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(Images: The Anderson Family)

Expecting During a Pandemic: The Anderson Family

Originally, the idea was to write up one article about welcoming a baby during the pandemic. We put the call out on social media hoping for two or three responses, and waaaaaaay more flooded in! We realized people were feeling alone, wanted to tell their stories, and that this may be a good weekly outlet for others going through similar circumstances, and to give hope and power (even if it's through the screen) that you're not alone! Whether you're expecting, already welcomed a little one or had to put your fertility treatment or adoption proceedings on hold due to COVID-19, we'd love to hear from you and share your story in this weekly feature on Seattle Refined. Email or reach out on Instagram @June.In.January to be featured.

After a three-year fertility journey, Ryan and Stacie Anderson from Renton are beyond thrilled to be pregnant with their first baby. After multiple surgeries and miscarriages, the couple opted for IVF - and their baby girl is due October 2, 2020. Ryan and Stacie have been married for five years, and they love spending time with family, tending to their vegetable and flower garden (that currently houses over 150 dahlia flowers, by the way) and going out on their boat for fishing, surfing and wake-boarding. They can't wait to welcome the newest addition to their family, even if it's during a pandemic.

Seattle Refined: Ok - let's set the stage. It's March 23, 2020 - and the Governor just issued the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order. Where are you in your journey at that point?
Stacie Anderson: We were just entering our 12-week mark, which by most standards is the "safe zone." But due to our history of loss, we started to feel very concerned and took extra precautions to stay home and be diligent and safe.

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Take us forward from there. As an expecting mom/dad - what were you thinking/feeling? What kind of prep/worries did you have that you didn't anticipate having?
At first, I wasn't too worried; I knew what we could control, and staying home was the best option. But as time went on I started to worry about when life would be back to normal, how long would this take and would this affect my delivery? We quickly began wiping down everything that entered our house and only allowing a select few family members to come over.

For those with newborns at home during isolation, can you tell us about what that's been like - both good and bad?
I can share that my husband's sister gave birth in April, and we have yet to be able to hold the baby due to COVID-19 concerns. That has been one of the hardest things for me — not being able to hold my newborn nephew.

What have been your biggest joys during this time?
I have absolutely loved the special time my husband and I have had at home. We both have worked from home for about two and a half months, and it's almost been like a second honeymoon. He's been able to watch me grow, and the quality time spent together is so special as we enter our last few months as a family of two.

What are your biggest fears/worries during this time?
That I won't be able to have who I want in the delivery room with me. And that I'll have to make rules about who can hold my new baby and when. This is especially hard being that we've waited three years to have a child, and so many friends and family have prayed for us through this entire experience. I've had to schedule four baby showers to keep the group sizes smaller.

When your child asks you about what it was like having him/her during the Pandemic of 2020, what are you going to tell them?
We are going to tell them they are very lucky that mommy and daddy got to stay home during a crazy time and be relaxed and prepare extra special time for your arrival. And that they were born during a time in history that is unlike any other of their generation.

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Final Update: Where do things stand now? How is the entire family?
Since we are still expecting things are still good now, it's been hard having lots of appointments that my husband isn't allowed to join me on, but I'm hoping these rules will be relieved soon so he can see our baby live. We are excited for her to arrive in a few months — it almost seems surreal.

For people whose loved ones are giving birth, pregnant, bringing a baby home or pausing fertility treatment or adoption proceedings right now - what can you do to support from afar?
Coming from someone who did many fertility treatments (currently pregnant via IVF), I can't imagine having to pause a cycle or put that on hold. I can imagine how devastating that would feel. I think the best thing you can do for couples still trying to conceive during this time is don't forget about them, check in often and find creative ways to spend time with them. This can be an easy time to hide, but this process is much more tolerable when you have a supportive community around you. Even a simple flower delivery or letter in the mail would be such an uplifting thing to do.

And to other families reading this, going through something like this themselves - any words of encouragement, support or advice?
Keep maintaining connection with friends and loved ones; we are all having to suffer being home for long periods of time right now and having to cancel trips and events, so the best you can do is keep maintaining community.