This is another entry in the ‘All About Me’ mini-series. I figured since the name of the blog is Just Another Mom, I should probably attempt to chronicle my journey to motherhood. This story takes place in three parts, as I am a mom of three, and is spread out at different parts of my life. Each part is decidedly different, but has definitely defined who I have become as a person. Each experience is as different as each child, not that I would have expected any differently.
I begin my road to motherhood at the tender age of 15. I was a sophomore in high school, irresponsible, and afraid. Luckily, my mom was supportive and understanding, though I’m sure she was also disappointed. Still, she took this all in stride as we discovered the pregnancy late in the second trimester. My boyfriend at the time was at a different school and we were going through a rough patch in our relationship. But, I let him know what was going on. And that was that. I didn’t quite know what to expect, of course I knew the basics but I wasn’t sure how this would affect my future.
I did know that I wanted to continue with regular classes, take my Regents exams, and set up my schedule to be as academically challenging in my junior year. Little did I know that my first born would provide me with a set of challenges that I would never see coming. He was born on May 25th, at 24 weeks gestation. He weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces and was 11 1/2 inches long.
I could fit him in the palm of my hand and he was only given a 50/50 chance of surviving the night.
Even after that, the attending doctor said, he would face a long and tough road ahead. One that I couldn’t have prepared for, even if I tried. Still, I faced this all in stride, staying my standard two nights in the hospital before going home with my mom. My son remained in the NICU, day 3 of an almost 4 month stay.
Throughout his NICU stay, he had two brain hemorrhages, resulting in scar tissue that would affect him later in life. But, that aside, he was healthy. Very tiny, but healthy, and didn’t face any of the other typical preemie problems.
I was fortunate enough to be able to spend almost every day of the summer with him as the hospital was within walking distance from home. I also volunteered at the hospital over the summer, balancing that with summer school classes so that I wouldn’t have to take them in the fall.
My junior year was condensed into a rigorous course load in the morning so I could be done with school by the early afternoon. It wasn’t easy by any means, but it was most certainly worth it.
He is now tall enough to see eye to eye with me, not a great feat by any means as I only stand at 5’3, but still.. from his humble beginnings to where he is now. I couldn’t have imagined starting my road to motherhood in such a way. But, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Through this first stint as a mom, I learned patience, perseverance, and to never take anything for granted. I also grew up seemingly overnight and life wasn’t just about me, anymore. Now, I had another human being dependent on me and the decisions that I made
The next stop, on my road to motherhood, came when I was 18. I was a recent high school graduate and had just started my first full time job when I met my older daughter’s father.
Our relationship progressed quickly and before I knew it, I was pregnant. We made the decision to keep the baby, got engaged on Christmas Eve, and were married on July 16th of the following year.
Our daughter was born on July 3rd, approximately six weeks before her due date. So, once again, I had my customary two night stay in the hospital while my child stayed behind. And while this NICU stay wouldn’t be quite as long, it was equally difficult because the hospital that she was born at was 40 minutes away.
I didn’t drive, so I was reliant on others (usually her father) to get me to the hospital to see her. I wasn’t able to see her every day and that hurt. While I was able to speak with the NICU nurses every night, it just wasn’t the same as being able to see my precious girl.
The final stop, on my road to motherhood, came when I was 31.
Recently separated, I wasn’t really looking for a relationship, I was just looking to start rebuilding my personal life and to figure out where to go as far as being a single mom of a child with special needs.
But, as fate would have it, I met my s/o (another story, for another post- perhaps in this series as well) and my life changed. Almost instantly, I knew he was the one that I was meant to be with. It wasn’t love at first sight, but it didn’t take us very long to get there. Nor did it take very long for the pregnancy.
And though the timing might not have been perfect, we both knew that we would face whatever adversity lay ahead. As you might have read in the ‘about’ section, he has two boys from a previous relationship.
I already had my boy and my girl, so for me, the gender of this baby wasn’t quite as big of a deal. Secretly I wanted a girl, (another story for another post, a difficult one to say the least) and when I asked him he stated that he also wanted a girl. I remember, quite well, laying on the exam table for the ultrasound to reveal the gender. And the elation and joy when the technician announced, girl. A little girl that would eventually be nicknamed Squeaker.
My pregnancy was different with Squeaker.
I was admitted to the hospital in late September with contractions. Terrified and regretting what might come, I readily agreed to whatever course of treatment was recommended to prolong the pregnancy. After a three night stay, I was discharged, taken out of work, and put on modified bed rest. Basically, I was told to rest and stay off of my feet as much as possible, something that I dealt with in stride. But, the end outweighed the means, as Squeaker was born as close to term as possible. I was able to leave the hospital with my baby, something that I wasn’t able to do with my previous two.
And there ends my road to motherhood, unless of course we take in another pet. My s/o and I have agreed that Squeaker will not have any younger siblings. And it’s because of this that I want to cherish every moment possible. Not that I wouldn’t anyway because they’re only young once, but because I know that this will be my last opportunity to do so.