The beautiful Brandie Smith, Eden (2) and Jazmine (9 months).
When Brandie met the man who is now her husband, his son was two years old. They dated for a full year before the time was right for her to meet him and she has enjoyed her role as his bonus parent but very much wanted children of her own some day. She married in 2011 and she conceived very quickly, either on their wedding night or honeymoon! They were over the moon and subsequently devastated to learn at her 12 week appointment that the baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks. She had blood work done that showed she has a gene mutation that blocks her from metabolizing folic acid properly and preventing her from passing it along to her baby. They waited six months for the green light to try again and she began taking prescription vitamins.
Brandie was able to get pregnant again right away and went on to have a healthy pregnancy with Eden, though she worried often that she might lose this baby too. Brandie went into labor on her own and went to the hospital but they sent her home thinking she was just in early labor. At home she dilated from 0-7cms in two hours but when she went back to the hospital and received an epidural, her labor stalled and she needed several rounds of pitcoin to progress further. Eden was born vaginally without complication and Brandie says that her life was forever changed.
Brandie is a school teacher and knowing they wanted to have their children close in age they waited for the window that would give her an end of school year baby and tried again. They conceived again very quickly and she had another healthy pregnancy. Throughout her pregnancy they referred to her belly as "baby Jet"- a mash-up of the boy and girl names they had picked out, and she says her baby flew in like a jet plane. Brandie's labor and delivery were just over two hours from start to finish and they didn't quite make it to the hospital in time for Jazmine to arrive.
Nursing has been an important part of Brandie's relationship with her girls. It was difficult at first with Eden but they found their groove and she continued nursing until her supply diminished 25 weeks into her pregnancy and Eden chose to stop. Jazmine is still nursing like a champ and Brandie hopes to continue until she's done.
Stretchmarks streaked Brandie's belly following her pregnancy with Eden and she was tearful over the changes to her body. It wasn't until her husband pointed out their purpose, that she was beautiful, that he loved her - that she began to embrace her new body. That belly that she was loathing, grew her beautiful children and they adore every bit of her. She hopes to lead her girls into loving themselves by example and the only place that can start is within herself.