The amazing Mori Anderson with her son Taurrean (5.5) and daughter Aubrey (10.5 months). Mori had a mostly uncomplicated pregnancy with her son. She really enjoyed it but began to have some difficulty near the end which they thought may be lupus so the choice was made to induce. She labored for over 24 hours before Taurrean was born and while it was a challenge says that it was a great experience. Mori's and her fiancee tried to conceive for 2-3 years before she was able to get pregnant with Aubrey and she says it's just when she put it behind her and stopped trying that she discovered she was expecting. This pregnancy was much more taxing for her due to a kidney disease that was diagnosed after her sons birth. At 19 weeks it was suggested she consider terminating her pregnancy due to concerns for her health but Mori decided it was worth the risks. She dealt with a lot of swelling and weight gain due to edema and went into labor a nearly 3 weeks early. Her labor however was just 5 hours and she says she felt like she could have sneezed and pushed her daughter out. Mori didn't breastfeed her son but knew that she wanted to try with her daughter. She was able to have her skin to skin for a couple hours after birth and when Aubrey was ready to nurse, had a perfect latch. Mori says that within her community there isn't always a lot of support for nursing but she loves it and hopes to continue at least until her daughters first birthday. Mori struggled a lot with the changes in her body following her most recent pregnancy and found herself comparing her body to other women and even her prebaby self while feeling poorly. She's now shifted her perspective and has grown to enjoy her tiger stripes and soft parts for all that they've given her and says that she now enjoys having a softer place for her children to lay their heads.
The stunning Heather Schoone with her sons Adrian (6), Hank (2.5) and Harrison (5 weeks). Heather was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) at age 8 but has been symptomatic her entire life. Because of her disease and the medications she takes, she has to plan her pregnancies so she could stop taking some of the medications. It took Heather and her husband a very long time to conceive their first child. They had actually gone through the process of adoption but it fell through the day the baby was born. They finally conceived Adrian a year later. Heather said she didn't do a lot of research and was pretty naive so her pregnancy and delivery was pretty typical, she just went to the hospital, got an epidural and had her baby. Thankfully, her RA went into remission after her first trimester. It took them about two years to conceive Hank, and Heather had a lot of difficulty in her pregnancy. She didn't go into remission this time. In fact, things got worse. The only medication she could take was prednisone which led to issues with edema and blood pressure. Her doctor refused to do an induction and when Heather finally went into labor, her blood pressure was dangerously high. She was able to have a natural delivery but Hank had a difficult time regulating his blood sugar and temperature which was very scary to watch. She was able to conceive Harrison within the first month of trying and says his pregnancy was her easiest. Her RA went into remission almost immediately and she is still in remission 5 weeks after his birth. She had a slow labor for about 12 hours, got in the tub and went from a 5cm to complete within an hour and pushed for 1 minute and 40 seconds, and he was born without issue. Heather has been able to nurse all of her boys but for varying lengths due to her need to resume her RA medications. She's always had low supply and needed to supplement with formula but has tried to breastfeed for as long as she can.
**Update: Heather emailed following her shoot acknowledging that there was an important part of her story she'd left out. I feel it's best understood in her words, please read below:
"After my son Adrian's birth I started to struggle with postpartum depression. I think that it was partly due to circumstances in my life & partly due to my past history of depression. About a month before Adrian was born, I learned that my father who had cancer was given a year to live. My father died when my son was 10 months old. Two months after that, I started graduate school. I never took time to really grieve. I let everyone else grieve & tried to take care of my family members who were struggling. I never acknowledged my feelings & hid them from my husband. I didn't want anyone to think I was weak (which I suppose is part of why I didn't share this information with you at the shoot). It would take over a year before I finally admitted that I needed help & started receiving treatment. Fortunately, I didn't experience any issues with postpartum depression after the births of my other boys. But I was prepared & so was my husband if I started having any signs or symptoms."
The beautiful Amanda Long with her identical twin boys Creighton and Wesley (21 months). Amanda learned early on that she was expecting identical twins and had to deal with all of the pregnancy challenges that brings. She required lots of extra monitoring and started going into preterm labor throughout her second trimester. She also gained over 100 lbs mostly due to edema which led to preeclampsia and toxemia. Her labor was able to be stopped at the hospital each time. When she was 32 weeks along she went into hard labor that couldn't be stopped and had to deliver her boys via cesarean. They spent time in the special nursery to feed and grow but were able to come home in one months time. It took Amanda's milk 19 days to come in which was tremendously difficult for her as she'd always planned to breastfeed. After delivery, Amanda's ovaries enlarged to 15cms each, a side effect of PCOS. Amanda doesn't plan on having any more children after her traumatic pregnancy and delivery but says that being a mother has changed her entire life for the better.