The magnificent Kristen Mackel with her daughter Avery (15 months). Kristen had always been told she couldn't conceive so it was a bit of surprise when she and her husband conceived by surprise after being together for 15 years. The first two weeks they didn't really talk about it and they waited until the end of their first trimester to tell their family. Their family was thrilled and she had a very healthy and active pregnancy until her late second trimester when she started having issues with swelling. She carried until 4 days past her due date when she had to go straight from her doctors office to the hospital for induction. Kristen tested positive for eclampsia and had to be very closely monitored as she labored. She progressed to the point she was able to push but as she did, both she and Avery started to crash. They allowed her to attempt pushing a few more times after recovering but it was ultimately determined it was unsafe to proceed and she was taken for a cesarean delivery. From here Kristen says things get foggy, she just remembers being in the OR for quite some time, not knowing if her baby was out yet and having the doctor come around the screen to tell her they were going to have to remove her uterus. An emergency hysterectomy was their only option as her placenta had pushed through her uterus. Avery had flipped sunny side up and her doctors said that had she continued to push both she and Avery would have bled out. Kristen and her husband hadn't found out if they were having a boy or a girl and the focus had been so much on her that a nurse had to call out to the pediatric team to find out what their baby was and if she was okay. Kristen and Avery spent a full week in the hospital and she says she doesn't remember a lot and has found it very difficult to even look back on pictures from that time. She went from not wanting to have children to wanting to have many and then being forced to come to terms with the fact that she would never have the opportunity to become pregnant again. Kristen was diagnosed with PTSD after her delivery and says that she is doing much better now but still has her difficult days, she still has flashbacks, nightmares and a difficult time being away from her daughter but she will continue to work on things. Having a beautiful picture of herself and her daughter to document this time is an important step in her journey.