“I looked around the room, seeing blood everywhere, and let out this deep, deep shriek.”
In a new article for Glamor, Ashley Graham has opened up about the complications she faced after giving birth to her twins.
For context, Ashley welcomed twins – Roman and Malachi – with husband Justin Irvine in January. The two also share 2-year-old Isaac.
“The night the twins were born, I bled,” she began. “It was 2 a.m. when my contractions started. At 3:45 a.m., I went to the toilet thinking I needed a bathroom, and Malachi came out as soon as Doula arrived, just in time to bring him into the world.”
Roman was born a little later two hours later in the bathtub in her apartment, where there was no time to blow the birth tub. She continued, “At first we were all partying. We couldn’t believe it only took three and a half hours to work, and I was so grateful for this team of skilled, intelligent and trained professionals around me.”
“The next thing you know, I looked at the midwife and said, ‘I’m not feeling well. I think I need to lie down,” and I lost consciousness. All I remember feeling was feeling a light touch on my cheek, which I later found out was actually someone hitting my cheek from my cheek, someone holding my hand, my husband Justin in my ear, praying, and someone hitting me with a needle in my arm. And I remember Seeing darkness and what looked like stars.”
When Ashley regained consciousness, she said everyone told her she was “okay.” However, she added, “They didn’t want to tell me, at the time, that I lost liters of blood. They didn’t want to tell me that a midwife was turning me on, pressing her finger down just above the vagina bone to try to stop the bleeding. And they didn’t want to tell me that a vein in my arm remained It collapses and they couldn’t insert a needle for Pitocin, so they had to put it in my hand.”
“But even though they didn’t want to go into details at that moment, I looked around the room, literally seeing blood everywhere, and let out this deep, deep shriek—an emotional release from the chaos I just experienced.”
After giving birth, Ashley said she couldn’t sit up or crawl, so she had to be rolled up on a bed sheet and slid down the hall into a wheelchair. “Thank God, the twins were fine,” she recalls, “while I’ve been lying in this bed for four days in a row. I couldn’t walk for a week. And I didn’t leave my house for about two months.”
Ashley’s resulting postpartum experience led to a complicated relationship with her body. “The birth of Malachi and Roman was wonderful, but the repercussions of that were so overwhelming. I couldn’t walk properly for long, let alone exercise. I was shaking, I didn’t feel physically or emotionally. I went back to work eight weeks later, but I was a wreck, and when I saw myself In the mirror, I still feel pregnant,” she said, noting her ability to take longer maternity leave than many in the United States.
“Even now, if I’m being totally honest, I go in waves. I’m still completely uncomfortable in my body, apart from defending my body positivity. There are days when I look at myself and say, ‘There’s nothing for you that you can’t handle. Something you can’t do. Then I look at the stretch marks that are still there and will forever be on my stomach, and I think, ‘Oh my God, why did I have to climb over my belly button?’
She concluded, “The truth is, this wasn’t easy for me. This was messy. This was emotional. Re-teaching myself involved affirmations that taught me so much—that I’m bold, I’m gorgeous, I’m beautiful—and that we are all.”
You can read Ashley’s full article here.