One year ago today I found out I was unexpectedly expecting a baby. I was shocked, panicked, full of fear. I remember looking at that pregnancy test and feeling like the room was spinning. My mind felt fuzzy. I didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry. We were over at my in-law’s house because that’s our Sunday “thing.” So, like any responsible adult, I called my husband to come to the bedroom upstairs. I sat on the futon in the bedroom we shared while we lived in that house and I told him I was pregnant. Both of us just sat there for a minute…minds racing. I kept hoping that the test was wrong. I kept thinking that there was no way this could possibly be true, and for the next month or so that’s how I felt all the time.
The next day I scheduled an appointment with the doctor’s office to confirm pregnancy and get set up for prenatal care. My pregnancy was confirmed a week later and my first OB appointment would not be until right after I got home from a trip to Washington DC, 1 month and 1 day after I found out I was pregnant.
That next week was so full of emotions. I spent a lot of time avoiding the idea that I was pregnant. Every time it would pop into my head I would feel panic and I would try to push it back. I wasn’t ready to face this. I looked at my boys and imagined how much my life was about to change and I couldn’t help but cry. There were so many logistics to figure out. Where would we fit another baby? How could we afford another human being? What about my health? We had finally hit a stage of independence with a 4, 6, and 8 year old. No more diapers. No more bags full of stuff just to go somewhere for the day. We had even gone to the zoo weeks before and I had forgotten a stroller and it was NO BIG DEAL! No more breastfeeding or packing special baby foods and changes of clothes. No more nap time to work around. Miles was only a year from starting Kindergarten and I was a year from being able to work full-time. Another baby meant diapers, spit up, more doctor visits, more illness, more years of juggling mealtimes with a baby/toddler, more gear, more STUFF.
As I sat and worried and panicked, panicked and worried, I felt guilty. Why was I so worried? Why was I so stressed out? Every baby is a blessing. Every child is a gift. God has always provided for our needs. I knew He wasn’t going to stop now. I knew that one way or another we’d figure it out. As I sat rocking back and forth crying on my bed one afternoon I said to Josh, “I know that a year from now I’m going to be OK. I know that I’m going to have this baby in my arms and I am going to love him or her, but right now I just can’t get there.” It took all of 3 days for us to schedule a meeting with our pastor and his wife. I needed to come to terms with this sooner rather than later. I couldn’t live like this for long. The pastor and his wife were so understanding and helpful and reminded me that we, as believers, don’t just advocate seeing a doctor for our bodies from the neck down. It’s OK to see a doctor for the mind…the anxiety, fear. So they got me in touch with a wonderful Christian counselor in our church. (seriously…it has helped me so much to have someone to process all of life’s “stuff” with).
The month between finding out I was pregnant and my first OB appointment seemed like an eternity. But I remember sitting in the waiting room feeling like I didn’t belong there. I felt like a fraud. Could I walk into that office and face my doctor and pretend like I was excited? Did I dare tell her I wasn’t? Did I risk telling her the truth…that a part of me hoped that my pregnancy failed so I didn’t have to go through this again? What if I told her that and she recommended someone to take my kids away? Or what if she didn’t let me keep my baby (that I didn’t want at this point anyway…)? So I told her that we were just totally shocked and that this was an unplanned pregnancy but that we would figure it out. I still felt like my mind was in a fog. Everything felt so surreal. I felt like this was someone else’s life. Someone else’s body.
So I prayed. A lot. And I processed with my counselor. A lot. All of the things that were stressing me out about having a baby came up and I was able to sift through it. It really makes a difference when you go through the “What ifs” and “how will I’s”. I was able to see that so many of my fears and worries were things that could be figured out and once I checked one box, I could move onto the next and figure that one out too. Slowly but surely everything began to come together and I became truly excited to have another baby.
As I began to enjoy the thoughts and ideas that came with having another baby, I imagined lots of baby names…and the prospect of having a girl. Now, we truly would have been happy with a boy or a girl. We even sat down and debated it determining that a boy would be easier since we have a 3 bedroom house and 3 boys already. If we had 4 boys then they could just share rooms forever. We’ve already been through the boy thing and felt like a “boy family” so another boy would be the most practical. But then there was the possibility of having a girl…something new and different. Levi and Miles were definitely in favor of having a girl and I think Emery was just still confused as to why we were having another baby when we said we were done after Miles. When I considered the boys, I wanted a girl. They wanted a baby sister so badly and I wanted desperately for them to love this new baby. I wanted as easy of a transition for them as possible. So a baby girl seemed like the best option. Thankfully it wasn’t our choice since I never would have been able to choose. And the magical moment we found out we were having a baby girl was one I will never forget.
Names…names names. As soon as we found out we were having a girl everyone wanted to know what we were going to name her and we truly just didn’t know. I think when we told people we didn’t know and that we weren’t sharing that they thought we had it all figured out but we didn’t. Literally up to the time she was born we were going back and forth about names. But one morning in late November I was working in the nursery in church and we were discussing the pregnancy and baby names. I told them how I had taken the class and signed all the papers to get my tubes tied in March and never got the call to have it done. We were truly finished in our minds. One of my friends has spent a bit of time in Greece and shared about some Greek names and traditions. She talked about a name of a baby she knew “Anastasia Zoe” which means “The resurrection and the life” and I loved that idea but I didn’t think it sounded like us. We decided to look at a calendar that celebrates baby names for the month of March. One of the names was Eliana which means, “God has answered.” That name moved my heart. God has answered.
When I took the tubal ligation class and signed those papers I said a prayer that if this was not what was best for me and my family that God would close the door. I didn’t really have a baby in mind…I was coming from more of a health and hormone standpoint. But here we were. Door closed and a precious baby girl on the way. God had indeed answered that prayer. I shared that name with Josh and we added it to the list.
Then something weird happened. One morning that winter Josh and I discovered that the night before we BOTH had a dream that our little girl’s name was Eliana. In my heart I felt like this was a sign, but I didn’t want to be Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs so we just kept it on the list…but I kept that name in mind as I talked to her and prayed over her.
The weeks came and went and it was the weirdest pregnancy ever. I was sick all the time, overjoyed to be having this sweet girl, exhausted, thrilled, and scared to death that I’d lose her. I was in the doctor’s office twice a week in that last month and a half for Non-Stress Tests to make sure she was growing the way she was supposed to, had a good heart rate…etc.
Finally, on the morning of April 4, 2018 she was born. My beautiful baby girl. I was so relieved when I held her for the first time and as Josh and I looked at her, and at each other, we knew her name was Eliana Joy. “God has answered with Joy.” My heart was, indeed, full of joy as I looked at her. I cried every time I considered how thankful I was to have her. The love.
And now, one year after finding out I was pregnant with her God has answered in another way. I am OK. We are OK. Everything is fine and we are so thankful and so in love with this baby girl…just like I knew I would be.