The wonderful Brooke Valentine and Brady (15 months)
"I found my purpose in life when I became a mom. From the moment this little boy entered my life he is my sole reason for living. I could not be any more grateful for this happy, healthy, sweet little boy that I get to have fun with every day".
Brooke says that she and her husband, like so many others, waited for the "right time" to get pregnant. She was 34 and he was 38. They always assumed it would happen right away but after 16 months of trying and numerous tests/procedures, which all showed there was no reason she shouldn't be getting pregnant, they had come to terms that being parents wasn't in the cards for them. Much to her surprise, after eating four bowls of Cheerios and noticing her breasts were sore, she took the last pregnancy test they had in the house and was overcome with emotion when it was positive.
Early on in her pregnancy, Brooke had an overwhelming urge to ask her spin instructor who is also a labor and delivery nurse to be her doula. She knew she wanted someone there, along with her husband, to be her rock through labor and delivery and to help them advocate for their son should anything go wrong. Brooke knew she wanted to feel labor and wanted nature to take its course. She was so confident in her body knowing how to birth a baby that she wanted to feel every minute from beginning to end. "I had an overwhelming intuition that I would want to labor in a tub and was dead set on not having an epidural because I needed to be able to move, walk, change positions and not be confined to a bed".
At 37 weeks, they chose to entirely switch doctors/hospitals because there was only one hospital in the area that had a birthing room with a tub and operated with a holistic approach to child birth. At 41 weeks and 3 days, she was induced. Brooke labored in the tub, in a candle lit room, listening to Zen Garden radio with her doula and husband by her side the entire time. When a break was needed her doctor stepped right in and let her squeeze his hands through every contraction. When she was fully dilated, she made her way to the bed in between contractions and prepared to push.
"Before I knew it I heard my doctor say "pull your baby out". I looked down and there he was! I pulled him out and onto my chest. I couldn't take my eyes off of him, he was looking up at me crying, my beautiful healthy sweet baby boy. A moment later my wish of breastfeeding my son came true. He had found my nipple all on his own, latched perfectly, and was sucking away. The next hours were precious. We loved on our amazing little bundle of joy enjoying every moment of our skin to skin contact, just us and our sweet boy and being so grateful he was healthy and reflecting back on our birthing experience having been so wonderful. I'm thankful to have been able to exclusively breastfed Brady. It was something I wanted so badly and has given me not only a gift of countless one-on-one precious moments that he and I have shared together that I will treasure forever, but a passion to provide support and bring awareness to other new mommas about breastfeeding".
"I love my postpartum body. The little pocket I still have from carrying my son, my unbalanced breasts from breastfeeding, those stretch marks that appeared in my last week of pregnancy. Of course I'd love to have those banging abs back that I worked so hard to achieve before pregnancy, but I'm happy, I'm healthy, and I'm slowly in my own time on my own terms learning the new me. I say learning because even after 15 months I still struggle with the balance of life's priorities. Brady is and will always be my #1, but my overall health and fitness are right up there too because I want to be the best me I can be for my boy. I want to teach him how to live a healthy lifestyle as he grows older and to feel comfortable and confident in your own skin because our bodies tell our story. Each stretch mark, scar, curve...they all have a story behind them. So care for your body, love it, embrace it, and be proud of who you are."