Buckle up because this is not your typical birth story. Let me start off by saying that without Claris, I wouldn’t have done it. I never wanted an abortion, but there were a few moments along the way when I was incredibly lost, confused, disappointed and truly felt like I was going to break. Being pregnant, with or without a partner, is hard. To be pregnant throughout a global pandemic, confined in my home, not knowing what the world will be like when she’s born, without a partner– it was scary. I had high stress and cried a lot.
I was alone for the first 5 months of my pregnancy, but when Claris offered me weekly counseling for little-to-no cost, I can’t tell you how much that helped me. The amount of support Claris gave me through therapy, prenatal care, even my ultrasound appointment was unreal. I didn’t feel alone anymore. Stacie, the midwife, was everything. She just let me talk and process all that I was feeling during my check ups. She didn’t pretend that she cared. She actually gave me her cell phone number so that I could text her anytime with concerns or questions. God knew that I needed someone like Stacie and a therapist like Nancy to support me throughout that time. Claris is a team that really rallies behind you. They want the absolute best for you, and that is what they gave me.
To give an accurate picture, I got sick right before my 35th week of pregnancy and gave birth at 36 weeks. Yes, you read that correctly. After I started having trouble breathing, I went to the ER. The doctor said that I needed a CAT scan because he was afraid that I might have a blood clot in my lungs. I was nervous because of the radiology, but when he said that if we didn’t do it, I or my baby could die, I decided to get the CAT scan. They ended up finding a blood clot in my lungs along with Covid-19 and pneumonia.
After that, my body began to quickly decline. I was in an immense amount of pain. I couldn’t breathe on my own. I couldn’t go to the bathroom without bringing my oxygen tank with me. The doctors looked very concerned and honestly weren’t sure if I was going to survive. I began believing that I wasn’t going to either, so I started praying to God that if I could at least meet my newborn and hold her once, I’d be fine to go. This was when a midwife said that they’re going to transfer me to Long Beach and induce me. I tried to stay calm and texted the baby’s day, “promise me that if it comes down to either me living or the baby, you will choose the baby.”
When I arrived at Long Beach, they initially told me I had to get a C-section since I was only 5 centimeters dilated. I kept praying to God, “please just let me hold her. Please help me get to that point where I could hold her.” Hours later, I was still only 6 centimeters so they broke my water, and I miraculously gave birth within 15 minutes! I guess that means I wasn’t only 6 centimeters, but anyhow, I was able to hold my little girl. As I held her, the baby’s dad played the song, “I am a child of God”, and it helped me feel really encouraged.
I think it’s so powerful that a woman’s body is able to create and carry a baby. I can’t believe I did it. I think about all that I went through with her. The amount of love that felt as a mother for my child, I get emotional saying this, but I did whatever it took to get my baby born. My story is just one of the beautiful ways that a mother did everything humanly possible to give her baby life. I would do it all over again. I would suffer through getting sick during my pregnancy, every ounce of pain, not being able to breathe, and every fearful thought I had that I was not going to survive– I’d do it all over again because that’s how much I love her.
I hope one day I can give back to Claris for what they did for me. I want to help other moms who are about to go through what I went through. It makes me sad that so many women don’t have that support and end up not keeping their baby because of that. I am thankful that Claris became my family from beginning to end. I love being with my girls at home. My life with them was almost completely taken away. Now all I can say is, ‘Bring it on! Bring on the chaos, no sleep, the tears, getting yelled at by my 5 year old, just bring it all on. I feel fearless now after prevailing through what I went through. Whatever comes with being a mom, bring it on.”
Dear Struggling Moms,
One day, wherever you are and whenever you’re ready, you’ll be a great mom. Don’t make a fast decision. Before you think about yourself– think about your baby. Try with all you can to find support. I know it’s hard. Believe me, I know it’s hard. Everyone’s situation is different but try. Take your time. Life is beautiful and worth living. Maybe you feel so alone and that no one cares for you, but I promise that there are people who care. I encourage you to find that family; maybe they’re at Claris.
I was in your shoes once. I promise there are people who will care and who will help. The support is all you need. It will be worth it. It’s easy to share this now because I’m on the other side of my pregnancy, but at one point I wasn’t. Life is worth having and it’s also worth giving.
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