The magnificent Cameryn Lee Miller and Adrian (3.5)
Cameryn's first pregnancy was going well. She was able to see her babies heartbeat at 6.5 weeks but then began to feel very ill. She was told that her gall bladder was inflamed and infected and needed to be removed immediately. As doctors prepared her for emergency surgery to remove it they reassured her that the procedure was perfectly safe and would not harm her pregnancy.
When Cameryn went in for a follow up ultrasound at 10 weeks she learned there was no longer a heart beat. Doctors diagnosed her with a missed miscarriage and she needed to take medication to help her body resolve the pregnancy. She was told that the baby most likely passed due to genetic issues, unrelated to her surgery, but she still felt extremely guilty and sad. Cameryn spent 3 days passing blood clots, accompanied by severe pain and thought that would be it but she ultimately needed a D&C. After the procedure Cameryn spent weeks still bleeding, her hormones were everywhere, and it took some time for body to regulate. She needed to get away so she and her husband decided to take a trip to Eastern Europe to escape.
After they returned home she started having symptoms of pregnancy again and was afraid her hormones were still out of whack. She took a home pregnancy test and got a positive result and then went to her doctor for blood work which confirmed her pregnancy. Cameryn says she was thrilled yet terrified. She spent her entire first trimester nervous she would also lose this pregnancy and when she made it to 12 weeks enrolled in a Bradley Method Class.
Cameryn says that the classes helped her feel empowered and believe in herself; she was determined to have a natural birth. As pregnancy progressed Cameryn once again started having anxiety and worried that something was not right. The baby was not moving very much and she would try to do kick counts, which he never passed. She spent a lot of time going back and forth to the doctor for checks and every time, Adrian was okay, he just wasn't moving a lot. Eventually Cameryn invested in an at home Doppler so she could check in on him which gave her some peace.
Around 36 weeks, Cameryn started having blood pressure issues and was closely monitored. At 38 weeks, she learned she was becoming pre-eclamptic and needed to deliver immediately via cesarean if her pressure was still high the following day. She was was devastated by this news and even more so when the following morning she learned that her amniotic fluid levels were also extremely low and Adrian was starting to become distressed. She shifted her goals to simply having a healthy baby in her arms and went to the hospital. Adrian arrived without complication via cesarean weighing 5lbs 6oz. Cameryn unfortunately had a very bad reaction to the drugs and grew sick and weak. She wasn't able to hold her baby because she was throwing up so her husband had skin to skin with him instead. After 6 long hours she was finally able to have him in her arms.
Cameryn was determined to start nursing but Adrian would not latch. He was already loosing more weight than he should be and she needed to supplement with formula. She again felt like a failure and was mad that she felt like her body was not doing what it was supposed to. The good news was that Adrian was still doing well and had gained back some of his weight. They continued trying to nurse at home with the help of supplements to increase supply and lactation support but she ultimately realized it just wasn't going to work for them.
As the months passed, Cameryn realized that Adrian was behind on some of his milestones and she began to panic. They had him evaluated and learned he was globally delayed in many areas and would need therapy. She worked diligently with Adrian and the therapist and he graduated from his therapy program at 2 1/2 and is now thriving.
Cameryn questioned her decision to become a mother and wondered if there was something wrong with her "Why did I not love this baby more, why was I so unhappy about motherhood, would I ever feel normal again?" She soon realized that she was dealing with postpartum depression she needed medication to overcome. "No one really ever talked about it with me and I wished they had. I now make sure to be open and honest with other women about my experience so that they know they are normal and not alone if they are having similar feelings. I have found parenting to be the hardest job I have ever had and at times overwhelming. I have been lucky to have a strong village of women around me, many of whom became first time mothers when I did. They are supportive, non judgmental and understanding. I am not sure where I would be without them. As women we all need our village. I see women who tear other women down for their choices and it breaks my heart. We should all support one another, no matter what your personal choices are as a parent. I truly believe as parents we are all trying and doing the very best we can for our families. I would like to see us all supporting one another more! The other thing I have learned through becoming a parent, is the importance of keeping a self identity for my own well being and health. I realized early on that I cannot be the best mother I can be, if I am unhappy or not feeding my own soul with the things that made me who I am. I make an effort to continue to do many of the things I love, take time for myself often, and surround myself with people who make me happy. My identity goes beyond "mommy"...I am a friend, wife, daughter, and individual and I hope that my son grows up to see what strong and beautiful looks. I want him to know that women can wear many hats and be great at many things! I want him to grow up to support and respect his partner no matter what they choose, even if society says otherwise. I want him to understand that there is not one size that fits all or a perfect mold, and he should embrace the imperfections in life."