The amazing Anita Smithson, Jack (3) and Ava (23 months).
Anita and her husband were excited to conceive without any issue when they began trying but she lost her first pregnancy at 6 weeks which was quite difficult for her to rationalize. As a feminist who is pro-choice, she was surprised by how upset she was to lose the pregnancy so early.
Her subsequent pregnancy with Jack went well, she was sick throughout but otherwise comfortable. Jack was measuring large so they ordered additional ultrasounds and she was cautioned that she may want to consider cesarean birth but chose deliver vaginally. Anita was induced 4 days post dates and though the Pitocin was uncomfortable says that it was a very good experience. She thought that pushing would go quickly but ended up pushing for 3 hours before Jack was born. She later learned that he had shoulder dystocia and and been briefly stuck in her pelvis.
Anita had planned to breastfeed Jack as long as she could. A previous breast reduction had her uncertain about her milk supply but she was hopeful. Unfortunately, she continued to be sick after delivery and ultimately had to have her gall bladder removed a week postpartum and then have a D & C due to hemorrhaging and retained placenta days later. She wishes she had more medical and lactation support but knows that at the time choosing to stop breastfeeding 10 days postpartum was the right choice.
Though Anita didn't view Jack's delivery as complicated her medical team really encouraged her to deliver via cesarean with Ava. A doctor went so far as to graphically describe everything that could have gone wrong and expressed concern again about Ava's size. Jack had been nearly 10 lbs and eventually, trusting her team, Anita agreed to schedule a cesarean birth. Ava was born healthy but just weighing 8 lbs which caused conflicting feelings in Anita, leaving her with the notion that a surgical birth had been unnecessary. Breastfeeding with Ava has gone very well and Anita is grateful to have had a positive experience there.
Keeping up with her children, being able to dance and play with them without being winded is something that Anita realized she was struggling with. So, she joined a gym with her family and they are having a great time focusing on being strong together. She hopes to send a message to her children that all bodies are good bodies and they are all beautiful. Everyone can find something in themselves to be proud of and for her at this moment she's finding that in her strength and self-love.