The gorgeous Melissa Gordon with her children Grace (6), Jack (5), Kate (23 months) and Nina (4 weeks). Melissa has had quite a variety of birth experiences. With her first, she was very scared of the pain of labor and knew going into it that she wanted an epidural, feel nothing and get the baby out vaginally. The epidural slowed everything down, and she had to have induction medication and almost a cesarean. They were able to use the vacuum to get her out safely which caused some pelvic floor damage for Melissa. She was ultimately very happy with how it all went. With Jack, she decided to approach birth a different way and used hypnobirthing to manage her fear and the pain. She had a beautiful drug free labor at home and only transferred to the hospital 30 minutes before Jack was born without complication. With Kate, she decided that her previous birth was such a success they wanted to have a water birth in a family birthing center rather than the hospital. She used hypnobirthing again, and her husband caught Kate, which was wonderful. However, Melissa couldn't get out of the bath after her birth, and it was determined she'd damaged her pubic symphysis quite severely. She couldn't walk for 5 months and was ultimately diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and Arthritis. They'd always wanted four children, but Melissa wasn't sure she could endure another pregnancy and delivery. They got pregnant by surprise and on the recommendation of 5 specialists and lots of research decided that rather than have a natural birth she'd have an elective cesarean. Nina was born by cesarean at 37 weeks bringing her birth experience completely full circle. Melissa says she would have loved to have a natural birth, but you can't always predict the outcome, and the outcome for her family has been perfect. She's had a difficult time recovering from her surgery due to her chronic pain but it's going well now, and she's starting to feel better. Melissa has been able to breastfeed all of her babies without issue. She chose to participate in the project to show her children that they don't need to aspire to be something that's impossible, who they are is perfect.
The amazing Carmel Tziavrangos, mother to Joshua (3.5), Grace (2) and currently 13 weeks pregnant. Carmel also had a miscarriage in January of last year that really shook her. She has a condition known as Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of arthritis, that she has to be medicated for. However, she can't take the medications she typically needs during pregnancy, so she has to switch to steroids to treat her illness. The steroids cause her to eat and gain weight which has been a bit of a battle physically even though she'd never struggled with body image before. She's had severe morning sickness in each of her pregnancies which has just subsided with her current baby. Otherwise, her pregnancies have been relatively uneventful. And both of her labors began as inductions after her waters broke and nothing else happened. Joshua was rather large, and she had to have a forceps-assisted delivery, which took her a lot of time to recover from, he also had to stay in the nursery for a bit due to jaundice. Her second delivery was without complication, and she was able to leave the hospital early and transfer to a hotel where the midwives checked in on her, and Joshua was allowed to stay. Both Joshua and Grace self-weaned at 10 months, which was very difficult for Carmel as she'd hoped to continue breastfeeding.