Thursday, February 05, 2009

18 Years Ago Today...

I lay in a hospital bed. I was a 17 year old girl scared to death. I was terrified that I was about to become a mother. I'd never even changed a diaper before.

I got pregnant when I was 16. When I first started thinking I might be pregnant I prayed and prayed that I wasn't. I asked God to give me a second chance. But, God had other plans. He took my wrong and turned it into something beautiful.

It took me a couple of months to come to terms with the fact that I was pregnant, that there was actually a baby growing inside of me. When I was 13 weeks pregnant I was walking down the beach when my left leg started to swell and started to hurt.

The next day I went to my obstetrician who thought it could be a blood clot, but because I was so young wasn't sure. He told me to go home and if it started to swell again and got red to come back. He would have to put me in the hospital.

A few days later my leg swelled up and became very, very painful. It turned red and warm. My mom took me back to the doctor. I will never forget that ride in the car. I was terrified that something bad was going to happen to my baby. I knew that the doctor said that if it was a blood clot they would have to put me on medicine. I was afraid of what that medicine would do to my baby. I cried all the way to the doctor, clutching my stomach. I remember telling my mom that if the medicine was not safe for my baby I would not take it. Being that I was my mom's baby she told me I didn't have a choice. I prayed all the way there that God would protect my little one.

I fell in love with Holden that day, way before he was ever born.
The rural town that I lived in didn't have the machines they needed to test for a blood clot. I was sent an hour away to another hospital. I was instructed to lie down all the way and keep my leg propped up on a pillow. If it was a blood clot and it moved I could die.

When I got to the hospital they stuck me 5 times to start an IV. Then, they did an ultrasound of my leg. It turned out I had a rather large blood clot in my left leg. It was blocking a vein and ran from my groin to my knee. I was whisked away in a wheelchair. My feet would not touch the floor again for 10 days.

I was hooked up to the medicine, a blood thinner, which had to be given in my IV. I was instructed that I was to get out of bed for no reason whatsoever. At the time I didn't know how serious it was. Now that I'm a nurse I shudder when I think how close I came to dying.

I was in a teaching hospital so I saw a lot of different doctors and interns every day. One day a young looking boy came in. I'm not sure if he was a doctor , a resident, or a medical student. At some point in our conversation he mentioned that it would be "easier for me" if I just had an abortion. If I had an abortion then my blood clot would go away. My little 16 year old self sat up in bed and told him to get out of my room and never come back. My mom went to the nurse's station and told them he was not allowed to come back in my room. I never saw him again.

After 10 days of lying in bed I was finally free to go home. I would have to be on blood thinners for the rest of my pregnancy. The oral medicine was not safe for pregnancy so I would have to take injections. Before I left home I was taught how to draw up and inject the medicine into my stomach 4 times a day.

A few days after discharge my leg started to hurt again. I went back to the doctor. My mom had realized that the strength of the blood thinner they had given me from the hospital pharmacy was wrong. It was too weak. My blood clot had come back and I was admitted back into the hospital for three more days.

Once home and on the right strength of medicine, I returned to school. I was a junior in high school. Since I was on my injections 4 times a day, I would enter a bathroom stall at lunch and take my shot. In addition to that I had to set my clock for 1:00 every morning and get up and take my shot and go back to bed. The medicine I was on, Heparin, was very unstable and had to be monitored closely. I had to go to the hospital every other day (including Saturdays and Sundays) and have my blood drawn. Since I was on blood thinner my arms were terribly bruised. I joked that I looked like a drug addict.

At some point early on I began to bleed. Once again my mom drove me to the hospital and I clutched my belly and cried and prayed for my little baby. It turns out my blood was way too thin and I was bleeding out in my urine, but my little man was OK.

Looking back now I wonder how we ever survived. I know it is only by the grace of God that I lived through it all and got the wonderful son that I did. I also believe everything happens for a reason. Up until my blood clot I didn't really think about my baby much. But, once he was threatened my Mama Bear instincts kicked in and I protected him with all I had. God took that opportunity to show me how important my son was. I went through a lot to get him here and once he was here I was so grateful to have him that I would do anything for him.

And, now, eighteen years later, I am so thankful that God chose me to be Holden's mom. I couldn't have asked for a better child if I'd have ordered him from a catalog. He has been a joy to me since the day he was born. I know that sounds like I'm stretching it a little, but I truly mean it.

He has always been strong and mature beyond his years. He has a good head on his shoulders and I'm often told by people how nice and respectful he is. He is a good boy. He makes good decisions. I am pleased with the people with which he has chosen to surround himself.

He is one of the only kids in his class who holds down a job as well as attending school and playing sports. He has awesome grades. He will be attending college in the fall with plans to become a physical therapist.

I could not be prouder of him. God has done a wonderful job molding him into the fine young man that he is today. I am just glad He let me come along for the ride.

Happy birthday, Holden. I love you with all my heart.


Amy said...

Awesome post Penny! This just blessed my heart this morning! God has a reason, a purpose and a plan for everyone! You have obviously done a great job with Holden! Kudos to you for a raising a great kid in this crazy world!

Allison said...


You are AMAZING. Sheesh!

You're definitely going on my top 5 list of totally incredible people I've ever known. Having a baby young is never something to wish on someone, but I definitely think you were meant to be Holden's mom and that everything happened perfectly. He seems like such a great guy and I can hardly believe he's 18 already!

Happy birthday to both of you!!!!

Anonymous said...

That was a lovely post :]

Jill said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOLDEN!!! continue to make my heart overflow for you. You are such a strong Mom and I admire you so much! Never underestimate the power of young mothers :) I was also a young Mom...pregnant at 18, had her a month after I turned 19, fought hard for her and I always will! Holden is proof that no matter what age you give birth, you can still have wonderful children that turn out to do amazing things. I wish him much luck as he enters college and persues his dreams of a PT.

God is good :)

Kelly said...

Wow, you amaze me more every day Penny....honestly. You should be so proud of yourself for being a young successful mom. I was also pregnant at 18.....and here we are years later with Gods gift reminding us every day that he had a plan! This story was just amazing! YOU are amazing! Holden is who he is partly because of you, remember that. Thank you so much for sharing this story, it enlightened my day!

Shannon said...

WOW! What a story! You both seem so strong! Thank you for sharing that today. I makes me want to go hug my kids a little lighter today!

Caro said...

Wow, what an incredible story. It just goes to show that being a good mother has nothing to do with age, and everything to do with the person. You should be proud of Holden and he should be proud of himself.

Thanks for sharing, and Happy Birthday Holden!