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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

Best Things Of The Worst Summer: Buying A House AND Having A Baby

April, Max, and Evie
April Anderson-Zorn
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April, Max, and their daughter Evie outside their new home in Bloomington.

Let’s admit it: Summer 2020 has been awful. (Thanks, COVID-19.) But some in Bloomington-Normal have managed to find bright spots in an otherwise dark summer. These are WGLT’s Best Things Of The Worst Summer.

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April Anderson-Zorn is an archivist, so she knows a thing or two about what makes a moment, a person, or a thing memorable. And this summer will certainly be memorable.

Especially for April and her husband, Max.

Back in late March, when the pandemic unraveled the world, April and Max bought a house—a 95-year-old place in south Bloomington. As they signed the paperwork in the title office on a Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker issued his first stay-at-home order. So, worried that their moving truck might be deemed inessential, they panic-packed and moved immediately—a week early.

“It’s like Christmas. Every time I open a box (in the new house), I don’t know what’s in there, because we panic-moved,” April said.

And amid all the moving—and the excitement of trying to find a dentist for Max’s unexpected emergency tooth extraction about this time—April also was quite pregnant. She was due June 25.

But despite the mess of a world she was coming into, their daughter, Evelyn Karlene Zorn, just couldn’t wait. She was born May 29 in Urbana, almost a full month early. She is April and Max’s first child.

“Evie” was born the same week the world’s attention turned to racial unrest over the killing of George Floyd. Peaceful protests and looting were all over the news.

“Every day it was this new news coming out of town here, and I’m going, oh god, oh god, what’s going on? I wasn’t getting any sleep,” April said. “I had nurses coming in, checking on me every couple hours, and we’re getting the news of what’s happening back home. And my blood pressure kept skyrocketing and skyrocketing, and I couldn’t calm down.”

Now, the family is all back home. April is still on leave from work with the baby.

But she’s figured out the right balance of news to let into her life, at least for now. The remainder is spent pleasure-scrolling Disney social media and blogs. (April is a native Floridian and a Disney junkie.)

“Obviously, I want to stay informed, so I give myself maybe 5, 10 minutes (of news) in the morning. And then when I can feel my blood pressure going up, it’s like, ‘OK, time for some Minnie, time for some Mickey, time for some Stitch.’ And it immediately starts to drop,” April said. 

April admits feeling a bit robbed of the blissful experience of sharing her pregnancy and the new baby with her family and friends. There’s no parade of visitors looking to hold the baby.

“It was stressful, to say the least,” April said. “But we’re home. We’re isolated. We’ve got a brand-new baby who’s still sleeping thankfully. The house is still standing. Like, we’re good. Those are the few things we’re thankful for at this point.”

If you’re going to have a pandemic, might as well make it exciting.

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