The wonderful Heidi Van Ven Rooy and her children Raffi (5), Winter (2.5) and Harlan (8 months). Heidi's first pregnancy was lost to miscarriage at 12 weeks due to a blighted ovum. She decided to stop trying after her loss and became pregnant with Raffi soon after. She was very ill throughout her pregnancy with sickness lasting all day, every day. Her waters spontaneously broke at 37 weeks, and she had a great labor lasting about 8 hours. She was able to have a natural delivery in which she felt very much supported. Heidi felt great after delivery and told her husband she could go through labor a million times over, but didn't wish to go through such a difficult pregnancy again. She fell into motherhood quite easily and very much enjoyed it. Heidi decided to try for another baby quickly but it took quite some time to conceive. She struggled with sickness again this time but did what she needed to to get through it with her toddler. At 36 weeks, Winter stopped growing and at 39 weeks they decided to induce. This labor was much more challenging, but only lasted just over an hour, which threw her into quite a bit of shock. She was shaking and felt disconnected from her daughter at first. She was worried she would drop her or hurt her that first night, and Winter screamed, likely in shock herself. Heidi had planned to have more children eventually but was surprised by her pregnancy with Harlan when Winter was about 13 months old. She struggled again with illness and accepting that she was pregnant again before she was ready. Heidi's mom was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was pregnant and helping her mom get to treatment and deal with the stress of such an illness made her pregnancy that much harder. The stress affected her in many ways, she developed Bell's Palsy at 16 weeks, got pelvic instability and felt that every time she went to the doctor there was another issue that came up. Her iron got too low, and she had to have an infusion but developed an allergic reaction. Just after, she had her 20-week scan and was sent to a specialist who determined that there was something wrong, but they couldn't determine what. At 39 weeks Heidi had a massive bleed. Doctors thought at first it was just the start of labor, but it was determined that her placenta had actually detached from her uterine wall. She had to have an emergency induction but wasn't told at the time how extreme it was. Her labor was only about 2 hours and 15 minutes this time, but she didn't go into shock and was able to bond with Harlan right away. It wasn't until after he was out that Heidi learned her placenta had started to die, and they only had about 4 hours before Harlan would have been in serious trouble. Harlan wasn't breathing properly and needed some monitoring when he was born. He was also Coombs positive and had to have blood tests every day. At this same time, Heidi was still taking her mum to her doctors and chemo appointments. Every appointment with Harlan they learned something new was wrong, he has two holes in his heart and his neutrophils (white blood count) is low. Harlan has required monitoring but is currently in good health. Heidi's mother has had to have a full mastectomy but is currently cancer free. Heidi feels that children should be taught to see our bodies for what they really are and wants to show her children that it's okay to be proud of your body.
The radiant Sylvia Rachid with her daughters Olivia (7), Leila (4) and son Isaac (10 months). Sylvia was the first of her friends to get pregnant and had a difficult time of it. Physically, she remained healthy, but emotionally, she struggled with feeling very alone. She had to be induced but failed to progress and ultimately delivered her daughter through an emergency cesarean. Her pregnancy with Leila was healthy for the most part, and she delivered via cesarean again. Isaac's pregnancy was a surprise and led to a lot of life changes for Sylvia. After two cesareans, her doctors wouldn't allow her to attempt a natural birth, so she delivered via cesarean again. Her recoveries all went very well, which she credits in part to being in shape and enjoying the gym. Her breastfeeding relationships have varied, Leila had a difficult time, and she had to express milk for her but things with Isaac have gone very well.
The amazing Annie Graves with her daughter Delilah (7 mo). Annie was able to have a very healthy pregnancy and successfully gave birth to Delilah at home. She was able to let go of a lot of control during her pregnancy but found a need to really grasp for control once her daughter was here. She discussed feeling very isolated in her daughter's first few months and struggled to find the balance between being a wife, a mother and herself. She was able to stay home with her daughter for 5 months and said that once she went back to work, she actually started to feel like she could be more present. Breastfeeding has gone really well so far, Annie's milk came in on day 2 and other than some engorgement issues things have been great. She has to pump while at work and unfortunately hasn't been responding well and just recently made the difficult decision to start supplementing so she can keep up with her daughter's needs.