For one Everett couple, faith overcame fear as they embraced parenthood in the midst of a pandemic.
History will record 2020 as a year marked by the coronavirus — by isolation, loss of employment and grief. Yet for Marisol and Hector Flores, the year brought the unforeseen blessings of twin daughters.
In November 2019, Marisol Flores discovered what she described as “a surprise pregnancy after 12 years of marriage.” By early 2020, before COVID-19 had upended life for everyone, she and her husband were “super excited” to learn they were expecting twin girls.
“I looked forward to my future twin baby shower, my friends watching my belly grow, all the things!” she wrote in an email. Her message was in response to my request for readers to share how the virus had changed their lives.
Hadassah and Tabitha were born at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle on June 24. They arrived three weeks early, delivered by cesarean, both weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces. Today, the Flores home in the Lowell neighborhood is filled with all the joys and coos, hungry cries and wakeful nights that not one but two babies bring.
Flores, 35, said that in sharing their story she hopes to let others know what helped them through fears of the virus, a higher-than-average-risk pregnancy and economic uncertainty.
Both she and her husband are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and members of a Spanish-speaking congregation that meets at the Kingdom Hall on Everett’s Madison Street. Before coronavirus restrictions, they met every Sunday and Wednesday. Together, they also shared their faith through door-to-door visits, going out weekly.
All that had stopped by late February 2020, after the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses closed assembly halls and halted in-contact preaching. “We quickly understood this was very serious,” she wrote. And by the time she was 6 months pregnant, she had also stopped in-person visits with friends and family.
Hector Flores, now back on the job with a window and door company, was furloughed for three months starting last March. And Marisol, who had worked cleaning apartments in Seattle, was no longer able to do that. Savings they had for their growing family dwindled.
With money tight and their spiritual routine interrupted, they turned even more to faith.
Soon, they were joining weekly meetings of their congregation online via Zoom. Rather than going door to door, they preached biblical messages through letter writing and by phone.
“Although our situation seemed dire, I was happy to have my husband at home keeping me company and helping me with the many, many things I could no longer do,” she said. “I was happy to see our friends from the Kingdom Hall online and felt their support.”
Reading and sharing Scripture “made me feel uplifted and courageous,” said Flores, whose family came to the United States from Mexico when she was 6.
In these worrisome times, she believes others may find comfort where she finds it, in the Bible — especially the Book of James, 4:8. It says, “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”
“Thankfully,” Marisol Flores said, no one in her family has been sickened by the virus. Her parents, three siblings and grandmother live in Bellingham, and she sees them only briefly. “We tried as best we could to stay home,” she said.
The babies were delivered at Swedish, she said, because of the hospital’s bloodless program. Jehovah’s Witnesses decline blood transfusions.
For months, they’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of family and friends — which they see as God’s doing. “I had two virtual baby showers, and gifts showed up at the door from Amazon,” Flores said. “Many dropped off food, cash and gifts for the twins.” Those gestures, she said, “brought us to tears.”
“We have yet to buy diapers for them ourselves because our friends dropped off doubles of every size,” Flores said.
Now 7 months old, the girls are teething. They haven’t started crawling but are busy grabbing and rolling. Fraternal twins, their personalities are different. Hadassah is smiley and can be impatient. Tabitha is more reserved and quiet.
The coronavirus keeps the family home, except for the babies’ checkups.
“Although they haven’t met our friends in person or gone on a proper family outing, we can truly say they have had all they needed from birth till now,” Flores said. “We are immensely grateful and deeply touched by God’s love and our friends that reflect it.”
Julie Muhlstein: firstname.lastname@example.org
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