The marvelous Rebecca McClelland, Ryder (3) and Cooper (13 months)
Rebecca's first pregnancy was textbook and she delivered a healthy baby without any complication. She says that she loved everything about motherhood and felt so at home in her role as mother, she couldn't wait to add to their family. Nursing went well and she continued until she was 4 months pregnant with Cooper.
At her anatomy scan for Cooper, Rebecca learned that he may be born with a birth defect affecting the bones in his left leg and foot. She was concerned but through subsequent ultrasounds felt assured that her baby was fine, although her instincts told her otherwise. Her pregnancy was otherwise uncomplicated and labor was fast and smooth. At birth, they were able to see the physical issues with Cooper's leg indeed existed and were told to follow up with specialists, geneticists and orthopedic surgeons. Cooper's big toe was placed on the side of this foot and extra wide as if two toes had fused together. He also has some webbing and tightness between his thumb and first finger.
When he was just three weeks old they began navigating through specialist appointments, tests, and opinions to seek a diagnosis and information on to best address the orthopedic issues he was born with. They heard everything from "he may need his lower leg amputated" to "he'll be fine". The entire process was an emotional roller coaster. Cooper never received a diagnosis but they did rule out a lot of genetic and global issues. "Knowledge of genetics is really not deep enough at this point for the medical community to determine what happened in his development. What we do know is that Cooper is incredibly healthy!"
Cooper required surgery to reconstruct his left foot and will require a second, simpler procedure to address an issue with his left hand. Through it all, he is doing remarkably well and proving to everyone just how strong and resilient he is. "My first baby made me a mother, but my second really shaped me into the mother I've become. I've learned so much through my experiences in the last year when it comes to addressing questions and judgement, advocating for my children, and understanding my role in raising strong, confident people".
"I've followed the project for a long time and think it's so beautiful. I got pregnant with my first after I got married and was in the best shape of my life - running marathons and other road races. I've never gotten back to that shape and I felt embarrassed about it. After having a child with some physical differences, it became more important to me to celebrate the differences in our bodies and honor the work our bodies do for us rather than feel shame when they don't fit into societal ideals."