I remember scheduling my doctor’s appointment to see if I was pregnant. The ticking of the clock in my cubicle made me scared but when the nurse didn’t come right back and then moved me to another room, I knew. My heart dropped into my stomach, but I kept my head up proudly. I texted my boyfriend Terry and told him. We both were terrified.

Then the long wait began. I was waking up every night around four just to pee, then waking up to morning sickness. I couldn’t hold anything down for long. Towards the end, I just wanted my baby to be born! I ended up being overdue. The doctor planned to induce me Thursday, but at 3:45 am, I woke up in pain and to my bloody show. “Walk around,” Terry said. “It should ease the pain.” But it didn’t; all I could do was lie on the floor. An ambulance rushed me to the hospital, only to be in labor for about 11 hours. That’s when I begged for an epidural. The needle was about 6-7 inches long. I didn’t want Terry to leave my side. And at 6:53 pm, Arielle was born. Whenever she would cry, I tried to pick her up, but all she wanted was her dad.

Once we took her home, the nights seemed longer. Waking up to feed Arielle was hard – she woke up about four times a night. Terry and I were exhausted by morning time. I know it was hard for Terry because he had to wake up and catch the train to Stamford to go to school. I stayed home with Arielle. She loved to sleep. I always had her in my hands, just because I couldn’t believe I had given someone else life.

One year later, I still don’t believe it. Arielle was learning very fast. She picked up things quickly. I could never look away for a second, because she was getting into almost everything. She taught me patience. Whenever I think about giving up, I think of Arielle.

That’s when I decided to go back to school. I believe that you have nothing if you don’t have your education. First I considered getting my GED. But my best friend’s mom said, “Go back to high school and stick it through. Then when your daughter wants to give up, show her how hard it was for you to walk across the stage and graduate. Tell her, ‘If I can do it, you can, too.’ Nothing is impossible. It’s just our minds telling us we can’t.” Next I went to the Board of Education in Derby and got my application forms. It took a lot of running back and forth. Then I thought about Stamford Academy, where Terry had gone. And here I am.

I want to go on and become a social worker. I see kids everyday being mistreated, I would rather work in a hospital than make home visits, but I don’t care as long as I’m making a difference small or big. I’m going to do my two years, then get my bachelor degree. Then, later on, I’ll go back and get my Master’s. Then I want to move to Florida and get my life started down there.

Before I had Arielle I didn’t really care about my education. I barely came to school and yelled or disrespected my teachers sometimes. After I had Arielle I changed a lot. I no longer like being around drama. Every time something happens, I think, “What would happen to Arielle if I did this or that?” It’s made me less impulsive.

Arielle gave me a reason to keep pushing myself. When I’m faced with an obstacle, I just dust myself off. I’ve got someone looking up to me. She changed my life forever.