Pamela’s Journey

I struggle with panic and anxiety disorder, which was a big challenge through my pregnancy. It was a hard, hard road, and without the support of the Healthy Moms program at St. Francis I don’t know how I would have done it.

Ryker, my second son and third child, was born August 22, 2022, at St. Francis Medical Center. Ryker joined older sister Paisley and brother Charles.

This last pregnancy was a surprise. Mentally I went through a lot, and while I was able to do all the basics of going to the prenatal appointments and caring for myself physically, I was still struggling.

I went through Healthy Moms, and my provider Mandy Barker, NP, understood where I was at mentally and emotionally, including with having two older kids I was taking care of.

I had a little bit of sickness up to about 20 weeks with my pregnancy with Ryker. With my first pregnancy I had hyperemesis gravidarum, extreme morning sickness, and threw up the whole nine months. The staff at St. Francis got to know me very well, as I had to go in for fluids a lot!

With my first son, I ended up hemorrhaging, it healed on its own although we had to monitor it. Charles was born at 36 weeks and didn’t even have to go to the NICU he was so strong.

During this last pregnancy, my anxiety was my biggest issue. Other than that, overall I got three really healthy babies.

A Grandmother’s Dream

Honestly, it’s the craziest thing. My mother-in-law has a dream every time I end up pregnant. She called me to say “Pamela, I have to tell you I had a dream you were pregnant.” I said “no, ma’am!” But then realized I was late, although I hadn’t been paying attention to my cycle.

My daughter’s birthday was coming up, and my mind was on that and Christmas. I went to get a pregnancy test, and I was the only one who saw the very faint line. I didn’t say anything to anyone. Two days later on my daughter’s birthday I took another test and it was bright pink. A digital test popped up YES.

A telltale sign that I’m pregnant is that I can’t stand the smell of coffee. I am the kind of person who can drink coffee from when I wake up until I go to bed. During pregnancy I don’t want to drink it, I just can’t. That was true with all three of my pregnancies, which was so sad for me. I’m back to all day every day, almost as soon as Ryker came out.
Early Pregnancy I was not ready to be pregnant again, in part because of how difficult my previous pregnancies were. I took care of myself as best I could, taking prenatal vitamins and stopping my medications for my mental health that I was worried would hurt the baby. I quit one cold turkey, which shot me into panic episodes. With Mandy’s support I found out I needed to slowly wean off the medicine and be monitored extra closely. I was referred to maternal-fetal medicine. Everything was pretty normal in the beginning, but I still worried about whether he’d be OK. I found out about the pregnancy around four weeks in, and I started to throw up around week seven. I took Zofran and stayed on it until almost 20 weeks before the nausea finally kind of tapered off. Having Another Son I’ve never done a gender reveal for any of my three kids. I’m not a party person. I’m more of a minimalist and just take life day-by-day and put one foot in front of the other. I found out accidentally that Ryker is a boy because of blood test results. Because I was older—I’m 33 now—I was kind of nervous and read through the results of genetic bloodwork to make sure I wasn’t going to have to worry about that. I saw the bloodwork that the baby was male. I’d expected a girl because I was so sick with the pregnancy, not quite as bad as my first pregnancy with my daughter but sicker than I’d been with my older son. I was in shock when I saw he was a boy. I told my husband that I had accidentally found out. He said “God knew I didn’t need another girl.” God gave us two boys, and our girl is already giving us a run for our money! We told my mother-in-law and that was pretty much it. No big reveal. We didn’t have a baby shower either since we had everything from our other two. We just kind of coasted.
My only craving with Ryker was super fresh vegetables and I wanted them dipped in ranch. Edamame, the little peapod looking things, I could eat those all day I think. In addition to the coffee aversion, I couldn’t stomach anything with garlic. Until the last two months of the pregnancy I wasn’t putting on enough weight, mostly because of the anxiety and stress.

Packing a Bag

With my third I knew to pack minimally. If you put anything by my name that I learned from pregnancy it would be minimalist. I am not the over achiever, and I go the easiest route. I packed easy pajamas, my hygiene products and makeup. I made sure I had my hair done a couple weeks before and got a manicure and pedicure, since I knew I would feel yucky after birth.

I didn’t pressure myself this time with what I brought: my phone, my charger, cozy PJs and pull-over dresses. Anything flowy but pretty. Being in color made me happy, a way to make me feel perky after having a baby. I packed things that were easy but still made me feel better and pretty and put together.


Ryker was my longest pregnancy, I had him at 39 weeks. I actually had contractions too toward the end, all the time but never close together. That was new compared to my other pregnancies. Contractions were not fun, and I was not sad that I’d missed that part with my other two children.

My water actually broke while I was at work. I was due to go in for my C-section the next morning, I worked up until then. I work at a school and was leaving from car pick-up duty, and I was coming back into the classroom I felt my water break. It had never happened to me before but I was pretty sure that’s what had happened and kind of freaked out.

I grabbed my kids, went home and told my husband. He laughed and said let’s go. We got there and they confirmed my water had broken. The doctor said I could try to have Ryker naturally, it had been so long between pregnancies, but I said no thank you. I’m anxious enough, and I know what to expect with a C-section. They were really sweet and supportive. The contractions were still happening, and because my water had broken they were stronger compared to before. I had three really sweet nurses who were really good at reassuring me along the process: “This is what’s happening, this is what’s going to go down.” They were really good at making sure everything was good and that I was OK as we went into surgery.

Ryker’s Birth!

He was born, and I looked at him. He was my smallest baby, 7 lb., 10 oz. We all expected a bigger baby because my belly was huge. I didn’t have weight anywhere but my belly, and it was the largest my belly had ever been. He was super active and looped around in my stomach, but he came out my smallest little man. He was just perfect, so relaxed. It was a special kind of calm and reassurance.

I was terrified because it took me longer to attach to the pregnancy in the beginning. I was worried he was going to feel all of that or that I wasn’t going to fully connect when he came like I had with my other two. But honestly it was just like with my first two, instant relief, awe, pure joy and love. He was just really happy from the start. I have an allergic medicine to a pain medication in the spinal, so I have to get shots in the backs of my arms while I recover. My whole back will hive up and I itch really bad and my nose turns bright red. We knew it was coming from the other two, so we were prepared this time around.

Family Bonding

Once Ryker was here it was instantaneous, I was in love. My husband and I had the best experience the third time around. It brought us closer together, and we laughed a lot more in the hospital.

With all three C-sections I was up and around the next day, able to walk. We went home pretty quickly with Ryker, staying just two nights.

I made the right choice for me to formula feed Ryker, mainly because of my anxiety and needing to get back on medications to treat it. The shortage of formula has been insane, it’s so difficult to find. We’re pretty sure he has acid reflux, so we have to use a specific type of formula.

Ryker already sleeps nine hours a night at a time at just over three months old. And he’s a huge blessing to my other two. It’s fun to see how they’ve taken it all in. Paisley loves to impersonate the Grinch, and Ryker is obsessed with it. When he gets fussy she’ll dance, and prance and make up songs for him. She entertains Ryker a lot. Charles is very protective and his love language is touch, so he cuddles and kisses and loves to rub his cheek on Ryker’s head.

Back to Work

I was a stay-at-home mom after my first two children were born, so the emotional guilt I felt at first when going back to work after Ryker was born was not fun.

When Ryker rolled over at two months old, I wasn’t there to see it. But my husband was. He has a different job now, with a more flexible schedule than when he worked on oil fields. He missed a lot of firsts with our older two, but now he’s experiencing them with Ryker.

Ryker’s a daddy’s boy. He instantly giggles and always smiling for daddy. He’s obsessed with his daddy. My husband and I are the happiest we’ve ever been now. Even more than the earliest stages of the relationship. We’ve grown and matured and taken accountability.

Pamela’s Favorite Posts

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