Catelynn Lowell remembers her junior year of high school vividly.
Instead of reminiscing about football games or prom night, the Teen Mom OG star quickly goes to the moment she found out she was expecting her first child with then-boyfriend Tyler Baltierra.
"I just remember the initial anxiety and being very scared," Catelynn, 29, exclusively shared with E! News. "The scared is me thinking that I don't have anything. At that time, I didn't even have a cell phone. I didn't even have my driver's license yet. I didn't have a car. My mom and Tyler's dad were kind of bad in addiction during that period of time also."
"The initial thing was just very scared and anxiety," she continued. "Lots of fear of what am I going to do?"
The Michigan resident and her high school boyfriend agreed to participate in MTV's very first season of 16 and Pregnant. And as cameras rolled, the couple decided to place their daughter for adoption, bringing awareness to an option that isn't always explored on TV.
"When our episode first aired on MTV in 2009, it was the very first episode that really documented what adoption looks like. I really do think that it opened the eyes for lots of people to really see how real adoption works and the struggles that birth parents go through and adoptive parents go through," Catelynn explained. "It's not a Lifetime movie. It's authentic."
When she was just 16, Catelynn gave birth to her daughter Carly. With the support of Tyler, she agreed to an open adoption with Carly's adoptive parents, Brandon and Teresa Davis, allowing in-person visits as she grew up.
While every family's definition is different, Catelynn explained that she's able to have face-to-face meetings with Carly, which typically happen every two years over a two- or three-day period.
"We text back and forth," the MTV star explained. "We send pictures, I send pictures of my girls to them and they send pictures of Carly to us and updates on what they are doing and vice versa."
After welcoming Carly, Catelynn and Tyler, who is now her husband, welcomed three daughters: Novalee, 6, Vaeda, 2, and 2-month-old Rya.
While visits with Carly are not filmed for MTV, Catelynn was quick to gush about the bond between sisters.
"The last visit we had last summer, Carly just wanted to be with her sisters all the time and play with them," Catelynn recalled. "I've gotten to the point now where I tell everybody I don't care about anybody else. I don't even care about myself anymore. As long as our girls can have a relationship and a bond for a lifetime, that's all that matters to me."
While some fans wish Brandon and Teresa would be open to filming more with the Teen Mom franchise, Catelynn expressed gratitude for all they have done as they navigate a unique situation of having Carly's birth mom be a major star of a long-running MTV reality show.
"I think people really need to understand that adoptive parents go through grief and loss also," Catelynn said. "They're not able to have their own children, which is a huge loss within itself. Tyler and I are blessed and we do love them for how much they let us be involved, that they actually care to have visits and they love to get together with our kids and obviously we love to get together with their kids."
Although Catelynn's first inclination is to see the positive in her journey, she also isn't afraid to admit that adoption can be filled with bumps.
"Whenever you make an adoption plan, you're always for the rest of your life going to have days of struggle, days of wondering what if," she explained. "I think that the adoptive children go through that as well like, ‘What would my life have been like with my biological parents and things with my biological sisters.' I think it's just a lifelong journey of having sad days and trying to remember why you are grateful for the life that she has, but also knowing that it's okay to sit with those sad and hard feelings."
Catelynn continued, "I know that it's going to be a lifelong journey of missing out, my kids missing out on their sister's things and Carly missing out on her younger sisters' things. It's part of the sacrifice of adoption. You know, we sacrifice a lot for this child to have the life that she has."
With World Adoption Day falling on Nov. 9, Catelynn hopes that there can be more programs to educate woman about all of their options when they find themselves pregnant. She also encourages more support programs for men who go through struggles during their partner's pregnancy journey.
And for new and old viewers who may find themselves in Catelynn's shoes, there's one piece of advice she'd like to share.
"Look at your life and figure out what is going to be the best possible thing for this child," she said. "Just really get educated on every option that there is out there and kind of figure out which one best fits your life and which one is going to be best for the child."
Teen Mom OG airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on MTV.