In early 2008, I realized I was pregnant. Now to an outside observer it would seem a rather obvious outcome. I had just engaged in my first act of sexual intercourse, we didn’t use protection and I had no idea where I was on my cycle. I was 23 and had just started my second semester of college.
The problem in the situation was that the father was not prepared to have a child and frankly, neither was I. We weren’t together romantically and it wasn’t a situation that I wanted to tie myself into. We weren’t a good parenting couple — or any kind of couple — and I only wanted this child raised in a better environment than the two of us were going to provide.
After talking it out with my religiously conservative parents we came to the conclusion that my Aunt who lived on the West coast with her husband was the perfect choice. They were a biracial couple, as was the baby to be. They were unable to conceive, being 2-3 years married and in their forties. And the reason most important is that while unwilling to adopt a child from outside the family, my Uncle had no qualms with adopting one from inside.
I was living in the Midwest at the time and I chose to fly out to the West coast where my aunt lives about a month before I was due. I had issues of high blood pressure towards the end of the pregnancy. We had arranged for a doctor on the West coast who I immediately went to see as soon as I got there. He told me to come back four days later on the following Friday. My blood pressure was still high on that Friday, so it was bed rest for me for the weekend.
I returned to the doctor the next week. The tech took my blood pressure, got a concerned look, told me to lie on my left side for a few minutes and she would come back and take it again. She came back and retried, but it didn’t go down. Five minutes later, it still hadn’t gone down. It was basically trending at 160/120 and they were getting pretty concerned. They decided to admit me to the hospital across the street for overnight observation. They told me there was no way that they would induce.
I was nervous. I hadn’t taken any classes on delivery, I felt like I didn’t really know anything. But I figured it would all work out. After a few hours of a spike in blood pressure every time I went to pee, they decided to give me a catheter. During this time, my aunt stopped by with school work and books. Reading seemed to calm me down, so I was encouraged to do so.
The on-call doctor found out about the pregnancy and insisted that I must be chemically dependent and he called for a drug screen of my urine. They never did get a 24 hour bag of urine to test for protein. They did not find drugs. As it had been several hours and the blood pressure did not go down they decided to induce three weeks early. I got very nervous and anxious. The same “kind” doctor politely informed me that if I did not calm down that I would probably stroke out. That really “helped” calm the nerves. I called my Midwest family to tell them of the impending baby. This was about 7 pm Monday night, West coast time, 9 pm Midwest time. My mom immediately called an airline and switched her tickets from the end of the month to the red eye the next morning.
Meanwhile, the doctor softened my cervix and tried to prepare my body for labor. My mother and the Pitocin arrived at about the same time on Tuesday. Things began to progress and they kept informing me about the option of an epidural. Being the third child of six kids, my mom had told me more than once how miraculous an epidural was, so I didn’t want to wait too long and miss my chance.
I decided around 6pm on Tuesday to go ahead and get the epidural. My nurse came in and said that as soon as she could send someone to be with me for the required hour after administration she would, but in the mean time would I like some drugs? Sure. At about 7pm they sent in the drugs. Around 8pm they finally sent in the anesthesiologist and the replacement nurse.
They sat me on the edge of the bed and had me lean into the nurse to expose my back. My mom and my aunt (the adoptive mother) were sitting in the room — my mom sleeping as it had been a long day. The next part of this is told to me by mom and aunt. As the doctor pushed the needle with the epidural all the way in, I slumped over into a coma. The nurse began to ask “Sweetie, can you just squeeze my hand?” My aunt told her that my name was Melodee, which woke my mom up and the nurse tried calling my name. I was unresponsive. The anesthesiologist told me later that he, with his 20 years experience, was so scared that it took all he could to write out his report of what happened without shaking.
They did what they could to wake me up for a couple of hours. My aunt and my mom remained calm, even to the point of singing worship songs in the room. The nurse reported later that it was the most calm room she had ever been in with a situation like that. Finally, around 10:30-11, the baby’s heart rate started to decline. They made an emergency decision to give me a cesarean section. Also, as a precautionary measure, they intubated and anethsatized me. They rushed me into surgery and Carissa Eliana was born at 12:01 on Wed., Oct. 1, 2008. At three weeks early, she was a bit scrawny and her intial APGAR score was a 2. After a few minutes, however, she was a healthy 5-6 and they rushed her to the NICU. My aunt — her mom — got to be with her right away and was the first person to hold her.
I didn’t wake up in the ICU until about 10 am on Oct. 1st. I was out of it most of that day. They moved me to the maternity ward on Friday and Carissa and I were out of the hospital on Sunday. My mom stayed with us for about a week. I had tickets to stay there for about a month.
It was easy to give my baby to my aunt — the baby was never mine. You see, I had decided really early on that this child wasn’t mine. I was growing her for my Aunt and Uncle. I may have been the life giver, but they are the life sustainers.
It’s been four years and I’ve still never once regretted my decision. I see her once in a while and my husband (who I started dating May 2008 and is not the father) is totally supportive of everything. I treat her like a niece. She knows I’m her birth mother and comprehends it about as much as any four-year-old. I’m happy, she’s happy, my aunt’s happy and even though we don’t speak any more, my aunt tells me the birth father is happy too. Win-win.