The marvelous Marquel Anteola, Amelia (almost 4) and Ingrid (2).
Marquel went into her first pregnancy hoping for an unmedicated labor and delivery in hospital. She had a high blood pressure reading at 36 weeks that landed her on bedrest for her last month of pregnancy, though she thinks it was just a fluke. Her 24 hour urine screen was negative and she was otherwise healthy. Marquel had a lot of support and labored with Amelia in a posterior position for over 30 hours before the decision was made to deliver via cesarean birth. Marquel knew it was what they both needed but found herself devastated. Breastfeeding was off to a wonderful start but she got a phone call when Amelia was three weeks old that showed her newborn screen had come back positive that she had a metabolic disorder and was lacking the enzymes needed to digest mammalian milk and needed to be put on soy formula right away. Marquel's feelings compounded that she hadn't been able to birth how she'd wanted and now she couldn't feed her daughter how she had hoped as well. She knew it was necessary but still found herself embarrassed to bottle feed her baby in public.
When Marquel found she was pregnant with Ingrid, Amelia had just turned one. She had switched to a midwife with the goal of having a VBAC at a stand-alone birth center. Her previous doula was now a student midwife so she was seeing her along with a preceptor and had a new amazing doula. She went into labor spontaneously and labored at the birth center with a lot of movement and coping techniques. As painful as it was, she enjoyed being in labor. Ingrid turned posterior during the course of labor and after nearly a day she made the choice to transfer to a hospital an hour away. She was able to labor on all fours with a tens unit on her back during the car ride. When they got there, the hospital based midwife practice and nurses greeted her warmly. She got an epidural which was a huge relief and she was able to take a nap. The nurses were rotating Marquel as she rested but she awoke to the midwives and the nurses rushing in to give her oxygen and listen to her baby. Ingrid was having concerning heart decells and the midwife said she could continue to try to labor with the internal monitor for awhile but after some time she made the decision it was safest to have a repeat cesarean. The anesthesiologist was wonderful and she had a family centered cesarean where she got see Ingrid come out and was placed right on her chest. Ingrid pooped all over her, nursed right away and everything was amazing. While the birth itself was healing, the physical and emotional healing was very difficult as she felt she had failed again.
It wasn't how Marquel planned to bring children into the world but she feels now it's how they needed to come into the world. She decided to participate because too many times women are told to meet certain expectations when we really all just need to do whatever is best for ourselves and our families. She wants to show her girls that she is strong and is working on her confidence. She doesn't want them to struggle with body image and hopes they can have the confidence from the beginning that she is still working to build.