By Sam Jacobs
I was laying down on the table in the operating room at Mercy Hospital on April 25, 2018, having my first surgery ever. I was so scared—luckily I got to have my mom with me, and there were many people in that small room. I was hooked up to an IV unit and had an oxygen tube in my nose and I remember feeling so nauseous with all the drugs they had put in my system. I had told everyone in the room that I thought I was in Grey’s Anatomy, but I think that was the drugs talking. I had been in the room for ten to fifteen minutes, not being able to feel anything from the waist down. Then the time was 4:40 p.m. and I heard one of the nurses say, “He’s out!”
I was an eighteen-year-old girl who, at the time, was carrying a human being inside my body. I felt this baby move around and grow in this safe warm sac. I remember feeling him move and watching my stomach go side to side. It was the craziest feeling ever.
When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately loved this baby and couldn’t wait to see what he looked like and what his personality would be. But I did not know this feeling. It wasn’t until I heard his first cry—it sounded like a little kitten when the nurse swaddled him in a blanket and brought him over to me—that I knew. They laid him down on the table next to my head and then he looked at me. I looked back at him and said, “My baby, Carter.” I felt this tingle in my body as he just looked at me. That’s when I realized what this feeling was. It was unconditional love for this human being that I had created.
Before I had my son, I was a teenage girl doing whatever I wanted, doing stupid stuff, not thinking about the consquences, and living in the moment without a care in the world. I didn’t have to care about responsibility for any other person but myself. I got to sleep in until noon all the time when I didn’t work or go to school. Or I woke up an hour before I went to work. I’d throw on my clothes and run out the door. I didn’t know what it was like to love something so much that I would literally die for them. I was a teenager, being careless and free.
When I unexpectedly got pregnant, I was eighteen and had just graduated high school, getting ready for my freshman year of college. Although it was a surprise, I loved being pregnant—except for the last few weeks when the baby was too big to fit and tried to stretch out his body. People told me I had a “pregnancy glow” yet I never believed them. I loved the feeling of him being safe and sound, being with me all the time, him not having to worry about anything in the outside world for at least a while yet.
I feel like motherhood came naturally to me. When Carter was in the womb, I wanted to make sure he was a healthy baby. I started eating healthier foods, because whatever I ate, he ate. I started not doing bad things to my body, like eating sushi, drinking a ton of rushes from Aroma Joe’s like I usually did because it could harm the baby as well as possibly cause birth complications later on. Once I got pregnant, it wasn’t about me anymore; it was about the human creature growing inside me.
Being a parent is one of the hardest—but best—things that a person can go through. A way to describe the unconditional love for my child: I would do anything for this little boy, I would jump in front of a train for him. I make sure he is fed, bathed, and completely taken care of before I take care of myself. A lot of times, I am so focused on making sure he has everything ready in the morning. I worry about getting breakfast for him and sometimes forget to feed myself. I have learned how to make a routine and keep it constant because I know that if my son doesn’t get a nap at the right time during the day, he will be cranky and up all night. Even though he may not listen to me and give me a hard time, he is still my baby, and I will love him for the rest of my life. I will be there when he needs me, I will be there when he gets older and ends up doing something stupid. I will tell him that life is about learning and that you will make mistakes but you can learn from them.
Getting pregnant at eighteen was a life-changing experience, and I personally wouldn’t recommend getting pregnant at a young age because it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. When you turn twenty one, you probably want to go out to the bars and clubs. You want to stay up all night and sleep all day. When I turned twenty one, I couldn’t go out whenever I wanted. I had to plan a babysitter and make sure Carter was safe and sound. Trust me, I sometimes miss the carefree days, but I ended doing something that changed my whole perspective on life. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without this little man. I get to watch him grow up and be his own person. I love being a mother, it’s the most rewarding thing in the world, to raise your child and to teach them how to survive on their own for when they get older. I had to grow up quickly but it was and is the best thing that has happened to me.