The wonderful Carolyn Wagner, Lucas (2) and Nate (6 months). Lucas was conceived with the help of IVF after about a year of trying and several other treatments. Carolyn feels grateful that they were able to get pregnant with him on their first attempt even though they had already tried so much. Her pregnancy, however, was horrible. She had migraines and all day sickness for her entire pregnancy and finally threw up for the last time about 20 minutes after he was born. At 20 weeks she learned her blood pressure was very high and needed to begin taking medication and by 30 weeks she was put on bedrest. Her pregnancy was not what she had imagined and she began to think that maybe she wasn't able to get pregnant for a reason, that her body really couldn't handle it and she had forced this baby into existence - had she brought this on herself? At 34 weeks + 6 days she went in for a check up and learned she was severely preeclamptic and needed to deliver right away. She went to the hospital for induction and Lucas was born the following day.Carolyn loved being in labor and thought pushing was great. She felt determined and focused and her husband commented that he'd never seen her so look so athletic. She says that by some miracle they got to go home 36 hours later.
Despite her rough pregnancy Carolyn says she quickly forgot it all once she was on the other side of delivery. The adjustment to motherhood was a bit of surprise as well - a self-described control freak, who likes everything scheduled she soon learned that her baby had no desire to keep her schedule and would only sleep while being held even though the books had all told her he needed to sleep in a crib. When Lucas was 10 months old, Carolyn was told by an optometrist that she needed to stop breastfeeding due to eye drops he had prescribed her. It was sooner than she'd hoped but she had planned to wean him at 12 months so that they could try to get pregnant again. Much to her surprise the first month they tried, Nate was conceived. She felt that her body wasn't broken and she could do this.
Unfortunately, she had a very rough pregnancy and became preeclamptic again. She was put on bed rest at 28 weeks but was able to carry Nate until she was 37 before she was induced. Breastfeeding has gone very well this time around and Carolyn has been able to meet her goals in feeding him exclusively from the breast even though her period came back early and she's had to pump and return to work. She knows that others experiences differ but is happy for her, that she's met her goals.
Carolyn says that her pregnancies have been very medically managed and she has never experienced a natural onset of labors but she has been able to have vaginal deliveries in part due to her doctors advocacy and belief in her. Yet when she tells her story, she feels that other women question her decisions and if the interventions were necessary. There are a lot of different ways to have a pregnancy and many different ways to have a birth and they are all okay. She hopes that when mothers think about other mothers experiences they can choose to listen and refrain from imparting their own judgements. Carolyn says she doesn't have a lot of time to focus on herself and while it's been hard to see the changes in her body and she would probably change a few things if she could, she has decided to love herself now and every step of the way. This is another realm she wishes women would respect one another in and see that there is a wide range of what healthy and beautiful look like. When her son tells her she's beautiful she knows it's truth and feels that as a mom of boys it is her job to impart with them a positive image of themselves and women alike.