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Category: Cesarean Birth

A Healing Surgical Birth

A Healing Surgical Birth

In 2009 (with my first pregnancy) I didn’t know how to navigate the system and advocate for myself. I knew I wanted a vaginal birth. And since everyone one of my family members have had successful pregnancies and deliveries I knew it was obvious I would too. So when I found myself very pregnant nearly 43 weeks with ruptured membranes and no contractions I felt confused and followed the system.

I was induced and meconium was present in my waters. Thirty-six hours later I was at 10 cm and pushing ineffectively. In the interest of keeping my story somewhat short… A c-section was called and I agreed. I was tired and baby was in a strange position (nurse could feel her ear) during the section the epidural (that was placed 12 hrs earlier) failed.

It was an awful experience for both myself and my husband. Another drug was administered that caused me to have issues breathing on my own. I remember vomiting while being strapped on my back, shaking and crying out uncontrollably. I didn’t get to see or hold my daughter until the next day. She was also diagnosed with craniosyntosis (where the scull is fused-no soft spot).

Fast forward to 2012. I’m pregnant and due to deliver a son in April. I’ve also lost 4 pregnancies and been diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety. I chose to VBAC because of my fear of a repeat section. I found a doula, used acupuncture and hypnobabies. I felt strong.

I went into labor on my own on my estimated due date. It was an amazing experience. Natural labor felt weirdly good. I was 7-8 cm when we arrived at the hospital.

Then the intervention started.

All part of “policy” I had to have an epidural (so it would be in place if a c-section was needed). They broke my waters to place the internal monitors. And I was on a bed. I made it to 10 cm with involuntary pushing. A catheter was placed and the epidural was turned on; I felt the bed swallow me.

And then they lost my sons heart rate. A code pink was called and we were rushed into a section under general anesthesia. That epidural was not needed. My son was was born within 5 min of the code being called in the delivery room. My bladder was damaged and my uterus had ruptured (I did not learn about the rupture until a subsequent pregnancy). My son was born with an APGAR of 1. I didn’t see him until the next day in the NICU flat on his back with lines and tubes.

Fast forward 3.5 years and 3 more pregnancy losses I’m faced with another section. And I’m terrified.

I had learned about the rupture while reviewing my surgical records with my OB. I know that a CBAC is the safest choice. I know that this is my last pregnancy and my last chance to be awake and aware for a delivery. But I’m terrified.

Will I find myself strapped to a bed choking on my vomit? Will I see that bloody hand over the drape? Will I feel like I’m dying? What will happen to my baby, will she be laying flat on her back with no one touching her? Will she live? What about my big kids, I need to be there for them. So many feelings!

October 14 I arrived at the hospital at 6:00 am. I didn’t sleep the night before. I fought off panic until 7:00 when I met with the anesthesiologist. I told him my experience and fears. He assured me he was the right person for the job. (And he really was!) I was allowed to have my hands free and he stayed with me until my husband was allowed in. He was calming, held my hand and talked me thru the panic.

The spinal was very effective. I couldn’t feel myself breathe but we worked thru it. He never once told me I was over reacting. He assured me I was able to breathe normally but it was okay to keep taking big breaths. He told me about his family and vacations. My husband was allowed in once they were ready to pull baby out.

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When they placed her on my chest, all was right in the world. I was the first to hold her and kiss her. When they were finished closing me up she went with my husband into the recovery room while they transferred me onto another bed. Then the 3 of us spent time together and I got to breastfeed right away.

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This planned section was so smooth. And recovery has been much easier even with a 6 & 3 year old at home. You CAN have a healing surgical birth!

{ Story and photos submitted by Nicole Traverse}

Next Time I Will Call the Shots – VBAC Home Water Birth {With Pictures}

Next Time I Will Call the Shots – VBAC Home Water Birth {With Pictures}

With my first child I was forced into a c-section and never given the opportunity to labor! The story is that I was 39 weeks, and was told at 40 weeks we would have an ultrasound, schedule an induction, and go from there. Well it turned out my OB NEVER scheduled the induction but rather scheduled a c-section. We went in thinking I was getting induced to find out two hours in I was having a c-section.

When my baby came into this world, I gave him a two-second kiss and he was off to the nursery. I went to recovery begging to go see my baby but I didn’t get to really meet him until he was almost two hours old. He wasn’t allowed to stay in my room with me overnight (hospital rules). I told them he was only going to be breastfed, but they still fed my son formula behind my back. I was wondering why he didn’t want the breast but I didn’t know why until I peeked in and saw for myself.

I was scarred and hurt, not only from that birth experience, but that he wouldn’t latch either. I said next time will be different and I will call the shots.

And IT WAS.

I had an amazing, empowering home water VBAC. I was diagnosed with CPD, but I pushed out an even bigger baby just fine. It was so beautiful! Daddy caught baby and a month later I am still breastfeeding! I Birthed Without Fear. Your page helped me a lot.

Thanks BWF!

{Desiree}

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I Am Strong Because I Am FREE!!

I Am Strong Because I Am FREE!!

I am strong because three months after my husband and I got married, we found out we were pregnant, and at 12 weeks, we lost the baby.

I am strong because after three months of waiting to try again, we found out we were pregnant for the second time, but at six weeks, I miscarried again.

I am strong because that very next month, I got pregnant for the third time. My doctor put me on progesterone supplements to help prevent another miscarriage, and soon we had a healthy, growing baby.

I am strong because on New Year’s Eve, I went in to be induced, and after only a few hours, my doctor told me I needed a c-section. She said my pelvis was too small and that I would never be able to give birth vaginally. Not knowing much about birth at all, and being totally unprepared, I had a c-section, and our beautiful son was born a few hours before midnight.

I am strong because even though I was in excruciating pain from the surgery, I continued to breastfeed my son and refused to give him formula.

I am strong because at 2 weeks old, my son’s pediatrician said that he was too small and told me to start supplementing with formula. Not knowing much, and being a scared first time mom, I listened.

I am strong because even though I supplemented, I kept nursing as much as I could. I started researching everything I could about breastfeeding and how to up my supply. I bought an SNS to help wean him off formula so that he could nurse exclusively again. I was prescribed medication to help increase my supply.

I am strong because when my son was a month old, I developed double mastitis, was put on antibiotics and was in so much pain, but I still continued to nurse.

I am strong because twice a week, I had to take my son to the pediatrician to have weight checks, and every time, I just heard about how small he was, until finally, his pediatrician said that my milk wasn’t good enough, didn’t have enough calories, and that I needed to stop nursing. Without running any tests, she decided that my milk wasn’t suitable for him.

I am strong because I went home that day and refused to stop nursing. I knew my son was fine and that he was growing like he should. I started looking for new pediatricians who would be supportive of my desire to nurse.

I am strong because when my son was 2 months old, I found a new pediatrician and canceled my appointment with the previous pediatrician.

I am strong because the next day, Child Protective Services came to my house and took my 2 month old away from me. I could do nothing but watch them take my baby. They said that we were an immediate danger to our son and that we were neglecting him because he was so small.

I am strong because CPS never told us where they were taking our son. We found out later that night that he was admitted to a hospital, but we weren’t allowed to know which one, or if he was okay.

I am strong because over 24 hours after they took our son, they called and told us to come to the hospital where he was, and that they had kept him overnight to run tests on him. They found nothing wrong, and encouraged me to keep nursing. They said that the previous pediatrician had called and said that we were starving our son, and that he was in danger with us. The hospital said that they would be reporting the pediatrician for lying to CPS and causing us so much distress.

I am strong because the hospital offered to test my milk and they found that I was producing an average of 60 calories per ounce! Way above average! I continued to nurse my son, and used donor milk from a friend to eventually wean him off formula.

I am strong because when my son was 9 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. Another boy!

I am strong because at my first prenatal appointment, my OB told me to not even consider a VBAC because I would never be able to do one, I was “too small.” She encouraged me to schedule my repeat c-section that day.

I am strong because shortly after I found out I was pregnant, my husband got orders to move to South Korea. We decided to move there with him and I would give birth there.

I am strong because even though my milk had almost dried up from being pregnant, I continued to nurse until my son’s 1st birthday!

I am strong because I started researching VBACs. I got my operation report from my previous OB and learned that the c-section was unnecessary, and that I COULD give birth vaginally if I wanted to! I immediately told my new OB that I wanted to try. I hired a birth doula to help me through the process.

I am strong because at 41 weeks, my doctor said that he had to induce me (per hospital policy) or give me a repeat c-section. Because this was the only military hospital in Korea, I didn’t have a lot of options. I chose the induction.

I am strong because even though I was in immense pain from the pitocin, I went eight hours without any pain medication. six hours later, I gave birth via successful VBAC to my second son!

I am strong because in the birth canal, he had swallowed meconium, and I wasn’t able to hold him until he was over 45 minutes old.

I am strong because I still haven’t been the first to hold either of my babies.

I am strong because my second son has never had anything but MY breastmilk! He is now 16 months old and still nurses four times a day, and yes, he is just as small. We just have small babies!

I am strong because I knew my mothering instincts were right and I protected my right to nurse, and my right to have the birth I wanted, even when I was told I’d never give birth that way.

I am strong because I was so inspired by my birth and my experiences, that I decided to become a labor Doula and am planning my next birth (not pregnant yet!) to be at a birthing center.

I am strong because even though I have never shared this story publicly, I am ready to help someone else out through my experiences.

I am strong because it has taken me years to trust people and doctor’s, but I am slowly starting to trust my children with other people, and to have faith in doctor’s again. I am slowly letting go of the past and looking to the future.

I am strong because I am FREE.

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Ladies & Gentlemen, Husbands & Wives, Mothers & Fathers: We Are Strong

Ladies & Gentlemen, Husbands & Wives, Mothers & Fathers: We Are Strong

I am Strong because I waited until the age of 32 to have my first child.

I am Strong because I saw our would-be son one day looking up at me holding onto the knee of the man who became the love of my life at the age of 28. Dream became Reality.

I am Strong because as the youngest of my home growing up, and the youngest in our family’s generation, I was not around young children much, so everything was new and exciting/frightening.

I am Strong because my husband made it home from his last deployment for the Army in 2010, and we made the happy decision to try and start a family.

I am Strong because five weeks into trying, the hubby and I went to the ER due to me having severe abdominal cramps. We found out after eight hours of waiting that we were less than 48 hours pregnant and in danger of losing the baby.

I am Strong because we also made the decision to do what it took to have me become a Stay-At-Home Mom; the call and eventual resignation from being in Property Management for almost a decade was bitter and sweet.

I am Strong because my pregnancy was filled with obstacles and unknowns, from start to finish.

I am Strong because our pregnancy took, and I was able to carry full term.

I am Strong because when we moved from Texas to Virginia, our insurance was suspended due to an employee’s typo, and we were forced to go without insurance for over 4.5 months of the pregnancy.

I am Strong because we had to ask a local 4D ultrasound locale for a session to find out how many and what we were having during the middle of the insurance nightmare.

I am Strong because our sweet baby boy blew a kiss to us on the ultrasound, one of at least three prior dreams that have become reality. (The DVD shows this amazing gift)

I am Strong because the pregnancy was high-risk from start to finish.

I am Strong because the natural hormonal surges that occur in pregnancy were so great that my hip and shoulder joints were prone to dislocation, making it hard to walk, sit, lift anything, or be comfortable.

I am Strong because despite all my efforts to consume the healthiest of things – the only true craving I ever had was for beer, not a winning scenario as it went unsatisfied – I gained over 50 pounds during the pregnancy.

I am Strong because we made a birth plan, but due to complications with my joints, had to settle for induction/possible csection as a backup.

I am Strong because at 41 weeks, I began having contractions. They lasted an entire week, but to no avail as I did not dilate.

I am Strong because we went into the hospital to be induced, only to have the first induction fail.

I am Strong because after the second induction was administered, my joints could no longer handle the hormonal surge and my right hip dislocated, causing me excruciating pain.

I am Strong because I was scared to death of having an epidural but made the decision to do so as my cervix was still not cooperative.

I am Strong because I had two extremely intense contractions during the administering of the epidural, but managed to stay still enough with the help of my husband so as to not incur any nerve damage.

I am Strong because the only progress the epidural produced was my water breaking.

I am Strong because after 72 hours from being admitted, our son’s heart rate began dropping with contractions. It was decided a csection was eminent.

I am Strong because I sang hymns while being rolled into the OR, strapped to the table, to calm my nerves.

I am Strong because it took over five rounds of pain blockers to get my body to cooperate to have the procedure.

I am Strong because upon delivery, it was discovered our dear son had the cord wrapped around his neck twice.

I am Strong because after being wheeled into the recovery room while our son went to be tested/weighed, the nurses had turned the television on in the room.

I am Strong because our son was born the morning of the tsunami in Japan, March 11, 2011.

I am Strong because I felt at the same time immense joy for his new life, and ultimate sorrow for the tens of thousands of lives who were washed from this earth that fateful day.

I am Strong because we finally had a healthy baby boy!

I am Strong because I found out through two sessions with a domineering and condescending lactation specialist that I had inverted nipples and would eventually not be able to produce enough breastmilk to meet our son’s needs. I was not able to experience the deep bond with our son that so many others are blessed to have.

I am Strong because I left the hospital weighing more than I did while pregnant due to the amount of fluids and medications administered during these events.

I am Strong because the first week of having our son home also involved suffering through a reaction and withdrawal from a medicine the nurses gave me that I had previously admitted being allergic to on top of recovering from the surgery.

I am Strong because though our son was healthy, we noticed him having consistent tummy troubles. At the age of 2, he began having the same symptoms I have experienced as an adult with IBS, but at such a young age.

I am Strong because we had many trips to the doctor and even the ER but to no finite clarity on how to help our sweet boy.

I am Strong because our son suffered open sores for seven months during this ordeal.

I am Strong because I made the decision to attempt fixing his troubles through an elimination diet. It took over a year to find the source of the problem, mainly being all grains, but within a week of a completely benign diet, his sores healed and we began to enjoy watching him be a little boy with no more pain, only joy and curiosity.

I am Strong because our family is now on a modified paleo – low FODMAP lifestyle, with all of us having seen significant improvement in our health.

I am Strong because I only discovered Birth Without Fear through an acquaintance’s chance post on Facebook.

I am Strong because I wept with grief and relief to see how not alone I am in this world of traumatic births.

I am Strong because I’ve been able to lose all the weight I had gained and be more healthy now than ever before.

I am Strong because my Husband never left my side, from start to finish. He is my Rock, and I will Love him until my last breath.

I am Strong because we want a daughter.

I am Strong because we may not be able to have any other children.

I am Strong because I rejoice in the glorious secret world that is our happy home with my husband and son.

I am Strong.

Ladies, Gentlemen, Husbands, Wives, Mothers and Fathers:

We are STRONG.

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Infertility, Twins And A Healing, Compassionate Cesarean Birth Photographed in OR

Infertility, Twins And A Healing, Compassionate Cesarean Birth Photographed in OR

I met Tara late in her third trimester when she contacted me about birth photography. We met at her house and as I walked through the door, I liked her immediately. She is a dancer; and their home was filled with music, art, and lots of love. I knew it would be a beautiful birth experience, and I was grateful they chose me to document the long awaited birthday of their twins. Tara hoped to deliver her surprise gender babies vaginally at a local Denver hospital, with a well-loved OB in the birth community.

At the babies 37 week appointment, Tara’s blood pressure had suddenly risen and her doctor felt induction was the safest option for her and the babies. She went to the hospital later that day and a gentle induction was started by breaking Baby A’s bag of water. As the day progressed Tara and Tim worked together to bring the babies earthside; they listened to music, danced in the hallways, and sent loving vibes to the twins. But the babies didn’t budge. The next day Pitocin was started; they danced more, sat on the birth ball, meditated, and worked through each contraction together, but the babies stayed put. Throughout all of the induction, Tara handled the contractions naturally, with no pain medication, as she had planned. She was graceful and beautiful throughout the long process.

After over 24 hours of Baby A’s water being broken with little progress, it became time to consider other options. Their doctor gently suggested a c-section, it wasn’t emergent, but probably necessary at that point. As their photographer, I was concerned about not being allowed into the c-section with twins. But their OB advocated for me to get in with them, and I was thrilled. Not only was this my first c-section that I was allowed into the operating room, but as a c-section mama myself, I was excited to capture these moments for Tara. I remember vividly what the “other side” of the blue curtain felt like. It feels worlds away and I wanted to show her how she was beautifully giving birth to her babies.

Tara and Tim walked to the operating room hand in hand, they gave each other a tearful kiss goodbye and dad and I waited outside the door for the long 15 minutes before being allowed into the room. When we entered there was a full nursing staff for each baby, and the operating team. Their nurse gave me prime seating to take photos, and I was able to capture moments on both sides of that blue curtain for them. When it was time for the babies to arrive, everyone in the room was full of emotion, they could feel the amazing vibe of love and positive energy the couple had. Everyone was excited to see who these were too!

Baby A came out, hands up to the heavens, singing to his parents, the OB showed baby to dad to announce the gender, it was a BOY! Tears filled my eyes, and I looked over at their nurse, who was crying as well. A few short minutes later Baby B came out, breech and bottom first with little fists clenched. The doctor held Baby B up, and dad announced it was a GIRL! Everyone was shocked! A boy and girl; healthy, strong and perfect in every way. Dad immediately did skin to skin with his son, then his daughter, and then both of the babies, right in the operating room. One of the nurses told me she thought that was a first for their hospital, skin to skin on dad with twins in the operating room! Mom held and kissed her son and then daughter, it was truly a beautiful moment as the couple looked at each other with such love and joy.

The babies were born on Friday, the day the Supreme Court ruled that all couples could marry, regardless of gender. They were born on a day full of love, and it’s perfectly fitting for this family. Their birthday was full of love, all around. It was not only beautiful and incredible, but it helped to heal my heart as a c-section mama myself. I was able to share with Tara that her daughter came with her bottom first and fists clenched, and her son singing to the heavens. I was able to give them moments their eyes couldn’t see.

Welcome to the world twins, your life will be full of love, fun, music and dance. Thank you for allowing me to share in this day. I truly have the most amazing job in the world.

Photos by Jennifer Mason Photography
http://jennifermasonphotography.com

Chaos. Life. Birth. {A Pretty Pushers Mama}

Chaos. Life. Birth. {A Pretty Pushers Mama}

Ever had your house robbed, car stolen, an emergency c-section, an emergency scar eruption, and a move to New York City within a matter of days? This is the story of our dear friend, Lisa Berger, President of Cranial Cradle. She wrote it as she re-lived it. She comes out feeling nothing but gratitude. You are one strong chick, mama! – Pretty Pushers

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Three days prior to being induced our house was broken into and car was stolen. This was the beginning of our birth story.

We now needed to change the locks, bank accounts, rent a car to get to the hospital, buy a new car seat and base, get our house back in order after cops were there all night with fingerprint dust everywhere and every room turned upside down. Not go into labor with all of this going on and our home not sealed properly. Breathe. It’s ok. We are not hurt, it’s ok.

Easter Sunday arrives and we have a lovely meal after no sleep and a lot of cleaning. I turn in early to get some rest for an early induction. No sleep. Can’t sleep. We go in 18 hours later, but the baby is in duress and she needs to come via c section. Go under at 1 am and she is born at 1:26am.

She is everything I ever dreamed of. I know her. She is mine and I am hers. She knows me. She doesn’t want to leave me. We are safe, we are alive, we are full of joy.

And very sick now from the meds. Time passes by and we finally get some sleep while the baby is with the doc. We are kept in the hospital for seven days which was fine by me. Baby boot camp with the best nurses I have ever met. And it felt safe.

We were released. Still no car, so we go home in the rental car. Still nothing from the police and we are kind of scared. We go home. We stay close. Literally. Oh, did I mention we are moving to New York in three weeks? So two days go by and I am starting to experience pain at a 10. I call the doc and we go in. Oh wait we turned in the rental car. We get another one.

She prescribed meds and says if it gets worse call. It got worse. It opened up the next morning erupting out of my stomach in bed like a volcano. I called 911. They came with a stretcher and the baby any my husband stayed behind. I am breast feeding. She needs to eat, so thank god Jesse learned how to finger feed.

I get to the hospital. With no meds they open up the stitches. Again… no meds. They clean it out. Then tell me an open wound nurse will be down to teach me how to care for it. What? What is an open wound? You can’t restitch an area, it must close in its own. It will take three months. What??? I am moving in 2 weeks to NYC. Well  I can’t do anything at this point. I am still ok.

Motherhood gives you courage and strength. We all have our stories. This is mine. I have an AMAZING 1 year old and husband. I love them both dearly and we made it to New York. We are a family.

Emergency C-Section Picture {Husband Support in the OR}

Emergency C-Section Picture {Husband Support in the OR}

My second born son, Ryder, was brought into the world via emergency c-section due to low fluid and complications at 34 weeks gestational age- 6 weeks premature.

I went in for a routine appointment and ultrasound around 9am the morning of October 5, 2011. He was not moving or responding to outside stimulation, his heart rate was dropping every few minutes, and he was struggling in my womb, so my OB decided it was best to deliver.

He weighed 4lbs 8oz and was 17in long. My husband was my rock through the entire ordeal. He cried with me, held my hand, and took care of me like a faithful husband should.

This picture really captures the love he has for both of us and is one of my favorites. Ryder was life-fighted to a hospital 1.5 hours away 4 days after birth to be cared for in a NICU. He came home at the end of October. It was easily the hardest time of my life, but it’s made me so much stronger, as a woman, as a mother, and as a wife. I can conquer anything!

{Kelsi}

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I Am Strong – Cesarean Birth After Neonatal Loss

I Am Strong – Cesarean Birth After Neonatal Loss

*trigger warning*

I am strong because in April of 2012, I gave birth to a precious baby girl named Evelyn, prematurely at 24 weeks due to incompetent cervix, premature labor, and infection.

I am strong because I endured a frightening classical c-section 4 hours after entering the hospital with a smile on my face, knowing it was the best chance my baby had to survive.

I am strong because I was told I will never have a future vaginal birth due to my vertical incision, and I would never be allowed to go into labor for fear of rupturing my uterus.

I am strong because I spent every single night in the NICU watching my tiny 1 pound 5 ounce, 11.75 inch long daughter through a plastic window, unable to hold her.

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I am strong because I pumped breast milk for her every 3 hours.

I am strong because at 5 weeks and 3 days old my little girl developed an infection called NEC, and within hours of its discovery, it took her life.

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I am strong because I held her for the first and only time as she was passing away.

I am strong because throughout the most horrifying time of my life I was able to plan a beautiful funeral for my baby, something no mother should ever have to do.

I am strong because 4 weeks after she died, I donated all of my pumped breast milk, roughly 600 ounces, to a milk bank  to help babies like her.

I am strong because 1 year and 9 months later I discovered that I was again pregnant, I was elated.

I am strong because I was considered high risk and went to many, many extra appointments.

I am strong because at 13 weeks and 5 days I went into the hospital to have a preventative cerclage placed in the hopes of getting me to full term.

I am strong because I was placed on modified bed rest for over a month, but I took it upon myself to continue bed rest as much as I could throughout the entire pregnancy.

I am strong because I was given weekly progesterone shots.

I am strong because despite the constant fear of losing another baby I decorated a beautiful nursery for our second daughter.

I am strong because at 6 months I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

I am strong because I gave up all of my favorite foods, took medication, and drew blood up to 5 times a day to control it.

I am strong because I held my breath during more than 21 ultrasounds, expecting to hear the worst each time.

I am strong because at 37 weeks to the day, 3 days after my cerclage was removed,  I began having contractions that eventually were 2-4 minutes apart.

I am strong because I finally realized they were not Braxton Hicks and had my husband drive me to the hospital.

I am strong because I was given 4 pills of Procardia to help relax my uterus, but the contractions continued to get more intense.

I am strong because after 3 or so hours of contracting in the hospital I was told I would be having my cesarean that night.

I am strong because at 8:08pm, just one minute later than my first daughter’s birth, my second beautiful girl, Emily, came screaming into the world at 6 pounds 5 ounces and 19 inches long.

I am strong because during her birth my doctor discovered that my previous incision scar was thinning, and had I not gotten to the hospital when I did it would have eventually ruptured, and endangered both of our lives.

I am strong because I heard over the curtain the doctors exclaim that Emily had a true knot in her umbilical cord and her cord was wrapped around her neck, but thankfully neither affected her health.

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I am strong because my baby had to spend 5 days in the NICU, due to being slightly premature and having jaundice, a place I thought I would never have to visit again.

I am strong because I was finally able to bring our baby home from the hospital.

I am strong because I have two beautiful girls, one on Earth and one in my heart, to motivate me to be the absolute best mother that I can be.

From Katariina Shoemaker

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