I was sexually and emotionally abused when I was very young. It took me almost 16 years before I ever even told anyone my secret. This secret made me feel so ashamed, like it was my own fault. My mom was always picking up after my Dad and having to work extra hard. He was in and out of jail/rehab.
One day, I found my dad overdosed when I was 12 years old. I will never forget calling 911 and watching them whisk him away in an ambulance. It’s not a warm and fuzzy memory a lot of girls might have of their dad. I won’t go in to any more vivid details, but by the time I was 14 years old, I had seen more in my life than most adults.
I was very much alone. My mom was always gone because she was just trying to work to provide for the family. When I was 15 I got a job to provide for myself, and I have been working ever since. When I turned 16 years old, I had my first real boyfriend, and what I thought was my first love. It’s funny how the relationship quickly changed.
I wasn’t a person to him, I was a possession. He controlled my life in so many ways, like, who I could hang out with, which ended up being no-one. I couldn’t talk to anyone. When I was basically isolated from all but maybe 3 of my girlfriends, I found out I was pregnant. That’s when he decided to leave. Literally the moment I told him, he told me to have an abortion. I told him I wouldn’t, and he left. I cried myself to sleep every night, and not to mention the 3 girlfriends I had, took sides with Robert. I had felt never more alone.
I woke up one morning when I was 28 weeks along, I was bleeding, so immediately I went to see my OB/GYN. As soon as I got there they called 911. I was in premature labor. The hospital I went too didn’t have an NICU, so I was then sent to Baylor All Saints in Fort Worth. I will never forget the doctor telling me that there was a 30% chance that the baby won’t survive after delivery. They gave me injections for his lungs, everything possible to help him develop quickly. I delivered Noah Isaac, and he was whisked away. They told me don’t be alarmed if he doesn’t cry, and you know what? He cried. I knew right then God had him, and I never worried whether he would make it or not the whole time he was in the NICU.
Two days following his birth, Noah had to have life threatening heart surgery; he was born with a hole in his heart. I spent the time he was having his procedure in the chapel praying. Wouldn’t you know… there was a mural of Noah’s Ark. God was there, and he had his hand on Noah. His surgery went beautifully, however he was on life support 3 days after the procedure. Noah went through a number of procedures being in the NICU, for 79 days. I drove up there every single day and brought my frozen breast milk, and books and I would read and sing to him and hold him as much as they would let me. For the most part I was there alone. His dad maybe saw him 4 times in the whole duration he was there.
Finally it was time for Noah to come home. I was so happy; I didn’t have to drive almost an hour away to see my own baby everyday. But then school came back into the picture. I was doing all I possibly could to graduate early, night classes/ classes online. It was hard but I got through it.
I finally finished school, and I was just working and taking care of my baby boy. I worked at Great Wolf Lodge, and I was starting to move on in my life from the past love. I was happy and I was doing well. Wouldn’t you know as soon as happiness comes in, your past tries to come back? That’s right. Noah’s dad came back, full force begging. He would come up to work and watch me; he literally wouldn’t leave me alone. He would cry and beg for me to take him back, and I told him I would never be with him, he grabbed me by my arms and threw me into my own car. He left me alone when I threatened him with a restraining order.
Time went on and I dated a little bit, but it was never anything that was serious. I just continued to work and took care of Noah. But with time, I grew lonely. Instead of filling the emptiness I had with God, I was looking to the love of a companion. That’s when I met “Tom.”
He was nice and I had fun with him, but not the fun I really needed. I became lost, and didn’t realize what I was doing. Before I realized it, it was too late. I was 2 months pregnant. My whole world came to a spiraling halt. I remember when I found out, I passed out. What was I going to do? How was I going to tell anyone, especially my mom? I wanted to die. I wanted to go away. I felt like such a screw up.
I decided that there was no way that I could have two kids. I was 19. I called Planned Parenthood and scheduled an appointment. Every night I had nightmares about it, and it haunted me. The day before what was supposed to make the baby “go away,” I got a call from the clinic saying that they would be closed due to an emergency, and to see if I wanted to reschedule. If you don’t think that was God saying, “No, No, No. Wrong way” you’re out of your mind. So I said “No, thank you. I don’t need to reschedule.” The receptionist replied, “Okay, Good Luck”. Wow, the nerve. So I’m back at square one.
What am I going to do? I didn’t know the answer, so I ran. I went and lived with a friend in Rockwall and kept everything a secret. I had isolated my self from everyone except Noah, my friend, and God. I decided that I would give the baby up for adoption. I was considered a high risk pregnancy so I had to go to the doctor every two weeks to get a sonogram and injections to help keep me from delivering the baby early. Time went on and I picked a family that I decided would be best for this baby. I was 5 months pregnant and I went in for the sonogram to determine the sex. I knew it would be a girl, not that either way it wouldn’t be hard to give a baby up for adoption, but the fact that we have no girls in our family did make it a little bit harder. Sure enough, it was a little girl. I cried so hard, I began having contractions. I thought I was going in to labor and was sent to the ER. Thankfully, everything was fine.
My pregnancy continued, and it was hard keeping it a secret. It was hard to not just completely love this little human being that’s growing inside of me. I prayed to God, that He would show me what He really wanted me to do. I went to church that following Sunday, and the Sermon was about how God would never bring you to anything he couldn’t get you through.
Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:6,8)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
So I wrote a long letter to the family talking about how sorry I was that I wouldn’t be able to give up the baby, and that God has something better in plan for them. Later that family became pregnant, and had a baby girl.
I listened to the same song for the duration of my pregnancy, “Hope Now” By Addison Road. “When my life is like a storm, Rising waters all I want is the shore, You say I’ll be ok and, Make it through the rain, You are my shelter from the storm”
I told my few friends, and my family about the pregnancy. They really showed me so much love, and helped me through a really hard time in my life. I finally had my baby girl, Harper Leigh. I wouldn’t change a thing for the world. It was a very hard delivery, and I had to stay in the hospital for a couple extra days because I had a blood clot. But everything was okay. I had my precious new baby girl Harper, and my healthy/happy little Noah.
When Harper was 6 weeks old, I came to the conclusion that there’s no such thing a “knight in shining armor,” and that I can’t depend on anyone to take care of the little’s and myself. So I went to Trade school, and I was working part time at 24 Hour Fitness, and managing a new born and a two year old. All I can say is… Sleep was a luxury in that year.
Months later I graduated from trade school with honors, and I got a job working for a Cardiologist. I stayed busy working and taking care of my sweet little’s, but I needed something more. So my friend invited me to what was called “Embrace Love.” For the first time in my life, I was accepted and loved for exactly who I was, A young mom. There was a special night called prophecy night, and everyone got a special word or sentence. Do you know what mine was? “Beyond your wildest dreams.“. I’m able to provide a good, happy life for my sweet blessings, Just beyond my wildest dreams. Now I’m not saying everyday is a fairytale, everyday has a different feat, but God has blessed us with so much more then we deserve.
Written by Liz Shelton