Posted at 1:59 p.m., Dec. 4, 2014

SchmidtTeenMom

Bundle of love:

Wraemi Schmidt holds month-old-son, Greyden. Schmidt's plans to attend Casper College or cosmetology school to build a better life for her and her son.

Photo by Stephanie Mcgee

Gave up a career, gained a blessing

Unexpected pregnancy changes life of one woman

Since Wraemi Schmidt was a little girl, she planned on following her father’s footsteps in joining the Wyoming Army National Guard.
“I wanted to do something to make my father proud, and I knew that would be it,” she said.

As a senior in high school, she enlisted. After a few meetings with a recruiter, she picked out a job and knew where she would go for basic training. Schmidt reported to the military entrance processing station in Denver, Colorado, on Sept. 5, 2013, where she was sworn in as a member of the Army National Guard. She learned her date to ship out to basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, was Feb. 3, 2014.

In the five months in between, she attended drills and visited family in preparation for leaving for four months of training.

“Feb. 3 came, and I was absolutely terrified,” Schmidt said. “I’d never flown before, let alone been out of Wyoming.”

By the end of the day, Schmidt said she was so exhausted, just keeping her eyes open was difficult. She spent the day working her way through several stations filling out paperwork, receiving shots and a military identification and being fitted for uniforms. The next day was dedicated to a blood draw, dental X-rays, a hearing test and an eye exam.

Paperwork stamped "do not ship"

When the drill sergeant called her up the third day for another blood draw, she assumed not enough blood had been drawn the day before. She complied and returned to her platoon, where she was promptly directed to report to the sick hall by her drill sergeant.

At the sick hall, a woman behind a desk pulled out Schmidt’s paperwork. Schmidt noticed the paperwork said “do not ship” on it.

“It wasn’t until right at that moment that I was worried something was wrong,” Schmidt said. “I started freaking out, thinking I had some rare blood disease they had just discovered. I wasn’t even considering what I was about to find out.”

A doctor entered Schmidt’s exam room, introduced himself and said, “Congratulations.”

“I got a rush of excitement thinking the ‘do not ship’ stamp was a mistake, and I’d still be going through basic,” she said. “Then he finished his statement with…‘you’re pregnant.’”

Schmidt was shocked. She thought she’d heard the doctor wrong.

“What,” was all she could manage to say.

Schmidt went back to her drill sergeant to explain what had happened.

“As soon as I saw her, I broke down in tears; I was absolutely terrified,” she said. “I thought she would be mean to me, considering she is a drill sergeant, and that’s their job. But she showed me so much kindness and care. She spoke to me softly and said I had to go home and do my absolute best to raise the miracle growing inside me.”

Teenager sacrifices military career

Schmidt was only 18 years old. She was terrified. She worried she wasn’t ready. She still wanted to be a teenager. She knew she’d have to grow up fast.

“I wasn’t going to be living my life for myself anymore but for the child I was going to have,” Schmidt said. “I wanted to go to parties and make mistakes and do stupid stuff.”

But, Schmidt said, those fears faded quickly the more she thought about being a mother, only to be replaced by new fears she developed throughout her pregnancy.

“I was scared I wouldn’t be a good mom,” Schmidt said. “I’m so young, and I know I can’t provide as many things for my child as many older parents are able to. That fear hasn’t subsided at all.”

Schmidt said pregnancy is a great experience. It’s amazing to feel the little kicks, punches, hiccups and rolls. It’s incredible to know that she’s giving life to someone so small and beautiful. But it’s also uncomfortable. She gets cramps and sickness. Her hormones are extremely out of whack. She grows and grows until she can hardly recognize her body. Everything changes, but none of that is too hard to handle.

The hardest part of pregnancy is the unknown. Not knowing what the child will look like. Will he be healthy? Or will he have some sort of disease? Full term or premature labor? Miscarry or stillborn? Not knowing what exactly will happen is hard to deal with. It brings on unnecessary worry and stress that a mother cannot help but have. Schmidt was fortunate to have a strong support system.

“My family and friends were a big part of getting me through my pregnancy, but I’d say that my boyfriend was the biggest help,” Schmidt said. “Unlike a lot of guys that get put in this situation, he stayed by my side throughout the entire thing. He put up with all of my mood swings, stayed calm and positive and tried to make me feel beautiful even though I didn’t feel that way.”

New priorities put in place for young mother

It truly is incredible how instantaneous the love for your child comes, Schmidt said. She thought she loved her child when he was still in the womb. She thought she loved her child when she felt his first kick. But she didn’t truly know how much she loved her child until she held him in her arms for the first time.

“As soon as he was in my arms my…I never thought it was possible to love someone so much so instantly,” Schmidt said. “Each time I look at my son, my love grows even more. That’s just the joy of being a mother.”

She said after all the pain and discomfort of pregnancy she got an amazing “little snuggle bug.”

“I’ve only been a mother for four weeks, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” she said. “All of my priorities have become focused on my son, and every thought I have is whether it will benefit my baby. I make choices based on his well-being rather than my own, and nothing can change this feeling.”

Being deprived of sleep cannot change that, and being unable to act like a 19-year-old cannot change that, Schmidt said.

Schmidt has moved to Casper since the birth of Greyden. She would like to either attend the Academy of Hair Design in Casper to become a cosmetologist or Casper College to become an occupational therapist. In the meantime, she will complete her prerequisites online through Casper College and be a stay-at-home mom.

"Being a mom is what I was meant to do, and I’m going to do it as best as I can," she said.

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