Before we got married, my then-fiance and I had talked about children and had decided we wanted four children (well, he wanted five, but I don’t want an odd number of children – so it is either four or six and we agreed to start with four and see where God guides us!). After a couple years of marriage, we started talking about children again and planning. We set some goals and planned to start our family after we bought our home (which we did in 2005), I graduated from college (which finally happened in 2006 as a non-traditional student) and had been working for at least a year. We wanted to space the children 2-3 years apart in sets of two, so that they would grow up fairly close together and (hopefully) be friends.
Then we prayed. We put the timing of our children in God’s hands and asked him to bless us when He knew the time was right. Because of the side effects I experienced on birth control during our first year of marriage, we decided to use natural methods of preventing pregnancy, which worked extremely well for several years.
Well, we got pregnant a year earlier than planned with our first! We had been married almost five years at that time. I had graduated from college, but was still a new hire at my full-time job. The timing wasn’t exactly ideal! But it ended up being perfect because just six months after we had our son, Dietrick, my husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer and there was a chance we would never have more children. Then, my dad passed away just two months later, unexpectedly, at the young age of 47. It was a blessing to have our little son in the midst of all that; to know that we at least had one child already and that my dad was able to meet him before passing on.
Several years of challenges followed that made us question whether planning another child along our original timeline was really a good idea. I had herniated one of my vertebrae, just as my son turned one, and endured over two years of excruciating pain, surgery and physical therapy. Finances were tight due to lost work, thousands of dollars in medical bills, and balancing house needs (we were rehabbing our house) and baby expenses. We didn’t feel like it was the responsible thing to stick to our plan of having another baby before our son Dietrick turned three. But, we didn’t want our kids spaced too far apart. So, in early 2009, we prayed and again left it in God’s hands. We knew that, if we did get pregnant, the baby would be a blessing and God would make a way.
Ironically enough, we found out we were pregnant in September, 2009, just a week after my husband was laid off from his full-time job. Though we wondered what in the world God was thinking, we knew that we would make it somehow. On top of the financial pressures, it was a rough pregnancy. I was constantly sick from morning sickness, the flu (3x in my first six weeks of pregnancy), and flu- and cold-like symptoms that persisted my entire pregnancy. I was still battling back pain from my herniated disk, which had reherniated earlier in 2009 after my surgery.
Because of my back issues, I was worried about being able to have a natural, drug-free delivery. I had been induced with my son and knew that I was NOT interested in a repeat of that experience! But, I was concerned that I may have problems with labor and the pressure on my spine when pushing. So, I did my research and found a great OB office that had CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives) on staff. They were very supportive of my desire for natural childbirth and it seemed like the best option, given my circumstances. I was excited!
At 8 weeks, we had our first ultrasound and determined the due date to be 6/8/10. I thought it was a neat date for a birthday (easy to remember, anyway!). And it was just two days after our son turned three! The timing was right according to our original plan.
At 20 weeks, we had our second ultrasound and found out we were expecting a girl! Though we would have been happy for our son to have a little brother to grow up with, we were absolutely thrilled to be having a girl. And, now that we were narrowed down to gender, we could start seriously discussing names. After countless hours of pouring over online name guides, we finally decided on Eliana. It met all our name criteria. Eliana (pronounced: el-ee-ah-nuh) means “my God has answered me.”