Hannah Marley was surprised when she fell for an Army paratrooper.

She was surprised that the relationship stuck.

And, later, she was surprised by how they started their family.

Tune in to hear this pre-school teacher’s tale of surprises—which, it turns out, do not end once she becomes a mom.

Do YOU like surprises?
When has your family surprised you? Tell us the good and the bad below!

Professional Photos by: Justyn Lord of JP Lord Photography

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37 thoughts on “EPISODE #122: Surprise!

  1. Hannah’s story is sweet but I find it more than a little terrifying. I imagine she had a strict birth control routine for the same reason I and many other women do – because having a child is not a decision that makes sense for our lives right now. Did Hannah and her partner even want a child? How did they become financially and emotionally prepared on such short notice? It’s a wonderful surprise, but I wonder if it’s also a little unwelcome. Am I missing something here?

    1. Thanks for your questions, Lee! We knew we wanted children so even though this was a surprise it was a very welcome one. We experienced a lot of shock when we found out but have fully embraced parenthood and are happier than ever. I don’t mean to imply that this wasn’t a major adjustment in our lives but we have simply taken it day by day and the blessing of having our daughter outshines any stressors that we might have.

  2. What a crazy story!

    I would love to hear an episode exploring the most frustrating myth around infertility: the idea that as soon as you stop trying, you will get pregnant. When I was trying to get pregnant, it was awful to keep hearing that as soon as I stopped trying, stopped wanting to be a mother… that’s when it would happen.

    But of course that’s exactly what happened. Seven years years after I started trying and two years after I stopped trying… surprise pregnancy. Unlike Hannah, I was convinced I was dying for 9 weeks before I took the pregnancy test. Is there any scientific basis for this myth? Is just about the stress of trying to get pregnant? Whyyyyyy?

  3. I too was taking birth control when I conceived my now 18 month old daughter. One night, after being intimate with my husband (then boyfriend) I woke up from a dream saying “I’m pregnant”. Not, I woke up and thought I’m pregnant, but the words literally came out of my mouth without me realizing it. In the morning I told my boyfriend about it but we both didn’t give it much thought. When it was closer to my period I bought the super early detection tests and sure enough it was positive. We talked about getting married previously but we had no timeline nor any real need for one until then. This little girl changed everything for us in all of the best ways. My husband was already searching for a new job when we found out, but he got much more serious about it. Now he works at a job that he loves (and he builds things that go to space, how cool!). We moved for his job and found a lovely (smallish) home for our family in a great neighborhood. I am able to stay home and bring in some supplemental income through my craft business. I know not everyone is nearly as lucky with a surprise pregnancy, but I can truly say that she has made every aspect of our lives better than before. Now we’re trying for kiddo #2 :)

  4. hi,
    absolutely love the podcast. but this episode has become one of my most fav episodes. not bcz of all the surprises but i also can relate to Hannah on some level. i def wasnt ready to be a mom. went off the pills over a year ago, which was the trying period for us i guess. but even though it took so long for me to get pregnant, i never was worried. never did any ovulation test, never went back to the doctor. in fact i went back to night school very nonchalantly bcz i wasnt getting pregnant. felt like the the right time since i wasnt getting pregnant. thats how less of a rush i was in to get pregnant. but as soon as i did start school, it happened. didnt find out about my pregnancy till the 3rd month? also because had no such pregnancy symptoms what so ever. even had my full on period for 3 months straight. which is why i am always skeptical abt my conceive date. until the day i took the test and all the symptoms came. felt like my mind needed to catch up with rest of my body then it rebooted. barely showed till i was 6 months, which is when i told my job that i was pregnant. it came as a huge surprise for all. pregnancy time was the most amazing time of my life. so much that i always, till today, regretted missing out the first 3 months. but labor was a whole different case. not to compare it with many terrifying labor stories, mine was the worst for me. i was 8 days late and on the 8th day, i literally admitted myself to hospital bcz my gyn refused to induce me, saying it will happen naturally. after 20 hrs of never ending labor, ended up with a c-section. but she was the most amazing looking baby i have ever seen in my life……
    the recovery from the surgery, getting used to being a mom, a non sleeping baby, and then 4 months after she was born, being the victim of hurricane Sandy where we lost everything. life has been full of surprises and very eventful.
    i know my story is in many ways very different from Hannah’s but i related to it a lot. finally life started settling down, and my husband started asking for a second baby. i am not sure how i feel abt that. but we are happy. and we can look back and say, what a crazy 4 year it has been.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing Tina! I am so so glad to hear that you relate to my story. It’s always a good feeling to not feel alone! Sending blessings and love your way!

  5. I can’t even count how many times I had to yell “YES!” while listening to this episode.

    I had my own surprise baby 5 years ago. I was a 21 year old college senior battling panic attacks and anorexia when I found out I was 32 weeks pregnant. In 2 months, I had to make what seemed like every life decision. I left college as soon as my finals were finished and moved back home. We didn’t know anyone that had recently had kids, so we had to buy all of the baby stuff. I enrolled in a smaller school closer to my home. I watched too many documentaries about childbirth.
    My doctors were very condescending, and one of them flat out let me know what an idiot I was. In hindsight I can see how my mystery illness was pregnancy, but like Hannah I had no stereotypical symptoms. I was on birth control, and my cycle has never been anything close to normal, generally with 6-9 month stretches between periods. I was just starting to show when I took a pregnancy test mid-panic attack. I was finally going to get help, and thought I should take one before they put me on medication. That positive pops up IMMEDIATELY when you are 7 months pregnant.
    A week after I turned 22, my perfect daughter was born at full term. I couldn’t believe that it was real. I believe in my exhaustion, I yelled “Oh my God, that’s a baby!” when she was shown to me for the first time.
    I really don’t know how I got so lucky. I did EVERYTHING that you aren’t supposed to do while pregnant, from eating lunch meat to jumping off a cliff. If anything comes up down the line, I know I will blame myself for not taking better care of her before she was born. I do keep a stash of tests and take one every time I feel even slightly nauseated.

    Anyway, it was nice to hear a story about a pregnancy that I could relate to for once :)

      1. Hannah, your story was beautiful! I have a daughter named Everly too! She just turned one on the 11th! :)

  6. Less than 1% failure rate for an IUD did you say? Count me AND MY MOM in on that tiny fraction of pregnancies. You can imagine that my now 10 month old surprise daughter, Estelle, will not be using Paraguard as her primary form of birth control. (Abstinence only, haha).
    When we got married, my husband was pretty sure he didn’t want kids, and I knew that Iwas going to be a mom- and we went ahead with marriage anyways. We love each other so much- why make a decision now based on something that may or may not happen in 5+ years… he was turning a corner and his mind was opening to the possibility when… boom… pregnant with an IUD. It took a significant portion of the pregnancy to get used to the idea. Lots was happening in my life that wasn’t conducive to baby making- quitting smoking, medication for depression, interviewing for new job- somehow it all came together. Like Hannah said- beautiful new powerhouse of purpose running the show in our house. Unlike Hannah- I never thought our dogs (and their breath) were cuter than when I was pregnant. Now they’re back to just being dogs, and the obsession with cuteness is alllllll on baby E.

  7. This episode really resonated with me. Like Hannah, I was surprised by my first pregnancy (though I had more “typical” symptoms and figured it out earlier on). Though we were married, my husband and I hadn’t really decided whether we really wanted to have kids — we did think we weren’t ready and if we tried it would be years later. Pregnancy changes everything, and I do think that is amplified a bit when it’s a surprise. It was nice to hear this addressed on the show – that monumental shift when becoming a parent is something often discussed, but the feelings that go along with the surprise are complex. Thanks for diving into this topic and Hannah, thanks for sharing your story!

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