The gorgeous Janice Quiles-Reyes, mother to Gustavo Gabriel (Stillborn, full term at 40 weeks - no known cause. He would have been 6 this year on February 15th), Olivia Flor (died at 14 weeks due to Trisomy 18), and Madeline (3).
Janice is a previous project participant. You can view her photo and story here. http://www.4thtrimesterbodiesproject.com/gallery-1/2016/3/3/janice-quiles-reyes
Janice has just turned 40 and is a full time mom and artist working on self-directed personal projects. She's always been a 9-5 professional, independent and have always been able to support myself financially. After the death of her first child, Janice shut down. "The trauma and depression that set in was nearly impenetrable. I left my job. Stopped taking care of myself. Started drinking more". She had a therapist - and her typical twice a month visits were bumped up to twice a week and they were all phone calls since she couldn't tolerate going outside and being surrounded by strangers on a subway let alone the noise of NYC traffic and transit system. "I literally sat in darkness for months. Black-out shades drawn 24/7. I left the house only to walk the dog and it was always after midnight, when I knew I wouldn't bump into any one".
Then a year later they got pregnant with Olivia and she spent months crying and hiding an already swollen belly only to have her too pass unexpectedly. Janice was forced to get a D&C because she didn't have the heart to wait for her to pass through her body. After going through the physical and mental traumas of the deaths of Gus and Liv, Janice didn't think she'd be emotionally capable of trying a third time. Her pregnancy with Madeline was full of fear and heartache sprinkled with some hope. She was in the same breech positioning Gus was in during her last week in utero. They scheduled a cesarean and as soon as Madeline was pulled from her body, Janice began to cry because she too was silent. "There was no crying, no movement until the staff were able to wake her and get her to scream out. The doctor yelled at me for crying because my sobbing was moving my body and she was trying to sew me back up. I was crying because this doctor wasn't the one who cared for us while pregnant and she had NO idea how big a deal this moment was for us. I was crying because my daughter was alive and screaming. I was crying because I wish I could have had her vaginally. I was crying because I wish I could have heard my other two children take a breath and whine and I was crying because Madeline's life made their absence more apparent. I was crying because i was afraid I wasn't going to love this child as I would have Gus. I feel as if I've lived a handful of lives. My head is exhausted. But I'm slowly coming out of the fog".
It's taken six years and now she's successfully mothering Madeline. "It's not perfect mothering, but it's as good as I have at 100%". She has a difficult time letting Madeline out into the world unharnessed due to her fear that she too will lose her but she's working on it. Their home thrives on art and creating. Remaking her life in her late 30's and now at 40 is a frightening challenge but is what has been Janice's salvation from the pit of darkness. "After surviving through all of that pain, I feel a certain new animal growing within. Ready for what lays ahead as we continue to fortify our family story and alleviate it from all of the fear and fill in those gaps with so much love".
"Sharing my birth stories and my life with Maddie via the 4th Tri community has been such an important part of my healing process. It's an honor to be apart of it's conclusion as well!"