The dashing Cindy De Groodt, Olivia (5) and Samantha (1).
Cindy and her husband met when they were young and knew almost immediately that they wanted to get married and spend forever together. They waited for 7 years before getting married and were then ready to start their family. After a year of trying they realized they might need some assistance and went into her OBGYN. They were referred to another doctor in the clinic who did some testing and put her on Clomid for 6 months. After still not getting pregnant, they were referred to a fertility clinic where she was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and a bicornuate (heart shaped) uterus. The fertility specialist fat shamed her and she didn't particularly like him but she did enjoy the nurses in his practice and very much needed their help. Cindy tried a month of Metformin and then a month of Clomid before she got pregnant with Olivia. They had spent 2.5 years trying and learning they were finally pregnant was the most amazing thing.
Other than gaining more weight than her doctors would have liked, Cindy's pregnancy was pretty uneventful until the end. She was being watched closely for preterm labor due to her uterus but everything was fine until 32 weeks when she had the most excruciating headache. She went into the doctor and learned that her blood pressure was through the roof and she had protein in her urine. Cindy was diagnosed with preeclampsia and after two weeks of daily monitoring she was admitted to the hospital on Friday the 13th. She was induced on Sunday at 34 weeks and 5 days and Cindy had a very difficult time. They had worked so hard to get pregnant and she struggled with not being able to carry to term. Delivering early was scary but her induction took right away without needing Pitocin. She was given Magnesium Sulfate for her blood pressure and IV antibiotics because they hadn't been able to test for group B strep but once it was time to push, things moved quickly. Olivia arrived weighing 6lbs 2oz after 18 hours of labor and was very heathy for a late term preemie. Olivia was kept in NICU for 7 days to monitor her breathing and Cindy herself was kept in hospital for 6 days due to complications from her epidural. She developed a spinal headache which wasn't diagnosed and treated until 3 days postpartum.
Cindy had hoped to breastfeed but didn't have a lot of support from the hospital staff and also didn't know what to ask for. Because Cindy was having complications and Olivia was in NICU, she was only able to see her three times her first week of life and though they tried to nurse when they were reunited it didn't go very well. Despite all that Cindy went through, Olivia is healthy and thriving but it doesn't diminish her experience at all.
They knew they wanted to have another child and imagined it would take a long time again, so Cindy and her husband weighed when they'd like to begin trying. When Olivia entered preschool, Cindy got baby fever and they decided to throw caution to the wind. She went off birth control and went into her doctor to let him know that they planned to try again. Her doctor scared her by telling her that her risks were higher this time and the likelihood of developing even more severe preeclampsia was greater. He said he'd support her but that she need to be prepared for hospitalized bed rest. She didn't feel fully recovered from her first birth so it was scary to consider doing it all again. They talked and decided to wait another year but it was too late! She was already pregnant with Samantha without any intervention.
Cindy was terrified that she'd end up having her baby too soon and she worked with her doctors to have extra testing and monitoring. Cindy was so worried about preeclampsia that she felt blind-sided when she developed gestational diabetes during this pregnancy. She was able to keep her fasting glucose levels in check with medication and she only gained 5 pounds throughout her pregnancy. She made it to 39 weeks before they decided to induce her because she began to show signs of preeclampsia. This labor was a bit more difficult and Cindy needed Pitocin and membrane sweeps. She was stuck at 4 and Samantha hadn't engaged so they ultimately chose to break her waters. From there, things were fast and furious and her daughter arrived in about 4 hours. Cindy had hoped to avoid an epidural due to her complications with her first but thankfully everything went well this time.
Attempting breastfeeding again was very important to Cindy and she was able to latch Samantha right away. She was worried that she would feel her body had failed her again. For the first three months they nursed around the clock with a shallow latch. Samantha had frenulum ties that needed to be corrected twice and her PCOS affected her milk supply but they kept trying and she finally got to a point where she could nurse without pain, exclusively and they are still going strong.
Cindy wanted to have a raw, emotional and empowering opportunity to share herself and her story. After a friend participated she felt the need to do so as well. Changing the dialogue around our births and bodies and our abilities is so important. So many women struggle with circumstances that come easily for others and it's difficult not to compare which is why all of our journey's are so incredibly important.