Introducing Grace Evelyn Engelhardt | Grace’s Birth Story Part 1

June 18, 2019


It still feels surreal that I’m even writing this blog post! I wanted to write this for a number of reasons, but the biggest one being, that in the early months of finding out that we were expecting, I felt like something was wrong with me. Let me explain…everyone we told (our close friends and family) were overjoyed and full of happiness and excitement, but all I seemed to feel was an overwhelming sense of anxiety and nerves. I quickly started googling key words to bring up blog posts written by other first time moms who may have felt what I was feeling. I was desperate to read that my feelings were totally normal but that I was still going to be a good mom. Maybe I just suck at using Google, but I kept coming up short in my searches, so I decided to write this because I want to help those who may find themselves in a similar situation. At the end of the day, if you’re reading this and feel apprehensive, anxious, nervous, and overwhelmed, I’m here to tell you that those feelings are 100% okay and that you are normal and just because you feel those feelings now does not mean you will feel those feelings forever OR be a bad mom…I promise!

The Positive Pregnancy Test

I’ll start from the beginning and say that this was a surprise (a wonderful surprise, but a surprise nonetheless), and after seeing that blue plus sign, I cried on my bathroom floor for a good 10 minutes if not more…Watching the test start to show the results, my emotions went something like this: surreal oh my gosh happiness that turned immediately into a full on panic attack. It felt like the room was spinning and there was nothing I could do to stop it except sit on the floor, hug my knees, close my eyes and just cry. My husband, Miguel, knew I was taking the test but was out on a job site and called me as soon as he was done…which happened to be right in the middle of my tear fest. I didn’t answer his first call because no one imagines telling their partner that they are pregnant over the phone. At least, that’s not how I pictured it. I wanted to see his face when I told him, but when he called again I knew I had to answer and there was no hiding the fact that I was crying. He said he knew the test was positive when I didn’t answer the first call. Let’s just say, it wasn’t a reveal out of a Hallmark feel-good Christmas movie…

We were both in shock for the next few days. We weren’t planning on starting a family for at least another 2 years. Miguel had just started his own lawn care business earlier that year and was doing that full time and I was in the middle of hustling hardcore on my photography business as well as working a full time 9-5. Our two dogs and new businesses were our babies and we were so focused on turning our dreams of being small business owners into a reality, our brains felt like they didn’t have room for anything else… so we did what all mature adults do when they come across a big life surprise such as this…we choose to ignore it until we got the positive from the doctors office. Yea…real mature right? *face palm*

I took that first at home test on a Friday after work and the very next day I was going to be traveling down to photograph AND be a bridesmaid in one of my best friends wedding. I was stressed, but I knew I had a job to do and I didn’t want this new information to affect her photography experience with me. Since we had just found out, I wasn’t going to tell anyone, but come Sunday morning (the morning of the wedding) I was not doing well. I don’t know if it was wedding day nerves, morning sickness, or a mixture of both, but I ended up having to tell one of the other bridesmaids (who was another good friend of mine, thank goodness – love you Laura!) what was going on because I was in desperate need of help. I didn’t want the bride to find out because this was her special day and it just wouldn’t have been right. The best part about this whole thing is, my friend who was getting married found out she was pregnant just days before she was a bridesmaid in my own wedding!! HOW WEIRD IS THAT YOU GUYS!! After the weekend festivities had ended and I was home and unpacked, I gave her a call and told her the news. We couldn’t believe the chances that we both found out we were expecting just before the others wedding day! You can’t make this stuff up…

My husband and I went to the doctors the same day we got home from the wedding and they gave us the positive test results and told us I was about 6 weeks along. Hearing the confirmation from the doctor made us accept it, but it still didn’t feel real. For someone like me who was constantly going back and forth about having children, to being told they’re 6 weeks pregnant was probably the most out of body feeling I’ve ever experienced. There were so many things going through our heads. How were we going to make this work financially? How are we going to finish everything we wanted to get done to the house before the baby comes? How are we going to be able to afford day care? How are we going to know how to properly take care of a baby? How will this effect our new businesses? It was all extremely overwhelming, but with the support of those that we shared our news with, we started to feel a little more comfortable and excited with the thought of becoming parents.

Our Decision To Keep Our News Quiet

Around this same time, it seemed like EVERYBODY AND THEIR SISTER was pregnant. It was insane! Between Miguel and I, we were seeing at least one pregnancy announcement on social media A DAY and that’s not an exaggeration. I didn’t know if it was because I was pregnant so I was more in tune to noticing it or if it was really happening as much as I thought, until I came across a meme on Facebook that read: “I survived the 2018 pregnancy epidemic”. Welp, there it is. It wasn’t just in my head. Because we seemed to be surrounded by pregnancy announcements and we were still feeling a bit overwhelmed, we decided to forego announcing our news on social media and only telling our family and close friends. The other reason I decided to not tell everyone, was because the automatic reaction is “OH MY GOD YAY CONGRATULATIONS!!!!” and because I was still only feeling just straight up nervousness and anxiety, I didn’t want to face the reactions to my reaction…I just needed time to process what was happening without the worry of judgement from others. It’s a huge life change after-all!

Looking back, I’m so happy we kept our news quiet. No matter what anyone tells you, they love getting reactions to posts on social media, and I’m no different. When we announced our engagement, we got #allthelikes and I loved it! I knew people would show us that same love if we announced that we were expecting, but our decision to keep our news in our close circle was such a sigh of relief. We got to experience our entire pregnancy journey with what seemed like just us. Obviously people started to find out in different ways…you can only hide a growing belly for so long! But once that started happening, I was starting to have more good days than bad. It’s abnormal to not post everything on social media these days and I was worried someone might post something, a picture, a congratulatory message, something that would let the world know when we weren’t ready to let the world know…but I’m happy to say our news stayed safe and we were able to announce her arrival on our own terms and for that, I am so incredibly grateful.

Finding Out The Gender & Accepting My New Normal

PC: Julia Rebecca Photography

From the day I took that first at home pregnancy test on September 14th, fast forward to December 14th…the day we found out our little nugget was a girl…it was the day I had been anticipating since finding out I was pregnant. Obviously I wanted all of the health checks to go okay during that appointment, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t more anxious to find out the gender more than anything else. I had this vision of what was going to happen and how the ultrasound tech was going to tell us what we were having. I envisioned her leading up to the moment with excitement and saying something along the lines of “Okay now is when we find out what you’re having!! Do you want to know?? It’s a….!” And I would turn to Miguel and start crying tears of joy. It was a beautiful moment in my head that I was looking forward to with so much excitement…only to have the actual moment happen in a very different way…whomp whomp…instead, it went a little something like this…the tech was going about the appointment, talking about what to expect, telling us measurements, that she thinks everything looks good so far, then without any build up and in the same breath as the sentence she said before, she says , “Oh by the way it’s a girl.” HA. Much different than how I thought it was going to go down. I wasn’t expecting it so I remember quickly looking away from the monitor to look at her and said “Really?!” In an excited way and she responds with something along the lines of “Yes, why would I trick you like that?” Don’t get me wrong, she was very nice, it just wasn’t the moment I thought I was going to get. But regardless, our baby girl was healthy from everything that the tech could see and that’s all a parent can ever hope for.

As the weeks and months went on, I slowly watched my body change and get rounder week after week after week until eventually I hit the stage where it’s painful and almost impossible to put your own shoes on…and in the middle of having multiple panic attacks to the point of not being able to catch my breath…to dealing with this new body that didn’t look like mine and being uncomfortable was my new normal…to tackling insane cravings to the point of seeing what I’m craving in someone else’s lunchbox and seriously consider eating it and then apologizing…to dealing with my feet swelling to the size of footballs by the end of the day…to worrying what will become of my photography business that I’ve built and was still currently hustling so hard to build…to suddenly crying my eyes out because of the paralyzing fear I felt when I thought of labor and delivery…to visiting a chiropractor which I swore I would never do because I was in so much pain…in the middle of all of that, I started to feel excited about the reality of my daughter. I started feeling excited to meet her, to hold her, to see her eyes looking into mine for the very first time, to feeling her little fingers wrap around my pinky for the first time. I started feeling excited to watch Miguel become a father to his little princess. I viewed planning my baby shower and putting together my baby registry with an uplifted spirit rather than with a feeling of overwhelming burden and obligation. I started seeing baby clothes in stores and picturing my little girl in them. It was an incredibly motivating and happy time for me, even if the feeling of excitement wasn’t all the time, it was a start and it was much better than the state of mind I was in just 6 months prior. I had hope that I might actually end up being a good mom, and that maybe I can do this after all.

If you enjoyed reading Part 1, stick around for Part 2! I’ll be sharing all the details about my experience with labor and delivery (which was a HUGE fear of mine), and all of the events leading up to the moment we met our daughter.

Part 2 Coming Soon!

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