The beautiful Hanna Belizaire, Isaiah (2) and Kaia (6 months).
Hanna conceived Isaiah when she was 18. Her pregnancy went well and seemed to fly by. Hanna wasn't very educated about her birth options at the time and felt pushed into having a cesarean birth at 38 weeks due to having a big baby and lower levels of amniotic fluid. Isaiah was 9lbs when he was born and she says he was healthy but definitely wasn't ready to be born. He wasn't able to nurse right away and had a lot of digestive and skin issues.
She knew she wanted to do things differently the next time whether it was finding an OB who would let her VBAC or someone to help her deliver at home. She was living in Florida at the time she conceived Kaia, in an area with a 50% cesarean rate and realized it wasn't worth trying in the hospital where she'd likely be pressured to deliver via repeat cesarean. Her husband was skeptical at first but after meeting the wonderful home birth midwife she'd found was fully on board.
At 40 weeks, Hanna still hadn't gone into labor and because she was planning to deliver at home she was legally required to go in for an OB consult. While both she and her baby were perfectly healthy, she was treated horribly by hospital staff. They kept telling her she was being silly, that she just need to stay there and have a cesarean. An ultrasound measured Kaia at nearly 11lbs and they said there was no way she would be able to deliver her. She felt that she needed to listen to her body and listen to her baby and had to sign out of the hospital against medical advice.
Hanna carried to 42 weeks when her water broke and she says the experience was surreal and wonderful. Her contractions didn't start right away and when they finally ramped up didn't remain steady. After about 20 hours of labor her chiropractor came to adjust her and she felt the energy shift in the house. Things finally started to progress and after 30 hours of labor she was finally in the tub. She says there were many times she just wanted to go to the hospital and get the baby cut out of her but she had so much support from her husband, doula, midwife, family and friends. She pushed for two hours with her husband squeezing her hips but Kaia wasn't coming and she felt she needed gravity on her side so she stood up and her baby came out. Hanna tore severely and almost had to transfer to hospital but her midwife was able to stitch her up and stop the bleeding.
Kaia was born weighing just 8lbs and Hanna found it incredibly healing that she was able to birth her baby herself. Her recovery was night and day and having her daughter skin to skin immediately was wonderful. She nursed Isaiah up until the day Kaia was born and was able to flow into her new breastfeeding relationship seamlessly.
"Women are so beautiful. Seeing women embrace their bodies is the most empowering thing."