Friday, March 12, 2010

Part II- The end of You

Summer school came to an end. The long hot summer days were growing shorter and my belly was growing. I was feeling her move now. Despite all of the commotion in the world around us, I was doing everything to keep her safe. I was not going to be selfish right now.

I had been politely told that I could not continue my education at my Lutheran high school, now that I was showing. I would need to go to a school for pregnant or parenting girls, or a public school with a parenting program. I thought the one that was all girls, that were either pregnant or parenting, would be better.

My first day there, I listened to the stories of all the other girls as we got to know each other. Rape; a one night stand; got pregnant from having a train pulled on her while getting jumped into a gang; still addicted to crack, but trying to change; boyfriend only hits her when she does something really bad, but he loves her. Parents wouldn't pay for an abortion.


Was there anyone here that wanted their baby? I was sure I would find someone. Right?


I managed to stay at the school for two weeks. I saw a mad boyfriend try to run over the mother of his child following an argument after school. I saw pregnant girls smoking weed during lunch hour. When I saw two pregnant mom's exchange crack while I was waiting for my Grandpa to pick me up, I knew this wasn't the place for me.

I switched to the nearby public school with a parenting program. My best friend went there already, but she was a year ahead of me. I would have 6 normal classes. Then I would have one period of "Parenting for Teens" and one period where I would go help at the school daycare, to help watch the other teen moms' babies that were in daycare while their moms were in school. This was definitely more like it.

As I settled in and started making aquaintences, I was thankful to be in a more supportive environment and cautiously optimistic of my future. Even though the drug use and betrayal continued, I chose to embrace motherhood and focus on becoming a mother. I didn't know what having a present mother was like, so I had a lot to learn.

I stopped listening to "You" and started thinking about me. Then I started feeling sick all of the time. I would talk to my parenting counselor or look in my book, "What to Expect When You Are Expecting". She would tell me I was being sensitive, the book would say to call my Dr. She would tell me pregnancy isn't supposed to be fun and I did this to myself, the book would tell me pregnancy doesn't have to be painful and to get support.

I finally called the clinic, (I didn't have a regular Dr. because I was on state insurance) and told them my symptoms. They told me to come in ASAP. I loved the clinic. The social worker would listen to me intently and always smile and tell me, "You are going to do fine!" My clinician explained every procedure and every test, and always acted like my baby mattered as much to her as she did to me. Today they tested my urine and the test came back that I, at least, had a severe UTI (something that was common in this pregnancy and I was used to the symptoms, check-ups, and antibiotics for), but more likely something more severe, such as bladder or kidney infection. I was sent to the hospital immediately.

The hospital was another 20 minutes away, in the heart of downtown. As always, my grandpa was taking me, but we did call my boyfriend to tell him so he could come to the hospital after work instead of going home. We drove around looking for parking for over 20 minutes. He insisted he should drop me off at the door and go park so that I wouldn't have to walk. I knew he couldn't read and I was terrified he might get lost and not be able to find me. We parked 3 blocks away and walked in together.

I was directed to go to Labor and Delivery and that scared me. I was only 20 weeks and my baby could not survive without me yet. I read it in my book. An ultrasound was ordered and that excited me. Maybe her sex would be confirmed. The U.S. tech was not nice and would not tell me anything. She told me I needed to talk to the Doctor. I knew from past ER visits, that something was usually wrong when they won't talk to you. My boyfriend was there now, and the Dr. asked to speak to both of us.

I had a severe kidney infection and it appeared as if my kidney that been operated on as a child might have stopped working and been reabsorbed by my body. One of our baby's kidneys was enlarged. This could be because of my poor kidney function or it can be a common occurrence in babies with down's syndrome. I was already having mild contractions from the infection so first step was to get me on antibiotics and fluids, and some medications to stop the contractions.


The next thing we needed to consider was an amniocentesis. This test would tell them if anything was wrong with her genetically, including down syndrome. According to the Dr., I was early enough in my pregnancy that if I wanted to abort because of a genetic defect, a partial birth abortion would still be considered because of my age, my health, and the baby's condition. The risk is that an amniosentesis sometimes causes preterm labor and since I was already contracting, the risk was greater.


The Dr. left us to talk amongst ourselves and decide. Suddenly my 13 years and his 16 years didn't seem like enough years, even combined, to be discussing the fate of this little girl's life. Tears that had been absent for a long time returned. I bunched up my hospital gown and used it to wipe my face. This exposed my belly and all we could do was stare at it for a moment. I felt like she could feel us staring and might feel our pain and uncertainty. Somehow it felt like my weakness was exposed to her because of my now exposed belly. I quickly covered my belly and began rubbing it, hoping she felt comfortable and safe again, even though I wasn't sure if she was.




...to be continued...



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11 comments:

  1. Wow. Love it. I love love love people who have been through a valley or two or three and walked out stronger. You are awesome.

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  2. You were very brave and concerned for the baby!

    Secretia

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  3. that which does not kill us... makes us stronger then hell...

    you are strong and beautiful

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  4. You are amazing and I love hearing you tell your story. I can see you in the hospital room crying...wishing I could step in and love that 13 year old girl and hold her tight.

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  5. This is very, very moving, and I totally agree with Sir Thomas.
    Although you were very young, it was clear that this tiny baby was going to be a fighter.
    Big, big hugs!

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  6. Can't wait for the next installment. You have really stood up to a test and come through the other side!

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  7. My heart hurts reading this.
    You are strong.

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  8. Wow. That's all I can say at the moment. It's rare to see such strength in someone so young.

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  9. I'm just getting caught up with the last two installments of your compelling story. My heart goes out to the girl you were, and the woman you became. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to more.

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  10. Dear Shawna, you know I love your writing. Please visit my blog there is a surprise for you

    LOL Lorenza

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  11. Such a hard time for you and for the little one inside you. I am sorry that you had to endure so much.

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