Angel Love Davis, known for her role as a cast member for season 5 of ‘Basketball Wives,’ is a mom for the second time.
The new mother of two welcomed son Savior Amar in May, but the journey hasn’t been easy.
In an exclusive conversation with PEOPLE, Davis recalls the experience of being admitted to a hospital in Atlanta after initially going in “for a normal checkup” two months before giving birth to Savior, who arrived at 28 weeks gestation, weighing just 2 lbs.
“I found out my cervix was funneling,” she says, “[which means] it was still closed at the bottom, but the top wasn’t closed all the way, so it looks like a funnel. … It was a risk for preterm labor.”
Doctors ended up admitting her at that point and gave her medication to try and help with the funneling, but “it just got worse,” Davis recalls. “It got to a point where [my cervix] opened all the way. I was dilated 1 centimeter, and I was maybe 23 or 24 weeks.”
The New Orleans native, who is also a registered nurse, was hoping to “make it to 34 weeks,” so she prayed and tried keeping her spirits up despite facing even more difficulties like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which made in-person support a huge challenge with hospitals’ more stringent rules about visitors.
Her water ending up breaking at just 25 weeks, though, which sent Davis into a bit of a panic. But she tells PEOPLE her medical team was able to “push off” labor for another three weeks with the help of medication, as well as give her some steroids to help make the baby “stronger.”
When it was time for the nurse to check her cervix to see how her labor was progressing, “They actually felt his leg. He was about to walk on out!” Davis says with a laugh, going on to share that she delivered her son via emergency cesarean section — and Savior’s strength, she recalls, was “amazing” to see, despite his early arrival and small size.
“He didn’t have to be intubated; he came out breathing on his own, which was all a blessing,” she says. “He had some oxygen for a little while [and] a feeding tube, and that’s just because of him learning to have that sucking reflex he just didn’t have at that time because he still was a preemie. … [Two weeks later] he started latching on to the breast.”
As Davis’ daughter arrived after a “full-term” pregnancy, she admits that she thought it was a “given” that the situation would be the same with Savior: “I never realized what it was like being on that other side of being a mother and you’re battling going into preterm labor and maybe having a premature baby.”
“It just all made me realize the blessings that everything comes with — just knowing that you’re able to get pregnant, ’cause a lot of women struggle with even getting pregnant,” she adds.
Davis, who has a nanny to assist with childcare, calls Savior an “easy” baby — and praises daughter Heaven for how helpful she has been with her new sibling, after telling her mom she wanted a “little brother” from the get-go.
“Since day one, she’s been very excited about being a big sister and helping out. Every day she’s like, ‘Mommy, I want to help out as much as I can. I’m gonna do whatever you tell me to do,’ ” says the former reality star. “It seems like she just grew up overnight.”
As far as the workload, though, “For some reason, this baby isn’t as hard as my first baby,” Davis tells PEOPLE. “It’s really easy. I have a schedule. It’s not that hard at night — he wakes up every three to four hours, and I’ve got the bottles right there waiting.”
And she’s still breastfeeding, as it’s “very, very important for premature babies to have mother’s milk, the nutrients. And what I was told by my doctor was that the thing that [Savior] was lacking from being born early that he probably still was gonna get from [more time] being in utero, the milk actually produces that, as well.”
“The hardest part” of her pregnancy and birth experience, says Davis, “was not really knowing what was going to happen to my baby. Like, ‘Is he going to make it? Is he gonna be healthy? Am I able to do this?’ Because as a mother, you feel like you have the responsibility [of asking], ‘What can I do to be the best mother that I can be to make sure that my baby is being delivered at the best health?’ “
“And not really having a lot of support, due to COVID,” she tells PEOPLE, explaining that she wants to raise awareness for herself and other women like her who have endured having a premature baby (she shouts out the impact of March of Dimes) and/or experiencing pregnancy and childbirth during the pandemic.
Davis spent time during her own circumstances focusing on self-care in the form of writing about the more uplifting parts of her experience, reading “positive books” and praying, as well as talking to Heaven, who praised her mom for staying “so strong” throughout the harrowing process.
For now, the single mother of two is focused on acting projects she has coming down the pipeline, as well as her nursing career and stylish Life Angels medical apparel line — plus being “grateful” for her family and how it came to be, hurdles and all.
“It was so nerve-wracking for me, so I was like, ‘I definitely want to share [my experience] with another woman [who’s going through this], ’cause I know they’re having the same concerns I’m having,’ ” Davis says. “I want to let them know that I pulled through this, and they can get through this too.”
We don’t remember too much about Ms. Angel from ‘Basketball Wives,’ but anytime a Black woman and her child make it through a successful pregnancy journey it’s to be celebrated. Congrats Angel!