The dashing Danielle Helmer and Sebastian (11 months actual, 9 months adjusted)
Danielle and her husband always knew that they wanted to adopt. They were approved as foster parents but after five years with no luck finding a child to foster to adopt she started to worry that they may never find their adoptive child and if they just continued waiting may lose the opportunity to have one biologically. They decided to give it a try and see what happened and after about two months discovered they were pregnant.
Danielle's first trimester was pretty tough as she suffers from migraines and couldn't take any of her prescription medication. Thankfully, her second trimester was better other than swollen feet. "It was an amazing feeling having a little person growing inside of me and with each passing day his kicks got stronger and stronger". Danielle says that everything changed when she went in for her 30 week appointment. Her blood pressure was high and there was also protein in her urine. She transferred to the hospital where she was scared of what would happy to her baby.
Danielle was admitted on Monday and eventually delivered on Thursday via emergency cesarean just shy of 31 weeks. "Those days are a blur but the most important thing I remember is hearing our baby boy cry before being whisked away to the NICU". Sebastian weighed 2.8 pounds and Danielle says that even with all those wires and tubes he was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. "We were not able to hold him but we could put our hands in the incubator and touch him we were told not to rub and caress his skin because it would be painful for him, we could only do firm constant touches. I was so scared for my little boy and all he would have to overcome before he would be able to come home."
They spent the next 121 days in NICU and Danielle says, "I could write an entire book on those 121 days and all they entailed; crying, laughing, loving, losing, hoping, wishing, tests and tests results, milestones, first Halloween Thanksgiving Christmas New Year's, nurses who became our second family, friends and family and all the love they gave, patience, compassion, jealousy, so many amazing memories and yet I still feel that twinge of jealousy and have tears in my eyes when I see a friend of family members commemorative first family photo in their delivery room and wish I could have had that memory, that photo".
Danielle's sister-in-law participated in the project recently and it was then she learned about this movement. "I looked at the website and all the beautiful confident woman and wanted to be a part of it. I have always battled with seeing myself and my body as beautiful and know being a part of this movement would be a step in the right direction. I want my son to grow up with a confident mother who loves herself, I want him to value women for who they are not who society says they should be, I want him to understand and see what true beauty is."