The day I found out I was pregnant, I cried. The feeling that I was now responsible for not only my health, but the person inside of me as well, was extremely overwhelming.
I had only been diagnosed a few months before with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a degenerative disease that mainly affects collagen in your body. Collagen is an important contributor to your skin, joints, muscles, ligaments, blood vessels and visceral organs. There isn’t a cure for it but a person diagnosed with the syndrome will undergo treatments for as long as they live. Already I was going through a lot of constant pain, vomiting, migraines, dislocations that would happen often and randomly, and unexplained weight loss that made me underweight. And now I had the fifty-fifty chance of passing the syndrome to my unborn child. I cried even harder at the thought.
I called my then-boyfriend Tyler when I felt like I could get the words out without it sounding like gibberish. The instant I said I was pregnant, he was beyond elated. You could hear in his voice that he was smiling. His first words were “It’s going to be a boy.” He went on about all the things we would do, what kind of stuff he was going to teach him.
As the months went on, he became the person that I was hoping he was going to be because to be truthful, I was scared at first. Not only because I had to deal with my health issues, but because in the past I had friends who got pregnant and didn’t have the support they needed from their “baby’s daddy.” Sure, they all tried to make it work with their men but in the end my friends were left alone with newborns, trying to make it on their own. I don’t know how they do it or how their children feel about not having their dad around like my daughter has Tyler, but I count my lucky stars everyday that Tyler is the man I need him to be.
Of course, the fact that we are together as a family is not just all luck. It hasn’t always been (and isn’t always) easy to be together. There was a point in our relationship where Tyler wasn’t sure we would work out in the long run, which hurt me greatly. I fought with him for another chance—I had never really felt the way I did about Tyler with anyone else before and I wasn’t going to give up so easily. He later told me that’s what made him believe in us, because I cared enough to fight for him instead of admitting defeat like most of the girls he’s dated in the past. It’s something that we’re going to teach our daughter (Tyler’s prediction about a boy turned out to be wrong)—if you want something bad enough, you fight for it and you don’t just give up.
Tyler was and is my rock. Even when everything feels like it’s going downhill fast, he keeps me balanced. From the first doctors’ visit to having to literally pick me up and put me in bed, he was there. He took initiative, the kind I hadn’t seen from him before we found out that I was pregnant. It was like he had found a purpose in life, and I had woken him up to it. He organized his existence around me and our baby. If I needed Tyler to do something, it was done. If I needed to scream and yell, he took it with a smile. Tyler was and is everything I need in a husband, and a father. He likes to tell people that I saved him from his bad life before, and while I take credit in getting him away from it, I really like to think that becoming a father is what really saved him. He stepped up without hesitation, and even when we struggle he works hard to make everything okay. Without him, I’m not sure who I would be.