The amazing Alanna Zaritz with her daughter Zel (9 months).
Alanna says that she always knew she wanted to be a mother to many. She recalls her own mother, Chicago's first female firefighter, asking her at about age 4 what she wanted to be when she grew up and she responded, "A mommy". While her mother may have hoped to hear an astronaut or the president she asked her how many babies she wanted and Alanna said with certainty, "Ten!". While 10 may not actually be in the cards for her, she's so grateful to have her daughter. At the age of 16, Alanna was diagnosed with ovarian cysts and told she may not be able to have her own children. She carried this information forward and because of it, didn't do anything to prevent pregnancy. She was feeling a little off and went to the doctor to see if she was perhaps having a food allergy reaction. She was gaining weight and feeling bloated so they chose to cut out dairy. She called the doctor back after about a month of going dairy free without any reprieve and they decided to test for pregnancy. Alanna had taken four, negative at home tests during this time and was surprised to see her pregnancy hormones were a little elevated, indicating a possible early pregnancy. They took her for a sonogram and she was even more surprised to learn that she was 4.5 months pregnant. The rest of her pregnancy proceeded without complication. She studied hypnobirthing to prepare and was under the care of hospital midwives. Alanna labored at home to 5cms then went in to hospital. It was a full, super-moon and Friday the 13th and she was hoping that her daughter would arrive that day. Labor and deliver was completely full, however, so she had to labor in triage for hours and found it becoming more difficult to meditate and stay focused. By time they had a room for her, she was exhausted and asked for an epidural. She was only numb on one side and not progressing very quickly so they suggested pitocin which she didn't really want to consent to. Her team broke her waters and within an hour or two of pushing, Zel arrived without complication. Breastfeeding has been difficult but through nursing directly, pumping and supplementing they have been doing well and Alanna hopes to continue until her daughter is ready to wean. Alanna is loving motherhood and says that the joy it brings is even greater than what she expected. She is excited to stand amongst so many fellow women in sharing their stories and celebrating beauty.