The amazing Amber Brinkerhoff with her boys Aiden (3) and Hudson (2). Amber got pregnant with Aiden just out of high school and gave birth to him when she was just 19. She had a healthy pregnancy up until 34 weeks when she started going into preterm labor. They were able to stop it and she carried to 38 weeks without further issue thought she did end up in the hospital every week for labor scares. Once labor began it progressed very well and she went into her birth with an open mind knowing that if she needed an epidural she would have one. She labored without any pain medication until her water broke and then requested the epidural which was a huge help. She could still feel everything that was happening but wasn't at all uncomfortable. Aiden arrived without complication and started nursing right away. She and his dad were able to spend the evening with him alone which allowed their new little family to bond. Nursing continued to go well and Amber pumped through her return to work. She got pregnant again when Aiden was just 6 months old but was able to make her goal of providing him breastmilk for his first year.
Amber's pregnancy and birth with Hudson were very different than her first which she never considered until it happened. Hudson remained very healthy but Amber was bleeding and it took doctors quite some time to sort out what was going on. An endoscope revealed she had ulcerative colitis. Medication was able to help but she continued to have physical challenges due to hemorrhoids that needed to be treated in the ER and required a blood transfusion while pregnant due to severe anemia. Amber's labor was progressing well until she began to stall. When the nurse checked her she poked her finger into Hudson's nose and mouth. It was too dangerous to attempt delivery with him in that position so she was taken for a cesarean. He was born without complication and she was able to kiss him before he was taken away. Amber was in so much pain she was put under while they closed and woke up in recovery all alone later. All she wanted to know was her baby's birth weight but nobody could tell her and they wouldn't let her see him until she could wiggle her toes. Once she was finally taken to see him her husband and in-laws were with Hudson in the room and she became very emotional that everyone had been able to hold her son before her. Amber tried to hold him and nurse but quickly became sick and had to pass him back over. They gave her something to help with stop her from vomiting which once again knocked her out. It wasn't until late that evening that she awoke and was finally able to spend time with her husband and baby. She was able to have another wonderful nursing relationship with Hudson and says that he has always been a mamas boy which is exactly what she needed.
When her son Aiden was around 2 years old he had to have a craniotomy to treat his craniosynostosis (premature fusing of his skull). Amber had taken him to the doctor at just a few months old because she was concerned but it wasn't until a different doctor reviewed his records that he was finally diagnosed and treated. The surgery went well and he wore a helmet for a few months afterwards to protect his skull as it healed. Thankfully he has recovered fully and is doing well today.
Amber hadn't planned to become a mother so young but has settled into her role with beautiful ease. She has recently found how powerful it is to share her own story and was eager to join this movement after following the story behind it since before the project even officially began.
After reflecting on her session Amber noted: "This project has been a huge part of me realizing how amazing my body is. My body has changed so much in becoming a mom, but it's done so many amazing things: birth, breastfeeding, etc. and I love it for that! I recently started training for a half marathon and the more I train the more amazed I am with my body and what it's capable of! Despite the changes, I am proud of this body and what it's done for me! I'm grateful to see all the other women and their bodies and learn to embrace my body and its differences too."