The amazing Jessica Fernandez with her daughters Ezra (3.5) and Nova (13 months), Jessica has also had 2 miscarriages. Jessica is the second oldest of 9 and always knew she wanted a family. Her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage between 11-12 weeks. Soon after she conceived Ezra. Things went well, but at 14 weeks, Jessica was in a car accident and severely injured her back. The injury led to her feeling very uncomfortable for the rest of her pregnancy. Jessica's mother-in-law is her midwife and she wanted to let her carry as long as possible, she went post dates and at 40 weeks they began doing all the things they could to induce naturally. Her non-stress test at 42 weeks was great with one small heart decell, but four days later she had another non-stress test and Ezra had a heart decell without a contraction so they made the decision to induce at 42 +5. Jessica was dilated to a 4 with no contractions and did not respond to Cytotec or Pictocin but after her doctor broke her water she began active labor. Just before she was able to push, Ezra had another rapid heart decell and wasn't able to come back up on her own. They repositioned her all over the bed and they were able to get her heart stable on all fours. Jessica was able to push her out without complication soon after.
Breastfeeding with Ezra went well but Jessica stopped responding to the pump at work and soon her supply had tanked and her freezer stash ran out. She began taking Domperidone which allowed her to avoid supplementation but she still felt like she had failed in some way.
Jessica decided to give birth to Nova at home, with her mother-in-law as her midwife once again. She nursed Ezra through her pregnancy and the morning before her due date she found Ezra's nursing very uncomfortable. She began to have contractions throughout the day, tried to get some rest and when her husband was able to come home went right into active labor. An hour later she was 7cms dilated, labored in the shower for a couple of hours and was soon ready to push. She was having terrible back labor but Nova was born in two pushes with her cord wrapped around her neck, shoulders, arms and body with her hands around her face. She was beautiful and healthy and Jessica says it was the best moment of her life. It was cleansing and exactly the moment she needed to know that her body was capable.
Nova latched on after birth without issue and Jessica began pumping for her when she returned to work but Nova wouldn't take a bottle. While it was a struggle for them personally, the abundance of pumped milk her daughters weren't drinking allowed Jessica to become a milk donor. She has been able to donate to surrogate babies, preemies, babies with special needs and women like her who had struggled to respond to pumping, all of which was incredibly healing for her.
Tandem feeding has been an entirely new journey and though she feels touched out and overwhelmed sometimes she also adores nursing her daughters and nursing them together. She doesn't want to wean until her girls decide they're ready but has found the things that society has to say about her nursing a 3 year old difficult to deal with. She has worked so hard to maintain a nursing relationship with her daughter and doesn't understand why people have to say negative things about something that doesn't affect them. It works for her and her babies and that's all that matters.
Jessica has always been a small person and she says that in part due to the comments she received on her body she chose to get breast implants in her 20's. She never considered how that would impact her breastfeeding relationship and thankfully it hasn't but she has come to a place where she want's them out. She's is awaiting a consult to see if she can have them removed and realizes now that she never needed them to be feminine or to feel more womanly.
Jessica wanted to share her story and her struggles. "No matter how you come out the other side of pregnancy we are all changed and transformed. Everything is different and a new normal sets in. It's time to embrace those changes and celebrate them."
Jessica with Ezra (then 1) and 4 months pregnant with Nova.