Hannah Holdsworth, Walter (5), and Hugo (18 months)
When Hannah was young she was told that she might have a hard time getting pregnant because of the tilt of her uterus. She's since learned that this is a very common thing and is not sure why the doctor would have said this to her and it has proved to be the opposite of true. She became pregnant unexpectedly before she had the wherewithal to take care of a child and chose to terminate the pregnancy. "The thought of it makes me sad but I can't say I regret it. Knowing how challenging being a mother can be I am not sure how I would have taken care of a child then".
She has always wanted to be a mother but it's not something she spent a lot of time thinking about or planning for. She got pregnant the first month they tried and was really hoping to have an unmedicated natural birth with her first. She labored naturally for about 20 hours but found being in the hospital really tough and was not comfortable at all. She panicked once she hit transition and though her doula told her it wouldn't be much more time, she didn't believe her. Her contractions were right on top of each other leaving her no space to catch her breath. The doctor administering the epidural was very rude and lectured her about how this was, "good medicine," when she expressed her disappointment at needing it. He was so rude the nurses got cross with him and he eventually left.
Less than an hour later she was fully dilated and ready to push. She pushed for 3 hours but was so tired. "Wally was born with a vacuum assist. He had a bruise on his head but other than that a perfect little Christmas elf (he was born on Christmas day). The nurses in the hospital were amazing and everyone worked with us so we could leave the hospital after just 1 day instead of 2". Hannah bonded with Wally without problems but also developed a fair amount of anxiety postpartum. She met with a therapist and just hearing how normal everything she was experiencing was helped a ton. Breastfeeding went really well and she was even able to donate a lot of milk to another baby in Brooklyn. Wally weaned (for the most part) when she was pregnant with Hugo of his own accord right around his 3rd birthday.
Pregnancy with Hugo was a surprise. "It was wonderful because it took the question out of finding the perfect time to have another. My son knew I was pregnant and asked to see the baby inside me before we had told anyone. I am kind of convinced he willed his little brother into existence". Hannah decided to have a home birth with Hugo because she knew the hospital had made her uncomfortable the first time. Labor with Hugo lasted all day but with strong contractions about 10/15 minutes apart. They got closer together at about 8:30pm and he was born at 10:06pm. "It was the most wonderful, manageable labor anyone could ask for. And I was so happy to be in my bedroom with my husband that night and to have Wally asleep in the room next door. It was an incredibly cozy experience and one that felt very healing to me. Breastfeeding came easily again. I still have anxiety but no where near as much as after having my first".
"Even though I find myself critical of my own body, I feel very strongly that a woman's body should be celebrated. I think we should do away with the concept and phrase, "bouncing back." I think a woman is forever changed after pregnancy and/or giving birth so there is no real going back - and any emphasis should be on her emotional wellbeing and not on her body! I think a lot of women have little idea what to expect after giving birth and the more we all share the better. So many feelings and emotions are normal and if we don't all talk about them it makes it so much harder".