Monday, February 28, 2011

My pregnancy

I loved, loved, loved being pregnant... once I got used to the idea and made a concrete decision I was having the baby. I took care of myself and loved the way I felt. I have always believed that women were beautiful while carrying a life inside them, and I was no different.

My family brought me down to Kansas City, because I was going to stay at the LIGHT House, a home for unwed mothers. I remember the day my parents dropped me off. We walked up the stairs to this huge building, it was an old convent. I was so scared. We got a tour and my family left. I can't tell you what it was like saying good-bye and watching my parents leave. I knew it was the best thing for me, but I was so unsure of so many things at that time. The LIGHT House had a rule that I couldn't have any contact with the outside world for ten days, which included my family. Knowing that, made it all worse. Their reasoning was to have me get acclimated to the program and get through my homesickness. It worked, but it was very hard.

My stay at the LIGHT House was an adventure, to say the least. I was brought up in a middle-class neighborhood, borderline upper-class. My family was a good Christian family with two parents that were still married... a 'typical' all-American family. The women, some of them girls, at the LIGHT House came from many different backgrounds, mostly poor and troubled. For the first time in my life, I actually felt like I had my 'crap' together. (I have always been so insecure, but for some reason at the LIGHT House I found myself, and who I was and I was actually ok with it!) I connected with most of the staff and I was able to help with some of the girls. Sometimes I wonder how some of those girls are. We were so close while we were going through this tremendous experience together, but once we left the LIGHT House it was time to move on... to let go. It was a part of our lives that we all cherished, but needed to let go in order to heal. Especially those of us who gave our babies up for adoption.

This was one of my journal entries:
"I had a really great pregnancy. When I first found out, I was rather calm. I guess I thought it would just go away. Well, it didn't. I couldn't stand the thought of my family watching me get bigger, so I decided to go to the LIGHT House. What an experience. Most of the girls there were from very poor situations. There were up to forty girls there at all times. Most girls kept their babies. About six, in the eight months I was there, put their babies up for adoption. I didn't start to show until I was in my fifth month. I used to love to lay on my stomach while we all watched TV. All the other girls were so jealous!"

I only got sick twice. Once because of the smell in Scholotzky's, where I worked at the time I found out I was pregnant, and once because of the heat in Kansas City. It was so hot and there was no air conditioning at the LIGHT House. I remember when I was about three months along. I could feel a hard lump in my stomach. That was such an amazing feeling. To know that you are touching the baby. I don't remember the first time the baby kicked, but I do remember what it felt like. It's so special. Its amazing to think that there is an actual human being growing inside of you. God is amazing!

I was pretty sure that I was going to put my baby up for adoption the whole time I was pregnant - but I was trying to keep an open mind. I don't think I had a clue what was in store for me.

I made a lot of friends at the LIGHT House: Valerie, Kellie, Carry, Darlene, Shannon, Julie, and Cheryl. We were all in the same situation. We had classes daily. We had to take certain ones. Chapel, aerobics and I was in a GED class. We were also able to take fun classes too like ceramics, cooking and a porcelain doll making class. It was great that they kept us busy. By the time November came, most of my friends had their babies and were gone. It made it hard, but I really needed the time alone to rest and think.

On my due date, January 10th, 1989, I took my GED test. I barely fit in the school desk. It was so embarrassing. I had to sit sideways in the desk the whole time I took the test.  Everyone kept looking at me.  I'm sure they were worried I was going to go into labor right there! On January 22nd I felt cramping. I was so naive that I didn't realize I was in labor, I thought I was constipated. :) When I figured out I was in labor, I packed all my stuff in my room and got ready. I called my mom and she was on her way. She had to get a flight from Minneapolis to Kansas City. She was determined to be there and thankfully she made it in time!'

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The day I found out I was pregnant...

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant like it was yesterday. I was driving down Hwy 13 in Burnsville, MN and I just had this overwhelming feeling all of a sudden, and I knew. I just knew I was pregnant. Don't ask me how I knew, maybe other women have had the same feeling, I don't know. I pulled over on the side of the road and cried. Bret, the would be father, had broken up with me for another girl and I was still mourning that loss. One of my best friends at the time had a daughter and I knew what her life was like. How could I have been so stupid? I went to the store and bought a pregnancy test. My mind raced all day. (Back then you had to take the test in the morning, so I had to wait.)

I remember the set up of my room. My parents were in the process of building a new home so we were all living in a town home until it was finished. My sister, Kristen, and I shared the huge room, like a living room, downstairs.

The next morning I went into the bathroom and took the test. It took ten very long minutes to process.  While I waited I sat and put my make up on in front of a mirror on the floor next to Kristen's bed. We talked about the test and what I would do. After the time was up, I went and looked at the test. I came out and didn't say anything for quite a while. I just sat back down on the floor and continued getting ready. Kristen just stared at me waiting patiently to hear what I was going to say. Finally I could get the words out... "The test is positive, I am pregnant." I was completely numb. Kristen asked me what I was going to do and I said I didn't know, but what options did I have? I couldn't tell my parents, it would kill them. That was all I could think about. My parents.

I drove to school and walked in like a zombie. I told two people. My friend, who already had a kid. She looked at me like I was an idiot, and she was right. I also told Bret's best friend. Bret wasn't at school that day, he was sick. Immediately after school, at least I think it was after school because I don't remember being in any classes that day, I drove to Bret's house. I had a note for him, how mature.... It pretty much said that I was pregnant and he needed to break up with the other girl and get back with me until we figured everything out. He said he would. I found out much later that he never did break up with her, but he was there for me. The poor guy was only sixteen himself, how was he suppose to know how to handle this situation?

Bret and I talked about everything for quite awhile and the topic of abortion came up. I knew I never wanted to get an abortion, but I didn't know what else to do. I was so against abortion, but I was more against hurting my family. I remember looking up abortion clinics in the yellow pages. I found one and picked up the phone and dialed the number. On the other end of the phone someone answered and I instantly hung up the phone. I knew then that there was no way I was going to be able to have an abortion. It was against everything I believed in and I just couldn't do it.

I went home not having a clue what I was going to do. I probably thought I would just wait awhile and figure it out later. I had time. When I walked into our house, my mom was sitting in the chair next to the window, and I knew she knew. I could see it in her face. The pain, the disappointment, the fear. I caused all of that. At that moment I was so sorry, but there was nothing I could do to change it. We, mostly I, decided I would go to the LIGHT House for this pregnancy and give my baby up for adoption.