Kristina Cervantes (33), Gehrig (6) and Grady (4 months)
Kristina shares -
"I never have experienced any pregnancy losses, but my husband and I did struggle with unexplained infertility for over two years before conceiving our first son, and for almost five years before conceiving our second son. I really struggled with the infertility battle as it seemed like everyone around me was getting pregnant. I would cry at the social media pregnancy announcements, wishing it was happening to me.
When I finally got pregnant (no intervention needed), I was elated, but also so scared. I was scared that this was going to be our only shot at parenthood. Everything went so smoothly during Gehrig's pregnancy and delivery. My water broke at home at 5am, and he was born in the hospital that afternoon. I had an epidural, and the cord was wrapped around his neck once, but he was beautiful and healthy, and that's all I cared about -we finally had our baby in our arms.
Our journey to our second son was even longer, as the age difference between our boys is 5 years, 7 months. I had almost given up hope for a second baby, even though I so wanted Gehrig to have a biological sibling. On Father's Day 2016, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. I was in absolute shock, but so very happy. I was much more nauseous during this pregnancy, but it subsided around 16 weeks. At the 20 week ultrasound, it was discovered that I had a low lying placenta, so I was scheduled to be rechecked at 28 weeks. At that 28 week ultrasound, the placenta issue had resolved, but I had elevated amniotic fluid, or polyhydramnios. I was then monitored twice a week with NST's and ultrasounds until I was induced at 39 weeks due to increasing blood pressure and my OB's concern that it could develop into preeclampsia.
My induction was long, and it wasn't what I had planned for this birth. I wanted to deliver without medication this time, but the intense pain from the Pitocin induced contractions was too much for me to bear, and I asked (begged) for an epidural. After the epidural, I was able to relax, and my sweet Grady was born after 25 minutes of pushing. I could not believe that after 8 years total of trying to have babies, I was staring at another beautiful son.
I love my postpartum body because it means that I have successfully carried and nourished my two wonderful boys. When my older son says that my stomach is "squishy", I love to remind him that it is because he and his brother each lived there for 39+ weeks. I am constantly amazed that my body has brought these two humans into the world. It's a great feeling.
I adjusted well during both postpartum periods. I have a great family support system, and was always encouraged to ask for help if needed. I have had positive breastfeeding experiences with both of my sons, despite an oversupply and three bouts with mastitis. Having mastitis was honestly the worst I have ever felt in my life so far. I wished that I would have sought more advice from lactation consultants with my first son. I simply thought that because I had SO much milk, I was doing fine, but in hindsight I realize that I had foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. I believe that played a role in my first son's weight gain in the first few months of his life. He continued to nurse until he was 2.5 years old, even after I went back to work when he was 12 weeks old. I feel empowered that I breastfed him for the amount of time that I did, especially being a working parent.
With the birth of my second son, we decided that I would stay home with both boys, and leave my career. It was a very hard decision, as I love my work, but time is fleeting, and I feel it is important for me to be home with the boys right now. I am relishing in that I am there for every feeding, smile, and milestone with my four month old, and for every fun conversation, school events, and even every tantrum with my six year old.
The advice that I would offer to a new parent is to not compare yourself to other parents when it comes to working vs. staying home, and to do what is right for yourself, your partner, and your child(ren). I've been a working parent and am now transitioning to a stay at home parent. I see pros and cons to each, and would never pass judgment on another family's choices. We are all just doing the best we can."
I wanted to capture a moment in time with my two boys and share my story for my little family to look back on for many years to come. I've always wanted to be a mom, and I'm so happy to be in this moment. I am also so happy to be a part of a movement that celebrates a variety of parents in every stage of the parenting journey. <3