The stunning Sarah Lone, Marlee Jade (5), and Oakley King (1.5)
Sarah had just lost her grandfather to mesothelioma when she was 16 and learned she was pregnant with her daughter. It was a very hard loss for her and her pregnancy very much helped Sarah to heal. "She literally saved me, I would not be here if it was not for her." Marlee's father was very supportive throughout Sarah's pregnancy and things went well for the most part. Sarah says that she has always been over weight and that along with her age, her weight was a big focus of her care providers. Sarah didn't feel like a person when she went to doctor appointments. The doctor often talked to her mother as if she was the patient and Sarah didn't feel like she could speak up or ask questions. "My opinion didn't seem to matter and I thought that was how it went, and what my doctor said went."
Blood pressure became an issue towards the end of her pregnancy and when it was high and Sarah's legs were discolored and swollen at her last appointment they sent her to the hospital for observation and she was told she wouldn't be leaving without having her baby. The doctor on call was not willing to induce her and Sarah was told she could have a cesarean or go home. She was being told that it was dangerous to leave, and that her baby was at risk but that her only option was a surgical birth, which was scary and made Sarah feel like she did not have a choice at all. She ultimately agreed to deliver via cesarean and while things went well, it wasn't what she wanted and she was separated from Marlee for hours after.
Sarah has struggled with depression and anxiety since her early teens, and was a self harmer for five years. The second day in hospital after giving birth she knew something was wrong. She was feeling extremely anxious and crying almost nonstop but felt as if she needed to keep it to herself. When they got home it proceeded to get worse, she would be nursing and cry uncontrollably. She felt isolated and alone with her baby and her body didn't feel like her own, disgusted as she looked at her bright, new stretch marks. Sarah didn't feel herself and was having intrusive thoughts that Marlee was going to stop breathing or that someone close to her was going to die. She finally talked to her doctor and was put on meds for postpartum depression.
Two weeks after giving birth, Sarah developed a bad infection in her cesarean incision and had to be hospitalized. She was told she had to stop breastfeeding and was devastated. Once things calmed down and Sarah was finally able to focus on her new family she realized she was really starting to enjoy motherhood. Sarah and Marlee's father split when she was six months old but were able to remain friends and coparent and Sarah started cosmetology school around the same time. She graduated when Marlee was almost two and around the same time started dating her sons father.
Sarah conceived Oakley about a year into their relationship and she was determined to have a better pregnancy and birth experience. She found an amazing doctor who listened to every complaint and concern she had, no matter how small. Her provider didn't just see her weight or her age, she saw Sarah as a whole person. They talked about possibly having a VBAC and Sarah went back and forth but ultimately chose to deliver via repeat cesarean because she feared her body not being ready for birth.
Oakley's birth was extremely healing for Sarah. It was relaxing, calm, and all of the staff were supported. She was able to have immediate skin to skin and had felt all of the negative emotions from the first birth melt away.
"Being a mom is one of the hardest things I've ever done and will probably be the hardest thing I will ever do, but I've learned so many things about myself in my short journey as a mom. I think the hardest part about being a young mom is growing up with my kids and trying to find patience.
I want my kids to see me as a strong woman and mother. I want them to see the version of me I'm still fighting to see for myself."