The gorgeous Gretchen Gaborik, Jasper (5) and Naya (21 months). Gretchen lost her mother when she was just 9 years old and has always wanted to be a mother herself. She is 9 years older than her husband, so they decided to start trying to conceive just after they got married. She had always imagined that getting pregnant would take more time than it did, and was surprised when they conceived within a week of trying.
Gretchen's first pregnancy was eventful but happy. She dealt with carpal tunnel, gestational diabetes, vertigo and preeclampsia but she was able to accept that it was just a crazy time for her body. She was induced at 38 weeks due to preeclampsia and labored for 20 hours. In the beginning she was able to move and do yoga but her ability to move was gradually limited due to her blood pressure so it wasn't quite the natural experience she had hoped for. Her doctors ultimately decided to deliver via cesarean due to fluctuations in Jasper's heartbeat. Up until delivery, Gretchen was medication free so they gave her pain medication but she metabolized it very quickly and they had to give her more when she started to feel the surgery. The medication led to her throwing up for a day and half after. Jasper had low blood sugar and had to spend two days in NICU as a result of her gestational diabetes and was given donor milk until Gretchen's milk came in. She was able to establish breastfeeding and nursed until he self weaned at 18 months.
Gretchen was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and was put on medication to treat it. She was able to conceive her daughter within just a couple weeks of being on medication after several months of trying. She knew she wanted a VBAC and a doula and found a hospital with a high success rate. Her OB was supportive and the hospital itself had a doula program which allowed them to hire a doula for a reasonable rate. During Gretchen's pregnancy with Naya her blood sugars were borderline and they had been a bit concerned with her blood pressure. At her 38/39 week appointment they decided to send her to the hospital for continuous monitoring and ultimately decided to induce her. She was worried about things spiraling and ending up with another cesarean birth. They induced her with Pitocin and ultimately broke her water to place an internal monitor which she was told was needed because they wanted to give her as much Pitocin as possible without rupturing her uterus. She labored for 15 hours before she learned she was 4cms. Exhausted and disappointed she wasn't further, she asked if they could turn down the Pitocin. They said they couldn't so she got an epidural and was able to have a bit of a break. Three hours later she felt the urge to push and was complete. Gretchen was able to push for 45 minutes and give birth vaginally without complication. She was able to nurse right away and felt so much better after this birth than her first. When Naya was 4 days old Gretchen developed a fever and had to go to hospital, she was worried she would have to stay overnight and away for her baby but they were able to send her home. Nursing has continued to go well and she doesn't see any end in sight.
You hear so often how women "bounce back" after pregnancy but Gretchen has found that she naturally retains weight while nursing that is impossible to drop until she weans. Because her value of her nursing relationships versus the number on the scale she has had to shift and accept and thinks that a mother's body, a nursing body, her body, is so worthy of celebration. "Bodies change and it's important for women to see that," she says.