solitude and stillness in God through reading the Word, prayer, meditation, and our regular workouts and yoga practice.
Psalm 119: 71 “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.”
I am changing my narrative, and mindset which has brought me peace.
My mother journaled to me when I was in her belly about what was going on in the world and in their lives, and I have decided to follow suit for Baby Hall during this pandemic. My mom filled the journals with life stories, truths, disappointments, encouragements, manifestations, and love. Even with constant morning sickness, I still found myself too busy to write. Prior to the shelter-in-place, my calendar was packed with business/social events, deadlines, classes, and much more. What is funny is that even though we are self-quarantined, I still find myself extremely busy, but am forcing and encouraging myself to slow down for our mental peace. I have journaled this experience to Baby Hall, as I am sure they will learn everything about this pandemic down the road. We want Baby Hall to know that we stayed strong for them… we maintained our mental stability for them… and we maintained our peace for them…
In the end, life does not always happen according to our plan... and that’s the beautiful part.
“Things don’t happen TO you; They happen FOR you.”
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord, and are called according to His purpose.”