Maturing for Motherhood: BV senior gives birth, shares experiences regarding motherhood

Maturing+for+Motherhood%3A+BV+senior+gives+birth%2C+shares+experiences+regarding+motherhood

Alex Kontopanos and Raine Andrews

Maddie Jewett, Features Editor

A 17-year old girl and her ex-boyfriend ride up the elevator at the hospital along with the girl’s mom. Floor by floor, the emotion and anxiety grows in all three of them.
Taking a deep breath, the three sit in the waiting room, hoping for the best but expecting the worst.
Silence.
The ticking of the clock fills the room.
Tears well up in her mother’s eyes.
The future seems terrifying.
Hands shaking and lumps in their throats, the three simply watch, speechless, as the doctor opens the door and walks into the room.
He sits down and looks at the three of them with concern and hope in his eyes.
“You’re pregnant.”
Her mother cries.
The baby’s father, nervous, can’t stop talking.
Meanwhile, senior Amelia Sargent slumps down in her chair.
Mouth slightly open.
Heart pounding out of her chest.
Completely shocked.

A LIFE-CHANGING MOMENT
Sargent said she knew she was pregnant because her period was late.
“I was freaking out, and my best friend was in rehab at the time, so I was writing her a letter telling her how I was freaking out,” she said. “Then, my mom found the letter. She was like, ‘OK, we need to go to the doctor and figure this out.’ So, me, my mom and [the baby’s] dad, [Cody Lyndell] all went to the doctor and found out [that I was pregnant].”
The three of them reacted very differently after finding out the news.
“[My mom] just cried and cried,” she said. “[Lyndell] wouldn’t shut up — he just kept talking. He’s one of those nervous talkers. He was just shocked. He was like, ‘We can do this.’ My dad was really quiet when I told him.”

DECISIONS, DECISIONS
Sargent said her parents, family and friends have all been supportive of her throughout the pregnancy.
According to prochoice.org, about 35 percent of pregnant teens choose to abort their babies rather than go through with the pregnancies. Sargent said she chose not to have an abortion because of her beliefs.
“I’ve never believed in abortion, but it definitely crossed my mind,” she said. “When it happens to you, especially in high school, it’s so different. But my parents are really against it, too, and that really helped me make up my mind [to keep the baby].”
Sargent said Lyndell let her decide if she wanted to keep the baby.
“He was just kind of like, ‘You know, it’s kind of up to you since you have to go through all of it,” she said.
Contrary to common belief, it is possible for girls to get pregnant even when using a form of contraception.
According to cdc.gov, male condoms have an average 18 percent failure rate.
She said she and the father of her baby used a condom. Sargent said they believed it would prevent a possible pregnancy.
Sargent is no longer dating Lyndell — however, she said her new boyfriend is active in her baby’s life.
“[Lyndell and I] don’t really talk that much unless we have to,” she said. “[My current boyfriend] doesn’t live with his parents — he’s 18. [His parents] definitely at first thought, when they found out he was dating a pregnant girl, it was his [baby]. But once they found out it wasn’t, they were like, ‘OK, that’s good.’ He’s up here more than [Lyndell] is. It’s awesome — I love it.”

AN UNCONVENTIONAL CHILDBIRTH
Two pounds, 13 ounces and 20 weeks early.
Tilly Dawn Sargent was born on Oct. 5.
However, she was not born in the hospital, but actually in the car on the way there. Sargent was hanging out with her boyfriend one day when she said she was getting random cramps throughout the day and knew something wasn’t right. She called her mom, who told her to keep drinking water although Sargent said it wasn’t helping with the cramps.
“The cramps just kept getting worse and worse,” she said. “It was so bad. I needed to go home. By the time I got in the car with my dad, I was like, ‘We need to go to the hospital right now — this hurts so bad.’ He was just like, ‘No, let’s just go home and see what Mom thinks.’ So, the whole way home, I was just yelling and in so much pain — we didn’t know it, but I was in labor. It was so early — I didn’t think that was what it was.”
Just as Sargent and her father pulled into their driveway, her water broke.
“[When a woman’s water breaks], it does not happen like it does in the movies,” she said. “I had to push super hard for that to happen. It broke in the van, and it was super nasty — it was messy. My mom and my two little sisters come out, and we’re all packing into the van. So then my dad takes off, and we get onto the highway. I live off 199th [Street], and by the time we were at the 179th [Street] exit, I was screaming. I was like, ‘I feel the head,’ and my mom was screaming, ‘Don’t push! Don’t push!’ It hurt so bad. I just pushed and pushed. Then my dad looked over at me, and was like, ‘She’s holding her.’ It was so scary. I don’t even know how I caught her — I don’t remember. It just hurt so bad. I didn’t think it was really happening. By then, we had pulled over onto the side of the highway and called an ambulance. My mom leaned over the front seat and was pushing on [the baby’s] chest to get her to breathe because she was starting to turn blue. She just couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t say anything. I just don’t even know what I was thinking. Nothing was even going through my head. I was just in too much shock to even think straight. By the time she was out, I had absolutely no idea what was going on around me and her. I was just holding her on my belly, skin to skin, trying to make sure she was OK. She was so tiny. It was really scary. [The fact that I was a mom] didn’t even cross my mind.”

MATURING FOR MOTHERHOOD
Since the pregnancy and becoming a mother, Sargent said she has had to mature.
“I definitely feel like I have to be responsible,” she said. “It’s weird because I’ve always just been crazy — I was always the girl that had to be babysat at a party. It’s just weird.”
Sargent said she occasionally got disapproving stares from a few people although her stomach stayed relatively small during her pregnancy since her baby was born prematurely.
“I go to [Blue Valley Academy], and everybody there is super cool,” she said. “At school, it was fine. But working at Sonic and Freddy’s, I definitely got some looks from people. But, like I care — it’s whatever. You get used to it.”
Sargent said pumping the breast milk for Tilly has been the hardest part of being a mother so far.
“I feel like a cow — it takes over my life,” she said. “I go to school all day from 9 [a.m.] to 3 [p.m.], and I just have to leave class throughout the day to go pump. It’s not too hard, really, especially because the Academy doesn’t have homework and stuff like that, so I don’t have to worry about that.”
Sargent said she spends a large majority of her days at the hospital.
“I usually come [to the hospital] at about 5:30 [p.m.] and just kind of hang out with my boyfriend and my friends for a little bit before,” she said. “So, I still have somewhat of a life right now before she comes home — I won’t have any life at all [after she comes home].”
Sargent said Tilly is predicted to come home on Christmas Day, but the doctor expects her to be ready to go sooner.
Sargent said her life has changed post-pregnancy, mostly by being cut off from many of her friends.
“I just stopped talking to a bunch of people.” she said. “And it’s understandable, like, I’m not mad. I lost a bunch of friends, which is fine. It’s not really that I lost them — it’s just that we don’t really talk or hang out anymore. And it’s whatever — I’m too busy to try to keep up with them. I’m just so out of the social circle right now. I won’t be able to go out and do teenage, illegal things anymore. Right now, she’s not home yet, so I haven’t had to completely give up everything. I can still go out and hang out with friends a little bit, but it’s definitely a lot different. I can’t be selfish anymore. It’s all about her now.”

FOCUSING ON THE FUTURE
Sargent said she plans to graduate from high school in December.
“Hopefully, I’ll be done with school around the same time she gets to come home,” she said. “I don’t know if I’m going to take a semester off or start up with [Johnson County Community College] right away. If I do, I’ll just take some online classes. I want to go into radiologic technology.”
Even with two jobs and a whole new level of responsibility, Sargent said her schedule isn’t too demanding.
“I’m an employee [at both Freddy’s and Sonic], but I don’t actually work right now because that would just be too much,” Sargent said. “It sounds like it would be hard to juggle everything, but my schedule was planned out well, so it wasn’t too bad.”
Sargent said her mother will be a huge help in taking care of Tilly when she comes home.
“[My mom] is going to try to take off the first few weeks of work [once Tilly comes home] because I can’t go anywhere, and [Tilly] can’t go anywhere once she comes home,” Sargent said. “So, I’m just going to be at home taking care of her. My mom is going to help me for the first few weeks until I can get the hang of it because I don’t know what I’m doing. It’ll be hard, but I can do it.”
While money is an issue with most teen pregnancies, Sargent said she is not worried about the financial aspect of her life at the moment.
“I’ve never wanted to super-spoil my kids anyway because kids these days are brats,” she said. “She’s not getting a phone until she’s a teenager. Just stuff like that — I’m not doing that, so I don’t have to worry about her not getting what she needs to have a good life. My mom and I know some people who have a bunch of stuff that they’ve been getting us, so that’s really nice. And then I’ve gotten a bunch of stuff from baby showers and stuff like that.”

REFLECTION ON TEEN PREGNANCY
Sargent said while she is happy with her decision to keep her baby, she does have a few regrets.
“My biggest regret is sleeping with somebody I don’t really love,” she said.
Sargent said she loves everything about her daughter.
“She has really pretty eyes,” she said. “When she opens her eyes, they’re gorgeous. I can’t wait to see what color they end up being because right now they’re a really pretty dark blue. She looks like me, which is good. She has so much hair. Her hair was a lot darker when she was born — it’s lightened up quite a bit. Her hands have gotten a lot fatter, too.”
Sargent said she has hopes and dreams for the future of her daughter.
“I hope she stays growing and healthy,” she said. “I hope she picks the right friends. I hope she finds the right guy someday to settle down with [and] have a family.”
Sargent said the possibility of having more children in the near or distant future is slim.
“I don’t really want to have kids in the future,” she said. “I love her to death, but that’s way in the future to even think about any more kids. And that would just be maybe one more — no more than that.”
Sargent offers her advice to other teens having sex.
“Don’t do it,” she said. “You don’t want to regret having a baby with somebody you don’t love. More than likely, the dad’s not going to end up being in the picture. You’ll have a split family. You can [have sex], but don’t be stupid about it. And make sure you really love the person. I was always raised to wait until marriage, and I wish I had. So, I guess I’d say to wait until you’re sure, and make sure you’d be OK having a baby with that person if something were to happen. [While] I wouldn’t go back and change things, it’s definitely not going to be easy — but it’s worth it.”

Q&A with Amelia’s mother, Karmen Sargent
Question: What was your reaction when you found out your daughter was pregnant?
Answer: “At first I was upset. I was angry. I was disappointed. I wished we could go back in time and change things. Then after the initial shock, I was like, ‘We can do this together. Babies are not a mistake.’”

Q: How much will you be helping Amelia take care of Tilly?
A: “Amelia will have graduated and is planning on going to JCCC. I’ll probably be home for the first couple weeks. After that, I’ll only be home on the weeknights and weekends. Her dad, Doug [Sargent], works at night, so he will be home during the days if she needs something, but she’ll definitely have to be responsible for taking care of little miss Tilly.”

Q: What do you hope Amelia’s pregnancy will teach her?
A: “I guess my hope is that [her pregnancy] would teach her that babies are very important. I hope she would learn to wait in having sex before marriage. That’s a big responsibility. She’s going to have to be responsible for her actions. And, who knows, maybe she’ll be able to be an example for other girls along the way to say, ‘Maybe I should have waited, but Tilly is a blessing in my life.’”

Q: What are your hopes for your granddaughter?
A: “I want her to know she’s loved and so special. No matter how she came into this world, she’s not a mistake.”

Q: What are your views on sex before marriage?
A: “I was born and raised a Christian, and I know sex before marriage happens, but the Lord created sex for a man and a woman for when they are married. I know Amelia knows that, and I hope she will continue on with that in her future. Sex is supposed to be a special thing.”

Q: What advice do you have for teenage girls regarding sex?
A: “Respect yourself enough to stand up and say no. You will respect yourself much more later if you do this.”

FACING THE FACTS

  • Tilly Sargent was born at 20 weeks — a normal term is 40 weeks.
  • Tilly was 2 pounds 13 ounces 15 inches.
  • 3.4 percent of the U.S. pregnancy rate are girls between 15-19 years old.
  • 35 percent of teen pregnancies end in abortion.
  • 47.4 percent of U.S. high school students admit to having sexual intercourse.
  • The failure rate of condoms is 18 percent.