Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teen mother... Jessica's story

As you all know I'm a HUGE adoption advocate.  Probably will be until the day I die. haha.  But that doesn't mean that adoption is right for every situation and everyone.  Yes it was right for me but women who find themselves pregnant have options.  Parenting, Placement or abortion.  I'm pro-life but am hoping to have someone guest blog about what it was like to come to the decision to have an abortion and everything that goes along with it.  Anyway... back on subject.  I was determined to parent at the beginning of my pregnancy (read more about that HERE) but God had other plans for me.  So a friend of mine was willing to answer a few questions about parenting.
This is Jessica, Kade, and Ian.

Q: Tell a little about when you found out you were pregnant.
A:  I found out I was pregnant on 2/2/10.  I was missing a lot of work because of fainting spells, decreased appetite and exhaustion.  I had a hunch I was pregnant but I'm anemic so I thought it could be from that as well.  I had actually taken a morning after pill (plan B) the morning after having unprotected sex.  Since then, I had crippling stomach cramps and was bleeding regularly (I attributed to this to my anemia).  Finally it was too overwhelming.  I confronted my mother who took me to the ER.  After an ultra sound, some blood work and a urine test it was confirmed that I was 13 weeks pregnant.  The doctor was concerned because of the Plan B pill I had taken and told me to see my doctor right away.  I knew from that moment on I was going to parent my unborn baby.

Q:  Was your boyfriend supportive of your decision to parent?
A:  Ian (my boyfriend) has been completely supportive since day one. Family confronted us about choosing adoption or abortion but both of us had our hearts set on parenting. Ian never doubted our decision and was there to help through every step. In June of 2010 he was in a life threatening car accident.  He was in the hospital for four days with a broken hip and pelvis. Kade was born a month later and Ian was up on crutches changing diapers and asking "teach me how" whenever a new parenting opportunity arose. I couldn't ask for a better companion to parent with. He has always been determined to be the best dad possible.

Q: How old were you when you got pregnant? how old was your boyfriend?
A: I was eighteen when I got pregnant. Ian was eighteen as well. We both turned nineteen before Kade was born.

Q: How far along were you when you took the morning after pill?
A: I took the morning after pill the morning after having unprotected sex. It's true, they're only 99 percent effective.

Q: After you let your family know your plan to parent were they supportive after that or did you still have some members question your decision?
A: My family has always been supportive of my pregnancy and my decision to parent Kade. I think they were sad, thinking of the opportunities I might miss out on but they've always had faith in me. My mom and grandma were much younger than I was when they had their first children.

Q: Has there been anything you feel you've had to give up or put on hold because you became a teen mother?
A: As far as giving things up or putting things on hold, there are so many things I had planned for my young adulthood. College was one, but I was able to finish school and get my CNA before Kade was born. I also wanted to travel before settling down with a family.  That was put on hold but I wasn't as upset as you might think. I have always had it in my mind that this is what I was meant to do.  God had a plan for me to be the mother of a child who needed my undivided attention. My great grandma told me, "God gives these children to mothers who he knows will take care of them." and I couldn't agree more. Being a mother is what I've always been destined to be.

Q: You mentioned that both your mother and grandmother were teen moms.  Is there anything that they could have said or done to prevent you from being a teen mom?
A: My mother and grandmother were both teen moms. They both have always told me that it's a hard road and had encouraged me to go to college before considering children. Regardless, they are both very proud of me and my accomplishments. No, I don't think there is any more that they could have done to "prevent" me from having sex at a young age.

Q:  Did you have a normal pregnancy?
A:  My pregnancy was exhausting. I didn't gain very much weight (only 17 pounds), I was always tired and had a lot of stomach pain. My doctor insisted that there was nothing wrong and that Kade was just hell bent on being born. He's always been a fighter.

Q: During your pregnancy what was the worst thing that was said to you?
A: The worst thing said to me during pregnancy wasn't actually said directly to me. It was said about me and I heard it from an unintentional source.  People thought because I didn't know that I was pregnant and I was a teenager who loved to party my baby was going to be "messed up".  News also got out that I had taken a morning after pill and that the baby had survived. Rumors flew around that my baby would be retarded or still born. People said I was a horrible person for not terminating the pregnancy. Friends of Ian's insisted that the baby wasn't his. It was a big mess for a while.  I simply did my best to put it out of my mind and focus on what needed to be done before Kade arrived.

Q:  Did you guys consider marriage?
A:  Ian and I have talked about marriage and both agree that having an unplanned baby as a teen isn't a reason to be married. Marriage is very sacred and shouldn't be taken lightly.  We're best friends and we see eye to eye on how we want to raise Kade. We make decisions together, live together and both work to support Kades needs. Maybe we'll be married some day, but right now we don't find it necessary. Kade has both of his parents here with him, regardless of the fact that we aren't husband and wife.

Q:  Once Kade was born what was your biggest concern?
A:  Kade was four weeks premature and very small. He weighed only four pounds.  He was unable to eat on his own and very jaundice so my main concern was his health. He stayed in the NICU and was tube fed until he could eat on his own. I went home without my baby. The Fairy Tale is that you leave the hospital with your baby in his car seat and balloons tied to your wheelchair. It wasn't like that at all. It was devastating.

Q: Once he finally was home how were things different than you had thought or planned?
A: Once Kade was home, I was relieved but still on edge. We were sent home with Billie lights and had to go to the clinic daily for weight checks. I imagined that I would take my baby home, cuddle him, bathe him and soak in the beauty that is Motherhood. Instead, I worried. I hardly slept, not because he wasn't sleeping, but because I was so concerned about him. He was still so tiny and yellow. He didn't eat much and he slept an unusual amount. By the time he was two months old, he seemed better. Still very sleepy, but we had settled into a routine and I was finally able to just sit back and enjoy him

Q: Do you mind telling about his health problems and when they started?
A: Kade was born without any fingers on his right hand, only little stubs. His thumb doesn't have a middle joint and he doesn't have a wrist joint either. The doctors aren't sure what causes this but said it's fully functional and he will learn to use it just as well as a regular hand. They said if it's painful to him in the future, which they doubt, he may require some physical therapy.  We didn't find out about his hand until after he was born.
Kade developed a cough some time around three months old. It was a wet cough that turned him blue and left me in a tizzy calling doctors and rushing him to the emergency room at three in the morning. Over and over I was told that he was fine. It was a cold. It was allergies. Soon, more symptoms started to develop. On the off chance that Kade finished a four ounce bottle, he would be literally dripping in sweat. His hair was soaked, his clothes were soaked and he always fell into a deep sleep after a feeding. At night, when I got him out of his crib for a feeding, the sheets would be soaked as if he had wet the bed only it was sweat. The cough persisted, never easing up regardless of our efforts to rid the house of dust, keep a humidifier running, and sit him in a steamy bathroom to clear his sinuses. Again, I started taking him to the doctor. They told me he's just a sweaty sleeper. He has another cold. He's fine. His diagnosis in the emergency room one night was "a young, over protective mother." I felt so helpless and scared for him. I knew in my heart that something was seriously wrong with him. By January of 2011 his lips and eye lids were beginning to turn blue and he slept constantly. One night I was good and mad at the sheer ignorance of the doctors I had been seeing. After witnessing yet another sputtering coughing fit, I packed Kade up and took him to an after hours doctor whom we had never seen before. When the CNA took his vitals she pulled the nurse in. The nurse listened to his heart and ordered the doctor in. Within ten minutes we were in the lab getting chest x-rays. Another fiftheen minutes later, the doctor told me that Kade's heart was enlarged.  It was close to triple the size it should be. He urged me to take him to the emergency room right away. In the emergency room we were told that something was definitely wrong with is heart but because he was so small it was necessary to schedule an echo-cardiogram with Primary Children's. The following Monday, after an EKG, more chest X-rays and an echo-cardiogram it was determined that Kade had two ASD's and a VSD. A Ventrical Septal Defect is a hole in the Ventrical of the heart. Kade's was large enough that his heart was working twice as hard just to keep blood flowing to the extremities. Activities like feeding or even sitting up were like high intensity exercise to him. The reason for Kade's cough was blood pooling in his lungs (phenomena) from his heart leaking excess blood into the lung cavities. The Cardiologist put Kade on multiple heart medications as a last resort to Open Heart Surgery. The medicines made him more sweaty, caused him to wet through his diapers within less than an hour and otherwise seemed to have no effect on his symptoms.

On April 12, 2011 Kade had Open Heart Surgery at Primary Children's Medical Center. They closed the VSD but left the two ASD's (smaller holes) to close on their own as he grows. It was the most terrifying day of my life. I can't even begin to describe the utter terror that I felt for my son. Kade recovered well- dealing with only one infection.
Since, he has had trouble growing. Lingering still at the very bottom of the growth chart. His immune system remains compromised, prompting vaccines that most kids don't get like the Synagis shot- for RSV. There was even a point that we had to wear masks when we were around Kade. And if we wanted to take him out in public, he had to wear a mask.

Q: Has him having heart problems ever made you wonder if your life would have been easier had you made an adoption plan?
A: Kade's heart problems have never made me reconsider my decision to parent. Adoption was discussed only briefly and it was very clear in my heart and in Ians that we would parent Kade ourselves. I have never regretted keeping him and have actually felt it an honor to be the care giver of such a brave, special and loving baby. He has taught me so much about resilience, patience and determination.

Q: What advice would you give for a young woman who find herself pregnant and is considering her options?
A: My advise is this: Pray, Pray, Pray about it and be damn sure that the decision you're making is the one that's right for you. I think when young girls get pregnant with "The Love of Their Life" they often fall into the fantasy that they're going to have this healthy, strong baby who will hit all their milestones on time and eat all their vegetables. It's so important to think of all the possibilities and be prepared for whatever may come your way. When I found out I was pregnant, I had no job, no license, no car. I was partying on the weekends with my friends and had no responsibility. When Kade was born, I had my license, a car, had finished my CNA courses and moved back in with my Mom so I could "settle down." If you choose to parent, you make yourself into a parent- a role model. If you don't think you're ready to transition into adulthood in the course of a few short months, maybe parenting isn't right for you. Parenting isn't right for everyone.  I have utmost respect for those who can openly admit that and choose adoption- a better life- for their children. Because of the many loving families who can't have children of their own, I don't advise abortion. I'm not saying you're a bad person if you do choose abortion- but I think adoption should be looked into first.

Q: What advice will you give Kade when he's older to "prevent" him from pre maritial sex?
A: I'm not going to preach abstinence to him because I don't believe that it works. I'll share with him my struggles and relay my expectations of him.  I want him to go to college and have a good job. Above all, I want him to know that I trust him. It's said that most teens who choose not to drink, do drugs or have premaritial sex do so because they're afraid of parental disapproval. I want him to be aware of the consequences of his actions and know that we hold him to high standards. I will teach him about protection if he does choose to have sex.  Lets face it, teen boys are going to have urges. If these urges get the best of him I want him to be smart about it and be able to come and talk to me afterwards. I hope our relationship is built on trust and Open Communication.

I just want to say thank you to Jessica for being so willing to open up with me about the struggles that come along with parenting.  The roads that lead from pregnancy out of marriage are hard.  Adoption is hard, parenting is hard, and no matter what anyone says abortion is hard too.  The biggest thing to keep in mind is do what you feel is right (and best) for the baby.  You can read more about the life of a teen mother on Jessica's blog http://ianjesskade.blogspot.com/.

1 comment:

Crystal Renee said...

This was an excellent post! Kade is ABSOLUTELY adorable.