The gorgeous Tabitha Graves and Lilliana (1). Tabitha had a wonderful pregnancy and was so comfortable she wouldn't have known she was expecting if it weren't for her growing belly and her daughters movements. She worked three jobs throughout her pregnancy because she wanted to stay busy. All of that changed overnight, however. At 33 weeks Tabitha went to bed feeling funny and woke up the next day feeling quite anxious. She took her blood pressure and found it was 250 over 105 which put her in a hypertensive crisis. She went directly to the hospital where they told her she was very sick and she was not allowed to get up. She was airlifted to a hospital 45 minutes away that had a NICU and she could be immediately treated.
Tabitha went from planning a vaginal birth that she was very much in control of to hearing that she would have to deliver her daughter via cesarean at 33 weeks. Tabitha was forced to get an epidural against her will and was given so much medication she was incredibly out of it. The magnesium they put her on to try to slow contraction made her feel like she had the flu and when Lilliana was delivered at 33 weeks 3 days she only got to see her pass by her face before they took her away to the NICU. Tabitha was told that she had to be off of magnesium for 24 hours before she would be allowed to see her baby. She had to wait a full day and a handful of hours before she could go meet her daughter. Once there Tabitha wasn't allowed to touch her and was then made to wear gloves because she had no way of taking her nail polish off. She was also shocked to see her daughter was put on a feeding tube even though she had been able to take a bottle without issue.
Tabitha was forced to wait 4 days to hold her daughter and wasn't allowed to attempt to nurse her the first week of her life. She struggled with feeling like she had had a baby and didn't immediately feel connected to her. Tabitha was finally allowed to leave the hospital one week later and Lilliana was able to join her just a few days after. Tabitha discovered that Lilliana was both tongue and lip tied and she says that in great part due to the support of her friends and family she was able to continue to have a breastfeeding relationship with her daughter. Tabitha credits that relationship for forging the beautiful bond that they have today. She says if they had told her she couldn't breastfeed she doesn't know where they would be.
Tabitha had to remain on blood pressure medication for months after her daughter was born and has struggled with a myriad of health complications both related to and complete separate from her pregnancy and birth since. Her body has changed quite drastically and she's had to shift her thoughts and expectations along the way. Tabitha says that she is finally at a place where she loves and accepts herself and she wants to take a moment to celebrate that.