They may not be getting much sleep, but for three stars of Little Women: L.A., each of whom welcomed a baby recently, there are more important things to think about.
“Maverick did a full on smile the other day,” says Briana Renee, whose son is now three months. “I forgot all the moments I was upset or that he was screaming an hour before and my heart melted. That moment just made everything worth it.”
And for Renee, as well as for her costars Elena Gant (who has five-month-old twin boys Xavier and Kairo) and Terra Jolé, who welcomed her second child, a boy named Grayson D’Artagnan in August, the road to baby wasn’t always a smooth one.
“My pregnancy was a trial from the start,” says Renee, who, at 27 weeks, discovered that she had a bowel obstruction that threatened the lives of both her and her unborn baby.
“My son was basically kinking my insides,” Renee explains. “I had to go on bed rest and use a walker, but I was willing to do anything to get my son here healthy. It was the scariest moment, but I had to be the bravest I could be at the same time.”
Luckily, little Maverick was born “tiny but healthy,” says Renee. Maverick has achondroplasia, the same type of dwarfism that Renee has. Though Renee’s husband Matt Grundhoffer is average size, the chances of her having a child with some form of dwarfism was high.
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Pregnancy in general is significantly more risky for women with dwarfism; most babies also need to be delivered by C-section because of the shape of the mother’s pelvis.
For Gant, the majority of her pregnancy was relatively easy, until she discovered she had preeclampsia, a complication characterized by high blood pressure, and delivered her sons six weeks early. Xavier was in the NICU for seven days, Kairo for 10.
Says Gant: “The hardest part was that Xavier got to go home with us first, but Kairo was still in the NICU. It was a stressful few days. I just wanted my babies home.”
Gant hasn’t yet confirmed with the doctor whether her sons have a form of dwarfism (her husband, actor Preston Gant is average size), but like Renee and Jolé, says she’s prepared to teach her boys how to grow up in a world where they are seen as different.
“I’ll tell them that no matter what reaction other people give them, ‘This is you,’ ” says Gant. “Yes, they’ll have to have bulletproof vests, but those stereotypes have nothing to do with real life. And if they do get their hearts broken, they can come and talk to us, because Mommy and Daddy will always understand.”
For Jolé, who has a 19-month-old daughter Penelope with achondroplasia, but doesn’t yet know if Grayson D’Artagnan has a form of dwarfism, says, “average or little, all I care about is them being healthy.”
And after a challenging pregnancy with Penelope, who also suffers from hydrocephalus, a condition that can lead to permanent brain damage, the fact that her son is thriving is all that matters.
“I always wanted to be a mom, but I never felt the timing was right,” says Jolé, who is wed to actor Joe Gnoffo. “Then I fell in love with motherhood and all I want to do is be their mom.”