Ashley, age 21, California
I’ve dealt with many things in my life – both good and bad – but nothing that compared to one amazing and surprising experience that I will never forget: I learned that I was pregnant on the day I was due to deliver the most beautiful baby girl.
During August and September, I felt sick, like I had food poisoning. I went to the doctor and told her my symptoms. When she first mentioned pregnancy, I denied it and told her my period is somewhat normal. She prescribed me medication for the stomach flu. I took a pregnancy test late one night and thought it was negative. As time went on, I noticed my period was barely there or not there at all, and some people noticed weight gain. I denied all possibilities of pregnancy, even when I looked it up online, and blamed it on too much fast food and side effects from no longer taking the birth control shot.
Finally on May 24th around 4:30 in the morning, I felt severe pain – it wasn’t a normal cramping pain. I tried taking pain medication, but it caused me to vomit. My mom suggested that I make an appointment to see my doctor, but I was being stubborn and trying to be strong. I decided to take another pregnancy test, and it showed I was pregnant. I freaked out and was scared to tell my mom because I thought she was going to be disappointed and angry and yell at me. My friend Blaine stayed by my side, and he told her I was pregnant. My mom saw the tears in my eyes. She was calm and wanted to get me to the hospital to make sure I was ok. The three of us went to the hospital, and the next thing I knew, the doctor said I’m having a baby today. The only thing the doctor gave me was an I.V. and something to ease the pain. It felt so unreal, like it was a dream. Ironically enough, I had had a dream that involved birth and a baby even before I was pregnant.
When it was all over, it was time for me to choose if my baby would be put up for adoption or if I would keep her. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my whole life, and I didn’t even tell my ex Ryan that he was a father until a few weeks after I was out of the hospital. The connection I had with everyone that I met was amazing. My mom found Megan Cohen through friends of hers who had adopted a child through Megan. When holding Charlotte in my arms, I couldn’t stop crying. She was just so beautiful. One look at her, and everything else just went away. I made the brave decision to put my daughter up for adoption. Megan presented several families to me, and I chose Fred and Maria. Once I met them, I knew in my heart that my daughter would be safe, loved, and cared for and that she would be in the best hands. I chose this couple because I saw love and kindness; I saw creativity and imagined just how lucky my daughter would be with them. I saw something that made them different, and it stood out to me just by looking at their photos. There was so much happiness and so many tears and so much emotion that weekend.
Once my daughter and I were released from the hospital, I was both happy and sad. I felt like I didn’t want to let her go, but I knew it was the right thing to make an unselfish decision for my beautiful Charlotte Rita. Her name was perfect, and it was chosen by Fred and Maria. I’m glad I’m able to visit and spend time with the adoptive family. I wear a smile every day because of Charlotte, because of the parents I chose for her, and because of the whole experience.
Images Courtesy of Family Formation: Client photos printed with permission