The wonderful Melissa Whitley, Amelia (4), and Ada (1).
Melissa says that Amelia burst onto the scene at 34 weeks. Her water broke spontaneously on a Thursday afternoon and 2.5 hours later, Amelia emerged and was being weighed, all 7 pounds 1 ounce of her. She was followed by the placenta and the large chorioangioma attached to it. Amelia had some trouble figuring out breathing while eating, and was hypoglycemic with a bit of jaundice. Amelia spent 8 days in the NICU after 3 days in the hospital where I delivered. Around 3 months, she was diagnosed with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome. BWS is a genetic mutation that causes overgrowth (explaining how she was full-term size at 34 weeks) and an increased likelihood of certain types of cancers. One of the most visible characteristics is a large tongue, sometimes large enough to obstruct feeding and breathing.
Thankfully, Amelia's is minor, but it was hard for her to figure out how to latch on for breastfeeding so Melissa exclusively pumped in the beginning. She goes for ultrasounds and bloodwork regularly to watch for tumor development and is a pro at medical appointments. She talks about how she is brave and tough and won't cry when they draw her blood. She'll keep getting scanned through age 8. Once we found out through testing that Amelia's BWS was a non-inherited random mutation, they decided to try for another child.
Ada was conceived 3 months after Melissa stopped taking birth control whereas it took 2 years and some work with Duke Fertility to get pregnant with Amelia. The pregnancy went swimmingly. Melissa lost about 15 pounds during the first trimester from nausea and 'morning' sickness, but wasn't alarmed because the same thing had happened with Amelia. Ada was born at 39 weeks and 2 days after 24 hours of hard labor and a few false alarm trips to the hospital. She was 8 pounds 6 ounces and latched on to feed immediately. They recently stopped breastfeeding, just a few weeks ago and Ada is going to start walking any day now. Her first year has been medically uneventful, which has been a welcome change for their family.
"My body has amazed me through every step of motherhood. When I was pregnant with Amelia, I felt like a walking miracle. When I was breastfeeding Ada, I marveled at my body's ability to provide nourishment. I'm clumsy and accident prone, I'm crooked and fused from scoliosis, I have an interesting collection of scars (and now stretch marks), but my body is really good at growing, delivering, and feeding a baby and recovering from birth, and it deserves to be celebrated. Also, since BWS is an overgrowth syndrome, Amelia is bigger than other kids her age and will continue to be until about middle school. She's 4 years old and wearing size 8 clothes. Before the world bombards her with messages about how her body should look, I want to flood her and Ada with praises for what their bodies can do."