The incredible Heather Kimble. Mother to Hannah Sue, born sleeping at 24 weeks due to fatal complications from Turner Syndrome. Heather is adjusting to motherhood without her child. She found out on Labor Day weekend that she was pregnant. Her pregnancy had been textbook perfection until she went in for her 20-week ultrasound to determine the gender. That's when they found something wrong, and it was a whirlwind from there. Hannah was given a fatal diagnosis of Turner Syndrome and doctors urged her to terminate. She and her husband don't believe in abortion and sought second opinions instead. There was nothing they could do so Heather made the best of her time with her daughter and did all the things she could, all the things she'd hoped to do with Hannah earth side. They went to see Santa Claus and ate foods children enjoy. Hannah passed away on December 23rd, and Heather had to have an emergency cesarean due to concerns for toxicity and mirror syndrome. Heather started to have the onset of mirror syndrome but it quickly subsided, and her recovery was smooth. Hannah's version of Turner Syndrome was severe, she was missing her X chromosome, a massive cystic hygroma, a hole in her heart, and her lungs were not developing. About 99% of babies diagnosed in utero with Turner syndrome are miscarried or stillborn. About 1 out of every 2,000 live births of baby girls are affected by Turner Syndrome. Due to the size of Hannah's cystic hygroma, Heather had to have a classic, vertical incision on her uterus meaning that any future babies will have to be delivered surgically to prevent uterine rupture. Heather got to spend two days with her baby girl, from her birth until Christmas Day. She chose to participate in the project because she feels loss is such a taboo subject, and she wants mothers of loss to know that YOU ARE STILL A MOTHER.
The amazing Heather Madden and her surviving twin daughter, Isla Avery (11 mo). Isla's identical twin sister, Ellie Blair passed away in utero and was born sleeping due to complications from Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). Heather's pregnancy was nothing that she expected, but she's found motherhood amazing. Heather found out she was pregnant and that she was having identical twin girls, and while she had some bleeding, everything looked great until her early second trimester. One of her babies was smaller and never really had much fluid after which they were diagnosed with TTTS and referred for laser ablation surgery. It was at that referral appointment that they learned that Ellie had passed away. Heather had a few weeks of everything going smoothly after that. Her liver enzymes were rising, and her blood pressure was elevated, and she spent the next several weeks in and out of the hospital until she delivered at 33 weeks via cesarean. She had always planned to deliver via cesarean but in the end, the hospital offered the option to deliver vaginally so that she could have a choice. However, Heather's platelets were low, and she decided to stick with the cesarean birth. Because Isla was early and still so small, they were told not to expect her to come out crying or making any sound but she was born screaming, and Heather told everyone, "I told you so!". Heather says that once her girls were born, it was the first time, in a long time she had thought of herself. She got to spend the day with her angel daughter Ellie while Isla was transferred to NICU and got pictures with her. She was finally able to see and hold Isla later that day. Isla didn't have any trouble breathing but was on a feeding tube and just needed some extra time in the NICU to learn to eat and grow. She was able to come home after a month and has been perfectly healthy since. Heather feels now that being a mommy is what she was always meant to do.
The amazing sisters Abby Roccapriore and Jenny Watrons with their children, Abby's son Rexford (11), and daughters Aurora (9) and Magnolia (2) and Jenny's daughter Linnea Jack (14 months). Abby and Jenny lost their mother to cancer 14 years ago, and their father was an alcoholic who lost his life to the disease two years ago. Jenny has also struggled but losing her father and having her daughter really put things in perspective.
Abby has pulmonic stenosis and had to have heart surgery herself at 5 months old. Because it is a congenital condition, she had to have extra monitoring and level 4 ultrasounds throughout pregnancy to ensure her children did not have it as well. Abby's pregnancy with Rex was unexpected and her while her pregnancy went well, she had a bad experience with her OB-GYN. She had a natural delivery at 42 weeks that was only 8 hours long. Unfortunately, he aspirated meconium and because he was born in a rural hospital, had to be airlifted to the closest higher level facility where he spent 3 days for monitoring but was totally fine. Her pregnancy with Rory was uneventful as well, and she was born at 41.5 weeks after an induction. Abby got divorced from her children's father when Aurora was 2 and was remarried to Magnolia's father a few years later. Her third pregnancy felt like being pregnant for the first time. She was induced at 42 weeks and says she had a horrible experience with a 24 hour labor with lots of intervention. She wasn't able to breastfeed any of her children as long as she'd hoped to but was able to get them all breastmilk in the beginning.
Jenny had a pretty easy pregnancy, and her delivery was harder than expected due to 2 failed epidurals. Before they could try again, it was time to push, and Linnea was born without complication. Jenny has just gone through a divorce, and things have been difficult as a single mother, but she's so grateful for her daughter. Jenny and Linnea now live on a farm with Abby and her family.
The breathtaking Charity Bell and son Max Archer (5). Charity has also been a foster mom to more than 100 children, mostly drug-addicted babies. Charity was a single foster mom for many years before meeting her now husband. When they met they had hoped to adopt their then foster child but after taking on his sibling decided that they didn't want their family to be complete right off the bat, and worked with the state to find them a forever family. Soon after, Charity got a call that the 3 month-old baby girl who they'd had from 10 days old was not breathing and then that she passed away. Charity decided then that she wanted a child that only God could take away. She went to her doctor and was told that there was no way she could get pregnant with her eggs so that she looked into adoption or donor eggs. She insisted on using her own and went through five cycles of IVF along with all the acupuncture she could squeeze in and finally Max was conceived. Charity greatly enjoyed her pregnancy and was able to have a vaginal birth although not without complication. She tore when she pushed him out and then hemorrhaged severely. Her placenta didn't detach and a resident reached in and pulled it out but ripped her stitches in the process. She had to be restitched and receive a blood transfusion. Charity and Max had a wonderful breastfeeding relationship until he was about 4. She continues to foster although only one baby at a time so that she can still focus on Max.
The amazing Patricia Cepeda with her son Daviel (2). Patricia struggled with infertility for some time before conceiving Daviel. She had two cycles of IUI and then tried timed conception, which worked! She loved being pregnant and was very healthy. Patricia had two premature labor scares before full labor at 36 weeks. She knew that Daviel was breech for most of the third trimester, so she had prepared herself for a cesarean but had hoped to for a natural, vaginal delivery. She tried everything before labor and during to get him to turn including chiropractic adjustments and exercises, but he stayed breech resulting in a cesarean birth. Patricia and Daviel have had a beautiful breastfeeding relationship, and she plans to continue until he self-weans. She is currently working with her specialist to begin fertility treatments again in hopes of conceiving baby number two.
The lovely Danielle Lettieri with daughter Margot (9 months). Although Danielle had a healthy and complication free pregnancy, it was not without anxiety. Having been born at 32 weeks herself, Danielle was apprehensive of her ability to carry Margot to term. Danielle had a quick and planned natural, drug, and intervention free delivery in a hospital with a backup doctor and doula. Margot was born only 12 hours early. So far, she and Margot have had a successful breastfeeding relationship and Danielle hopes to continue until Margot self-weans. Danielle says she least expected the physical toll her postpartum body takes on a day-to-day basis from bumping into things, kicks and baby pulling up on her.
The amazing Maria Aybar with baby Isabelle (8 months). Maria had an easy pregnancy with just a little morning sickness and developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy although she was able to manage it with diet alone. Isabelle was born 7 weeks early on her father's birthday. Maria went into labor knowing she wanted an epidural. They tried twice, and neither took, so she ended up delivering naturally and is so grateful that she did. She found the experience very empowering and said she didn't know what her body was capable. Thankfully Isabelle was perfectly healthy with no breathing issues and came home from NICU in two weeks. Maria says that motherhood has taught her more about patience, love, herself and the world than she thought possible.
The amazing women and children of the Holowach Family. Kristy Harrington, mother to Shelby (22), Mackensie (20), Zenaveve (13), Bella (7), Zephyn (4) and Zayer (7 mo). Katrina Holowach, mother to Kristy Ann (38), Stephanie (33), Jamie (30) and Jamie Sims, mother to Cole (2).
The lovely Jamie Sims with her son Cole (2). Jamie is active duty Navy getting ready for a 10 month deployment. She tried to get pregnant for 2 year before actually conceiving. At 35 weeks, she found out that Jamie had turned breech. At 36 weeks, she went in to try to have him turned and instead had to have an emergency cesarean delivery due to low fluid and his cord being wrapped around his neck. Jamie was able to successfully breastfeed for 16 months.
The lovely Sara Persechino with her daughter Kenley Skye (8 months). Sara was a senior in high school and just seventeen when she became pregnant for the first time. She was preparing to go to college and wasn't ready to be a mom, so she chose to terminate the pregnancy. She had a miscarriage just two months before conceiving Kenley. She was devastated and doubted the strength of her body. Her pregnancy with Kenley was very healthy; she ran until she was 7 months along and delivered in a free standing birth center. Her labor was 45 hours long, and her water never broke so her midwife had to help with that but it was otherwise intervention free. Kenley was put right onto her chest once she came out and began to nurse right away. Sara's placenta detached poorly, and she had a lot of hemorrhaging and had to be put on pitocin and oxygen making the next few hours a bit foggy. Thankfully she was able to recover and bring Kenley home the following day, and the two have a great breastfeeding relationship. Sara participated in the project because she doesn't want her daughter to have a negative body image. She said she often tries on 10 outfits a day and criticizes herself, and she doesn't want Kenley to see that.