(No I was not preggo in this pic lol the photographer just had us pose this way)
16 and pregnant first aired in 2009 and it was a hit that gave you the infamous stars of Teen Mom, rewind to 2005, 16 and pregnant was my actual life. Yes I was a teen mom and it wasn’t the life you see on tv.
I got pregnant at the age of 15. Anthony and I had barely been together for a year and when I had gotten pregnant his mom had already relocated to Texas (we lived in California) and he was planning on joining her the month we found out I was pregnant. Now teen pregnancy was not uncommon when I was in high school. I have had many friends who decided not to keep the baby. I was the small statistic that ended up having a baby but that wasn’t the original plan.
My first sign I was pregnant was morning sickness. I originally thought it was a stomach bug but then it lasted over a week. The smell of pizza and wings would make me instantaneously sick. I remember getting sick one morning and I was coming out the bathroom and my dad was sitting at the back door putting his work boots on and turned and looked at me and asked me if I was pregnant. I looked at him in shock and told him “No i just get a little sick when I brush my teeth.” This is when I had a suspicion but had not taken a pregnancy test. I took a pregnancy test later that week. Anthony’s sister and cousin had got it for me after school one day. I went to their house (Anthony was living with them at the time since his mom had relocated). I went to the bathroom peed on the stick. I remember not knowing if I did it right because I was only 15 taking a pregnancy test. I called them in as we waited for the results. His sister Tanya, her husband Albert, cousin Kaye, Anthony and I huddled in this tiny bathroom awaiting the results. It seemed like the longest minute of my life, but then that double line appeared, I was in shock and then I heard Anthony’s brother in law laugh and I broke down in tears. Kaye made everyone get out of the bathroom and Anthony gave me a hug and said it would all be ok.
Anthony was only there for the first 2 months of my pregnancy. We were both only 15 and I remember he would make me lunch for school every morning. He had been saving up to get a pocket bike and he had almost enough money and we would be out and I would have cravings for Wendy’s and ice cream and he would spend his savings to get me what I wanted. He spent all his money on me and didn’t get that pocket bike he had been saving for. When he left it was so hard for me. We had planned on being in a long distance relationship but now I was pregnant. I didn’t tell anyone because I wasn’t planning on having him. I was in such denial at the beginning. I thought this isn’t real! This doesn’t happen to someone like me. It will just go away on its own. I went to several appointments at Planned Parenthood but I never went through.
I hid my pregnancy for 6 months before telling my parents. I told my mom first, she cried and then she called my dad when he was at work and said “Can you come home early today? Vanessa needs to tell you something” and I heard him say out loud “She’s pregnant isn’t she?” My mom said “We can talk when you get home” My dad came home at the normal time he comes home. He is a hard working man and doesn’t just leave work. I remember hearing him come in the house and my heart racing. ” He knocks on my door and says “I know you don’t want to hear anything negative, a baby is a blessing so congratulations” He gave me a big hug. My dad already had a suspicion because every week he would ask me “Are you pregnant?” When I asked him how he knew he told me I had this glow about me. When I reflect at this memory I cherish my dad even more. I know he was angry but because I am his daughter and there was nothing we could change about the situation he accepted it and was my rock through it. My Grandma (his mom) had passed away a few months before I told everyone. We knew it was coming because she was just tired of fighting for her life everyday, one of the last things she said to him was “Make sure you take care of Vanessa” at that moment he understood why. I never even told my Grandma but it has been said she was psychic. My dad took me to every appointment even the 3 hour glucose test! He was also very adamant about me taking care of myself. He would go out to buy my favorite oranges, bring home Ferrero Rochers and always made me a salad with cucumbers because that was what I craved.
I remember my first appointment with an obgyn. Most girls my age that got pregnant had Medi-Cal which was government funded. My dad had Kaiser which was provided through his company. So it seemed my doctor was not used to seeing young girls. One of the first questions she asked me was “What is your GPA?” I said “3.8” then she asked me questions like how old is the father, what is his gpa, are we together? I answered all her questions and told her our plan she said “Ok i am just so confused why you are here because you are not the typical teen to get pregnant. I was in shock that someone would say that to me. I was already embarrassed of the situation but she made me feel like an idiot. I found a new OB after that.
When Anthony told his mom she was disappointed. My dad and her talked and they made the decision that school was priority. I would not leave California and he would not leave Texas. I was angry at the time but this was honestly the best decision for us. I had to transfer high schools because the school I was at didn’t have accommodations for baby when he was born but a school within our district had an onsite daycare and offered a parenting class. I was somewhat excited that I would have people I could relate to. When I arrived I felt welcomed. I met the administrator Mr. Crutchfield in the office and he explained the program to me and actually said he was excited I would be joining and then across his office I seen a familiar face. Will, who was former security at my prior high school but was now at my new high school. He seemed somewhat excited yet shocked to see me but he was always so friendly and he was the type of guy you can go to for advice. I did not utilize him much but I would hear him lecturing others. The woman who ran the daycare was Suey she is one amazing woman. She didn’t judge me and was very passionate about helping every girl in the program, she has a heart of gold. Getting to know the girls in the program was another story. I felt like an outcast. Most of them were in relationships with older men, were slackers in school, had gang affiliations, and enjoyed partying. Not that it made them bad people I just simply did not fit in. I felt immediate judgment when I walked into parenting class for the first time and a billion questions were being asked. “Who’s your baby daddy?” “How far along are you” or there was simply girls just rolling their eyes at me. Half way through the class 2 girls were in each others faces like they were going to fight. It was like a scene from a movie like “Dangerous Minds” but the school was not a bad school. Majority of the kids were middle eastern and asian and not to be stereotypical but these kids were so smart. The school was known for their band and tennis program. The area was actually an upperclass neighborhood but this is where they sent the preggos and in the back they had a program called “Adult Ed” which is the continuation school. After that incident I decided that I would just keep quiet and to myself because these girls would become BFFS and then have a fight and your business would be everywhere. I would try to make the best of it though. Majority of these girls had trouble at home and I felt for them. If they needed a ride I would ask my parents and they would offer or if they needed a place to stay my door was open. School was hard. It was hard waking up just to go to class because I was so tired from pregnancy and it was even worse trying to get my school work done because all I wanted to do was sleep. My grades dropped dramatically.
I was so lucky to have the support of my family to get me through this. My Aunty Leslie was so supportive. She and my cousin Cynthia threw me a baby shower for me, it was so small but I got nearly everything I needed. I will forever be thankful to my aunts and cousins for doing so much for me. My dad was the only one who worked in our house and there was only so much he could do. He had already supported a family of 5 and I was adding 1 more. They were able to give not only to Anthony and I but it also helped my dad out tremendously.
I was due on January 16 and after Holiday Break I had planned on not returning to school til after 6 weeks after the baby was born. Holiday Break is when I actually started to show which I was already 8 months pregnant. I remember going to Big 5 Sporting Goods and getting so many looks. I have always looked younger than I was so when people seen my stomach they would stare for long periods of time. This employee at Big 5 came up to me. I wish I knew his name because he said something to me I will never forget ” Don’t let people judging you bring you down. Don’t let the talking shit get to you…” he said more but I was so embarrassed I just kinda nodded and my thoughts were louder than his voice. It was so random but such a great gesture and if I could thank the guy today I would.
On January 8, 2005 I went to the bathroom and something weird was happening, it wasn’t my water breaking but my mucus plug made an appearance. I didn’t know what it was so I was freaking out. Like Vada Sultenfuss from “My Girl” when she got her period.
I am saving the labor details for another story so this is TO BE CONTINUED…