My name is Megan. I wrote you during the week of January 6th, 2001, when I was about three months pregnant. You posted my story on the website. I was very sick, and I was trying to adjust to having just moved in with my boyfriend of five years. I had a lot going on, and finding out I was pregnant was not exactly the greatest thing that had ever happened to me, or at least that was what I thought at the time.
The reason I am writing is because I think it is important for people to be able to see two sides of the same story, the then and the now, the end of one era and the beginning of a new one, the before and after. My daughter, Taylor Marie, was born three weeks early on June 5th, 2002. She was a tiny little thing at nineteen inches long weighing only six pounds. When I wrote to you before, I had just started going to an OBGYN that I thought was a good doctor. She turned out to be a nightmare, and after leaving her office crying for three straight months, I finally took charge.
I realized that, no matter what anyone else thought, and no matter whether I had planned my pregnancy, and no matter what my friends or certain family members believed, and no matter how old I was or whether I was married, every decision was mine to make—all mine. I fired my doctor, and I began a mad search for a lay midwife and began planning a home water birth. I found the perfect midwife; Michael and I absolutely fell in love with her. I spent a couple of hours with her every two weeks. I had a few of the usual aches and pains of pregnancy, and my tiny little body managed to pack on an extra 60 pounds. However, I had a great pregnancy. Oh sure, I threw up every day for five months or so, and I had terrible mood swings and prepartum depression, and I itched all over, and I couldn’t wear closed shoes, and I couldn’t fit behind the steering wheel of my car if I wanted to reach the pedals. But I learned to love being pregnant.
Just when I was starting to get to that really uncomfortable “if I’m pregnant for another day I will spontaneously explode…really!” part of pregnancy, I was diagnosed with full-blown toxemia. It happened extremely suddenly. I didn’t have a sudden weight gain, but within two days’ time, my blood pressure went from normal range to 190/150, and there were large traces of protein in my urine one morning that had not been there the previous morning. My midwife rushed me to the back-up doctor who informed me that we would have to induce that afternoon and get the baby out by midnight. I was stunned, and I didn’t realize the seriousness of the situation, fortunately. I was put on a massive dose of anti-seizure medicine (I was beginning to seize) and a double dose of Pitocin induction medicine in an IV and labor began. Well, the doctor suspected I was already in labor upon my arrival in his office, as I was having regular contractions eight minutes apart and was 3 1/2 centimeters dilated already, but I wasn’t having any pain. I went straight from no labor to the hardest kind of labor for three hours. Michael was there, and so were his parents, my mom, my sister, and the three midwives. I still managed to have a completely 100% natural birth, no epidural, no episiotomy, no pain medicine, granted, not the home water birth I had opted for, but still natural and still wonderful. They even let me get in the bathtub for a little while in the hospital room. After three hours of a noise Michael still refers to as the “moose call,” and seven minutes of pushing, I reached down and caught my tiny little angel in my arms at 1:27 a.m.
That moment was the single most triumphant, joyous, miraculous, incredible, fantastic, extraordinary, beautiful moment of my life, and so has each and every day been since. The moment I looked into those little tiny puffy blue eyes, it was as if suddenly God had told me what it was all about, what life was about. I knew I had been put on this earth for a lot of reasons, but at that instant, I knew that the most important one was so that I would have the chance to be a mother to that little piece of heaven.
And don’t get me wrong, because there are tough times. I have post partum depression, but it is slowly getting better with each passing day. There was also a lot of physical healing I hadn’t anticipated. I hadn’t realized how sick I was until the doctor told me that if I hadn’t called the midwife that morning and told her something was wrong, the baby and I both would have been dead by that night. It took two weeks of taking it very easy and making sure to take blood pressure medicine before I was able to move around much. And breastfeeding was a real challenge, too. I also had a tear that turned into a urethral ulcer…in other words, there were moments when it was somewhat harder to see the glory in childbirth, but all I had to do was snuggle into bed at night with my baby in my arms and take a deep breath of that fresh, sweet air that mysteriously surrounds every small child (and you mothers out there know just exactly what I’m talking about)… all I had to do was look in her general direction, and all of the trying times faded away.
Taylor Marie is four months old now (as of two days ago). She gained weight very quickly and is now 29 inches long and weighs close to sixteen pounds. She has big blue eyes and bright strawberry-blond curly hair. She is the light of my life.
The reason I feel it is important to tell this story is that I was the same as any young girl my age is when she first hears she is pregnant. I thought the most awful thoughts about my baby. I begged God to make me miscarry, and I spoke with Michael about giving her up for adoption or having an abortion, although I knew deep down I couldn’t do it. These are things I’m not proud of, but they are the truth. I thought that my life had ended. I had been so careful, and I was always such a good girl; these kinds of things weren’t supposed to happen to me. I thought I was being punished.
But God is not vindictive, and he doesn’t punish people with children. What I know now that I didn’t realize then was that Taylor is a reward, a gift that keeps on giving, a lesson that continues to teach me now and will continue to teach me for the rest of my life. God gives us children to teach us about ourselves. They are a chance to let our own true colors shine, to show ourselves what wonderful people we can be. I never imagined in a million years I could take care of a child. Since Taylor was born, I have had the opportunity to show myself just what a beautiful heart I have. I thought I knew about love and about the boundaries of love, and Taylor has taught me the most important lesson of all…that when it comes to love, true love has no boundaries. I get to spend the rest of my life being a mother now. Nothing in my life will ever be the same again, and to think that I used to worry about that while I was pregnant. I would never ever ever go back to the way my life was before. Oh sure, there have been nights when I thought “Oh My God, I’m a terrible mother, I hate myself, I can’t do this another second, I don’t love her enough, I don’t play with her enough, Taylor would be better off with someone else, I’m not doing this right, She is going to hate me later and on and on and on…” But the truth is, I know deep down that none of these things are true, that it is mostly hormones and sleep deprivation talking, and that I wouldn’t trade my life now for anything in the world.
I could sit here all day and go on and on and on, but my angel is asleep in the next room purring away with one hand draped casually next to her lips, with the other hand holding it there because she gave up trying to find her thumb and has since settled for sucking her two middle fingers instead. She is asleep in there, but at any moment will noisily wake from her slumber ready to be fed, and I will get to snuggle her into bed with me and sing her back to sleep while she nurses.
I politely pretended to listen to advice from other parents, and I read every book I could get my hands on, and I watched every t.v. show and every episode of “A Baby Story” I could, but the truth is you make yourself into a mother. I was glad to be informed of some things ahead of time, but nothing besides becoming a mother will ever prepare you for it, and I promise that, when the time finally comes, you will surprise yourself, no matter who you are. You will certainly question yourself repeatedly and worry you are doing everything all wrong, but it is something you have to just trust. If you love that child, you will figure out what to do in every instance and circumstance. It may not come to you easily, and it might not come to you right away, but if you love your child, and trust me, you will, things find a way of working themselves out. I have been at that point, that point where you are convinced it is impossible, convinced that you absolutely one hundred percent cannon and will not do it, but you can. You may think that you don’t have any help or anyone who cares, but if you look hard enough and want it bad enough, help is there. And if you have the courage to reach out, you will find it…I promise.
I hope that somewhere out there a young, scared, pregnant girl will get the chance to read this, Becky, and will feel like maybe she isn’t alone, like maybe someone just reached out and touched her heart, like maybe a little bit of that weight has been lifted from her shoulders. I want young girls to know that this is something they can and will do, and it is something they will be glad they did. They will make mistakes, but no matter how big the mistakes, they will still know somewhere in their hearts that they gave that child the greatest gift of all…Life, and in so doing, they gave that child the chance to love and be loved. And we all know that there is no greater gift than this…
Megan | firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for keeping us updated. Congratulations on your new little girl!
Your story is one that is very real. I know I can relate to it very well, and I’m sure many others will too. Pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, are all wonderful, beautiful things…but we are not being realistic if we say they are without pain and sacrifice.
I feel like motherhood has, and continues to purify me. Daily, I am asked to reach deep down inside myself and give just a little bit more…to be a little more unselfish…to lay down my life over and over again. It is through this sacrifice that I can become a better person. It’s not easy…sometimes I get tired of it. I just try and take things one day at a time. Things aren’t quite so overwhelming that way!
Keep up the good work. You will be in my prayers!