I began my journey to motherhood in 2013 when I became pregnant with my first child. At that time I had the luxury of being under the careful watch of my incredible midwife at the University of Michigan Health Systems. I was scheduled regular appointments and was provided all the necessary testing and care that those with excellent health coverage often take for granted. My goal was to have an unmedicated labor and delivery and thanks to the support of my midwife and the training from my Bradley Method classes, I was able to enjoy a safe, peaceful water birth at Von Voightlander Women's Hospital. Immediately after birth and in the weeks thereafter, Calista and I were given quality care and attention from all of the health professionals we encountered.
I had continued running during my pregnancy up until 36 weeks. Thanks in part to my continued focus on health and fitness and the care I received while pregnant and postpartum, I was able to ease back in to running at 6 weeks postpartum and eventually ran my first marathon 15 months postpartum at the Chicago Marathon.
When I became pregnant again in 2015, my goal was the same and I was given the same maternal health care from the University of Michigan Health Systems that I received during my first pregnancy. I was lucky have have an easy pregnancy with no complications. That all changed however two days before my expected due date. After returning home (alone) from work in the early afternoon after experiencing some typical discomfort I experienced a Placental Abruption. (Placental Abruption can cause life-threatening problems for both mom and baby which include kidney failure, the need for blood transfusions, shock, restricted growth and stillbirth. In the event of a Placental Abruption, medical intervention is required immediately.)
I was taken via ambulence to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where I was immediately met by my midwife and the entire ER team. My midwife was able to stop my bleeding, immediately begin monitoring my baby, and stabilizing us both, thus saving both of our lives. It was determined that I would be allowed to continue with my wish for a natural labor and delivery but that I was to be monitored and given Pitocin to "speed up the process". I was also told that if any moment, the baby appeared to be in distress they would take me in for an emergency Cesarean Section and would be able to have the baby out in 3 minutes or less. Labor progressed nicely, but as pushing began the babys breathing slowed and oxygen was limited - at this point a C-Section was not an option. Keira was born at 11:10 AM. She was as white as a piece of copy paper. She was not crying. She was not breathing. Her cord had become a noose around her neck, and as she had decended, she had basically strangled herself. Code was called through the entire floor and within moments, there were dozens of doctors sprinting in to our room. She was immediately taken to the N.E.S.T. where she was put on a CPAP and tested and monitored. It would be nearly 3 hours before I was able to see my beautiful baby in the N.E.S.T. Keira was a champion and recovered quickly and with no ill effects and I was treated with the best possible postpartum care. Miraculously, we were able to go home the very next day. In the coming days we received home visits from a nurse and lactation consultant, as well as countless follow up phone calls from my midwife and nurses.
I was again able to return to running 6 weeks postpartum. After suffering through postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression, running has served as my outlet and my safe place. Training for my second marathon has given me a renewed sense of self and purpose. My hope is to use this platform as a voice for those who have lost their own because sadly, the same incredible care my babies and I received over the years is not the care that every deserving woman in the World has access to. A woman dies every 2 minutes from the complications of pregnancy and childbirth. However, we know that 98% of those deaths are preventable.
My goal is to put good use to my running and to shed light on the inequalities related to maternal care; to raise money which will fund grants to organizations that demonstrate a commitment to improving maternal health and that address at least one of the three main barriers to accessing quality care: transportation (linking women with skilled care), training and education (for health workers, patients and communities) and supplies (medicines, equipment and instruments). Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. I run because often distance is the biggest barrier to a woman and her family getting the care they need. Simply put, I want to run so that others don't have to, and now, I'm hoping you will lend your support no matter how big or small.