As some of you have seen my recent post, I had the privilege to be interviewed and photographed by Ashlee and Laura who run the 4th Trimester project. It’s a wonderful Liberating project that allows you to tell your story, and be heard in a fashion like no other. The Project consist of women all over the US who have shared their stories, good and bad, and not one alike. For me personally, when Ashlee asked me “why did you want to be here and do this shoot/interview” I really had to stop and think about it. Honestly there was MANY reasons why I wanted to do it, but in that moment of stage fright all I could think of was my years of blogging, and the people I have been able to inspire. It brought up a lot of hurt, a lot of feelings and a lot of appreciation. Its more than that though. My story isn’t one of those stories of years of trying to conceive, infant/ fetal loss, adoption, home/ natural birth, breast-feeding or illness. I read some of these women’s stories and their challenges, and my eyes fill up with tears for them. My story and life can’t even be compared to some of these AMAZING women’s lives. I told Ashlee, “You know I don’t really feel like my story is anything compared to some of these mothers you interview” she stopped me and said to me “You’re not the first to say that, and that’s not true, everyone has a story and everyone’s story deserves to be heard.” We continued to touch more on the relevance of my story. She was able to put my interview into words. When I read it, I cried inside bc at that moment I was driving home. All these things that I wish I could have said came to me.. Heres is my story they published
“The magnificent Marcella Miserendino, Pella James (5), Orla Grace (2) and Nicholas (1). Marcella got pregnant with Pella in her early twenties. Her pregnancy was a surprise but she had been with her partner for 7 years and went through much of the pregnancy thinking she’d have his support. She carried to 39 weeks when she was induced due to low fluid. Labor and delivery were only about 6 hours from start to finish but Marcella pushed for two hours with Pella moving up and down in her birth canal without any interventions. Pella was over 7lbs at birth but had severe jaundice. Marcella nursed for about 9 weeks before choosing stop and later learned that Pella had been tongue-tied. Marcella gave birth on February 2nd and her partner told her on Valentine’s Day that he had another girlfriend and ended their relationship. Her stress levels at being an unexpectedly single parent were through the roof. Marcella later learned that Pella needed physical, occupational and speech therapy which she received in home for her first three years and continued through school and outpatient later on. A pediatric neurologist told Marcella that her daughter may have mild CP. Though she never had a documented brain injury, Marcella believes she may have had some residual trauma from her birth. Marcella met her husband when Pella was 15 months old and married a year later. The following year she conceived Orla and had another easy pregnancy. She carried to 39 weeks again when she was induced due to Orla’s weight, her doctor worried that her baby would be too big for her to birth. Orla’s birth went well and was 4.5 hours from the time Marcella’s water broke. Marcella had a cyst in her breast removed after Pella was born. At that time she also had a reduction and got breast implants so she wasn’t certain if she’d be able to breastfeed Orla. She tried pumping and nothing happened so she assumed that her milk ducts were severed and decided to formula feed instead. Marcella learned she was pregnant with her son when Orla was only 2 months old. Nicholas was born when Orla was 11 months old and was Marcella’s easiest pregnancy yet. She carried to term and delivered him vaginally at 9lbs and 15oz but she tore badly and hemorrhaged during and after Nicholas’ delivery which made for a very difficult postpartum period. She couldn’t walk for a week and had a slow recovery. When Marcella was pregnant with her first daughter she blogged and was very public about her experience. Because of this, she was able to connect with other women going through a difficult time and hopes to raise awareness through continuing to share her story. Having her daughter changed her life even thought it was far from easy. She battled postpartum depression alone until realizing that therapy and medication were needed to help get her through her personal life and focus on bonding as a mother. Above all else, Marcella hopes that other women can realize that no matter what they are going through, they are never alone. ”
So there it is, but like I said before, after reading this so many more feelings and words came to me I wish I could have said or touched on. I’ve NEVER talked about Pella may or may not having mild CP, I went to the ends of the earth when she was little to find a diagnosis for all her delays, low muscle tone and stomach issues. I had family making me feel like she was on the “spectrum” when to me and all her many therapists she was NOT on the spectrum. So if she’s not on the spectrum, what is wrong? What caused all this? Well, to this day I still don’t have a REAL diagnosis, I only have a theory of what one of the top pediatric neurologist in California thought about Pella’s condition. Today she is a couple of weeks shy of 6, and in these last 6 years, I can say , today she’s GREAT! She worked hard, I worked Hard, I did what I had to do for my child, regardless that in the beginning I was alone doing it all, it gave me such a rewarding feeling. I’ve told MANY parents if you think or suspect your child is delayed in any way shape or form, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, get help, utilize the resources that are out there!
Then all that led to me think about all the HURT all the ANGER, all the STILL to this day FRUSTRATION I endure. Co-Parenting. That alone is a topic that I could go on and on about. Besides being a parent yourself, as if that’s not hard enough, some of us have to co-parent. For me my pregnancy and first 2 years of Pella’s life was extremely challenging. I don’t think any new mom should have to feel those feelings of hurt and betrayal with a new baby. I wouldn’t wish it on my own worst enemy. I was young, 24 when I had Pella. I had a WHOLE lot of maturing and mental growth to do. Let me tell you, having a baby made that mental growth grow FASSSSSST. It made me realize what I wanted out of life, and WHO I wanted in my life. It took me time to learn how to navigate a co-parent relationship with someone I couldn’t even look at in his face. Time is of the essence with Co-parenting. Fast Forward 6 years, I am in a good place, and have been for quite some time. I had to learn how to let go of animosity, not have expectations, not take things personal, not worry about what wasn’t my business, forgive, forget, not control something I don’t have control over, move forward not backward, and accept a person for WHO THEY ARE. That is KEY to my situation. Of course, I am human, I am a woman, I can be feisty, but my feisty is ALL out of what I know is best for my child. So when you think about how much you HATE your ex, or baby daddy/mama, you very well may, BUT it’s not going to be whats best for your kid(s). Many times people allow their personal feelings to run the show, NOT GOOD. I don’t know if you got the memo, but there is no more “PERSONAL SHOW” after you have a kid. It’s now your kids show you gotta worry about. That brings me to the talk about how still to this day I find myself being frustrated from time to time with co-parenting, which is NORMAL. There are and have been plenty of times that I have had to agree to disagree, or bite my fucking tongue. Its HARD, but if you keep your Child or Children in mind first, it will be SOOOO much easier for you.
Then all that co-parenting talk makes me think about how FORTUNATE and lucky I am to have met and married a man who GETS IT. Another thing I wanted to touch on which I didn’t get too. If you’re single now, doesn’t mean you’re going to be single forever. I wasn’t expecting A SINGLE thing when I forced myself to finally meet Nick.. There was a reason that I did force myself to meet him, and I’m glad I did. Marriage is no walk in the park, but when you’re on the same page, its little easier than those poor people who married for all the wrong reasons. I’m no marriage expert, I haven’t even been married very long or long enough to give advice to people. I know I trust my husband 100%, I know I LOVE my husband 100% and Im so thankful that he was trolling instagram and found me! So don’t give up on LOVE its out there, and when you find it, wrap your whole entire self up in it. I was like a little battered puppy when I met Nick. I had years of emotional wreckage lingering, and years of childhood abandonment issues that have managed to affect my life when it comes to showing affection and allowing people IN. My husband is patient with me, he helps me be the person I wish I could be sometimes but can’t bc Im scared or embarrassed. So, stay positive the right person is out there for you.
Lastly with love and marriage comes my babies in the baby carriage. 3 of them. 3 has always been my number, so I suppose its fitting to have 3 children. When Ashlee was asking me about my births and pregnancies that’s when I felt most “not worthy” lol. I didn’t Home Birth, I didn’t do prenatal yoga, I didn’t have an ounce of desire to embrace what a woman’s body is “supposed” to do. I will say my pregnancies were easy, I didn’t get sick, I didn’t have to be on bed rest. All three pregnancies were very much alike, I had placenta previa with all 3. The longest lasting with Pella which finally moved by 35 weeks. She was breech until then as well. I remember being so worried, I didn’t want to have to have a C- section! Her birth was my longest, and hardest, so it goes with those first babies. Pushing 2.5 hours with not much progress I was TIRED. After struggling with milk supply, a poor latch, and severed milk ducts I threw in the towel at 9 weeks. I don’t have any regrets about it. Yeah It would have nice to have that bond, but at that time in my life, I wasn’t capable of bonding with much of anything. I most definitely suffered from PPD. I got the help and medication I needed to be able to embrace my baby. I feel like I missed out on Pella in the first 6 months, bc my head and heart were else where. Today when I look back at how lightning fast its been going by, I sometimes feel like our bond could be stronger if I would have gotten help sooner, but I didn’t. I can’t let that eat me up inside, bc it does sometimes. That is always the case though, what you know now you wish you knew then. Story of everyone’s lives.
Then came my first “planned” baby, Orla. My little force to be reckoned with. My pregnancy with her was easy. I was at a good healthy weight when I got pregnant, I was active, I was working. I was HAPPY. All the things you hope for when you’re wanting to bring a life into the world. We got married in November and I got pregnant in February, I had migraines with this pregnancy as I did with Pella’s as well…. all those FEMALE HORMONES brewing in my body! I was induced with her at 39 weeks, due to her weight. On 11/12/13 my 8LB 8OZ baby Orla Grace was born. Fun Fact: when she was born we were pretty sure her name was going to be Cecelia Grace. But when she was born she just looked like an Orla! Labor was normal, birth was normal. She was my easiest, I was up and ready to go home HOURS after her birth. I didn’t bother to attempt to breast feed her, I had no desire, and HOLY SHIT, that was awful. I was soooooo engorged and miserable. My nipples blistered, I had mastitis, it was HORRRRRIBLE. THEN at the wonderful 6 week mark, when your DR clears you to return to your “sexy time” life, the unthinkable happened. I hadn’t even had my first postpartum period yet, and I GOT PREGNANT! So ladies, be careful, it CAN happen!! When Nick and I got the confirmation I in fact was pregnant, Orla was 2 months old. I wanted to curl up and die! I remember feeling depressed, like “WHAT THE FUCK AM I GOING TO DO!” Our “plan” wasn’t 3 kids. I remember crying for days, I was terrified to tell people. I was worried that something bad would happen bc I had all these bad and negative vibes going on for the first months. We went to our ultrasound and were told he was a BOY! For the first time in months I felt a sense of happiness. I honestly was more happy for Nick than I was for myself. He had a full term still-born son, so I was thinking to myself, GOD is filling that void for him! Little did we know when he was actually born the tables would turn. He is incredibly attached to me as I am incredibly attached to him. I was told over and over, there’s NOTHING like having a little boy. My pregnancy with him was ridiculous. I never felt pregnant, but couldn’t hide it bc by 10 weeks I looked 6 months pregnant. I had only lost about 15lbs of my pregnancy weight from Orla of about 35lbs gained total with her. So I was going into this pregnancy heavier than I had ever been. I gained a total of 70lbs with my pregnancy with Nicholas. It was extremely hard on my body, toward the end. I was in a lot of pain. I was being told by my Dr, he was a big boy. I can thank the DAILY In n Out I ate for that. I went into the hospital with him 39 weeks and 4 days. I was 5cm when I got to the hospital. They broke my water and he was born about 5 hours later. I opted to get an epidural with him, but let me tell you, AFTER having the dr in there a few different times through the course of my labor, I had ZERO pain relief. I was fucking DYYYYYYYING. The pain was off the charts INSANE. I was a wreck. I remember when my Dr came in to check me and said I was ready to go, I could barely breathe. He said “Okay on your next contraction, lets push” I remember clear as day I COULDNT push! I was in SO SO SO much pain. Then comes that ” a woman’s body does what its supposed to do” thing! I didn’t push him out, my body pushed him out. As he crowned I felt thee most insane amount of pressure EVER, bc there was this feeling of something was stuck like he wasn’t moving out. His shoulders were stuck! they has to wiggle him out which cause my vagina to BURST open. sorry TMI but that’s EXACTLY what happened. 3rd degree tear. OUCH. That is what a 9LB 15oz baby will do to ya! I couldn’t walk, no joke for a week. it was awful. I hemorrhaged pretty bad about a week into being home with my new baby boy. I went and had an ultrasound, apparently there were little bits and pieces left behind. I was prescribed methergine AKA the abortion pill. and was told if that didn’t stop the softball size clots that were coming out of me, then Id have to have a D&C. The pill worked. BLESS IT. Last thing I wanted was a vacuum up in my stitched up vagina! NO THANK YOU. When it comes to birth, you have NO IDEA what to expect the first time around, sometimes even the 2nd, 3rd or 4th, time come unexpected things with your labor. I tell people, It’s nice to have a plan of execution when it comes to what you want out of the L&D staff and postpartum, but as far as your actual birth, it MAY not go as you planned. Trust that what happens is what is meant to happen, even if it’s the unthinkable. Labor is something I think a woman wants to be able to control. So if it doesn’t go your way, it’s not YOUR fault.
I felt the desire to want to try pumping, bc like my other 2 kids his tongue and lip was tied. Nicholas’s tongue tie was the worst of my 3, he actually had it snipped at a week old. Back to pumping, I attempted it for DAYS, all I got was a couple drops, even after my milk came in full force. NADA. So after my efforts of trying to breastfeed Nicholas, I am confident knowing my ducts are in fact severed and there is no real chance of me successfully breastfeeding. I’m okay with that. It’s a choice, as much as breastfeeding can be pressured upon you, DONT let it bring you down. The truth is, its not for everyone. I don’t think a woman should have to struggle and FIGHT her body to do something that is taking away from her bonding time with her baby. Thats where I stand. I respect all mothers on what they choose when it comes to breast-feeding. Sometimes I’ve felt that sense of envy, but I did what worked for us. So should you.
In the end off this MASSIVE blog post, and all the details that could not be told in my interview with Ashlee, the one thing that really came to mind with me and WHY I wanted to do that shoot, was that I just want to inspire women and mothers to be exactly who they want to be! Not to sweat the small stuff. Fuck what others think. DO YOU and your FAMILY. In the end that’s all you got. You got your whole life to lose the baby weight! The time goes by FAST so soak it all in. Be happy. Be healthy. Be YOU.