I can honestly say I remember the day my husband, Wes Steele, and I conceived our oldest daughter.
It was in September after we had one of those hypothetical conversations about what we would name our first child. I don’t know how we ended up talking about baby names, but I remember we were in the car on the way home.
We agreed on Wryen if it was a girl and Jaxon for a boy. Who could guess that four months later the conversation would no longer be hypothetical?
Pregnancy, cheerleading and denial
We weren’t necessarily planning for a baby, but we weren’t acting to prevent it either. I was invoked in a lot of physical activities, training for a pageant, semi-professional cheerleading for a D-league team, living my best life.
Staying slim was required for dancing, and I had either practice or workouts five days a week. I was with the other cheerleaders so much that our menstrual cycles started to synchronize.
October came, and all the girls were discussing menstrual woes when I realized I hadn’t had my period yet. I remained silent. I thought, ‘I’m new to the group, so mine isn’t synced yet.’
November came, and yet again nothing. Still, I’m not bothered. December came, and that’s when I started to get concerned.
I had to get answers, so I visited my only friend at the time in Fort Wayne, Abby, to borrow a pregnancy test. I was too cheap to buy one.
I’ve taken many a pregnancy test in my day. No judgement. But this one was the first to come back positive. The answer appeared on the indicator screen in two lines and in a matter of seconds.
I was pregnant.
I laid on her floor for about 30 minutes going over how my life is forever changed. I must have been talking extremely crazy because Abby’s next words were: “You’re acting like you’re 16 and pregnant! You’re 24 and married. Get it together!”
I’ll never forget that. I got up, and we laughed all my worries away. I left her house feeling excited about this new chapter in my life.
The first person I phoned was my father. He was overjoyed. He said: “My prayers have been answered. I have wanted to live long enough to see Judea have a baby.” I cried with him on the phone because I was born the year my grandfather died and never got to meet him.
It would mean the world to have my daughter have a relationship with my father. When I got home I shared the news with Wes. He was in disbelief for a short time, but I know he was excited to start a family.Married, grown but not ready to be a mom | Honeycomb Moms | Wryen weighed 8 pounds when she was born on July 12, 2013 at DuPont Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind. Her father, Wes Steele, held her just after her birth. (Family photo)
When pregnancy got a little too real
The next couple of months were an emotional mess for my husband and I.
Although I had a fairly easy pregnancy with few unexpected symptoms, I was a crazy psychotic person and gave Wes hell every single day of the pregnancy.
The weight gain was the worst part for me. My vision was to be a cute, fashionable pregnancy lady. That vision quickly disappeared once I was super fat, and all my cute features magically vanished.
At the end of my pregnancy, I weighed 200 pounds and was miserable. It was hot and I was sweating places I didn’t know existed. I couldn’t see my feet, but when I did, they were swollen. It hurt to walk, sit, stand and sleep. I was just fat and pregnant. That’s all life was.
Then, I went into labor.
On yet another scorching day in July, I was out eating Mexican food with some of my dance team friends when I started going into labor. Contractions started rapidly every five minutes, and the pain was ridiculous. It felt like intense cramps squeezing my abdominal areas.
My body temperature rose. I was extremely hot, and I was sweating profusely. During every contraction, I would bend over, breath rapidly and moan in anguish. This happened about five times before other patrons at the restaurant started to express their concerns.
By then, I had scared the restaurant staff so badly that the manager paid for my meal and asked me to leave. I told him I wasn’t leaving until I finished my enchiladas and rice but thanked him for the meal. I ate in between contractions. Then we headed to the hospital.
Coming to terms with having a c-section
The delivery didn’t go as planned. My baby was stuck in the birth canal, and I was shivering with chills. I asked if I was dying because I was so cold and sleepy.
I wasn’t dying, but I needed a C-section. And when I finally got one, it felt like I waited hours to hear my daughter’s sweet cry. It was truthfully seconds before the doctors rescued her from my vagina.
“I heard her cry, saw her face and thanked God before going to sleep.Married, grown but not ready to be a mom | Honeycomb Moms | Wryen weighed 8 pounds when she was born on July 12, 2013 at DuPont Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind. (Family photo)
Surviving intensive care with a new baby
When I woke three hours later, a lot had happened. My husband told me Wryen had trouble breathing and had been in the intensive care unit for a couple hours.
I asked: “Is she ok?” He responded “yes.”
And nothing else mattered. I shivered until I could fall back asleep. I don’t remember exactly what happened when I woke back up, but my doctor said my body was going through shock.
To me, none of that was important, and I didn’t care to hear about it. God had blessed me with a health baby girl, and I couldn’t have been happier.
I vowed to never do that again, but it was an empty promise. I have two daughters.