Monday, May 21, 2012

My adventure in becoming a mom

Life as a mom is one adventure after another, as I'm sure many mothers will agree. You never know what will happen from one moment to the next, whether it be happy moments or sad, but every moment is a treasured one.

My adventure in becoming a mom is not your typical one. Many women pee on a stick or visit a doctor and, depending on who you are and where you are in life, you get the long awaited or even dreaded news that you are pregnant. Most people are lucky in that way, but me being me, that is not how this particular story begins.

It was February 16th, 2005. I was a junior in college, studying studio art and art history, while working part time at the college library. I had been having weird cramping off and on all day, which had been common for me; a month earlier (January 17th, to be exact), my OB had diagnosed me with having Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS for short. He ran no tests of any kind, but he was a doctor and knew what he was talking about, so who was I to question him? Anyway, my cramping was fairly annoying, but I dragged myself to work nonetheless. Thankfully I was a shelver, so I got to work as slow as I wanted in a corner that no one seemed to visit frequently. My 2 hour shift seemed to drag on and on, and when I was done, I treated myself to a chai tea at the library cafe. My favorite cashier was working, and she knew something was up. After telling her I was fine, she finally let me leave and go back to my dorm. I put my feet up, and tossed and turned all night. My usual medicines the doctor told me to take were not helping, and I was getting a little concerned.

The next morning was a Thursday. The cramping was worse, and I felt nauseous. My room mate and a suite mate got me some water and a cool wash cloth, and just thought I had the flu. I was laying on the bathroom floor when they left for their classes with promises of getting me some flu meds from the store upon their return back to our suite. At some point I ended up calling my dad, who was laid off from work at the time. He decided he'd come up to see me and make sure I was taken care of. I was so grateful that he was able to do that as I could barely move. My boyfriend at the time was in class, as was everyone on our floor. I remember going back to the bathroom and vomiting, and as I finished, I remember seeing blood in the toilet. I crawled back to my room, called my dad in a panic, and he said he was on his way, a 45 minute drive, to meet me at the hospital. My mom had just gotten home for her lunch break, so she was going to accompany him. I called 911, and the ambulance came for me. I remember one of the paramedics asking if I was pregnant, and I told him no. I had taken a couple pregnancy tests over the past few months, but they had come back negative, and that although my period had been late off and on, I never missed a cycle. I explained I had IBS, and he got a look of panic on his face. It was my first time in an ambulance, but wouldn't be my last (that adventure will come another day!).

Upon arriving at the hospital around 11 am, a nurse took over examining me and taking my blood pressure. Besides being stressed and panicking, all my vitals were fairly normal. I wish I could remember her name, but she said she was a Christian, and asked if she could pray for me. I really felt like God was watching over me, and I remember the two of us crying together and praying. Another nurse came in, and this one I remember; her name is Donna, and she is my favorite nurse ever. She had a funny little monitor, and asked if I'd lift my shirt up. I did, and she put it on my belly. All I heard was a whooshing sound. Donna and the nurse looked at each other, then Donna asked if I knew what that sound was. I said it was my heart, and she said this:

"Honey....that's not your heart. It's the baby's."

You know how you hear about your life flashing before your eyes when you think you're going to die? My life and all my dreams for my future flashed before my eyes. My belly was so tiny the nurses said I was only 4 or 5 months along, which was not a good scenario to be in; although I knew nothing about pregnancies and baby development, I knew there was a very good chance my baby would not survive for very long. I remember tears running down my face; I was grieving for what I was about to lose, for what was to come. I was scared, I was in shock, and at that moment, I felt very alone. But I was also very determined to do what I had to do to have a successful birth for my child and to provide for it, no matter what happened. I put my game face on, and did what I had to do.

My parents arrived not long after that. I was the one who broke the news to them; Donna had offered to tell them for me, but I knew it was something I had to do. My mom was in shock to put it mildly. Donna helped keep her standing, and my dad, well...he got that look in his eye, that although he may be disappointed in me, he was ecstatic he was going to be a grandfather! My mom had asked a nurse if it was really possible that I could be pregnant and not know it, and she said it was, that they had had a girl come in around Christmas who also didn't know. This, of course, was looong before the tv show ever debuted!

I don't remember much of the delivery room. My dad was behind me supporting me, and my mom was next to me coaching me through everything. It's not the ideal situation for a woman in childbirth to have her parents in the delivery room, but in my situation, I couldn't have imagined a more perfect scenario. My doctor was amazing; he was a gentle older man, and had the most soothing voice ever. Donna helped deliver the baby as well. I remember her asking if I wanted to keep the baby or give her up for adoption, and I remember answering right away that I wanted to keep it.

After I pushed for 15 minutes, my beautiful baby girl entered the world at 2:45 pm, weighing in at 7 lbs 12 oz, and 20 1/2 oz. She had red hair, just like her mommy, and instead of screaming and crying, she was cooing. My mom left the delivery room as my grandparents had arrived and were in the waiting room; my dad had called them for directions, and they raced over to be with me. My dad did his little jig he does when he's excited, said "I'm a grandpa!" and went over to admire his granddaughter. He got to cut her cord, and he got to hold her hand. She was absolutely perfect, got perfect APGAR scores, and was a pretty shade of pink when I finally got to hold her.

Our first morning home

When I was wheeled to my room, I was holding her, and my grandparents were waiting for me. I wasn't sure how they would react, but they were so excited to be great grandparents for the first time!

The next couple hours flew by; I remember my room mate visiting me, and my dad went to tell my brother, who was fortunately attending the same college I was. My dad and brother even went over to the science building where my boyfriend (now husband!), Pete, was in lab, and pulled him out of his class and brought him to the hospital. He had heard a rumor I was there, but thought I'd be home as I was fine that morning. When my dad finally convinced him to come, he was shocked I was in the maternity wing. I don't remember exactly what I told him, but we were crying together as I told him he was a daddy to the most beautiful girl ever born. My parents left shortly after, and Pete and I cracked open the baby name books the nurses provided. After an hour or so, we had her name: Paige Elizabeth. I remember we called his parents, who were in shock. They visited the next morning, and I remember that once they saw here, they fell in love.

We were surrounded by family and friends for the time we were in the hospital. I remember panicking at one point as I had nothing for Paige, no blankets, bottles, or diapers, but by the time we arrived home on Saturday, we had enough to provide for at least two babies! My mom's coworkers had taken up a donation of over $300, our college friends bought toys, books and blankets, aunts and uncles gave us a pack and play and carseat, we got diaper bags, bottles, a high chair. I remember we came home to my parent's living room packed full of baby things that had come in in the two days we were in the hospital. I never had felt so blessed in my life.

Life has had it's crazy moments since then, but this adventure I'm on called motherhood, has been worth it every step of the way. This blog is going to be a way for my friends and family to keep up with our crazy life now that we have three children, but also to hopefully encourage other mothers out there living the adventure with me!


  1. Great writing Shawna!!!So thankful we have been blessed to get to know you and the are a wonderful mommy and God is using your talents!

    1. Thanks, Tara! It has been a joy watching your kids grow up and getting to know your beautiful family. I miss living by you guys; you are an inspiration to me!

  2. What an abrupt jolt into motherhood! Paige is so adorable! I can't wait to continue reading about your adventures in motherhood!

    1. Paige is a huge fan of you; she is very artistic and has an amazing eye, and she wants to learn to take pictures as well as you do!

  3. Great story. Very well written. I'm so glad you've started a blog!!!! :o)

    1. Thanks, Corrie! Your blog is one of the reasons I started one up. I love keeping up to date with your family! Give the girls a hug for me and a high five to your little man!