My two pregnancies weren't complicated, but I didn't breeze through either one of them. When I was pregnant with almost-9-year-old Mira, a concerning genetic screening led to an amniocentesis, where a medical technician uses a needle to sample amniotic fluid. That procedure turned traumatic when the guy in charge had a difficult time inserting the impossibly long needle into my belly, which led to lots of uncomfortable poking and prodding.
While carrying my son, Theo, three years later, I was disgusted by all food and struggled to put on weight for the first time in my life. In my second trimester, I contracted the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, and made several solo trips to Fanny Allen so I could be hydrated through an IV drip while my husband stayed home with toddler Mira. I worried that I would give birth to a frail and sickly baby. (Thankfully, Theo was born perfectly hearty at more than seven pounds.)
I temporarily forgot about all of that hardship when I finally met the little people who had caused me such angst. But I think about those experiences, and being pregnant in general, often. Though the gestational period lasts just nine months, the intense gamut of feelings a pregnant woman experiences — from bliss to misery, excitement to fear — imbues it with added significance.
I enjoyed reflecting on that era for this month's Baby & Maternity Issue. In reporting "The Art Of," I talked with three local artists who help moms celebrate and commemorate their beautiful, pregnant bellies.
Pregnancy's culminating event — the birth itself — is something that most of us relive over and over again with friends, family and likely the kids themselves. Contributing editor Meredith Coeyman revisited the births of her children in these pages, too — twice. Her piece in the 2014 Baby & Maternity Issue, "Rebirth Plan: A 'natural' mom comes to terms with her C-section," was recognized with a Gold award in the personal essay category from the Parenting Media Association. This year, for our Baby & Maternity issue, Coeyman describes a patient-driven movement to change the way some C-sections are conducted. In "C-Change: Women are pushing for 'gentle' cesarean sections," she explains how small modifications to the standard C-section model are making the operation feel more like a birth.
This year's Baby & Maternity Issue also takes readers back to the moment of conception. We check in with a fertility specialist in "Checkup," who offers advice to parents having trouble getting pregnant with baby No. 2. And we hear from a lesbian mom trying for a second child who was surprised to discover that her first son, conceived using sperm from an anonymous donor, had half siblings — a lot of them — scattered all across the country ("Meet the Diblings").
Finally, this month we're sad to say ciao (or chow?) to Erinn Simon, who has served up appetizing anecdotes to Kids VT readers for the past two years. We wish her a future as sweet and enriching as the recipes she's shared with us.