The wonderful Krista Kass and Olive (14 months)
Krista always wanted to be a mom. She remembers being a child and thinking that if she wasn't married by 25 she'd just have children on her own. She met her now husband in college when she was 21 and she soon realized that while she still very much wanted children, 25 wasn't the right time. She had stopped taking hormonal birth control a couple of years prior to their wedding in 2013 because she had developed a thyroid issue. They were practicing natural family planning and were careful but she ovulated late one month and conceived Olive.
Krista had always anticipated having a difficult time with conception so it was a shock to realize she was pregnant without having tried. She was very sick in her first trimester and couldn't keep anything down which was of extra concern because she's already a very thin person. She was trying to get a promotion at work and didn't want her pregnancy to affect her possible advancement so she kept it a secret for a long time and took time off as she needed. Krista had also experienced a lot of bleeding in her first trimester so worried frequently she may be miscarrying but her mother had shared that she bled heavily through her entire pregnancy which gave her some peace of mind. Krista's midwife also told her that if it was going to happen, it was going to happen, there wasn't anything she could to do stop herself from miscarrying she just had to let her body do what it was going to. As soon as she reached her second trimester she felt so much better.
Krista knew she wanted to have a natural birth but didn't anticipate other people having such negative things to say about it. She was told that she was going to change her mind, that it would be terrible and to just wait and see, she'd get the epidural right away. Krista and her husband are both vegan and she says that for her breastfeeding was the only option because formula doesn't fit their lifestyle and diet. In her mind she knew it would be hard but what was best for her baby. She then realized how much stigma there still is around breastfeeding. Overwhelmed with negativity she just stopped talking to people about her choices.
At 34 weeks Krista began having prodromal labor. She didn't want to be checked but it was happening so often she had her midwife take a look at 36 weeks to make sure she wasn't dilated. Everything was good and she was able to have peace of mind for the rest of her pregnancy. They spent their wedding anniversary at 39 weeks running around and getting things ready. She felt differently and was up all night not sleeping but didn't really consider it could be time. In the morning she went to the bathroom and realized she was bleeding but didn't take it seriously. She didn't want to show up to the hospital thinking she was in labor only to be sent home. Her husband asked if she was having contractions and she was still in denial. He started timing them and realized they were 5 minutes apart. Their midwife asked them to come in and they let their doula know it may be time. She was still two days prior to her due date so really didn't think things were happening as they headed in. She started feeling her contractions but they weren't difficult and was surprised to learn that she was already at 6 cms dilated.
Krista was group B strep positive so she needed antibiotics. They got to their room around noon, she hit transition right away and had Olive nearly 4 hours later after only 30 minutes of pushing. Krista had full back labor but found comfort on her birthing ball. The birth itself was amazing and she feels so lucky things went so well. Once Olive was born, they delayed cord clamping and had immediate skin to skin. Olive latched right away and was doing great. Krista says that everyone tells you how hard birth is but breastfeeding is really difficult and you need to have a good support system. She's grateful to have a supportive husband and was able to stay home with her daughter for her first 8 months. When she returned to work she found she didn't respond to the pump but had two friends who were able to donate milk to her. She now has a new job that allows her to work part time and just got a new position where she can bring Olive with her.
Krista knew her life would change when she had a baby but she never imaged how different everything would be. She says that our world can be really ugly and she just wants to show Olive that her parents are there for her. They've taken a leap to provide for her and create time for her in a somewhat nonconventional way but she's excited that they're able to.
Her own body image is something that Krista has struggled with since she was young. While pregnant however, she felt more beautiful than she ever had in her life. Even now, she's been able to hold onto that and having a daughter, she wants to be mindful of the dialogue she has around her. As a little girl you think the most beautiful woman in the world is your mother and she doesn't want to ruin that by talking negatively about herself. Krista says, the human body is beautiful and they're all different. Since becoming a mom she's been shamed for breastfeeding in public and wishes that would stop. We need to stop stigmatizing and over sexualizing women's bodies, she says, and she hopes her daughter grows up feeling nothing but acceptance.