By Bianca Bewley

I used to have a very wild and free spirited life. I had no purpose or direction. It wasn’t until the birth of my daughter that I had realized I had to do more with myself. Finally, I had a purpose; to succeed and thrive for our future. Lyla Eileen McPeak joining this world has had the greatest impact on my life.

During the whole pregnancy I was in shock that I was even about to be a mother. My first ultrasound seemed like a dream. Right away, her tiny character shined through the black and white pictures. She spread her legs and waved hello, letting us know there was no way she’d be shy or a boy. Even after seeing the pictures and hearing the tiny thumps of her heartbeat, I still couldn’t believe it was happening.

When I first began to feel her move, things started to become a bit more realistic. I can remember every wave and ripple in my belly from her shifting positions, every hiccup, and the occasional drum solo she’d perform on my ribcage. Even though it was definitely happening, the fact that I was going to be a mother had yet to sink in. I still remember telling people, “I can’t believe I’m pregnant,” almost every day.

Towards the end of the pregnancy, I was miserable! Always hungry, in pain, and quite exhausted. I had gained about forty-five pounds with her and it was definitely ALL belly. My last trimester was also in the midst of summer, and oh my, was I uncomfortable! Still, I hadn’t yet grasped the concept of being responsible for another life when I was hardly in control of my own. The almost ten months had gone by so quickly, it was almost as if I had no time to mentally prepare.

I remember her birth as if it were just yesterday. I had been trying every home pregnancy inducing technique I had read about online; pregnancy pizza, spicy foods, raspberry tea, crying, baths, & walking, just to name a few! On August 1, 2011, I was craving Beef & Broccoli, as usual, so we ordered some take out and I drenched it in Sriracha hoping the spice would give Lyla a boost out of me. Her father and I had also gotten into an argument that night, so I spent the rest of the evening crying in a hot bath until he fell asleep. Then, I went to bed.

A few hours later, I woke up suddenly. Something just did not feel right. My whole body was different. I had been having false contractions the last two months of the pregnancy, but these were not the same. It was 3 A.M. and I did not want to wake Lyla’s father because the contractions weren’t close enough together yet. Instead, I cleaned the apartment. Afterwards, I ate breakfast and felt that it was finally time to wake her father.

I forced him up at around 6 A.M. and nervously asked him what we should do. I was so scared for what was about to come. I called the hospital and was told to wait at home a while. By 8 A.M. I was there and demanded to be seen. Thank goodness I did, because by then, my contractions were beginning to become unbearable and I wouldn’t have been able to walk into the building myself any later. It took about two hours to be fully checked and monitored. Meanwhile, my contractions were steadily worsening. Finally, I was three centimeters dilated and admitted into my own room.

At around 5 P.M. a doctor came in to break my water bag because it had not yet broken on its own. The rush was insane. It was so warm and massive; there is no way anyone could know the feeling unless they experienced it themselves.  Once my water was broken, everything that followed happened so quickly. At about 5:15 P.M. the doctor asked if I was ready to begin pushing. I was in even more of a shock than I had been the entire pregnancy. It was finally here. The moment my daughter would take her first breath was just minutes away.

I felt every stretch, pull, movement, and contraction as I was being told to push. Thank goodness for the epidural though, because I was not able to associate it with any pain. At 5:45 P.M. Lyla Eileen McPeak entered the world. I was so ready to meet her I did not want the doctors to clean her off or anything. Speechless and fighting back tears, I was finally given my baby. The moment I held her naked body against my chest, I felt an instant connection. It was that very moment that my life had changed. It finally clicked that from then on, she would be my top priority and any of my success would be for her future.

Lyla has made me the woman that I am today. I am now a strong, independent, hard-working, and driven person. Thanks to her, I have a much more optimistic outlook on my future. Since her birth, I have received my high school diploma, enrolled in Heald and maintained a 4.0 my first quarter, and I am looking forward to pursuing an education even beyond this. I am so thankful to have her in my life