The magnificent June Mustari with her daughter Josephine Rose (3.5 months). June and her husband decided to go to Hawaii, get married and make a baby and that's just what they did. Conception was a breeze and she says that her pregnancy was truly the best time in her life. Things were very uneventful and she felt more energetic and comfortable than she had. Labor, however, is when June says things began to shift drastically for her. She had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery with midwives, however, Josephine swallowed a lot of meconium and was born limp. It took about 10 minutes for them to clear her airway enough for her to cry and she was taken to NICU to be sure she was stable. In the midst of this June had begun to bleed out and her midwife had to manually extract her placenta. June says that she didn't even realize that this was supposed to be painful because she was so concerned about her daughter. Somewhere between her birth and leaving to the hospital June started to feel the depression start to flood in. She was able to continue with medication through pregnancy but dramatically noticed her hormones shift postpartum which lead to one of the most difficult time she's ever had. June had planned to breastfeed all throughout her pregnancy but after speaking with several pediatricians about the potential withdrawal symptoms for Josephine from her antidepressant medication, she decided that she just couldn't put her daughter through that and decided to stop nursing a week postpartum. Thankfully, June had a friend who very generously donated enough breastmilk to get through her first two months and she was able to use 'Human Milk for Human Babies' for direct donor milk as well. June says that while she's still having some ups and downs she in a very good place today. She wanted to participate in the movement in time because in the chorus of voices telling us how to or not to "get our bodies back" after baby she acknowledges that motherhood is in fact about becoming someone entirely new. In every facet of your being you become a new person, and things are changed in such a way that being who you were before is impossible. This new person, new mother, new woman is who June is finding her comfort and celebration in today.
The lovely Elisabeth Williams with her daughter Alice Jane (13 months). She is also mama to Charlotte (6). Elisabeth had an amazing first pregnancy. She breezed through and went into labor on her own about 10 days early. She only labored for 5 hours without any medication. They didn't know if she was a boy or girl and it was so intense when they put the baby on her chest and asked if she wanted to know what it was, she said no. Labor was so intense she just needed a moment to breathe and asked they just take the baby away. They wrapped her up and brought the baby over and her husband told her she was a girl. Her first pregnancy had been unplanned so they decided to waited a while to conceive again. It took almost a year to the day for her to conceive. She had another relatively easy pregnancy. Around 32 weeks she hadn't felt Alice move very much so she tried to track movements and then went to the hospital. They couldn't find a heartbeat for 20 minutes and the nurse said maybe the baby had passed. They did an ultrasound and were able to find a heartbeat and confirm that nothing had happened and everything was actually fine. Elisabeth says that even with the reassurance her daughter was okay it clouded the rest of her pregnancy and changed her view on having more children in many ways by turning pregnancy into this thing that rather than always be happy and beautiful to something that could be scary. When she went into labor with Alice her water broke with no contractions and had lots of meconium so they went right in. She had planned to have another natural delivery but as thing progressed her daughters heart rate was all over the place. She had to stay in one position for things to be okay and then realized how much she'd relied on positioning and walking to cope with the pain of her first labor. She asked for an epidural and it was like magic. Alice's heart rate kept jumping and dropping and her midwife said the doctor was concerned and wanted to do a cesarean. They agreed to give her a little bit of time but about 15 minutes later she had two big contractions and her daughters heart rate dipped very low and didn't come back up. They rushed her in for an emergency cesarean and it turned out that Alice had wrapped herself in her cord like a ribbon dancer from her toes to her chest and was too stuck to come out. When they pulled her out and she cried Elisabeth was so relieved but then didn't see her for hours because she was so out of it. Elisabeth ended up loosing a lot of blood and needed a transfusion after which she felt much better. She says that she has never had issues with her body even after first pregnancy but after her cesarean birth her body has never been the same and she's really struggled with who she is now and accepting that it will never be the body she had pre Alice. Even though she wouldn't change it for world it's been a very different place for her to be in. She wanted to participate to reclaim who she is as a person and accepting all of that.
The amazing Nona Jenson, mother to Lennox (5) and Leo (3). Nona had healthy pregnancies with each of her boys and planned homebirths. She was diagnosed with placenta previa and had to put her plans on hold for much of her pregnancy but at her 35 week scan her placenta had moved up, and she was able to birth at home. Her water never broke, but labor continued to progress, which was great, as it was thick with meconium and would have required a hospital transfer. Her labor itself was long, and she had hoped to deliver in the water but every time she got in, labor stalled out. So plans changed, and Lennox was born in bed without complication with two midwives and an assistant. Her second pregnancy was wonderful as well. Her water broke this time which she found surprising and things progressed very quickly. She was determined to have a water birth, so everyone rushed to get the tub filled in time. After only about an hour and a half of active labor Leo was born into her husband's arms and brought up to her chest. She was able to nurse each of her boys for their first six months of life before weaning. Through her personal experiences and that of those close to her, she has become an advocate for supported birth choices such as doulas, midwives and homebirth.