Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I spent in the ER and then the hospital with a postpartum hemmorhage, which was surprising and very disconcerting, since delivery was such a dream. I am so thankful for so many things.
I’m thankful for access to quality medical care and to have insurance and enough money that I didn’t have to consider money when making the decision about when to go to the ER. In some places, medical students are not required to learn how to do D&Cs without general anesthesia, as they are generally done with in hospitals, and the places they do them without are generally clinics where abortions are provided. Though I had the general, I could have elected not to if I hadn’t been able to pump but wanted to breastfeed (more on that later), if I had health conditions that would make the general a bad idea, or if it hadn’t worked for me for some reason. Medical providers should know how to do medical procedures and I’m glad they did.
I’m thankful I have a partner who encouraged me to go to the ER and that I listened to my gut about going. I said to Jared, “This isn’t normal.” If you ever have that thought, please go be seen!
I’m thankful I have in-laws who could take care of Jonas at a moment’s notice. I’m thankful I knew he would be safe and loved with them and that Josie would be safe and loved with Jared while I was getting care.
I’m thankful I had access to compassionate care providers who understood how important it was to keep my baby with me as much as possible while I was receiving care. When I finallly saw an OB, the first thing she said when she walked in was, “I’m going to do my best to keep baby on you” and she did. She is a mom to an 11 month old and in the process of weaning her baby, and without my saying anything, she said, “I know you’re worried about breastfeeding.” She gave me a plan for timing for pumping and feeding so that Josie could have my milk while the anesthesia was leaving my system. I had my baby on my chest during pelvic exams and being wheeled through hallways. I was only away from her for 20ish minutes while getting an ultrasound and for a couple hours while I was in the operating room and immediately after recovery.
I’m thankful that my doula training and experience have taught me how to advocate for myself in a medical setting. Though the providers I saw were all wonderful, as has been my experience at Kaiser previously, getting to them was slow and filled with bureaucracy. I had to revisit the desk twice after checking in to communicate the severity of the situation. It still took hours to see a triage nurse, then more hours to see the ER doc, hours to have an ultrasound, an hour to have it read, then a bit more time to see an OB and wait for an operating room to be available.
I’m thankful for my friends. I posted in my local moms group and immediately, I had friends willing to bring milk for Josie, bottles, or whatever else we needed. Though we didn’t end up needing them, it made me feel so loved to know they were so willing to help.
I’m thankful for my awesome doula, who provided information and support via text and was even willing to come be with me if needed, even though I was more than three weeks postpartum and she was definitely not on call for me anymore. If you have ever thought of a doula as a hippie thing or some luxury, this would have changed your mind.
I’m thankful we have the resources for me to be at home with our kids. The postpartum period really does need to be a time for healing– again, it isn’t just hippie bs. Medically, even after what seems like the smoothest normal delivery possible, your body is still doing a lot you can’t see for weeks. It is insane that some women in this country have to return to work as soon as they do, and some women could have experienced the same situation and not have a legally protected job to return to if they had missed work for it.
I’m so thankful for my sweet babies. It was scary and stressful, but Josie is worth it.
Thank you, thank you universe and friends and family. Let’s make some changes for the people who don’t have the access to these things I am so thankful for.