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Brenda's Got a Baby! (Well, Deranecque does)

What has been your most life altering moment? Was it a good thing? Was it a bad thing? How did you handle it? What did others think? Did you even care?

My first most memorable life change came 29 years ago. Want to read about? It's a personal story, but worth sharing. Here it goes....

I became a mom at the age of 15. Yes, FIFTEEN! It was a shock to me too. I was the Student Council (Class) President, Honor Roll student, Cheerleader, Freshman Ambassador, Beta Club member, Math Club member, Newspaper staff member, Track team member, Miss Wonder Junior High, and all around favorite. I was sort of like a teen in an after school TV special. I "had it goin' on"!

Then, along comes a boy. He was tall, dark, and handsome. He was also athletic, kind, country, and from out of town. He seemed a little green, talked a bit funny, and was always polite. To add to this, he lived only 3 doors down from my aunt, which was also down the street from one of my best friends at the time. I couldn't help but connect with him. It was convenient. Right?

I can't remember all of the details, but one of the first times I saw him was during summer break before Freshman year. It was at the school, Wonder Junior High, during cheerleader practice that I got my first look at him. We didn't speak, he was going in to register. The second time was on his street. I was in the roadway talking to another classmate, who had already met the new kid on the block. This time, I had rollers in my hair; a head full of orange and yellow and green plastic rollers and bobby pins. No matter, it was me. Somewhat embarrassed, but I was cute. This time we shared words. Brief, but we connected.

In the remaining summer beak months, I can't remember much about the happenings as they relate to him. However, once school started, it was on. I made those high school girl moves regularly, especially during 7th period Athletics. Now, I wasn't too flirty. I just did things to catch his attention; laughing loudly, acting silly with friends, running past him in my "shorts", etc. Outside of school, I made it a point to visit my friend and my aunt on the block. Subtle and slow was my method. Then one day we exchanged phone numbers or my number was given to him. I can't exactly recall who called who first, but I am sure it wasn't me.

Once we became a couple, everyone knew it. I snagged the new boy. I was Miss It and he was known as "Nightmare" because of his athleticism. We walked the halls together. I wore his jacket, he carried my books, he walked me to class, and he walked me home most days. It was puppy love. I was smitten. My family liked him. My grandfather thought he was a well-mannered young cat. (I really do miss my granddaddy!) Everything was good.

Fast forward to us thinking we were grown. One weekend, I was at a sleepover with a group of friends who lived in the same neighborhood and for some reason, I ended up at his house. We were alone. There were condoms in the dresser drawer. So, we figured we'd be careful and "do it". We did it. In the weeks, months ahead, we continued to "do it" safely you know, with condoms.

Fast forward through lots of high school drama and a break up and summer break again. He went back home to Florida for break. I attended an educational summer camp at UAPB. It was the end of June. I was getting a little thicker, but not fat. Went to have a physical because I was going to play intramural volleyball and it was required. Nurse comes in and asks if I had been feeling ok. Yes. Have you been feeling little flutters in your stomach? Yea, kind of. When was your last period? I break down crying and slobbering. I was a mess. She asked me if she could call anyone. My mom. I continued to cry. It was as if I was in that small room, perched on that table, sitting on that noisy, crumpled white paper for hours. I couldn't believe what was happening. It was all unreal. My thoughts were racing just as fast as my heartbeat. This wasn't supposed to happen to me. I was not supposed to be a teen mom. We were careful, right? We used condoms. I didn't want a baby. I didn't need a baby. I had made the JV cheer team; the only black girl to do so! I needed to be on the cheer team. I needed to be on the homecoming court. In my mind, things were coming to an abrupt halt as far as my high school career. Yes, career is the right word.

Let me run you through the next 4 months real quick. Yes, 4 months. In my mind, I was only pregnant 4 months (June to October). However, my son was conceived in March. Later, his dad told me he remembers when the condom broke! {Insert lots of cussing words and adjectives here}

  • Too far along for an abortion.

  • Those "sporadic periods" were threats of a miscarriage.

  • Sophomore year starts: Girl, you pregnant? It don't look like it.

  • No, we won't hold your spot on the JV squad. No, you can't be on the Homecoming court.

  • Develops Toxemia/Preeclampsia: pregnancy complications characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys.

  • Weekly doctor's appointments.

  • Out of school on bed rest for roughly 4 weeks

  • Hospitalized for nearly 3 weeks: baby isn't getting enough oxygen. your kidneys aren't functioning at 100%. Your womb is not stretching/growing enough.

  • My mother signs waivers and paperwork regarding life saving methods for me or the baby. The doctor thought one of us might not make it. I found this out accidentally and after the fact.

October 21, 1991 @ 9:44 pm,on a stormy Monday night, after hours of pain and with no epidural, my son was born weighing less than 5lbs. When the nurse swaddled him in the white blanket with blue thin stripes and Regional Medical Center stamped in navy blue lettering, he was the size of a football. A tiny thing; a preemie.

I held him as we were rolled from the delivery room to the recovery room. As we rolled, I looked at this little baby boy and he blinked his dark brown eyes at me. I cried and proclaimed my love to him. I vowed that I would love him and look after him and let nothing bad happen to him ever. I was in love instantly as I looked at that tiny face. He was a light caramel brown complexion with full cheeks, dark straight hair and long fingers. He also had patches of redness about his face that had me a little nervous. I kissed him and held him tight. I will always believe he heard me that night and understood every word.

A lot happened in the days (and years) to come. Let me tell you this, I had a village!! I have a village. I am grateful beyond measure for everyone in my village! God has blessed us beyond measure. My son is awesome. He's intelligent, respectful, loving, talented, a protector, a giver of himself, a great big brother, a great friend, and a very charismatic person that you can't help but love. His natural disposition is one of energy, strength, and responsibility. I am a proud mother. I wouldn't change anything. NOT ONE THING! God blessed me with my son at His timing, not mine nor at the expectations of others.

I have other stories for other days about my son, my daughters, and my life. Keep coming back. You will definitely be entertained.

P.S. That teen snapback was real, too!

See how tiny he was...

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