A Maternal Health Week Reflection

I could not allow Black Maternal Health Week to end without sharing my story.

On February 24, 2017, I went into the hospital for what should have been one of the happiest moments of my life. After a very swift and safe delivery of my firstborn just two years earlier, I thought for sure that the second time would be a breeze. However, I had a very traumatic experience that still bothers me to this day.

I remember everything like it was yesterday. I woke up super early with an uneasy feeling that I would give birth very soon. I began doing last-minute preparations that turned into an all-day thing. Before I knew it, it was time for bed but that is when the contractions started. The contractions were so strong and intense that sleep was out of the question. I hung in there for about an hour before enough was enough. We dropped MJ off to my sister’s and rushed to the hospital. When I arrived at the hospital, I was already 6cm dilated which meant they could not send me home lol! (If you have had any false labor trips, then you know the joy). After two hours the nurse came in to check my cervix again. At this time, I was 8cm dilated and the nurse mentioned that I was progressing very slowly, so we may need to think of “other” options. My husband immediately said “No! we just got here, give us time!” The nurse looked at my husband as if he cursed her out and then she stormed out of the room. Three hours passed later the next shift of nurses came in and it was finally baby time!!! Throughout all this time I felt very dehydrated and famished from being denied food and water 3 or 4 times. When it was time to push, I could barely sit up and felt weaker and weaker with each push.

Again, I asked for food or drink – telling the nurses that I felt as though I was going to pass out- to which they recommended ice chips and just getting a c-section. My husband continued to tell them we were not getting a C-section. During our second round of pushing Malik’s heart rate began to drop with each push. Without telling my husband or i anything, the doctors made my sister and best friend leave the room. When we asked why, the doctor responded, “We are going to have to do an emergency C-section”. My heart dropped as I began to cry hysterically and before I knew it, I was being rushed out of the room alone; my husband was not “allowed” in the surgical room. Despite my claims that I was in a lot of pain, I was dismissed and ignored as if I did not know what was best for my own body. The last thing I remember was letting out a loud cry as I felt the slash in my lower abdomen. My husband was outside the room and heard it all. He still talks about how horrible and helpless he felt at that moment.

Unfortunately, my husband or I, are not the only ones with an experience like this. Black Women are four times more likely to die than white women from complications related to pregnancy and birth. We need to shed light on the racial disparities in healthcare in order to spread awareness and make a change. I stand with all women of color for #BlackMaternalHealth!

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