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This Crazy Little Life

Amber's Story

 So, you know, when I decided that I was gonna go out to dinner. Um, and I wasn't really feeling that great or whatever. So I wanted to have my favorite meal. My favorite meal was muscles and like a wine sauce and a pitcher of sangria. I was super excited to get it. Hadn't had it for a while. So I go and I'm like eating my food and I'm like, man, my stomach kind of hurts.

And I'm like, no, there's no way. Right? So I only drink one glass of sangria. I get home and I'm in the bathroom and I'm, you know, doing peeing on a stick, trying to see if I'm pregnant, trying to find out. And the test came back right away and I was pregnant. And I started screaming and I ran outside with my pants unbuttoned.

Um, kind of still pulled down, like not even pulled up and was like, oh my God, I'm having a baby. I'm having a baby. And it was literally the best day of my life. So, um, when I found out, I actually found out sooner than most people, cause I was only four weeks since I was being so, Crazy about trying to get pregnant cuz we had been trying for a really long time.

So I kind of was noticing the little signs and different things, so I was able to kind of try to figure it out. But I knew like my whole life, all I wanted to do was be a mom. So now I'm having this, what I thought was gonna be amazing, great mom moment of just being like glowing and I can eat whatever I want.

And it's just the best day ever. And it's gonna be nine months of everybody, you know, rubbing my feet and doing all this stuff. And that isn't, Actually what happened at all? So from basically the beginning, it was a disaster. I had a hot mess pregnancy. Um, at seven weeks I almost miscarried and I was literally sitting on the couch.

I just flew back from. Um, avp and I was in Virginia and I'm like, all right, I'm gonna eat some chips and watch tv. And I had to go to the bathroom and then boom, I was just bleeding all over the place. I'm like, oh my God, I don't know what to do. So I go to the doctor and I'm just crying and, and you know, drooling or whatever, and I have this mean man as a doctor.

And he comes in and he's like, um, yeah, you're having a miscarriage. And I'm like, Oh, okay, great. Thank, thank, thank you. Um, and then he's like, well, I just need to check you out. So he starts, you know, doing his gynecological thing and pulling all this stuff out. And I'm looking at him, I'm looking at this stuff and I'm like, do.

What is this? And he is like, oh, well, you know, it might be fetal tissue. You know, if there was a twin in there, this could be part of the twin. So now I'm like, really a disaster? I'm like, my, you're pulling out my twin, you know? And. Thank God it wasn't, it wasn't it. And it wasn't my twin. No, it wasn't my, it wasn't her twin or anything like that.

So that kind of just starts off the whole process. So I was on bedrest and I wasn't able to really do anything and then, you know, eventually it got back in a swing of things. I was able to kind of go back to work. Um, I was in the Navy at this time, so I worked 24 hour shifts, so at one point, I'm, you know, pregnant, I'm on my feet all the time and I go to my doctor and I'm like, Hey, do you think you can write me a note that says that I can't work 24 hour shifts, like maybe just 12 hours, even 18, but just not the whole 24 I, you know, it's really tiring and all this stuff.

And the nurse looks at me and she goes, pregnant women. Walked the organ trail and I'm literally like, bitch, what does, I would die. I would have been dead. I would not have made it to Ohio from Pennsylvania because I have a high-risk pregnancy and I'm just not gonna make it. And I really looked at this lady like, she was crazy.

She really told me people walked the organ trail. Yeah. And they died of diptheria in diarrhea and like it just, you know, it was this whole thing and I just kind of. Couldn't really believe that she was saying this to me and I didn't wanna not work. You know, only thing I wanted to do was just not work for so long and I really didn't think that was, you know, a crazy thing to ask for.

I. So at this point now I have gestational diabetes. I'm shooting insulin and straight into my stomach. And, um, I have pre-eclampsia. So, you know, I look a mess. I'm not glowing. I'm sweating profusely. I'm pretty sure I smelled very bad the whole entire time and it was just so. Funny and frustrating to me because my whole life, all I wanted to do was be pregnant.

And then I'm finally pregnant and I'm like, and now I look like a cow, you know? And it was just such an backwards experience that I thought I was gonna have, but I knew like at the end of it was gonna be this amazing little baby girl princess. And so I just kept trying to like look forward to that. So I end up going on a little.

Vacation, um, down in this place called Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina. And, um, swimming in ocean. I'm having a good time. And that just marked the end of any good time I was gonna have during a pregnancy cause I officially died on that trip. By the time I came back I ended up in a hospital and I spent my last month.

Of pregnancy in the hospital. So, you know, every week I had the nurses come and they were bringing me little like signs that said, congratulations, you made it to, you know, 28 weeks. Yay. Um, it was the most depressing thing in the whole entire world. I wasn't allowed to eat anything. So obviously from the beginning of the story, you guys know I love me some food, so I'd have my friends sneak in, you know, food for me and drinks and as soon as I ate, my blood pressure would rise.

You know, my sugar would go up and they could tell, but I was like, you know, part of me doesn't feel bad cuz I'm the one who stuck in here, you know, and I'm, I'm pregnant, so, I am trying to get out the hospital, right? I've been there for a month. I'm about to, I'm giving birth in like four days, so it's election day and I'm like, look, I didn't do my mail-in ballot because I really wanted to go in person and vote for Hillary Clinton and like it was a really big deal.

So the doctors. Like, no, you can't leave. So I'm talking to him, I'm a sweet talker to him. I'm like, I want to see my dog before I have the baby. Like, you know, I need to get my house together and all this stuff. So he says, okay, if somebody can come pick you up, you know, nobody was coming to pick me up. So I lied to the doctor and I tell him, somebody's coming to pick me up.

Um, I'm back. I'm getting ready to leave. Well, I get down to my car and my battery's dead because my car's been sitting in the parking lot at the hospital for a month. So I have a dead battery and I'm super pregnant. And now I'm actually starting to feel like really, really terrible and I get ended up having to get security to, um, Jump my car and stuff and I leave and I'm able to go vote.

And you know, that was like her little first time voting too, cuz she was in my stomach and I ended up being able to spend the rest of the time at home and it honestly went pretty well. So then I get wheeled into the hospital cuz they're inducing me, um, to go into labor. So I knew exactly when it was gonna happen and I get there and, um, Super excited and also terrified cause I don't really know what's gonna happen.

You know? I wanted to have this whole like holistic waterbirth with like a doula and you know, oils or whatever in like a water bath and all this stuff. But I ended up being so high risk and on the verge of death the whole time that I wasn't allowed to do any of that. So I was like, okay, at least I can have, the one thing I wanted was a natural birth right.

So I'm getting in there and I'm like, cool guys, I'm ready. And y'all that stuff. It was so terrible. So I'm in there and I'm thinking I'm gonna get to the point where, You know, I'm all the way dilated. They're gonna be like, all right, you ready to have the baby? My contractions are getting close together.

They started off close together the whole time. So I'm doing having contractions and they're like two minutes apart. So in my head I'm like, yeah, that must mean I'm ready to push soon. They're gonna tell me I'm all ready to go. No. They're like, yeah, you're like two centimeters dilated. And I, and I just started crying and I was like, how long is this gonna take?

Well, 14 hours later. I am still only now five centimeters dilated, and now at this point, my blood pressure is shooting through the roof and I am about to have a seizure. So they tell me, Hey, you have to get a epidural because that's gonna lower your blood pressure down. Anesthesiologist comes in, Is like yelling at me and he's like, you need to stay still so I can do this.

And I'm like, bro, I've been in labor for 14 hours. I'm having back to back contractions. Like, gimme a break. He shoots me in the back with the epidural. He misses, he blames it on me. So now I'm pissed. And he's like, you have to stay still or whatever. And now he's like, I'm gonna do it again. He does it again.

He finally makes it. It goes through, I actually passed out and took a nap. So the last hour of labor I was sleeping, they woke me up and they said, Hey, you're 10 s dilated. You're ready to go. Like you can push. Um, so then I was able to push, and honestly, that was probably the easiest part of my whole pregnancy, was pushing her out and getting her placed in my arms and on my chest.

And it was the best day ever. It made everything so worth it. You know, I'm crazy enough to think in my head that I would wanna do it again. Um, but, you know, I created this, this crazy little life and I get to see her grow up and, and be here and it's such a joy. And to watch her just be excited every single day.

And, and I think that's definitely what I think about when I think about life and, and celebration.

The Interview

Tohnyen: Thank you. I am laughing the whole time you're talking 

because bedrest check, this is me. High-risk pregnancy check month in the hospital. Check. Oh my goodness. Pushing being the easiest part for sure. Yes. Except I did it twice. 

Amber: Oh my goodness. 

 Tohnyen: So the whole idea of being barefooted and pregnant and hippie mom was definitely kinda like, I thought I'd be running through the flowers.

Amber: Right. Glistening in the sun 

Tohnyen: for sure. I hun, I a hundred percent get it. So this was kind of like, you know, that's bonding so funny. Yeah. Right here. 

 Amber: Yeah. People ask me and they're like, well, is pregnant, you know, how is pregnancy? I'm like, Uh, yeah. Terrible. It's the worst thing ever. 

Tohnyen: Yeah. I find it very interesting though, like, I mean, you seem to be pretty positive through most of it, even given everything that was going on.

 Amber: Yeah. 

 Tohnyen: But the fact that you kept having these kind of negative experiences starting with the physician when you thought, you miscarried to the point that when you asked for less hours and 

 Amber: Yeah. 

 Tohnyen: The doctor's note, how did you manage not to. Dare I say slap a bitch. 

 Amber: Yes. Oh, it was hard. Um, I was still in the military then, so that was part of it was I knew that I needed to keep it together.

Um, but also I really didn't, I had never experienced kind of microaggression racism. With doctor's offices and physicians and stuff like that. Um, and never really had to advocate for myself really hard. So for me it was kind of the realization that, oh, this is why they're treating me this way. And then now I have to really advocate for myself to even be able to get what I wanted, you know, and, and these things.

And then, Making sure that I realized, like, I'm not asking for a lot, I'm just asking for basic things that anybody would be asking for. And, and it was, it was really frustrating and I mean, I cried a lot after going to the doctors and different stuff because it was hard. It was like, I am doing my best that I can.

And you know, and that doctor was so rude, the first one that I had, and I'm like, I'm thinking my baby's falling out and he couldn't have cared less, you know, just. 

Tohnyen: So at what point did you reconcile yourself with the fact that you weren't gonna be the sort of pregnant person you thought you would? 

Amber: Um, probably around my second trimester because I was really excited to finally not be sick and not be throwing up.

And I still was so sick the whole time. And, um, And I was like, this is how this is gonna go. It's not gonna get any better. Because people were like, you know, women, oh, it gets better after the first trimester and stuff and you'll get used to it. So, cause I wanted to work the whole time and, you know, be a, be superwoman already and it just wasn't happening and I was like, no, what fine.

I'll just be hideous and sweaty and, you know, this isn't gonna be great. 

Tohnyen: And you're right cuz people do often say, this is the worst part now. Right? 

Amber: Yeah, yeah. 

Tohnyen: Or you'll forget all about this after it happens. Right. And in my mind there is no, forget. No, no. That memory does not go away. 

Amber: No, it doesn't. You couldn't eat anything.

You know, you're, I couldn't drink Gatorade. I no salt, I couldn't have hot sauce. I ended, I ended up having to make my own hot sauce, which actually turned out fine, but it was very frustrating. Um, no coffee, no caffeine and everything like that. 

Tohnyen: So how do you celebrate now? I mean, obviously you have your lovely daughter who's here with us today. Um, but do you celebrate that on a regular basis? Do you think the fact that you got through that and now you're here on the other side? 

Amber: I do. I do. I'm, I'm forever grateful that. I have her. And honestly, that we both made it through, you know, my family, um, was trying to stay positive, but they were absolutely terrified.

I think because I was in the middle of the situation. I was always joking around and, you know, and, and not taking anything seriously. But my brother genuinely believed I was gonna die or that Jacqueline was. Um, so, you know, I'm so grateful every day that. That we both made it through, because I think if I wouldn't have been in the military and had amazing insurance, um, had a job where I could be in a hospital for a month where I could be on bedrest, um, not go to work, have not have to worry about how any, how much anything cost.

That's why I'm here, you know, because if I didn't have those things, we wouldn't, we wouldn't have made it at all. I looked at my medical bills and I mean, it was half a million dollars for me being in the hospital that long, you know? Oh, I know. Yeah. Each, um, what is it? Ultrasound is a co, like a couple hundred dollars, and I was getting ultrasounds at least once a week.

Mm-hmm. Cause I had to, you know, make sure she was Okay.

Tohnyen: So, so you talked about the possibility of doing it again. 

Amber: Yeah. 

Tohnyen: Would you do it again? 

Amber: I want to, like, I would love to have another, another child. I would, but, you know, um, biological clock is ticking and I don't think it's gonna get easier. So, you know, but who knows what hap what's gonna happen.

Um, but I'm, I'm happy I have her and she calls my dog her little brother. So I have, you know, a first son and a daughter. 

Tohnyen: There you go. Thank you for sharing your celebration with us. This is one that I particularly feel touches close to home. Um, and as a single mother as well, it gives you extra to celebrate because we have to put all the effort in. 

Amber: You know, and you did it like, you know, you did this all by yourself, and you can take credit for that. And I think that's a, that's a really great feeling. 


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