This is proof that a mama-to-be is a total warrior and can—and will—do anything to save her baby! While the Philippines was being ravaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan’s 20-foot storm surges and winds that went up to 170 miles per hour, a 21-year-old pregnant woman was swimming for her life, and that of her soon-to-be daughter’s.
Emily Ortega was in an evacuation center all by herself (her husband was away in the Philippines’ capital of Manila), when the storm flooded her city of Tacloban and the evacuation center she was staying in. The waters picked her up, but she fought back, swimming her hardest and clinging to a post so she would not be washed away and drowned like the 10,000 victims feared to be killed by the typhoon.
I can’t even imagine the panic that must have been running through her entire body. Feeling the water rising, the natural pull of it, taking her further and further from safety. What must have been running through her mind—the fears, the prayers. But she had to put that all aside to concentrate on her precious cargo, and what she needed to do to get them both to safety.
Emily managed to maneuver her way to a dilapidated airport—where her labor was assisted by military medics. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl, named Bea (as a dedication to Emily’s mom, who is still missing). Baby Bea’s middle name is appropriately enough, Joy, because when she was born, survivors of the typhoon cheered. It was as if her birth was a beacon of hope, a sign of rebirth, and a start to the rebuilding that will take years for the Philippines to fully recover. More than 9 million people have been affected by the storm, according to the United Nations, and more than 660,000 have been displaced.
But in the midst of all of that devastation, Emily and her husband have their little bundle of Joy to be thankful for; their own little miracle.
If you’d like to help those in need in the Philippines, you can donate to the Salvation Army here or Unicef here.
TELL US: Do you think you would have been as strong as Emily during a typhoon? Do you have loved ones who may have been affected by the disaster in the Philippines?
Rosie Pope is an amazing pregnancy concierge, fashion designer, reality star, and frequent Parents contributor. She gives great advice to pregnant women every day on what they can do to prepare for motherhood. But now the “Pregnant in Heels” star is opening up to Everything Pregnancy in the most personal way possible—talking about her ongoing struggles with infertility, which is a topic that is unfortunately still taboo.
Many women don’t want to discuss the feelings of pain, frustration and shame that come with not being able to conceive. It’s obviously a very personal choice, but Rosie and I feel that talking about it, and letting other women know that they’re not alone, is a powerful thing. Here’s my candid Q&A with Rosie, a true inspiration to women with infertility issues, as she’s the proud mom of three, and has another one on the way! She’s proof you can overcome it!
Why do you think talking about infertility and IVF is still so hush-hush? I think throughout our society there is this kind of stigma that to be a real woman you should be fertile and have babies. If we need extra help, somehow we’re less perfect or less of a person. As women, we can’t beat ourselves up about it. That’s why I think it’s important to talk about it.
Did you have infertility issues from the beginning or did you suffer from secondary infertility? I actually had a miscarriage first and it was pretty late on in the pregnancy. After that, it took about 8 or 9 months to get pregnant and then everything went smoothly. But when we were ready to try again, that’s when it became clear that I had a problem. In a nutshell, I never ovulated, and none of the doctors could figure out why. I sort of got bat around quite a lot until I got the right specialist and they discovered the reason why I’d had the late miscarriage, and the reason why I hadn’t been getting pregnant, was I had what they call a septum, which is a piece of tissue that divides the uterus, that can make it difficult for the baby to grow. So they removed that and then they hoped that everything would be fine. It wasn’t—I still couldn’t start ovulating and that’s when you get diagnosed, for me anyway, with “unexplainable infertility”. And that’s when I embarked on the journey of fertility treatments that ranged from taking oral medication to injectables and ultimately IVF.
I’m sure all of that was mentally and emotionally draining for you. Yes, you know, I always thought that because I got married young, and I started trying to have babies young, there would never be an issue. I had been told my whole life about how not to get pregnant that I never even considered, “What if you can’t get pregnant?” So it took a long time to deal with the shock and disbelief that I wasn’t getting pregnant. I blamed myself a lot in the beginning. I felt badly for my husband because there’s nothing wrong with him, and he had married me, and I couldn’t get pregnant when all my friends were getting pregnant. I was very fortunate to be in a relationship where my husband always considered us a team. It was never me by myself, which was really helpful. But you just feel really powerless.
It’s so hard when there’s nothing you can do, and every month you try and do every thing, especially when you’re the type of person I am—when you do all the research and you’ve got all the facts, like you’re supposed to be ovulating here and things are supposed to be happening, and when it’s not happening it’s very frustrating. And then for me the hardest thing was after a few rounds of IVF we actually did get pregnant, but we were pregnant with an ectopic pregnancy [one that occurs outside the womb, which can be life-threatening to the mother]. That was just so hard to finally be pregnant and then not be able to keep the baby. Having a baby is a miracle, and no matter what the modern scientific advances are, you just can’t always plan it, even if on paper it seems like it should work.
How did you and your husband get through it as a couple, when communication can shut down during such a difficult time? The thing that worked for us was humor. There’s really awkward stuff that happens on that road to getting pregnant. If you are going through IUI’s or you’re going through fertility treatment, your husband gets ushered off to a room and is given a whole bunch of porn to choose from, and then makes his sperm donation. That’s kind of weird as a wife… waiting in the waiting room while your husband does that! And everybody else waiting in that room with you is doing the same thing. I am very English and awkward about these things, so my husband would make endless jokes about the type of porn he chose and type of porn the person next to us probably chose, because it the whole scenario was just ridiculous. That humor opened up the conversation for us. If you can talk about that, you can talk about anything! That might not work for everybody, but I think whatever works for you and your relationship, you’ve got to keep doing that through the IVF process. If you really like being romantic, somehow you gotta incorporate that into your romantic life. It’s just important that you don’t stop being you as a couple because this is happening.
What’s the best advice you can give another woman going through this sort of struggle? Don’t get mad at your partner! In the early stages of it, you’re taking a medication like Clomid, to make you ovulate, and you get to the window when you’re ovulating, and you’re husband can’t get home from work early that day, or he’s sick, or has to take a work trip. I would get so angry at my husband when something like that would happen, like he was stopping me from getting pregnant. It’s not his fault. Life still has to go on.
What do you think was the key to you getting pregnant? Aside from the anatomy issues I had, I really think it was reducing my stress. I’m high strung, so for me what really helped was just diving into work and being busy. When I’m busy, I’m more relaxed because I’m distracted. And that wasn’t my tactic to start off with. I thought that I had to take it easy and focus only on getting pregnant, and that for me is a trap. It’s just too much pressure on a person.
How has your latest pregnancy compared with that of your first three children?Each one has been really different. My first was ridiculously easy, and I thought I could do this like a thousand times. My second one, after we had all those problems and finally got pregnant, it was very difficult. I was on bed rest for a pretty good portion of it. My third pregnancy was super easy. With this one, my body is kind of mad at me, and I’m just nauseous all the time!
Do you predict there will be live tweeting through this birth, like your last one? We’ll see. I recommend it! I was very distracted by it instead of just staring at the clock waiting for the birth to happen. I believe your birthing experience should be like the rest of your life. If you’re a busy Blackberry-Tweeting type like me, do that in the delivery room, If you’re not and you’re into yoga and massage, do that. You have to stay true to your personality because it’s only going to get heightened in the delivery room. So trying to make a calm environment with incense and massage for a high-strung person like me is not a good idea!
You told me your biggest fear with this birth is that you’d have the baby on the highway. Why’s that? I live in New Jersey now, but I’m delivering in New York with the doctor who has delivered all of my other babies, and each birth has been drastically quicker. My first took 26 hours; my second was 10 hours; and my third was only 4 hours! So who knows how quick this one could come out!
It’s become sort of a given that if you’re expecting twins then of course you’ll have a Cesarean Section, right? Not so fast, says a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The assumption is that a C-section is the safest way to deliver two babies, especially since many second-born twins end up in a breech position, but the mere fact that you’re carrying twins doesn’t automatically rule out vaginal birth. As long as things are progressing normally with your pregnancy, it’s still a viable option.
That said, the rate of C-sections for single births is at around 31 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, while the C-section rate for twin births has jumped to 75 percent as of 2008 (the latest numbers available), and is thought to be even higher now.
While some women like the idea of having a planned c-section—you know exactly when you’ll give birth and can therefore plan for it; there’s not all of the agony involved in pushing; and your lady parts are just as you left them—it is still surgery and with all surgery there can be complications (like infections, blood clots and adhesions). So with all things equal, in a normal, healthy pregnancy with no complications, vaginal births are still safer, and there’s no reason to think that you cannot have one—even with twins.
This is great news for women who had wanted to give birth vaginally, but didn’t think they could because they had two babies onboard. I think childbirth is scary for a first-time mom anyway, but once you tell her that she has no choice in the matter, and has to give birth a certain way, it just ups the fear factor. Now women expecting twins can feel like they’re still in control of their bodies and their decision, and choose which method is truly best for them.
TELL US: Are you psyched to hear it’s possible to give birth to twins vaginally, or would you prefer to have a planned C-section instead?
Would you say “I do” when you’re “eating for two”? Not only did Teen Mom 2 star, Kailyn Lowry, do just that, but she was eight-months-pregnant as she walked down the aisle in a bump-hugging wedding gown—praying she wouldn’t go into labor early.
For some pregnant women, it’s important to be married before having the baby, even if that means being a bumpalicious bride. Getting married while pregnant can be extremely romantic. Taking your vows while feeling your little bundle of joy inside you? It doesn’t get much better than that, especially with all of the feel-good oxytocin rushing through your body while you’re pregnant. It makes you extra-passionate so you feel truly, madly, deeply in love. And the silver lining of having a sober wedding? You’ll be sure to remember every last detail of your magical night!
But lots of other moms-to-be, like Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jessica Simpson, have chosen to wait to tie the knot until after becoming a mom. Let’s face it, for most the biggest reason to wait is vanity. Who doesn’t want to look ah-mazing on her wedding day? For many that means getting back down to her pre-baby body, and not having any limitations when it comes to finding a dream gown (maternity dresses can be beautiful too, but there aren’t as many to choose from).
If you wait till after the baby comes, then he or she can be part of your big day and be in the photos with you—memories that will last a lifetime. But waiting also means planning a wedding could be super-difficult with a newborn in tow—no sleep, feedings every few hours, you barely have time to take a shower, let alone plan one of the most important days of your life. There’s no right answer for everyone. You have to decide what’s most important to you, and how you envision your wedding day, then go for it—without getting cold feet!
TELL US: Would you/Did you get married while pregnant? Or would you/Did you wait until after having the baby to get married? Share the pros and cons of your choice.
X-Factor judge and creator Simon Cowell is 53 and British, so I’m not too surprised to hear he’ll be an old-school dad. He’s already said he’ll be strict and he has no plans of passing down his millions of dollars as inheritance to his soon-to-be-son, in order for his mini-me to grow up to have a strong work ethic.
But after seeing how in love Simon is with pregnant girlfriend Lauren Silverman (every time they’re in the press it’s PDA overload!), I was flabbergasted to hear reports that Simon has no intentions of being there for the birth of his baby boy. I was actually mad for his girlfriend! Well, on further inspection, that’s not exactly what Simon said. He will be there for the birth, just not staring at the main attraction.
While on pal Ryan Seacrest’s radio show, On Air with Ryan Seacrest, when Ryan questioned whether Simon would be watching things up close and personal during the big occasion, Simon replied: “Are you out of your mind? I know this sounds awful, but it’s like you don’t want to go in to the restaurant while they’re making your dinner. I think there are certain things you shouldn’t see and that is one of them. I’ll be very close by, but no [I won't watch.]”
Sure, back in the day it was common for men to wait in the hospital lobby, be down the street at a bar, or in England even off playing polo (like Prince Charles) or squash (like Prince Philip) while their children were being born. But it’s 2013, Simon, so I’m glad you’re stepping up and being present!
Take a tip from Nick Lachey, who called the birth of his son Camden “surreal, and one of the coolest things to ever see in your life,” and just watch your baby’s birth from the waist up. Neither my husband nor I were really keen on him being front row for our son’s birth. My husband is squeamish when it comes to blood, and I wasn’t sure if he would ever revisit my lady parts if he saw how stretched and contorted they got while delivering our baby. So we were both happy to have him standing behind me, holding my hand in between labor pushes.
I can’t imagine getting through labor without my guy by my side. He helped calm me when I needed it, cracked jokes when the contractions were tense, and made a motivational mix of my favorite dance songs for the pushing. The way I see it, your baby’s birth is the first united front you can present as a mom and dad, and so I’m glad Simon’s refusing to miss it.
TELL US: How would you react if your partner told you he wasn’t going to be there for the birth?