Valerie Krex (41), Ziggy (4) and Milo (15 months). Valerie is also mother to Beatrice (Stillborn)
New York | Missoula, Montana
Valerie shares -
“Our first baby was a girl named Beatrice. At 36, I became pregnant with her easily and had an uneventfully pregnancy. All of the tests came back perfect and, when her due date came and went, I busied myself with perfecting her changing table, her clothing bins, her bassinet. At 40 weeks and 3 days, I didn't feel her move. When the usual fixes (apple juice, ice) didn't work, I nervously cabbed to the hospital. I can still remember the round blob that was floating at the top of my uterus, bobbing right back up when I pushed it down time after time in the cab.
At the hospital, alone, her death was confirmed. No known cause, after umpteen tests and an autopsy. We induced labor and I delivered her the next day. I chose not to see or hold her, although my husband did both. I have two pictures, footprints, a blanket and a hat that I keep in a box in our office. Those days and the days that followed were a living hell, each day worse than the day before.
After just two months I became pregnant with Ziggy. I'm pretty sure I had PTSD throughout that whole pregnancy and went into L&D several times a week, as I was convinced he had died. But he didn't die. He healed me and, when Milo came along, I could really move forward. We will never ever forget and always wonder about our loved first baby, even though that time feels like it was in another life.
Before I became pregnant for the first time, I was always on a diet. Every day was a test to see if I could be "good." Even though I was never heavy, my relationship with food and body image wasn't healthy. I think I was actually a food addict! I would scan a room to see what food existed and then would try my hardest to not eat it. Sometimes I'd eat all of it.
When I became pregnant, I made sure to nourish my baby and, for the first time in two decades, didn't diet. Somewhere in those 40 weeks, my brain rewired. It was amazing! I no longer felt chained to food and body image like I used to feel. I was finally free. Now, after having three babies, my body doesn't exactly resemble a supermodel's. Its fleshier, older, and a bit more worn. However, I'll take being able to eat a guilt free sandwich over a model's body any day. And I'll take my sweet babies over my former flat stomach in a heartbeat. It's funny, I hardly ever examine my body anymore -- I don't have the time -- and that's a beautiful thing.
Possibly because our first baby was stillborn and my relief upon delivering a subsequent healthy baby was elating, or maybe because I started on Zoloft when Ziggy was born to combat the terrible anxiety that I struggled with throughout his pregnancy, I didn't have much in the way of the baby blues or PPD. I felt alive again. In fact, I felt like Miss America, parading my baby through Prospect Park in mid spring. In the weirdest way, my expectations about motherhood matched up almost completely with reality.
When Milo was born, things were slightly different. He too was a beautiful and healthy baby boy. However, the adjustment to having two young children was tough. The sleep deprivation and inability to rest in the glider for hours, gazing at my baby, made it harder than I had it with Ziggy. Don't get me wrong, I still felt like Miss America, just a tired, bedraggled, and hormonal one.”