Megan returned to our studio today to show off her new baby girl Fiona (1 month). After her first traumatic birth experience with Ellie, Megan wanted nothing more than a healing natural birth and that's just what she was able to experience. She had been in labor off and on for a full month before she woke up on her due date in full labor. She labored at home for a bit before going to the hospital where she met her midwife and was accompanied by her husband and mother. She asked for an epidural at one point which her midwife said she could have but reminded her that by time they got it ready she could have her baby in her arms so she continued to labor without. Megan was asked to move to the natural birthing suit and says she ran down the hallway in her AC/DC t-shirt and a bed sheet pausing for a contraction. When she got there she was in transition and Fiona was born quickly after. Megan's husband was able to do skin to skin with the new baby while she was cleaned up and delivered the placenta. She commented on how amazing she felt afterwards and even her husband said he hadn't fully understood how traumatic her first birth was until he saw her happy and active after Fiona's delivery. Fiona just had a lip tie corrected but is otherwise nursing like a champ.
The magnificent Nicole Melton. Nicole is mom to Sophia (6), Allie (4), Ethan (22 months) and is currently 15 weeks pregnant with her fourth. Nicole and her husband were just dating when she conceived Sophia and during her pregnancy her husband was deployed to Iraq. At 27 weeks Nicole began to experience some very intense gastro pain. She couldn't alleviate it and made a point of mentioning it at her appointment already scheduled for the next day. She was scheduled to have her glucose test but couldn't keep the liquid down. They began testing her and she was quickly diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome. As she struggled to wrap her head around what was happening and how she could keep her liver enzymes down it was determined she needed to deliver emergently. She was put under general anesthesia and Sophia was delivered via cesarean at 27 weeks weighing just 2 pounds. Nicole struggled to connect to with her daughter when she was finally wheeled into the NICU to see her and wasn't certain if she tell her husband and distract him from his deployment. He was given 2 weeks of leave during which they were able to be together with their daughter in hospital and decided to get married. Sophia spent two months in NICU before coming home and is a very healthy 6 year old today. Due to concerns with uterine tearing, it was determined that Nicole would need to deliver any future babies via cesarean at 36 weeks gestation. Having not been awake for Sophia's birth she was nervous going into Allie's but things went well throughout pregnancy and delivery. Ethan's pregnancy and birth were without complication as well. Nicole had always hoped to have natural vaginal deliveries so never being able to experience labor or birth the way she'd imagined it was very difficult to deal with for quite some time. She was able to pump for Sophia's first month of life, nurse Allie for about 6 months and is still breastfeeding Ethan today. She is hoping to nurse through this pregnancy and hopefully tandem feed when this new baby arrives. Nicole chose to participate in this movement in hopes of spreading awareness and advocacy for HELLP syndrome. We hope she's able to continue to heal and celebrate her amazing journey through motherhood.
The amazing Koreena Ortiz with her son Kendrick (1.5). Koreena became pregnant with her son her junior year of high school. She had just made the cheerleading squad and though she was pretty sure she was pregnant, was worried about finding out for sure. She took a positive test and then waited to tell anyone else. About a week later, the day of her prom, her mom was suspicious and had her take another pregnancy test. When it was positive she was initially disappointed but chose to support Koreena through her pregnancy. Koreena had to tell her coach she was pregnant and could no longer be on the squad but continued to go to school and work. At 5 months she went into preterm labor due to dehydration and being on her feet too much but they were able to stop contractions. Koreena went into preterm labor again at 7 months after being tackled by a football player at school. She was able to carry Kendrick until two days prior to her due date. Kendrick wasn't breathing when he came out so Koreena wasn't able to see him right away but he was able to be resuscitated without further complication. She knew she wanted to breastfeed but her doctor told her she was too young. She decided to try anyway and still has a wonderful nursing relationship with her son. Koreena was able to finish high school with her class and is raising her son as a single mother with the support of her family.
The radiant Ruthi Moses with her daughter Lula (2.5). Ruthi is also mom to Lilian (5.5 - not pictured). Ruthi got pregnant with her first by surprise at 23. She says she was a little selfish and not quite ready to jump in but did it anyway and it's been great. Her pregnancy was boring (in the best of ways!) and she saw an OB throughout. She was induced per his recommendation on her due date and didn't respond well to the meds. She hadn't dilated at all so she had a foley catheter and her waters broken. She was trying to do it without medication but once the pitocin started, needed an epidural. She saw her OB for 5 minutes as she was pushing Lillian out and that was it. Ruthi says she didn't realize it until later, how traumatic the experience had been. She dealt with a lot of depression and needed to work through a lot of things in dealing with her labor. Ruthi had an early miscarriage in between Lilian and Lula and says that Lula's pregnancy stuck when Lilian was 2. She had a great team of midwives and a wonderful doula along with her husband present for her younger daughter's birth and says it was one of the most peaceful and empowering things she's ever done. The pain was fleeting and though she apologized for screaming her midwife reassured her that she had breathed her baby out. She didn't suffer postpartum depression after Lula's birth, or says she dealt with it in a different way, due to the support of the community of mothers she surrounded herself with. Ruthi nursed both of her daughters, non stop, for a cumulative 5 years, 2 months, 11 days and some odd hours. Lula recently weaned and Ruthi says she couldn't imagine doing it any other way. It was important to her that Lula could take a bottle of pumped milk so her husband could pitch in. She says she was clenched with Lilian and no one else could step in which may have contributed to her depression so she learned to unclench this time. Ruthi suffered another miscarriage on February 2nd and says, "I'm choosing to use this experience as a documentation of my body at this point, and to help me move on".
The radiant Erin Ramirez with her son Donovan (11 months).
Erin was ecstatic to have her positive pregnancy test with Donovan and she had a healthy, enjoyable pregnancy. Just passed her due date her doctor had her come in for an elective induction. Donovan's heart rate started dropping and Erin wasn't dilating past 1cm so after attempting to labor for a bit longer she was taken for a cesarean. Erin says that on that table with all the medicine she felt like she was going to die but it was the best thing for her son. Erin says it was determined that Donovan had a very short cord and with his heart rate dropping with every contraction who knows what would have happened had she continued to carry for another week or two. Erin and her husband have been trying to conceive and she just lost her first pregnancy to miscarriage about a week ago which has been difficult for her. She and Donovan have a wonderful nursing relationship and she says she doesn't plan to stop any time soon. She will continue trying for another child as soon as the time feels right. Erin says that she was made fun of as a child quite a bit and even had family members comment on how she looked or walked. She's had a difficult time with her body image because of it but wants to finally embrace herself and the amazing power of being a mother. She says that it is more difficult than she ever imagined but also so much more wonderful.
The magnificent Jessica Mederos with her daughter Alana (3 months).
Jessica and her husband knew they wanted children and they had a lot of close relatives who they wanted to meet their future children so she went off of birth control right after their wedding. She was surprised to conceive within just two months. Her pregnancy went very well other than some morning sickness that lasted throughout and some swelling. She had hoped to have a mostly medication and intervention free labor and deliver but says that once she got to the hospital things quickly changed. She was told she should probably get an epidural right away and hooked up to Pitocin which led her to consent for one before long. Not much was happening but after about 24 hours she was told by a nurse she was complete and she could start pushing. She pushed for about 45 minutes before a doctor came in and told her she was only 8 cms and need to stop. Alana was ultimately born via cesarean. Breastfeeding was difficult at first but Jessica has settled into a routine of nursing, pumping and supplementing with formula that works very well for her family. She wanted to document this moment in time with her daughter and join this movement of women normalizing birth and bodies in hopes that her daughter isn't subjected to the same societal standards that she grew up with herself.
The amazing Sandy Jorgenson and Margot (17 months). Sandy and her husband tried to conceive for about 14 months before getting pregnant with Margot. Sandy was okay with the wait until right up to the 12-month mark when she decided they should probably both get checked for infertility issues. Her husband checked out fine after which she started to worry that she had issues. Everything looked good on her end too, and she learned the HCG procedure she had to check her uterus and fallopian tubes for blockages could actually increase her chance of pregnancy. 9 days later, their daughter was conceived. Sandy had a very healthy pregnancy and very much enjoyed being pregnant. She had hoped to have a entirely natural, drug-free birth and was able to birth her daughter in the water. Sandy had a 3rd degree after delivery, and part of hymen tissue had prolapsed and was stitched up improperly. She was told that she would heal naturally, and the tissue would retreat, but that didn't quite happen. She spent the next several months in significant pain and had trouble sitting and walking. At 4 months postpartum, depression set in and at 5 months, she was finally able to have reparative surgery. It was still almost a year before Sandy felt herself again. She and Margot have a wonderful nursing relationship and are still going strong.
When reflecting on her journey and decision to participate in the project, Sandy so beautifully said, "Never in my life have I felt more powerful, more beautiful or so strong as I have since having Margot. Growing, birthing and raising her has been my greatest pride and my most profound accomplishment. And the reason why I wanted to participate in this project is because I want to do my part in showing how strong we are as mothers. Stripping down and baring our bodies and our souls for the 4th Trimester Bodies Project requires us to be brave, and to be strong - and these things in themselves render us beautiful. I'm infinitely blessed and so proud to stand with the women who've spearheaded this wild expedition that is motherhood, and with those who have fearlessly blazed the trail before me and beside me. "
The amazing Fiona Robinson with her son Arthur (1). Fiona is also mom to Evan (5). Both of her pregnancies were healthy and without issue, and both of her boys were born at home with the same midwife. Evan came very quickly with her midwife arriving just 9 minutes before he was born. Thankfully, the midwife was able to make it to Arthur's birth with some time to spare, but her labor and delivery still progressed very quickly. She was able to breastfeed both of her babies and Arthur is still nursing today. Fiona was involved in gymnastics, ballet and figure skating growing up, all of which very much affected her body image negatively. She has since been able to recover and stays healthy through running. She completed her first half marathon when her son was just a year old.
The beautiful Maggie Keller with her son Jack (20 months) and daughter Grace (4 months). Maggie says that her journey to motherhood started well before she had children. When she was 22, she had the word Grace tattooed on her ribs which to her, as a Christian woman, means undeserved love. She felt that through her religious life and even more so as a mother. She has had two healthy pregnancies and two labors that weren't as she had hoped but resulted in beautiful, healthy children. She had epidurals with both but very long labors, 30+ hours with Jack and 40+ hours with Grace. She found out she was pregnant with Grace when Jack was only 8 months old and didn't feel ready at all to have two under two. She had planned to nurse Jack until he self-weaned but her milk dried up with her pregnancy. Thankfully, she was able to provide Jack with donor milk until he was a year old. She is still happily nursing Grace and all is going well. Maggie chose to participate in the project because while she feels her body may not measure up to the worldly standard, it is beautiful in her God's eyes.
The amazing Melanie Ayres with her son Oliver (2) and daughter Josephine (9 months). Melanie wasn't certain that she ever wanted children as she was very career-focused but chose to start a family and was able to get pregnant rather quickly, within 4 months for each of her pregnancies. Her pregnancies were healthy and went relatively smoothly. She struggled a bit with body image each time and had to remind herself that the changes were necessary for the growth of her children. She enjoyed feeling the babies and knowing that she was growing another life. She is a Professor who teaches Developmental Psychology so she was very well versed in birth options and choices but still felt a bit unprepared. She had a 24 hour labor with Oliver, 12 of which she labored at home. She had hoped to go mostly natural but did get fentanyl with each of her deliveries. Josie's labor was only 4 hours. She was pleased with both of her pregnancies and birth experiences, but the physical healing was challenging with both. Her first breastfeeding relationship was challenging at first, but they eventually got the hang of it, and she's still nursing Josephine today. Melanie says that the bond that has come with breastfeeding has been amazing, so much so she can't put into words how rewarding it is.