We All Fall Down
If only I knew then, what I know now life would be a lot different. Life might have been easier, decisions might not have been so hard. But thats the beauty of life. The unknown day that lies ahead of us. The simple fact is that, if we did know then what we know now, we would all be a bunch of smart ass’s. Life’s lessons, that only life can teach us, would never be learned. Thats why I am thankful that life didn’t give me the easy route. It chewed me up and spit me out. And for that, I will be forever grateful.
February 26 2003 9:00am
I was running late like a typical 17 year old. Life waited on me, I didn’t wait on life. It was that ignorant notion that got me into where I was going in the first place. “Not a care in the world” seemed to be my life motto at that typical time. I was nervous, I mean who wouldn’t be? Life would never throw me a bunch of cards I didn’t know how to play. Never. I was wrong.
I arrived at the doctor’s about 15 minutes late. Took my time getting out of the car, threw my sunglasses on top of my head, purse over the shoulder, and walked through the double glass doors. Late, the receptonist looked at me like “Here goes another careless youth” written on her smug face, and told me it would be about 10 minutes. I sat in the pediatric center of the doctor’s looking around at lots of sick kids; snotty noses, fevers, and the ones that just played sick so they could get out of school. But that’s not why I was there. About 8 minutes passed by and I started getting a little tense, palms a little sweaty, butterflies in my stomach. Then “Jaime”. Finally, we could get the pointless trip over with! She gave me a cup to pee in; “The bathrooms this way” she said. When I was done I handed the nurse my sample, she sat me in the doctor’s room and told me he would be right into see me. A few minutes later the doctor walked in the room and said to me in a kinda cocky, yet cheerful, disappointing way “Its Positive”. I just stared at him , I don’t remember saying anything. He started talking to me about my options and this and that, but I was tuning him out. He was about two feet in front of me and I couldn’t hear a word he was saying. He handed me a card and told me he wanted me to go and talk to this counselor across the hall. I got up and left the room. To many thoughts were racing through my head. I walked to my car, closed the door and cried. I was pregnant.
I frantically dug for my cell phone in my purse, which at that time seemed like a bottomless pit. Not knowing who to call first, I called my sister Jennifer. I dialed Jennifer’s number, she answered. “I have something to tell you” (It’s a wonder that she even knew what I said with me being so hysterical.) “You have to promise me that you won’t tell mom.” Before I could even finish the sentence she broke into tears and said “Oh my God your pregnant!”. We cried together on the phone talking about what i was going to do. She asked me if I had told Jason, ( my husband now, but my boyfriend of only 5 months at the time) I said “No.” I chose to call Jennifer first because like deja vu for her, she has also gotten pregnant at 17. She did what only a sister could do, give me the best advice and tell me that I should keep the baby. Without any doubt in my head I had already known that I was going to keep the baby. Jason and I had always talked about the what “if’s”. We had always said that i would just get an abortion. It was the easy thing to say at the time, because it hadn’t happened yet. But there are moments in life where you know whats right. That right for me, was taking responsibility for my actions. Knowing that from now on life would be different. This meant I would have to be a grown up. The scary thing, I wasn’t ready to grow up.
After I got of the phone with Jennifer, I called Jason. That was the hardest phone call i ever had to make, not knowing what he would say or what he would do. Especially since I was going to tell him that I am going to keep the baby. He knew why i was going the doctor that day, He knew that I hadn’t had a period. We were scared. But we just thought that my period took a detour and would come in a few more days. We were wrong. I told him in tears “I am pregnant.” He cried. which was hard for me because I had never seen a grown man cry before. The first thing he told me was ” I am not letting you get an abortion”. Those were the most comforting words I’ve ever heard. Those words like a warm blanket wrapped around my fear, and for some reason I knew we were gonna get through this.
To throw a good curve ball into this story, I need to let you know that my mother was a pastor in the city’s largest church at the time. My father was equally involved in the church and a very hard working man, that just wanted the best for his girls. It was unacceptable for me to be pregnant before I was married, not to mention only 17 and still in high school. The sad thing was is that i knew how much their world crumbled when my sister Jennifer told them at only 17 that she was pregnant. It killed them. My mom was literaly sick for days. My dad was heart broken. I had just put their life into rewind. As this was still so fresh in their memories.
I got home that night from Jason’s. We both were scared, but feeling alot better about our decision to do the right thing. But I still wasn’t ready to tell my parents. I walked through the doors of my parent’s house. Everyone was in bed. My mom was reading on the couch. She looked at me and looked at the clock, it was about 11:00pm. My curfew was at 10:00pm. Although it had always been 11 with my “I do what I want attitude.” I sat in the recliner and folded my legs up. Rocking back and forth a few times, my mom started to talk to me about a friend of the family who was pregnant. Inside I couldn’t help but to roll my eyes and laugh. Are you serious? Is she really telling me this right now? I was kinda glad that she had started talking about being pregnant, it was like the door opened a crack, and was slowly inviting me in. So casually, I say to her “What would you do if i was pregnant?”. I had this big silly grin on my face to try to make her think that i was just kidding. She looked at me funny for about 15 seconds “Jaime, are you pregnant?” she said with a really concerned voice. I looked at her and yawned and said “I am going to bed now.” She wasn’t stupid, and i was playing her like a fool. She knew.
February 27th 2003 8:00am
In a deep sleep, i wake up to my mother calling my name and nudging me with her foot. I looked up at her, I wasn’t awake enough to deal with what she wanted to talk about. “Are you pregnant?” she asked me. Being to tired to make up an excuse or say something really clever, I answered with a simple “Yah, I am.” From that moment on, i had alot of explaining to do. I had to tell me dad, my friends, my school, everyone would know, thanks to word of mouth. Everyone’s opinion of me would soon be different. Different opinion, but the same girl. I was a strong girl. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but i had no choice but to march right through it. And I did, we did, Jason and I.
November 10th 2003 3:07am
Sometimes I swear that my labor wasn’t easy for a reason. It was hard work. Emotionally and physically draining for an 18 year old to be dealing with, but I didn’t have a choice. With the last hard push that seemed like 10 hours, she was finally here! Before they even cut her cord they laid her naked body on mine. Never in my life could I even begin to explain to you what I was feeling when I got to see her for the first time. She was everything I ever expected and more. She was mine. The only thing is the world that I can actually call MINE!! Lindsey Faith Hardcastle arrived at 3:07am on an early Monday morning weighing in at 9lbs 11oz and 22in long. She looked like her daddy. I wish you could have seen Jason’s face when he seen his little girl for the first time. Priceless is all that comes to mind. They say a pictures worth a thousand words, but I think moments are worth billions. Without any words being said I know that we both felt the same way being in that hopital room when she arrived. It was time to prove everyone wrong. It was time to show people what we’re made of. And we did. We pulled through.
Today Jason and I are now married living in Wyoming with our beautiful little girl. She’s 4 years old now and starting kindergarten this year. I can’t believe how wonderful life has been. Lindsey reminds me of how strong I am. Everyday I look at her and thank God for blessing me with such a wonderful human being. This journey that my husband and I chose to take hasn’t been easy. We have had alot of ups and downs, and alot of times where we felt the odds were against us. But we are living day to day thankful for all the good choices we have made together. It has made a bond between us that is unbreakable. We respect each other for everything we have been through. Having Lindsey was the best thing that ever could have happened to us.
The message that I want to get out to everyone in this world is that people shouldn’t be judged on the mistakes that they make in life. We all fall short. We make mistakes everyday. Some are so small, sometimes you dont even notice. Some are so huge that it feels like the whole world is against us. When we make mistakes in life it changes our course of direction. Some may have you veering off course just a tiny bit, and others will have you making a 180 half way across the world. Life changing moments are what makes us who we are. I wouldn’t be the person I am today, if it wasn’t for making that decision to keep my daughter. I think what should be judged is not the mistake at hand, but the decision you make that comes along with that mistake. Everyone gets in ruts in life, but it’s how hard you steer your boat when your in that ru t that counts. The hardest thing I’ve had to get over was people’s opinions of me when they found out I was pregnant. 9 times out of 10 the opinion that people had of me was wrong. I was a good kid, that made a mistake. It was now up to me to make lemonade with these lemons that were dealt to me. Boy, did I make some good lemonade. So the next time you are about to judge a person for the mistakes that they made, remember this; Negativity is what makes people lose hope and get off track. It sends people deeper into a black hole. Positivity is what people need. It’s a food that feeds an empty soul. It gives you strength to move on and do better. To want more. If it wasn’t for all the positive people in my life rooting me on I wouldn’t be here. We all fall down, the question is will you brush your knees off and keep going?
It’s possible, I am living proof.
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