When you enter our home, your eyes would instantly travel to our sunroom, a little pocket of space that has long been converted into our office. It’s where my husband and I spent most of our time. In the middle of it, there is a white chest filled with little trinkets and plants and also a symbolic white cup. It was a cup from Tuesday, November 24, 2020, the day I was told I needed to move my delivery date a week early.

I pray that Balty grows up to be joyful, curious of the world and trusting of its magic and bliss.

Only a week ahead of schedule, my husband and I were a flurry of nerves, excitement, and butterflies. We needed to get to the hospital quick, as well as inform our colleagues, and tidy up a few things before we could call it a day. I believe I kept myself busy that day, jotting down tasks to coworkers, in order to avoid my biggest fear: labor. For years, I was so afraid of being pregnant and giving birth, mainly the reason why we kept my pregnancy private — no gender reveal parties, no social media announcements, just plain old calls to close family and friends.

The nine months of pregnancy was quite a blur — a testament of God’s goodness. My husband and I found out that were expecting on April Fool’s Day while we were right smack in the middle of the world’s biggest pandemic. In early April, there was not enough information about Covid-19 and so I spent my days focusing on what I could: meditation, prayers, and advice from well-meaning and trusted friends.

From the moment I found out we were pregnant, I simply surrendered. Worrying about the outcome was a fruitless endeavor so my husband and I did what we could: just take one small tiny step every day and before we knew it, God transformed the challenges of the earlier part of the year into abundant things that allowed us to prepare for our little one.

Without sharing the details, it’s safe to say that my husband and I were not entirely prepared to have a child in the year 2020, but once we knew that God is not a God of surprises, life slowly turned out the way that it should be.

Day by day, throughout my pregnancy, God provided us with the right medical team, resources, guides, and just mentors to help us transition into this new season of grace. In this season, I learned to lean in and focus on my inner world. It was a season of inner healing as well as rising in my power in order to prepare to be a mother for my child.

Our marriage has always been grounded on the foundation of sheer, blind faith, and preparing for our first born was not any different. On our fourth wedding anniversary, we found out we were going to have a boy and immediately had our names picked out.

Alexander is for his father, Anthony, it also means a “defender and a protector of man.” As our eldest, I pray he becomes our family’s fierce protector and also a defender of the voiceless and the unseen. Raphael is of Hebrew origin and is the name of one of the archangels, my favorite one. My parents initially thought I was a boy and named me Raphael before they found out I was, well, me. And lastly, and the closest one to my heart is the name Balthazar.

You see, my dad’s real name is Melchor, he was named after the Three Kings since his birthday falls on January 6. My mom put her foot down on naming her grandson Melchor so Anthony and I decided on another member of the Three Kings, Balthazar.

Balthazar also means “Bel protects the King” but to my husband and I, this name is rooted in my love for my father. My father, to this day, continues to be my life’s hero and Anthony and I would be so blessed if our son grows up to be just like his grandfather — loyal, persistent, faithful, and most importantly, kind. Whenever I call my son today, I feel a wave of gratitude and pride that I have someone as wonderful as my father to name my son after.

Balty, as we call him, was born on the morning of Thanksgiving Day and in my mind, my husband and I couldn’t have even planned that even if we tried. It was only apt as this year’s theme for us is gratitude. It was a wink from Heaven, an assurance that God is and only was listening.

As a new mother, there are many things I wish for my dear son such as an abundance of grace, favor, and protection, but more than anything, my husband and I pray that he grows up knowing that he is loved, cared for, and safe. Out of all the things in this world, I pray that he grows up to be joyful, curious of the world and trusting of its magic and bliss. Most importantly, we pray that his life is rooted in the security of our Heavenly Father, for it is God who truly makes all things possible.