My heart has been drawn to this cause in the past 2 weeks more than anything ever before. I had no idea the significant disparities that existed between black & white maternal health care and it’s now become a huge focus for me. Did you know that black women are 4x more likely to die from childbirth?! A resource I have found to be helpful in researching this is Birth Equity. I am continuing to dive into more and more research and will share as I go (it’s a slow moving process with all the other moving parts we have right now)! I decided that it would be amazing to support one Black mama a month through her pregnancy/birth. This may be through an Amazon wish list with items for mama and baby, providing a breast pump, providing doula services, and more. I am sure that this will get nailed down more and more as we go but I want to start somewhere! If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments section or shoot me an email!
SEPTEMBER’S MAMA – MEET AUTRIA
Autria is a mama from Richmond, VA. In this world of such uncertainties she will welcome her second baby boy to this world this winter. Finding proper healthcare has been a struggle, showcasing the disparities for Black mamas. Things medical professionals have said to her are truly heartbreaking. This year she has lost her mother, a job, a home— and now things seem to be finally looking up, just in time for a new addition.
“At 37 finding out I was pregnant with my second son, I am immediately fearful of the outcome. I had a pretty intense experience with my first son during labor and delivery. I also have a family history of EDS, and while I display symptoms, I have already had my fair share of push back and dismissive doctors. I always try to give them the benefit of the doubt but often leave feeling like they are just not listening, or treated as though I am only drug-seeking. I personally am not a fan of prescriptions, I just want the knowledge on whats going on with my body and how best I can manage it now before it progresses.
I say all of that to say even with my experience I was floored by the response of my ob-gyn, after finding out I was pregnant this time. When he blatantly ignored my past birthing complications and proceeded to urge me to have a c-section. With my first son, I ended up having an emergency c-section, which ended up with me in the ICU for the following 12-24 hours. After the c-section was performed, they could not control my bleeding, said I was bleeding too much and after getting to hold my son for a few minutes was transferred to the ICU. From that point, I have very few memories until I came to the next day. I wake up and proceed to demand to see my child. They send me back to L&D. I kept telling them I had a terrible headache and they told me to drink caffeine and gave me some Tylenol. Even after no relief from the pain, I was told that I was not in enough pain for it to be an epidural headache. They proceed to send my son and I home a few days later, still struggling with a headache. This headache goes from bad to unbearable in a matter of days. I am again urged to increase my caffeine and Tylenol. After days of this while caring for my son, they finally listened and brought me back in and performed and blood patch, bc I indeed had an epidural headache. I was told it was my fault for having a high pain threshold.
This ob-gyn insists that if I have a natural labor, then I may tear into my stomach and bleed out. He followed up with information on a test I can do to check for a certain defect, which if detected could be fixed, he pauses and looks at the paper and says oh but that doesn’t matter because to are too far along. Already this ob-gyn seems to be using fear as his method of bedside manners. So we continue with the appointment and he checks my weight and states, you know you do not need to gain any weight with this baby. Now I realize that weighing 220 lbs at 5’6 may not be ideal, but again what the hell happened to bedside manner. When I explained to him how my first birthing experienced went and mentioned my hips subluxing, he looked at me without pause and said no that’s not possible. It was at this very moment when I realized he was not the ob-gyn for me. They informed me that my next appointment was in 2 weeks
to hear the heartbeat and do a blood test. I schedule the appointment and proceed to look for different ob-gyn’s in my area in the meantime. I show up at the next appointment excited to hear my sons heartbeat for the first time. The nurse comes in and tries her best to find the heartbeat and struggles to find it, so the same doctor comes in and searches for a minute and he hears it and says nothing and puts the monitor away. I asked him if he heard it, he said yea you didn’t? I explain that I did not. He sits down and opens his laptop. I use this moment to inform the doctor that this would be my last appointment. At that very moment, he closes his laptop and wishes me luck and leaves the office.
I have found a new provider that seems to be listening, but if I could share one word of advice to my fabulous Sisters, we need to realize that there is nothing wrong with shopping for a physician. They work for US, if you do not like their work, you have every right to change and find a better provider! I am blessed with an amazing family, friends, and community who are there to remind me of this and help me to properly advocate for myself. Even with that, it can be hard to advocate for yourself, but do what you feel in your heart. If you feel like the person who essentially has you and your child’s life in their hands is not vibing with you and you feel uncomfortable….RUN.
Love and healthy babies to you all!”
AUTRIA’S AMAZON WISH LIST HERE
JUNE’S MAMA – MEET AMBER
*still awaiting Amber on an update
“I am in need because everything has been cancelled. It is tough to have to supply everything a baby needs in general never-mind when the support from friends and family isn’t able to be provided because everyone is struggling – we are in a pandemic! As a black mom I’m really focused at this point on additional stuff that is recommended to reduce the likelihood of maternal death – a doula, a care team not 100% covered by insurance. I’ve also been experiencing a lot of pregnancy related issues that have caused increasing needs in healthcare – like SPD which requires pelvic floor therapy and chiropractic care, something insurance just doesn’t pay for. I’m only partnered and not married. So it is hard to equally share when I only make so much to ensure baby is provided for. I’m already at 30 weeks and there’s a lot left to get!” -Amber
Amber was paralyzed after being beat up by a man in a bar due to mistaken identity. The man got away with it and she is now wheelchair bound. She was in tears when she found out that she would be featured as one of the mamas for community giving this month and I am SO excited to be able to send her a little sunshine with all of you! I am looking into finding a photographer in her area for maternity photos as well as a postpartum doula at her request! She lives in Nashville, so if you know of anyone, please let me know!
Amber’s Story in her own words:
“I was attacked by a stranger at a bar. The stranger pulled me down about 10 feet to the floor by my neck. I was then unable to move my legs. I’ve come very far with the help of an amazing physical therapy and wheel community. The perpetrator was apprehended but unfortunately accepted a plea and will serve no jail time or suffer any consequences. I’m very thankful for the journey though and am even thankful for the challenges being a wheel mom will bring!”
AMBER’S AMAZON WISH LIST HERE
amazon list has been fulfilled!
AMBER’s GOFUNDME PAGE HERE (for hospital bills and bigger ticket items, stroller, etc that they need for baby!)