Our baby Lyle was born on February 29th, 2020 at 11:52am. He was 8 pounds even and 21.5 inches long. He came into this world screaming and perfect.
Truth be told, I wanted a girl all along.
Really, really, really wanted one.
Secretly thought we were having a girl, too.
I told everyone I didn’t care either way but deep down I knew I wanted a daddy’s girl as our first child.
When we decided not to find out the gender until D-day, it had a lot to do with keeping the nursery and outfit purchases simplified. Simplicity always wins me over. I didn’t want to go overboard and knew I would if I had found out the gender ahead of time.
The more motivating reason, though, amounted to the complete joy I knew would overwhelm me when Michael would tell me what our baby was at birth. That, my friends, was the best feeling in the world. I highly recommend waiting if you are in the early stages of pregnancy right now. The long months of wondering are simply worth the trade-off to experience that split-second moment of, “It’s a ___!” proclaimed through your husband’s tears.
Needless to say, not only was I overwhelmed…I was SHOCKED. I was also so utterly exhausted after laboring 12 hours of the night, pre-epidural. Soon after that beautiful medicine was administered, my body finally relaxed enough to progress and Lyle was born!
A boy? Really? Wow, my gut was completely wrong.
Oh, my God. A boy. A BOY. We have a son!
The moment that tiny human stopped screaming when he realized he was laying on my chest, his mama…well, that was it for me folks. I forgot all about the countless, “I really want a girl. Please give me a girl” prayers to God. He knew better for me and at that moment I felt it.
It’s a strange feeling raising a baby during a pandemic. We were blessed to have Lyle at the hospital with family still able to visit and our photographer still able to come in to take photos. Serious media talk of Covid-19 was just beginning when we walked out the doors to head home. I’m incredibly grateful to have had those “normal” days and even a “normal” week afterwards; still allowing close family to visit us while we adjusted as first-time parents at home. When the restrictions became more intense by the day, it occurred to me that there are SO many pregnant women who were getting more anxious and worried by the day as well. My prayers still go out to all the pregnant mamas right now, especially any mamas forced to give birth alone at the hospital (I would love to hear from any mama who has had to do that and wants to speak on that experience).
But if there is any hope I can give a first-time mama out there during this pandemic, here is what I’ve learned through this unique period of time:
- More time at home, isolated with your baby and spouse, is all the company you really need during a pandemic.
Having pets at home is great company too! 😉
I’m a huge family person. Both my husband and I have big extended families that love to spend time with one another often. I miss quality time with our parents. I hate not being able to invite our sisters, brothers, nephews and nieces over to hang out with us and our new bundle of joy. I want to go to the grocery store or to the park with my friends without fear of other people being too curious about what’s in my stroller.
I’m not even going to put a comparison here and say, “the sacrifice is bigger for someone else more than it is for you.” I’m not a big believer in the comparison game in any situation. THIS IS HARD FOR ABSOLUTELY EVERYBODY. There is no way around that statement. Your sacrifices are hard and mine are hard and so are your neighbor’s. Here’s the thing though: God designated my family to love, protect, and worship together as my husband, myself, and now our beloved child. “Two became one flesh” the day my husband and I exchanged vows (Ephesians 5:31). We became three the day Lyle was born. We are a bonded family placed together by God specifically during this moment in time. We need to be present together, pray together, and worship together within these walls of isolation. We need to sing our praises daily for this new life He created. Are we perfect at all of that…every single day? Absolutely not. But we now have a unique perspective more than others could possibly have on raising our baby as first-time parents. Rather than being constantly distracted by going places and committing to other people, we can soak in these moments of togetherness at home a little more sweetly.
I went ahead and asked my husband what piece of hope he could offer to any first time fathers during this pandemic. His response:
- Time/Life/Natural progression doesn’t stop.
“New life most definitely does not stop. God doesn’t stop. It feels like things are on hold for most of the country and world, but in the microcosm of a household, life is pressing onward and even fleeting in certain moments. This new little life has no understanding for the fact that we can only get drive-thru or carry out, that people are wearing masks to protect themselves and others, that your employer is not considered essential and has temporarily closed its doors, or that you are an essential employee and the employer is doubling down with wartime-like care but working you 10-20 plus hours overtime.
This new life needs provided for, just as we still need to rest in provisions from God. So the single sentence answer to the significant thing I have learned about fatherhood in this pandemic is that Father/Papa/Dad isn’t something that is affected by the outside environment. From the first second to the final second it means providing.” -Michael
One last thing. Remember above when I said, “it is a strange feeling having a baby during a pandemic”? While it is, remember this:
- While the world is falling apart, you will be having the best time in yours.
Our wedding day was the best day ever. It was SO much fun and I got to marry my best friend. How does it get any better than that? It does when you have a baby, pandemic or not. I don’t care what other mamas say about the loss of sleep or the tears of postpartum hormones (it’s true, you will get to experience both)…you are still going to have so much fun learning and growing with your new baby. You will become so natural at it without even realizing how you’re doing it (thanks to our Creator for giving us such strong motherly instincts). The world may be in chaos and uncertainty around you, but nothing can take the joy that God has gifted you through this time.
While the world falls apart around you, yours will finally feel like it’s coming together.
Just as God knew it was better for me to have a son first rather than a daughter, He always knows better in everything for all of us. If you are a Believer, you know that. If you are a Believer, you often forget that too. That’s why we need to seek complete trust in Him where it lacks and be reminded to not trust in ourselves. He will always provide and His plans will always prevail.
God still expects us to have doubts and fears. It’s okay to have them. I would actually be highly suspicious of anyone who claimed to never doubt, question or fear God and His plans. But it is essential for us to find our way back to Him and to ask for His help in doing so through prayer. It is essential for us to simply trust His plans, but we can’t trust by our own merit or strength alone. We need to ask for that too.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3: 5-8.
Every day, baby Lyle sure feels like pure refreshment to my bones amidst this chaos.
Thank you, Lord.