HOPE: it’s like oxygen to our lungs. We need it to live. Right now, it seems we could all use a little hope. Tonight, I wanted to share this story and give a dose of hope to you.

23 years ago I spent many months on bed rest during my first pregnancy with a complete placenta previa. This was my miracle pregnancy, for those who don’t know, after 10 years + 4 IVFs of trying to have a baby. This condition had nothing to do with our infertility, yet it was serious enough to threaten my life and that of my unborn baby.

Most of those months were spent laying down on my right side, with several of those weeks spent in the hospital. And though this threatens to be TMI, the hospital bedrest also meant being constricted to a bedpan. My hospital room was the closest to the OR intentionally. I was hemorrhaging and losing blood daily. My family was donating blood to prepare for the inevitable transfusion I would need. The possibility of future pregnancies was threatened due to the likelihood of a hysterectomy immediately after the delivery of my premature baby.

Baby showers that I’d waited forever to have were postponed or canceled. Friends decorated my nursery and put away baby supplies without me. Cute maternity clothes I never was big enough to wear before I was put on bedrest hung in the closet. My family, my doctor, and the NICU staff were on constant high alert.

Everything I dreamed of during my decade of infertility and failed procedures was taken away from me as I laid watching minutes tick into hours, for days, for weeks, for months. It was beyond scary. The words over me were negative. The predicted outcomes were dire.

But do you know what?

As hard as it was, in every single threat against us, the worst-case outcomes simply never came true.

Lydia’s graduation from USF in 2019

My baby girl born at 34 weeks gestation immediately breathed on her own without medical assistance. My bleeding was controlled, and I did not need a blood transfusion or a hysterectomy. Our daughter came home after only 9 days in the NICU. There were simply no long-term outcomes to all of the threats against us that I lived out in painstakingly slow motion for months, in undoubtedly the most vulnerable condition I have ever experienced during my entire life.

Today that daughter is a 23 years old college graduate serving in Guatemala. I’ve had 4 more children, two born from that womb I almost lost, and 2 more born from my heart. My placenta previa experience taught me a lot about fear and a lot about hope that I bring into Covid -19. Will this be hard – most certainly! Will there be disappointments and losses – 100% yes! Will we lose our freedoms and mobility – YEP! Will it be as bad as the endless threats and predictions? I honestly, in my heart, do not believe it will be, no.

All of us have stories of hope to cling to during this pandemic. I encourage you to remember your stories and share them with others. We all need to speak about hope in the midst of suffering, together it will be our way through this crisis.