Kellie Hoover (35), Millie (2), and Maxine (11 weeks)
Des Moines, IA
Kellie shares -
“I am fortunate to have not experienced a loss. When I was pregnant with Millie, the day before we were planning to tell our families we were pregnant, I started to bleed. I remember that night with tears still. I was certain I was losing my baby. After the grueling four days that it took to get an appointment, we found via ultrasound that there was a heartbeat. I have never felt love like that before, and it blew my mind that I could love this tiny baby inside me so much. Over the next few months I continued to bleed, diagnosed with a hematoma, and was transferred from midwifery to perinatology. The doctors told us our chances of live birth was 50/50. After I was cleared from the hematoma, I was diagnosed with a uterine abnormality and told I would likely have to deliver early, in a hospital (we had planned for home), and perhaps even have a cesarean birth. It was an absolute roller coaster. But guess what? I ended up with a sweet home birth and a perfect little baby at 37 weeks.
I have never been skinny, but I have always been strong and fit. I was placed on pelvic rest (no exercise) during my first pregnancy. I gained an appropriate amount of weight, but felt huge. I remember feeling guilty for not loving my body like I hear so many pregnant women say. I had a difficult time losing weight after Millie was born - it took me a full year (running a businesses, pumping, running to nurse at daycare over lunch - no time for exercise), and then soon after I was pregnant again. My pregnancy with Max was hard on my body. I was sleeping little, nursing a toddler, running a business and opening another. I barely exercised and again, felt huge as I grew my baby. I developed stretch marks for the first time and experienced debilitating varicosities that had me exhausted at the end of the work day. I was much gentler on myself this time around, however. I had come to realize there are more important things than a tight tummy and running half marathons. My priorities have shifted greatly. Max was born 11 weeks ago, another home birth, and I have gotten more comfortable with a squishy belly.
I struggled postpartum with Millie. We had a difficult time nursing and I experienced major anxiety. It took me months to recognize that I was dealing with postpartum anxiety, and by that time it had mostly subsided. It made me realize the importance of postpartum support from others in the community. I truly struggled more after Max, though. Millie was 22 months old when she was born, and she wants momma all the time. She adores her sister, but still needs me so much. I have had to work through a lot of guilt, even before Max was born, for taking time and energy away from Millie. I know they will be the best of friends and that a sister is a wonderful gift, but its so hard to not be able to give your toddler everything they need emotionally. I am still working on this.
I am a healthcare provider and I care for moms in all walks of life, in all stages. I want to be empowered and to empower others. I want moms (and dads) to know that it is okay to not be okay. We all struggle. But if we work on what is on the inside even half as much as most of us work on the outside, we would all know how beautiful we are. Once we see beauty inside ourselves, we see it in others as well, allowing us to spread more love and acceptance - not just acceptance of what our bodies look like, but what color our skin is, what gender we choose, what religion we follow.”