Carly Leahy entered 2020 with a plan: she would marry Charlie, her fiancé of virtually two years, after which the 2 would attempt to have kids. As an alternative, the 31-year-old co-founder of reproductive well being firm Trendy Fertility confronted a worldwide pandemic, an sudden being pregnant, a most cancers prognosis for her now-husband — and a totally totally different timeline for her life than the one she had imagined.
Her expertise was a part of the inspiration for the 2021 Trendy State of Fertility report, by which the corporate partnered with Zola to discover how girls have refocused their ideas on marriage and being pregnant after a yr of a life-changing pandemic. (For instance, 46 p.c of respondents stated COVID has modified their private timelines for having kids.) “This can be darkish,” Leahy informed ELLE.com, “however [it’s] fairly humorous and reassuring to not be alone in that. Under, in her personal phrases, Leahy shares the total story of her pandemic yr — and what she’s most trying ahead to proper now.
Like many individuals, I entered 2020 considering: that is our yr. My husband and I received engaged in April 2018 and had huge plans to get married in 2019. However what I do not discuss a lot is that my father was sick with most cancers and ultimately died. When issues weren’t going so effectively for him, we moved the marriage to June 20, 2020. We thought the date sounded good – now it is simply filled with irony.
After the pandemic broke out in March, I keep in mind this part the place all of us grew to become beginner epidemiologists. We tried to evaluate, to suppose, Oh in June, it will likely be all proper. Then, two months later, we realized it was by no means going to occur, and we moved the marriage to August. August was in fact not good both. On reflection, all of it appears so ridiculous. As issues continued to evolve with the pandemic, worrying a few marriage ceremony felt so foolish and frivolous. We ended up rescheduling the marriage for the third time and determined to only do a small ceremony with our shut household and throw a celebration in 2022.
On the similar time, Charlie and I weren’t actively making an attempt to conceive, however I had my IUD out and we thought we would see what occurred. We deliberate to have kids later, after we received married. However in August I did not get my interval and took one in every of our being pregnant checks, simply in case it got here again optimistic. (It was.)
Then, in September, a couple of weeks earlier than our “elopement,” Charlie went for a colonoscopy. He had been seeing blood in his poop for a yr or two and had gone to his GP who informed him it was in all probability simply hemorrhoids. However because it grew to become extra constant, he went to a different physician who informed him to have the process. I believe he thought, We’re having a child, so let’s ensure all the things is okay.
He went for the colonoscopy and later I received a name from the hospital asking if I used to be Charlie’s fiancé. I stated sure, and so they stated, “You must come.” I requested, “Why? Is he okay?” however they would not inform me something. I form of blacked out. That day particularly was additionally throughout wildfire season in San Francisco, and it was all orange. It was like we have been within the fiery depths of the hell lived.
Once I received to the hospital they let me park proper out entrance which made me much more alarmed. I’m going in and Charlie is a bit of loopy consuming a carton of juice. The physician sits down and her first phrases have been, “It is not excellent news.” She stated she was fairly positive she had discovered most cancers, and whereas she could not verify it on the time, she stated we must always put together mentally. That was the start of the worst week of all time, as a result of then you must look forward to the CT scans to seek out out if the most cancers has unfold. It turned out that the day we received the CT scan outcomes was the identical day I had my first ultrasound to see if the newborn had a heartbeat. His appointment was at 8 am, mine at 10 am. We thought, it will likely be one of the best day or essentially the most devastating day. We tried to get married, however now we now have this being pregnant and this most cancers. How did this occur on this order? We had conversations like, “Will I be there for my little one?” whereas he thought of whether or not to depart us behind.
Thankfully, the CT scans got here clear and the most cancers was fairly localized in Charlie’s colon, however till they’d surgical procedure, we could not make sure how deep it was. We had our “elopement” with household on September thirtieth and I used to be tormenting myself about telling the individuals who would come that I used to be pregnant. It was means too early, however I lastly did it anyway. We have been at a vineyard and we could not conceal it. We picked up two of our shut associates from the airport and informed them, “I am pregnant, Charlie has most cancers and we wish you to know.” They did not know the right way to react.
However although it was my first trimester and I felt unhealthy, the marriage was stunning. One in all my greatest associates was our officiant, and throughout the ceremony she talked about that my father was not there and talked in regards to the child and sickness. It was essentially the most intense second of our lives. It was form of a good looking intimacy, being surrounded by individuals who knew what was occurring.
The day after our marriage ceremony, I dropped my mother and sister off on the airport, I got here dwelling and lay sick on the lavatory flooring for 12 hours. We went on a “mini moon” within the San Juan Islands, and I keep in mind being actually dumb and on the market. I slept on a regular basis. We have been undoubtedly making an attempt to relaxation earlier than what occurred subsequent.
Then we went dwelling so Charlie may have surgical procedure to have a foot faraway from his colon. The surgical procedure went effectively and he recovered, however later he ended up having to endure three months of chemotherapy. He completed chemo in March, and now we’re having a child woman in a couple of weeks.
It has been a very intense few years, and this expertise has undoubtedly modified the best way I take into consideration issues that needs to be accomplished “by the ebook”. It form of destroyed the concept that the wedding milestone is that this identification as a result of it ended up being extra peripheral for us.
To not point out on a regular basis, we have been constructing this firm that focuses on girls’s well being. It received me interested by entry to healthcare and data, and the way alienating and scary being pregnant and fertility could be if you do not have that entry. Ladies ought to be capable of have the details about their our bodies to make the alternatives they need to make, whether or not they have a companion or not, whether or not they resolve to freeze their eggs or not, or whether or not they resolve to not have kids. My hope is that because the pandemic blows up a few of these typical timelines, extra of us will start to hunt out the knowledge to map out the lives we actually need, not simply those we predict we now have.
What I am most enthusiastic about is that Charlie is a dad. He was born for it. I keep in mind throwing the being pregnant take a look at on his lap, and he simply regarded out. I am so grateful that he was proactive, and we’re in the absolute best place there. Am I afraid of giving delivery? Sure. However we each really feel very, very fortunate.
This interview has been barely edited and shortened.
Madison is a senior author/editor at ELLE.com, overlaying information, politics and tradition. When she’s not on the web, you’ll be able to in all probability take her for a nap or eat banana bread.