Isabella's Story, Part I

Growing up, I wanted to be an architect. At various points, I also wanted to be a figure skater, a teacher, a fairy, and a doctor. I also wanted to be a mother. Sometime, at least in high school, I began praying for my future children. Then I would pray for future children sporadically, likely after either babysitting wonderful kids or seeing kids throwing tantrums in stores.

My husband always wanted children. He would have been happy to have welcomed children within the first two years we were married. I was not ready then. 

For various reasons, there was a time I did not know if I wanted children at all. The world is broken, painful, and I cannot protect children from experiencing the heartache of this life. So, perhaps it was better to never bring children into this world of suffering. 

Needless to say, we had several large "discussions" over the years about having children. 

Around Christmas 2015, our church asked people to submit "impossible prayer requests" that the pastor and elders would pray over. At the time, I was not ready yet to have children. Yet, I knew that God was beginning to change my heart. So my impossible prayer request was that I would have a girl on my grandmother's birthday in June 2017. This request was more of an acknowledgement that God was changing my heart and I was stepping out in faith that, by June 2017, I would be ready emotionally to welcome a child into our home. 

I went into labor on my grandmother's birthday in June 2017.

We went off birth control summer of 2016. I had ordered a batch of 25 pregnancy tests online and was very familiar with what negative tests looked like. When I took a test the day after our eighth wedding anniversary, I knew the faint line was a change. I immediately told my husband (sure, Pinterest has a plethora of creative ways to tell a spouse one's pregnant, but I could not wait that long). He looked at the strip and was unconvinced. 

That afternoon I bought a pregnancy test kit with the classic + and -. Sure enough, it indicated I was pregnant. My husband was convinced. 

The day after we found out, we told my parents. The next day, we told my in-laws when they were in town. We had printed up a card that read, "Over the river and through the woods..." on the outside. The inside read, "to grandparents' house we go! Due June 2017."

Our ultrasound at 8 weeks confirmed the pregnancy. We took home an ultrasound photo labeled "baby!" 

My pregnancy was generally easy and wonderful. I had about two and a half weeks of feeling queasy but never got sick. Throughout the pregnancy I was exhausted. I was more susceptible to illness than usual, so I caught frequent colds from the kids I work with. In November I lost my voice for about a week and had to miss a convention, but that was about the worst of it. 

About 13 weeks pregnant and "finally showing"

In December, I found out my sister was also pregnant and that we were due seven weeks apart. Throughout our pregnancies, it was a joy to share the ups, downs, aches, and body changes with each other.

In January 2017, we moved in with my parents while we remodeled various parts of our house. 

In early February we discovered we were having a girl! Since I have two sisters, I desperately wanted a girl. The anatomy scan was completely normal and she was growing as expected. 

A fellow SLP recommended that I get screened for cytomegalovirus (CMV) since I work with children. I tested positive for it, so we ended up getting another scan at 32 weeks. (The tests indicated the CMV was not a recent exposure and our baby was fine.) The ultrasound showed a beautiful, healthy, typically developing girl. While at the perinatologist, I also had a non-stress test performed. Again, everything looked great! 

32 weeks

We moved back into our home over Memorial Day weekend when I was 36 weeks pregnant. My contribution to the move-in effort was pointing to where furniture should be placed. 

We were back in our home about a week and a half before I went into labor, on my grandmother's birthday. Since I was born ten days late and my sisters were at least five days late each, I had expected that Isabella would also be late. Instead, she was two weeks early.

38 weeks pregnant, less than 12 hours before Isabella was born