The radiant Ruby Johnston with her daughter Louella Johnston (9 months). Ruby had a great, healthy pregnancy without hiccups. She had planned for a natural birth with no interventions at a birthing center. She started having contractions on New Years Eve and labored at home for quite some time, she went into the birthing center the next morning ready to have her birth but when they did her internal examination they felt Louella's bum rather than her head. They immediately sent her to hospital for a cesarean due to Louella's breech position. Ruby says the whole experience was quite awful but she didn't have a full birth plan which made her feel like she could be more flexible. She was very well supported by her husband and mother for the first six weeks after her delivery and her recovery went very well. Ruby loves breastfeeding and is adoring the relationship with her daughter. Ruby has had a hard time embracing her body and said that she hasn't looked at herself in her underwear even in the mirror in a long time but wants to love her body so she can teach her daughter to love her own, and some times it take brave, scary things to get there.
The amazing Chloe Halls. Chloe is mum to Thijson-Maddox (7), Oliver (6), Gregory (2) and Wyatt (1). Chloe never had a very close relationship with her own mother. She was mentally disconnected and struggled with alcoholism, leaving Chloe uncertain about motherhood herself. Her first son, Thijson was conceived while she was on Implanon (an implanted contraception) and while her pregnancy was unexpected, her son was very much wanted and loved and probably saved her live. Chloe was in a difficult relationship that became physically abusive the moment she told her partner she was pregnant. She was abused throughout her pregnancy, the worst of which happened right before she delivered when her partner attacked her with a knife for not having money for drugs or alcohol. Chloe was able to remain physically healthy and gave birth to her son without complication. Her second pregnancy was a surprise as well while still on contraception. She gave birth to another healthy boy without any real complications. After Oliver's birth, the abuse continued and despite calling the police every week she didn't feel they ever took her seriously. Chloe's breaking point was when Thijson was 18 months old, and his father attacked him breaking his ribs. The police took things seriously this time, and Chloe was finally able to get a restraining order against her partner. Sadly, her nightmare continued as she began to navigate the legal system and sort things out with her children and their father. Chloe's children were removed from her for 6 weeks with no contact at all, which was devastating to both her and her babies. Thijson has autism and regressed quite a bit while out of his mother's care. Chloe was court-ordered to take medication, making it nearly impossible to care for her children once they were returned to her. Ultimately, a judge decided that she could have custody of Thijson to help prevent further regression but ordered that Oliver should go live with his father because it was too dangerous, that he may "mimic" his elder brother's autism, even though the abuse had been clearly documented. Chloe then had to face separation from her son for weeks, then months, then the better part of two years but has just been reunited with her boys full time.
In the interim, Chloe met someone new who she is planning to marry in just a few months time, who has been the partner she's always needed and an amazing father to all her children. Gregory's conception was planned, and she had another uneventful pregnancy. He was her only baby she was able to successfully breastfeed and is proud to have made it to 7 months while pregnant with his younger brother. Chloe's birth with Wyatt was her most complicated. She had to be induced, but Wyatt was breech with his neck extended and they were worried that his neck could break in the birth canal. During labor, Chloe began to have blood pressure issues, so they prepared to deliver via cesarean. She was on a lot of medication to try to get her back on track and ended up being very out of it. On the way to the operating suite, she delivered Wyatt without even realizing it. Thankfully he was in good health, and she normalized pretty quickly.
Chloe is very much enjoying having her four boys reunited and looking forward to her upcoming wedding. She is very much looking forward to learning to love herself again.
The amazing Teniele Hartmann with her daughters Amaliah (6), Oriah (2) and son Finley (5 months). Teniele was just 19 during her pregnancy with Amaliah, and she found it to be very easy. She had planned to deliver at home and learned that Amaliah had turned breech. She labored for quite some time before her daughter began to experience signs of distress and they made the decision to transfer to a hospital. Thankfully, Amaliah stabilized and was able to be born vaginally without complication. Teniele's second pregnancy was physically much harder for her, but things progressed well, and Oriah was able to be born at home with Amaliah present for the whole thing. Finley's pregnancy was Teniele's most difficult and his delivery was fast and furious. From start to arrival, he came in about an hour and a half before her midwife or family were able to arrive. She says that things happened so fast, it took her a while to process that she'd actually had her baby and that he was hers. Teniele has been able to breastfeed all three of her children without issue. Amaliah for over 2 years, Oriah weaned at 17 months while pregnant with Finley, and he's going strong today.
The lovely Liz Welter with her daughters Grace (5) and Laurel (8 months). Liz has a bicornuate uterus, so her pregnancies were at much higher risk. She endured a lot of monitoring during her pregnancy with Grace and was kept on bed rest for much of it. Grace was breech as she simply did not have room to turn, and was born via cesarean at 39 weeks. Her second pregnancy was a bit more hands-off since she was determined to have a "proven" uterus, though she had to deliver via cesarean again due to Laurel's breech position. Liz had hoped to have natural deliveries at home before she learned of her condition and had to heal both emotionally and physically after her births. Liz has successfully breastfed both of her girls and is still nursing Laurel today. She struggled with anorexia and body image in her younger years and was able to seek treatment and recover. It is crucial to her to promote healthy body image in her daughters.
The amazing Erin Jacobsen with her daughter Mila (5) and son Eller (3). Erin had relatively healthy pregnancies with each of her children. The last few weeks with Mila, she had a tough time walking due to Mila's position and had to wheel herself around at work. Erin had planned to have a natural delivery in hospital and was disappointed to learn that Mila had turned breech in her third trimester. She did everything she could to get her to turn: acupuncture, yoga, swimming, even putting ear buds in her undies to encourage Mila to turn towards the sound. Nothing had been successful, so she scheduled an external version but arrived that day to learn her daughter was head down. At 42 weeks Erin still hadn't started to labor and had to be induced. After about 26 hours of labor, she was exhausted and still hadn't progressed past 7cm. After evaluating all of the information from her doctor, she chose to deliver via cesarean and everything went very well. For Erin's second delivery she knew she wanted a VBAC and thankfully had a very supportive OB and doula. She went into labor naturally this time, right around 41 weeks, and after about 24 hours of labor including 2+ hours of pushing she was able to deliver her boy without complication. Erin says she doesn't remember this part, but her doula told her that at some point while pushing she screamed out to the room, "I'm getting my VBAC"!
The wonderful Cecie McClelland Parker and her son Judah Marvin (18 months). Cecie suffered through Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) for the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy. She was vomiting 5-10 times per day and ended up missing a lot of work and preemptively using maternity leave. She didn't feel like she could do anything and missed her own sister's wedding because she was simply too sick to travel. Cecie was ultimately hospitalized, diagnosed and with medication, able to feel much better in the second half of her pregnancy. Unfortunately, after spending so much time in bed and being undernourished, she had muscle atrophy and was so weak it was hard to accomplish much. Cecie had planned for a hospital birth with a midwife and labor was going well but her son just wasn't coming. Everyone thought that they could feel his head and perhaps he was just stuck. After laboring for two days, a new midwife came on and ordered an ultrasound to check Judah's position only to discover he was breech. He wasn't budging, and she ultimately had to deliver via emergency cesarean. Two weeks after Judah was born, Cecie suffered a mini-stroke while at a doctor's appointment with him. She lost her ability to speak and had to be separated from her son while hospitalized to try to determine what had happened. After her traumatic pregnancy and birth, Cecie wanted to breastfeed and struggled with the possibility of not being able to provide milk to her son. The hospital didn't have an electric pump available, so she had to use a manual pump and her husband came to the hospital every six hours around the clock to grab milk for Judah. It was about 9 months before she felt recovered but is thankfully at 99%, other than some occasional short-term memory loss. It was ultimately determined that Cecie has a rare auto-immune disease called Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS or Sticky Blood Syndrome) that most likely caused the stroke. Aside from all of her challenges, Cecie was able to breastfeed Judah until he self-weaned at 17 months.
UPDATE: Cecie reached out to let us know that after seeking a second opinion it has been determined that she does not have APS. This is great news for her and her family. She is currently searching for answers as to what caused her TIA (mini-stroke) so that she and her husband can hopefully have another safe and healthy pregnancy.
The stunning Ryan Heath with her boys Paxton (4) and Asher (2). Ryan had a blighted ovum early on in her first pregnancy and she wasn't happy with how her current doctor was treating her. She eventually found a new doctor she was more comfortable with who provided treatment. When she got pregnant with Paxton she trusted her doctor and followed her lead. Her pregnancy was healthy but with her induction she ended up with interventions and ultimately delivered her son via cesarean. Ryan's pregnancy with Asher also culminated with a cesarean birth due to him going between transverse and breech. Despite having to grieve for the vaginal births she had hoped to have and unsupportive hospital staff Ryan was able to breastfeed both of her boys, Paxton until he was 2 and Asher is still nursing today.
The beautiful Sandra Rodriguez, mother of two beautiful girls Pilar Isabella and Ava Pilar (8 months). Sandra had a very healthy pregnancy with the exception of morning sickness her first few months of pregnancy. When she was 37 weeks she lost her mucous plug and since she had been feeling off, and not feeling Pilar move as much. Her sisters told her she had likely just started to descend, but when she got to the hospital they couldn't find a heart beat and an ultrasound confirmed that Pilar had passed away. Sandra was able to deliver her vaginally the next day and spent time getting to know her girl earth side. Two years later, she conceived again and while her pregnancy was very scary for her she had a great team of providers who allowed her to come in whenever she needed reassurance that everything was okay. Ava was breech so Sandra delivered via cesarean this time but had a smooth recovery and has a wonderful breastfeeding relationship.
The absolutely beautiful Kim Borchert with her youngest of 6, Zachary (9 months). Kim is also mama to Emma who would be 11, Seth (10), Amelia (8), Liberty (5) and Elliot (3). Kim had a healthy pregnancy with Emma and hoped to have a natural hospital delivery with midwives but Emma was footling breech. She switched to another midwife in the practice after she was asked to schedule a cesarean. Her water ended up breaking and she delivered a beautiful healthy girl via cesarean a few days later. Kim had a difficult start breastfeeding Emma, which along with her birth pushed her to learn and advocate for herself in the future and plan for a birth center birth. Devastatingly sweet Emma passed away at 8 months due to SIDS. Kim grieved and says that her arms literally ached to hold her baby. Two months later, she learned she was pregnant with Seth. Kim badly wanted a VBAC but the birth center wouldn't allow it, so she planned for a home birth. Things went beautifully and every two years there after she had a very healthy pregnancy and baby born with her and his or her siblings at home. Zachary was her easiest pregnancy but Kim was anxious about his birth and decided not to have her other children present. While her delivery went well, Zachary wasn't breathing and had to be resuscitated by her midwife. She performed CPR for 9 minutes with breaks for Kim to rub his back and hold him and right around the 10 minute mark his APGAR went from 3 to 9 and he was out of the woods. Kim very much feels like Zachary made the choice to be here and he is so healthy and happy today.