The wonderful Hollyann Elliott, Maci (2), and Libby (1).
Both of Hollyann's pregnancies were unplanned and her first was fairly typical and uncomplicated with the exception of first trimester morning (all day) sickness that caused her to lose 15 lbs. She was induced at 40+6, when her contractions were regular but she wasn't progressing past 3 cms. After 5 hours on Pitocin they decided to break her water to see if that would help move things along. After three more hours she requested an epidural when she heard them say they needed to turn up the Pitocin as her contractions weren't strong enough. Just as they were about to get the anesthesiologist, her body began to push on its own. They were hesitant to check because they didn't think it was possible that a first time mother had progressed that quickly, but they finally did, and she was complete. 20 minutes later her baby arrived without complication other than a painful upward tear.
Maci breastfed effortlessly, and Hollyann says that her baby weight fell off to the point of being underweight, 25lbs less than where she was pre-pregnancy. Her daughter was 7 months old when she found out she was pregnant again, and by 10 months her milk supply completely dried up. This second pregnancy was more difficult due to marital stress and a pending divorce and she struggled with high blood pressure in her third trimester and regular, painful Braxton hicks contractions. At her 38 week check up, they kept Hollyann to monitor her blood pressure and after three readings told her she wasn't going home until the baby arrived.
Hollyann opted to be induced with a foley catheter and after five hours she had dilated to 5 cms when the midwife asked if she wanted to break her water. She immediately had a strong contraction, and got up to go to the bathroom one last time. Hollyann made it back to the bedside on her 4th hard contraction and felt her body try to push. She told the nurse and everyone hurried to prep for baby. 10 minutes later, Libby was on her belly without any complications.
"Being a single mama to these two girls has been challenging, yet rewarding. I have been struggling with depression and after rapidly dropping all of the weight again, found out the cause was hyperthyroidism due to a toxic nodule, which I had surgically removed and later found out was malignant. The remaining half of my thyroid resumed normal function, but I still feel like I missed out on the first 8 months of Libby's life because of the debilitating symptoms I was having. It is not easy working full time and raising little ladies, but they are worth it, my girls are my world."
"I believe it is so important for people to see that there is more than one normal when it comes to motherhood and the journey. Every woman's story is unique and beautiful. This project has contributed greatly to my post-baby body acceptance and love."