Jana Robertson (34), Logan and Gavin (2)
Photographed in Seattle, Washington
Jana shares -
"I am slowly learning to embrace myself where I am today. After ignoring my body for a couple years, I recently prioritized taking care of myself. Just a few months into making healthier choices, I’m feeling stronger and more energized. Double bonus - my boys are always watching and I love that they like to work out like mama.
Nothing about becoming a parent happened as I’d envisioned. We struggled with infertility and were given slim chances of having biological children. I was overjoyed, but terrified when we found out that IVF worked and we were pregnant with twins. The first part of my pregnancy went smoothly, but at 24 weeks I went into pre-term labor and was admitted to the hospital. I spent almost nine weeks on hospital bed rest, praying for uneventful days. Logan’s umbilical cord had a velamentous cord insertion. The doctors monitored his blood flow closely, and it was determined that I would have a cesarean to prevent his umbilical cord from getting kinked during delivery.
At 32 weeks and a couple days, my water broke and there was no stopping labor this time. My boys were born via cesarean that evening, and then whisked away to the NICU. They were in the NICU for six weeks. Our NICU journey was a rollercoaster of ups and downs as the boys learned to breathe and eat on their own. It gutted me to watch them struggle while there was so little I could do to help. Gavin developed a stomach infection – he received antibiotics and was fed solely through a PICC line while he was on bowel rest for 10 days. I will never forget the sound of his little whimpers, but I oddly found some comfort in the knowledge that he moans when sick, just like his daddy. Logan and Gavin are now rambunctious two-year olds who love doggies, puddle jumping and giving slobbery kisses.
I am so grateful. However, I am also still processing the loss of a ‘normal’ pregnancy and the trauma of having our boys in the NICU. We have a village of family and friends who walked beside us, but it was still isolating. Talking with other parents who had kiddos in the NICU helped me to validate and work through our experience. I now volunteer in the NICU leading parent groups to help other new parents feel less alone on their journey.
Give yourself grace – more than you think you need. Parenting plans usually end up being guidelines at best, so try to enjoy the ride and pause as often as possible to find and cherish the beauty.
I stumbled across this movement shortly after my boys were born and found so much strength and comfort in the raw, beautiful stories and gorgeous families. Everyone’s journey into parenthood is different, and I think its so important to share our truths so that we can fully embrace each other and ourselves."