The amazing Kate Cortelyou, currently 11 weeks pregnant, and her son James Edward (18 months). Kate always imagined that she would enjoy being pregnant but quickly discovered that she hated it. She was quite sick and still working at a job that was very physically demanding. Kate says that she likes to be in control and she likes to be on the go, her pregnancy left her feeling as if she had suddenly morphed into a new person who was tired all of the time and didn't want to do anything, which was incredibly difficult for her. Kate believes it is very important to research birthing options and in doing so, knew that a natural birth in hospital was the right choice for her. She hadn't experienced any pre-labor signs until she felt her first contraction in church and started timing. Her doctor had told her that if she wanted to have a successful intervention free birth she shouldn't come to the hospital until the idea of getting into the car to get there, sounded like the worst thing ever. When Kate arrived, she found that everyone respected her wishes to not offer interventions and labor progressed very well. During contractions she felt almost as if she was out of body and when it came time to push, was very well focused. Unfortunately, during pushing James' heart rate began to decelerate so they had her stop pushing for two contractions. The doctor told her that she needed to get him out with the next push or they would have to intervene. Thankfully, she was able to do just that. Kate says that is was the biggest relief of her life being able to push him out when she needed to.
Kate imagined she would breastfeed, took a class and figured that things would just happened. They struggled with latch however and pumping and engorgement were very uncomfortable for her. She had been shown a specific way to hold her breast and the baby's jaw in her breastfeeding class but she's missing one of her thumbs and found she wasn't able to execute the hold. She had a difficult time with the pain and by the time that he was 4 weeks old she drove to buy him formula and broke down in tears. Kate felt like a failure because it didn't work out for her and says that a lot of that came from messages and attitudes in breastfeeding support groups that she had joined online and the message that "breast is always best". Kate hopes to see a day where women are respected and supported regardless of how they chose or have to feed their babies. It was her mothers reassurance that she was not a failure, she was feeding her baby and that's all that mattered, that finally got her through.
Kate's current pregnancy has been difficult as well due to the same sickness she was feeling with her first. Her insurance finally approved medication to help, however, and she says she's starting to feel much better. She knows that her love will multiply when the new baby arrives but admits feeling on the clock a bit enjoying these last moments with James.
Kate left her job when 37 weeks pregnant and says that while she loves her son with all of her heart she has lost a lot of who she was in the transition. She joined the circus as an animal caretaker after college and then cared for giraffe's at the zoo. She met famous people, lived on a train, was interviewed on television - she has stories to someday share with her children and hopes that they appreciate the sacrifices she's made for them. Kate has mourned the loss of who she was before and wishes more women would acknowledge that it's okay to feel that way without feeling ashamed. It's okay to talk about the fact that motherhood isn't always pretty and do so without others acting like you're less of a woman or a mother for being honest.