Pregnancy was unexpected, at the time unwanted, and I was beyond terrified. On May 2014 I would find out that I was 5 weeks pregnant, the biological father was already out of the picture, he used me just like so many others, except this time it wasn’t just me that was abandoned. It took me weeks to get ahold of him, though it made no difference whatsoever, she just turned 2 and he’s never even attempted to meet her. Instead, I was incredibly lucky. My previous boyfriend and I ended up getting back together by summer 2014. We were only broken up for 6 months, my life was in such shambles after it happened that I completely strayed from the path I set for myself, and it ended up deciding the rest of my life for me.
Aside from the obvious and expected symptoms of pregnancy, something inside me felt strange, wrong, and it made it incredibly difficult for me to bond with her during the pregnancy. We wouldn’t find out until my scheduled c-section on December 18, 2014 that my placenta had been dead for over a month, that she was incredibly underweight, deprived of nutrients and oxygen, and that she wasn’t able to retain enough body heat. She had to be closed up in this awful see-through box, we could only touch her every 3 hours, after the initial 8 hour period that I didn’t get to see her after I gave birth. The feeding tube would come that night, when my body refused to produce any breast milk, and when she refused to latch on to bottles.
My body felt tortured, violated, abused, and I was far beyond feelings of failure because the one thing my body was built for, it couldn’t even do properly. She was starved, her brain suffered damage, and on top of the nausea I already experienced before my pregnancy, it was now a constant daily occurrence. I gained 16lbs while I carried her, and after never having had a cavity before in my life, I developed 9 throughout those 9 months. Having to set an alarm on my phone to get her out every 3 hours, even all through the night, was the darkest and most painful moment of my entire life. Knowing that my body did this to her, messed up her chances at being healthy, made me feel worthless and inferior.
By the time she was 6 months old, it had already become apparent that she was behind, and that she was incredibly underweight still despite having been on formula with extra calories from birth. It took about 6 months after that to actually get her into therapy; physical therapy, occupational therapy, and dieticians poked, prodded, and pushed her to the point where she no longer tolerated being around anyone but my husband and I. They told me she has sensory processing disorder, not that I had a clue what that meant. Therapy only lasted a few months, and it mostly entailed of her crying inconsolably, not cooperating with them, and them giving us things to work on with her at home. They eventually ended up explaining that since she had not made any improvements with them, that they wouldn’t see her anymore, in order to help children who are able and/or willing to cooperate during scheduled sessions.
There’s nothing more painful than a therapist telling you that your daughter may never let you hold her hand, or kiss her cheek, that she may not be capable of feeding herself, that potty training would be increasingly difficult. So far she’s printed them wrong about everything, minus the potty training, but we haven’t even tried that yet. It took her awhile to get caught up, but now she’s walking, running, and babbling up a storm on a daily basis, exploring everything, and fine tuning her motor skills with her toys and books. She’s smart, funny, healthy, and above everything else, she’s happy.
I’m not sure where the future will lead us, when she will be ready for potty training or preschool, but I do know that I’ve done more research on her sensory needs, ways to stimulate them, and ways to make her feel more comfortable than I’ve done on anything else. I’ve done absolutely everything I can to address all her needs, and every single day that means putting her first, pushing my needs aside so that I can focus on her. Some days are harder than others, sometimes I wish someone would take care of me that intently, but when she comes running to my arms, smiling ear to ear, it makes life easier to deal with.