The lovely Kate Leos, Grace (4.5) and Evalina (20 months). When Kate was 25 she had a series of mini strokes or TIA's and was in the hospital for two weeks. She also had a brain hemorrhage and lost her ability to swallow for about 6 weeks. She had a series of feeding tubes, NG and then a G tube placed and had to carry around a cup to spit in because she couldn't even swallow her own saliva. Amazingly, all of this happened just a few months before she and her now husband were going to get married. Because of this history her pregnancies were high risk and she was considered to be a high-clot risk so she had to be on blood thinners via twice daily injections throughout her pregnancy and for six weeks postpartum.
Both of Kate's pregnancies were wonderful. She loved them and felt great throughout, loving the connection and feeling them grow and move. With Grace she was induced at 39 weeks to be safest with her blood thinners. She had a long, boring labor over two days and at one point the attending came in and told her they needed to do a cesarean. She said no and thankfully after consulting with the neurologist he was content to allow her to continue. She pushed for an hour and Grace arrived without complication. Kate and her husband hadn't found out their babies sex but were both convinced they were having a boy and it was quite a shock and took some adjusting to. Grace was just over 5lbs at birth and was also jaundiced so right away they talked to her about supplementing and offered both formula and donor milk. Without thinking about it much in the moment she chose donor milk and was able to continue supplementing for the first 8 weeks. They struggled through reflux, latch issues, oversupply and let down issues and at about 6 months in she was still having a lot of pain while nursing. She finally saw a lactation consultant who fixed everything right away and they were able to continue nursing until 2.5.
When Kate got pregnant with Eva she decided she didn't want to wait to ask for help. She was still considered high risk but her doctor gave her the option of going into labor naturally or being induced. She wasn't sure if she wanted to but did end up going into labor on her own and labored for about 12 hours before she was born. She chose to have an epidural again and things went very well. Eva was little but not as little as Grace and this time Kate called the lactation consultant on day three. They had a difficult bout of thrush when Eva was about a year old and many people encouraged Kate to stop nursing but she loves nursing and knew that with this being her last baby she both needed and wanted to continue through it. She says that breastfeeding was the thing she was the least stressed out about the first time that ended up being the hardest thing.
It is such a moment being at this point in her life for Kate with her girls. She initially found it scary being a mother to girls knowing what the world is for women and she admits being scared for them in some ways. She's had to do a lot of work to be okay with being a mom to daughters and wants to show her girls how important and special it is to be you, your own person in your own body. She wants to set the example for them that they can be who they want to be and despite her nerves she wants them to know they can do something that scares them, that is the stuff in life that can be really good.