The lovely Joya Van Der Laan with her children Sophie (2.5) and twins Emily and Jude (10 months). Joya had a healthy first pregnancy with Sophia but had a more difficult time with her labor. She chose to not have an epidural and struggled with the pain but was able to deliver her daughter vaginally without intervention. She had hoped to space her children farther apart but got pregnant and soon discovered she was having twins. She had another healthy pregnancy and this time opted for an epidural. She was worried that she would regret it but didn't at all. She had a difficult time getting in the groove of breastfeeding her twins but they are both still nursing beautifully today.
The gorgeous Jamie Falls with her daughters Abigail (2.5 years) and Amelia (10 months). Both of Jamie's pregnancies have been healthy, her daughter Abigail was born in hospital without complication. While 20 weeks pregnant with Amelia she broke up with her OB during an ultrasound and told him she was planning a homebirth instead. Amelia was successfully born in the water at home. Jamie is tandem nursing both of her girls.
The lovely Danielle Gray with her daughter Chloe (5) and son Russell (10 months). Danielle learned that she had a heart condition in college but it was left mostly untreated until she was pregnant with Chloe. She had to see a cardiologist throughout her pregnancy and though pregnancy greatly aggravated her symptoms, she was able to carry Chloe to term. She had fainting spells and had to pay very close attention to her limits as she was much more tired than usual. Pain is a trigger for her heart to get out of rhythm or speed up so she knew going into labor that she would need an epidural. She had a very short labor, only 4 hours from start to finish, and thanks to her pain management she was able to deliver vaginally without issue. She tried for quite some time to get pregnant again and was nervous as to how her body would react a second time. While she felt less sick with Russell's pregnancy, her heart symptoms were heightened. She again carried to term by managing her day to day carefully but had a heart attack during his delivery. Thankfully she was able to push him out quickly and he was born healthy but taken to NICU so that her team of doctors could focus on her. Danielle had said goodbye to her daughter while in labor not knowing if she would make it and is so grateful for everyday. She hopes to soon undergo a needed heart surgery that will allow her to take the medicine needed to better manage her symptoms.
The lovely Grace Soraparu with her boys Thomas (9 months) and identical twins Morgan and James (2.5 years). Grace was very sick with her first pregnancy and lost a bit of weight but otherwise felt pretty good and said it was easy. She was induced at 38 weeks and had a scheduled cesarean birth since both of her boys were transverse. She breastfed directly for 3 months and pumped until they were 13 months. Her second pregnancy was great as well and while she went back and forth on whether to attempt a VBAC she ended up scheduling a repeat cesarean, in part because she didn't feel supported. She has had a successful nursing relationship with Thomas and she says he doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
The gorgeous Pita O'Donnell with her son Brock (8 months). Pita's first pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 12 weeks. Her pregnancy with Brock, after her loss was wonderful. She says that the pregnancy was easy and even her 14 hour labor was great. She had a rough start with breastfeeding and said that give the choice, she'd go through labor 4 or 5 more times than to have the pain and struggle of the first month working on latch issues again. Nevertheless, she and Brock have a wonderful nursing relationship today. Pita just found out that she is newly pregnant again and we wish her all the best!
The lovely Liz Mayer with her daughter Addison (9 months). Liz had a generally healthy pregnancy but felt sick all day, every day for the entire duration up to an hour before her delivery. There were concerns at a couple points about weight loss but she and Addison both came out of it healthy. The pair have a great breastfeeding relationship and she very much enjoys the time it gives her to not only calm her baby, but calm herself. Liz is a former dancer and cheerleader and she chose to participate in the project because while she doesn't have the best body she's ever had by typical standards, she now has the best body she's ever had because it gave her her daughter.
The wonderful Catherine De Marigny with her boys Taylor (2) and Andrew (10 months). Catherine herself is a 31 week former preemie. She had to have part of her intestine removed and went home with an ostomy then had to have another surgery to reconnect them leaving two large scars on her stomach. Other than plastic surgery for hernias and adhesions as a teen and the fact that she has worn bilateral hearing aids since she was 5 she hasn't had any major lasting issues related to her prematurity. Catherine herself is a NICU nurse and was adamant that she would never be a NICU mom. She labored with Taylor at 37 weeks and thought she was going to have a cesarean birth due to his heart rate dropping but her recovered and was able to be born vaginally after a long labor. He was very sleepy when he was born and kept forgetting to breathe and had to transfer to NICU for the next two weeks. Catherine wanted a much different experience for her second birth and found a group of midwives and a birthing center. She requested her membranes be stripped at 39 weeks and was able to delivery her healthy boy the next morning. After both of her pregnancies Catherine has suffered from Postpartum Depression that she is managing with medication. She hopes to have more children some day but wants to first continue to navigate her own mental health.
The gorgeous Justine Bursoni with her 4 month old baby boy, Ellis. Justine shot with us previously when she was 31 weeks pregnant. She had a wonderful pregnancy and just the birth she had hoped for. She hired a doula and was able to labor at home for as long as she wanted. She went to the hospital, refused an IV and a gown which helped her feel she was still in charge of her experience. She labored in the water for some time and was very supported by her partner and her doula. She delivered Ellis vaginally and he started nursing almost immediately.
You can view Justine's original post here: XXXX
The amazing Amber Stahl with her 9 month old daughter, Penelope (Penny). Amber had a healthy pregnancy, she went 9 days past her estimated due date and was induced. She labored in the hospital with an epidural and was able to have a vaginal delivery. She was very happy and excited to embark on her breastfeeding journey. Penelope latched in the hospital and it was painful but Amber expected it would be. The hospital's lactation consultant checked her latch and said everything looked good. She went home and continued to hurt, she was lacerated and bleeding and reached out to help. She had a friend and La Leche Leader come by who said she thought Penelope had a tongue tie. She did and while Amber was able to have it clipped within two weeks and sought the help of 5 more lactation consultants she was never able to get Penny to re-latch. She grew to prefer the bottles she had been pumping for her and had become a lazy eater. At two months Amber decided the emotions of having her daughter scream every time she put her to breast was too much and made the decision to pump exclusively. She has been doing so, even though it's been hard to keep up with. Her goal was a year and she says there is a light at the end of the tunnel as she has 2 months worth of milk saved and only has to get through one more month of pumping until she can know she reached her goal. She chose to participate in this photo-documentary specifically to shed light and support women who are exclusively pumping for their babies.
The phenomenal Dorren Odunsi with her daughter Anisa (11 mo). Dorren had planned to have a very fit pregnancy where she worked out everyday but was unable to her first 4 months due to morning sickness. When the morning sickness subsided she saw a trainer who told her that she shouldn't introduce any exercise she hadn't already been doing throughout her pregnancy. Even though she wasn't able to be as active as she hoped she had a healthy pregnancy. Dorren had desired a homebirth or a natural waterbirth and her husband was on board, but her OB questioned her decisions. She ended up delivering in a hospital and while she had hoped to avoid an epidural she was struggling through contractions. Her nurse told her that she wouldn't get a prize at the end of her labor for delivering natural, the prize would be her baby, either way and she agreed to have the anesthesiologist come back in. She was able to take a short nap, woke up ready push and in three pushes delivered her baby girl without complications. Dorren initiated breastfeeding and had a goal of 1 year but started having supply issues with pumping and decided to stop at 6 months knowing she did the best she could for her daughter.