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First time mother-to-be Shannon Prybilla, of Isanti, was looking forward to all the fun of a baby shower as she progressed through her pregnancy.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the idea of a baby shower was far from reality; however, winning a Mother’s Day contest through Ellen DeGeneres’ show was a nice surprise.

“I found out I was pregnant on Nov. 3, 2019. I just kind of had a feeling, and then was surprised it said it was positive. I took two more tests after that. We had been trying to get pregnant for eight months,” Prybilla said.

Cory and Shannon Prybilla were excited about the idea of welcoming a baby into their lives, but due to a loss of employment, they became stressed and were looking forward to all the benefits of a baby shower, which they soon realized they wouldn’t be able to have.

“I’m currently working at Target in their corporate offices. I have been able to work from home since the end of March. My husband was laid off due to COVID in March. When he lost his job, we temporarily lost our health insurance. At that time, I wasn’t working at Target long enough to apply for benefits,” Prybilla said. “That was the most stressful part of COVID for us. We suddenly had all of the things we were counting on and our plans destroyed in a matter of minutes. We do have health insurance now; we are just hoping that Cory will be able to spend a little time at home when the baby is born.

“My baby shower was planned for May 30, but it needed to be canceled. Being a first-time mom I was relying on my friends and family with kids to help me with things I need because I have no idea. Baby outfits are just the cutest too. I wasn’t surprised that we needed to cancel my party. It did take away another fun celebration that I had been looking forward to,” Prybilla added.

Prybilla, who’d been a fan of the Ellen DeGeneres Show and watched the Mother’s Day show religiously, knew as soon as she was pregnant that she wanted to sign up to be in the audience for the 2020 Mother’s Day show.

“Ellen has a Mother’s Day show every year. Those are some of my favorite episodes. Only first-time moms can be in the audience and she is known to give away a lot of prizes. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I looked up to see when the show would be this year. I really wanted to go out to California to be in the audience,” Prybilla said. “I knew I was going to apply for a ticket as soon as they were available. Since COVID-19 started everything is closed and Ellen has been filming her shows from home, so I didn’t think she would have a Mother’s Day show this year. Then I saw a post on her Facebook page to apply to be in the virtual audience. There was only a three-day window to apply. I applied five different times because I kept messing up the entry dates and times.

“I found out I was selected to win the grand prize the very next day. I was shocked, I seriously thought I had zero chance at being selected. Even though I wasn’t one of the 25 people asked to be on the show, I was still included in the grand prize winners,” Prybilla added.

The grand prize package included a $300 Amazon gift card, $500 gift card for The Honest Company, a $500 gift card for Daily Harvest, $500 Shutterfly gift card and a voucher for a Bamboo Elisabetta Convertible backpack/diaper bag, a Cybex car seat, Stokke high chair with newborn and toddler attachments, and a MINU stroller with baby attachments.

“I’m so excited to have been selected because that lifts a lot of stress about the bigger items we needed. I know we will have a safe and good quality car seat and stroller for the baby,” Prybilla said. “I don’t need to worry about buying diapers and wipes for awhile with the honest company gift card and plan to buy everything left on my Amazon baby registry once the baby comes.”

In addition to losing out on a baby shower, Prybilla has also experienced other stresses of being pregnant during the pandemic.

“Being pregnant during all this craziness is pretty intense. I feel like a princess locked away in a tower. I am pretty much isolated, I don’t leave the house except for doctors appointments or to pick up prescriptions. I have been asked to avoid the hospital/clinic unless it’s absolutely necessary,” Prybilla said. “I haven’t had any complications, so I only had one check up during this whole stay-at-home order. It’s also pretty nice too. I get to relax and take it easy through the rest of my pregnancy. I feel pretty lucky, all things considered.”

And she knows she has a lot to look forward to.

“I can’t wait for baby cuddles. I honestly can’t wait to bring the baby to the zoo or the beach when it’s a little older. Cory is probably more excited than I am. He even said he was excited to change diapers,” Prybilla added.

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