Ten years ago, at the delicate age of 16, I was pregnant. Coming from young parents myself (my mom whom was 19, and my dad, 16, when they had me) I knew of no other option than to have this baby. I learned that I would have to grow up fast and sacrifice much; Nevertheless, I went through most of my pregnancy happy and carefree.
Going to high school, hanging out with friends, and dancing the night away at junior prom. It wasn’t until my pregnancy was nearing the end of its third trimester that I realized, “Wait, this thing has to come out of me!”
With encouragement from my mom, I walked down the street to my neighbor Jan, who is a midwife, and had known me almost my entire life. Together we watched a birth video, she explained the process of giving birth, and the pain I would endure through each wave of contractions. I was intimidated and quite honestly, freaked out! But, I will never forget her most powerful words of encouragement, “Women all over the world have been giving birth for centuries, and you will do it too.” I walked home with a new sense of empowerment. I was going to have my baby completely natural, un-medicated, and we would be fine.
My due date came and went. I went to the doctors where he explained that the apple was ripe. It was either going to fall on its own or we would have to pick it. I understood that, but I had no idea he was planning to induce me, nor what the word “induce” even meant. I was headed to the beach one day when I got a phone call from the hospital wondering if I was going to come in for my scheduled inducement? I was confused, but politely responded with, “No, my baby is not ready, I’m not even in labor.”
A couple days later, I went back to the doctors only to find out I was 4 centimeters and they were again, ready to send me to the hospital. I still wasn’t feeling any contractions at this point, so I asked if I could go home and get a few things first. He said it was okay, so of course I had to stop at the mall and buy a cute diaper bag, and then I went home, had dinner, a relaxing shower and went to bed.
Hours later, I woke up in pain, uncomfortable enough that I could not get back into bed. I woke up my boyfriend and my mom who both labored with me, while a boxing match was on the television (was anyone even watching it?) until 3 am. Then we called Kadi, my doula. Jan was off in Colorado delivering her grand baby, and Kadi had known me just as long as Jan had, so I felt comfortable and knew I was in good hands. When she came over, I was on my knees, leaning on the back of the couch looking out the window breathing through contractions. They were painful, but tolerable. When she checked me we were all surprised to hear I was 8 centimeters!
I had been anemic my entire pregnancy so we had decided to have the baby at the hospital, so we left right away. I remember singing on the car ride there. The sun was rising and my entire family was there to support me. The hospital room smelt of lavender and the contractions slowly grew stronger. Kadi relieved much of the pain with hot compresses and by massaging my lower back. She was an angel! Before I knew it, it was time to push. I was overwhelmed and tired, but my mom reminded me that it was not time to give up; her head was right there! I pushed. Crying filled the room and tears of joy ran down my face as they placed my baby girl on my chest. I never knew I could love someone so much.
Now at the age of 26, I can proudly say I beat the statistics. With the help of my family, especially my mom, I was able to graduate high school the next year and then go on to college to become a Registered Nurse by the age of 21. Married now to that same amazing boyfriend with two healthy children, I feel extremely blessed. I did it and you can do it too.
No matter your age or your circumstances, find support! Whether it is your family, your friends, your neighbors or your church. Set goals for yourself, and put those horse blinders on and keep moving forward. There are beautiful things in store for you!
-Your now grown up Maui Mama
Image Credit: the author