243 Percent

childbirth, health, lifestyle, Pregnancy

Black women are 243% more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth related causes than white women.

I almost became a part of this statistic during and after the birth of my son. I had pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. I was taking a very low dose of Labetalol to manage my blood pressure throughout my pregnancy. My doctor took all of the necessary precautions to make sure my baby and I were safe. We did non-stress test twice a week the last trimester. I was induced 11 days early in order to prevent me from developing preeclampsia. I felt taken care of throughout my pregnancy but post childbirth is a whole other story.

Immediately after I gave birth to Remy my blood pressure spiked to 200+/140+. I felt fine, but I had a lot of adrenaline and drugs. In order to bring my blood pressure down they pumped me full of blood pressure medicine. They thought they would have to do a 24-hour Magnesium Sulfate drip in order to relax my muscles so that I wouldn’t have a seizure. They were able to get my blood pressure down after a couple of hours, so they transferred me to post-partum. Because of the multiple high blood pressures I had throughout labor the delivery doctor wanted me to stay in the hospital for 3-5 days. They ended up letting me out Friday morning almost 36 hours after delivery.

That entire weekend I had been feeling light-headed, but I figured it was from lack of sleep and food. Sunday evening I decided to take my blood pressure because I was developing a small headache. My blood pressure Sunday evening was 180+/130+; my cuff has never read that high before so I figured it was broken. I knew I was going to the hospital on Monday for an appointment and figured I would get it checked while I was there. Well it turned out my blood pressure cuff wasn’t broken and that was a true reading. I had stopped by Maternal Fetal Medicine to have them check it and when it read that high the doctor told me to take another dose of medicine and to go home and relax. I didn’t go home; instead I walked over to my OB/GYN office to have them monitor me for a while. The Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor didn’t even come over to talk to me before trying to send me home. My OB/GYN ended up admitting me into the hospital and I had to stay there for another 3 days and 2 nights. I’m glad I went with my gut and got a second opinion.

I ended up getting admitted back into the hospital about 12 hours after they released me from my second stay. I don’t think I need to go into much detail for it to be obvious that they shouldn’t have let me out if my blood pressures were high enough for another admittance that soon after being released.

The communication at the hospital was awful. I shouldn’t have been released from the hospital in 36 hours; the delivery doctor wanted me to stay for 3-5 days. And because that wasn’t communicated I ended up back in the hospital 3 days later. The next time I was released from the hospital I shouldn’t have been let out then either. My blood pressure barely was below 160/110. The last time I left the hospital my blood pressure was barely below the 160/110 but at least they had changed my medication. The second issue is that the hospital is being run like a business; they want you in and out of there and want to get the next person in. I overheard a conversation between my nurse and doctor where they were both being pressured by the head of labor and delivery to break my water so that I could give birth that afternoon so they could get the next mother that needed to be induced into my room.

So obviously I didn’t die but I very well could have, I truly am lucky to not have had a stroke during this 2-week period. I feel like I am alive by the grace of God. I guess the point of this post is to share my story and to point out how it is the small decisions that are leading to these statistics and that it’s not overt racism. I could have died because my condition wasn’t taken seriously. I could have had multiple strokes all because of a lack of communication between nurses and doctors. I am grateful to have made it out of the situation alive and with a fully capable body.

Here is a link to a report that covers the racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare: http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2003/Unequal-Treatment-Confronting-Racial-and-Ethnic-Disparities-in-Health-Care/PatientversionFINAL.pdf I figured a peer-reviewed report would be better than me standing on my soapbox and yelling into the abyss.

Well, I’m alive and now I’m a mother so I hope to share more about those two things with you this next year.

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FEAR

health, lifestyle, Pregnancy

So the last time I posted I was talking about how I was managing to keep my head above water. I’m almost 100 percent sure that the weekend after I posted that, I found out that I was pregnant. Talk about adding ankle weights to a person that is barely learning how to tread water. Since it’s been awhile let’s start there. Remember I was diagnosed with PCOS, what I didn’t share was that my doctor was basically like your chances of getting pregnant without some sort of help (medicinally) is slim to none. So that was obviously depressing, not because I was pressed to have kids but who likes to hear that the one body they have doesn’t work. So I was up and down emotionally over that news all while not being entirely sure I even wanted kids. So fast forward to after my last post, I had decided that I was going to start birth control that day because even though the doctor said the chances were slim I knew that I didn’t want to have kids. I had finally come to terms with having a life of just me and my husband doing dope shit and having all the freedom. I figured I was just going to be the best auntie ever, I had even booked a flight to go spend spring break with my sister’s kids. Little did I know I was already pregnant. So here I am finally okay with the fact that I may not be able to have kids and deciding to not even try because I don’t want to go through the disappointment of trying and failing. I’m finally able to picture my life without any kids in it and start to believe that it’s a life that I could truly enjoy. Then I take a pregnancy test on a whim just because I started birth control and I planned on having cocktails that night so I rather be safe than sorry, only to find out test after test after test that I am pregnant. Let me mention that I had just taken a test two weeks before and it was negative so I thought I was just being extra cautious that weekend. So now I’m pregnant and I don’t know how far along I am. And even though I knew/thought I didn’t want to have kids I have this overwhelming fear that I’m going to have a miscarriage because of the PCOS. I am finally able to get into the doctor and I think that I’m 8 weeks pregnant only to find out I’m 5 weeks and 6 days pregnant. This is very bad news to someone who is anxious about having a miscarriage I needed those two weeks to be over with. I needed to be closer to the safe zone. So for 6 weeks and 1 day I was completely in denial about being pregnant. I wasn’t even a little bit excited. I didn’t tell anyone because when I did, I didn’t have the same reaction that most women would have. Each time I told a person I was pregnant I almost cried from fear that I would have to tell that same person that I lost the baby. I would read about miscarriages every day. I needed to know all of the warning signs and symptoms. I read so many statistics, 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage 1 in fucking 5, you guys. That’s a lot to a woman who is in fear of a miscarriage especially when you start think about the women around you that have already had kids and didn’t have a miscarriage it’s like you’ve got to be the one right? Then to top it off, it seems like so many people are doing IVF. So it’s like why would I be lucky enough to get pregnant naturally and keep the baby when the doctor clearly said I would need medicine to get pregnant. So I was basically living in fear of losing a baby I wasn’t even sure I wanted in the first place until about May. So I know it’s been awhile but that’s where my head was at for the first part of the year, I hope you’re ready to be caught up on the rest of my year and understanding of the reasoning for my abandonment.

Resolution

lifestyle, Uncategorized

It’s been awhile. I want to say that I’ve been super busy but that’s not entirely true. I’ve been super busy doing nothing. Super busy thinking about what I could and should do and not actually doing it. It’s March and I haven’t even written once this year. So with that said, there’s no better time to create a resolution than the beginning of the month, right, even if the month isn’t January?

I’M GOING TO MAKE THIS A YEAR OF DOING!

I’ve been spending the past two months doing some soul-searching and I feel like I’m really making some progress. I finally feel like my head is above water and I’m treading comfortably. I haven’t quite made it to the point where I can reach the ground and stand and know that I won’t go under again, but I’m comfortable. I don’t know if I was having like a third life crisis or something. But whatever it was I didn’t like it. I’m going to catch you up on what I’ve been doing to get to this feeling of keeping my head above water.

Obvi, I did a social media cleanse because that’s where I always start. That shit affects me in a way that isn’t overt but when I am not on social media it’s like a 180 degree difference in my day. I can’t even pinpoint what the actual issue is with social media, it’s really weird. It definitely has a subconscious effect on me. I will admit that the last two weeks I’ve been on Instagram a lot more but I’m going to scale back again because I can feel my energy shifting. Speaking of energy shifting I’ve been avoiding the news. I still listen to NPR on my way to work in the morning and sometimes on the way home but that’s it. The problem is, if my husband has control of the remote control our evening looks like this: Last week with John Oliver, Real time with Bill Maher, Vice news tonight, and an episode or two of Samantha Bee. When it’s time for me to go to bed I feel like the sky is falling and there is nothing I can do about it. So when I have control of the remote I’m like the complete opposite, give me Real Housewives of America, Vanderpump Rules, Teen Mom, anything that doesn’t take brain power or concern. I know that trashy TV probably isn’t the answer but I can say for a fact that taking in all that news is definitely not good for me; it turns me into a worried, angry person.

I’ve also started reading self-help books. I’ve been doing this weird thing lately, well two weird things, where I read multiple books at once and I will start a book and stop and then come and pick it back up later. I started Light is the New Black probably like 8 months a go and decided to pick it back up in January. Everything about starting to read this book again was perfect: where I picked back up in the book was perfect, the time of my life was perfect, everything was just perfect. I’m not going to lie the first 1/3 of the book was weird and put me off. That second-third of the book is everything you need in order to find your light. It asks you all the right questions, it forced me to self-analyze in a way that I never have before. I can confidently say that I know what drives me, or to fall in line with the book what my light is. I cannot vouch for the beginning or the end of the book but the middle is LIT! I’m also 1/3 of the way through Eat, Pray, Love. I can’t say that I will be finishing the rest of it anytime soon. The first part of the book takes place in Italy so I felt like it spoke to me much more having just been there last summer. I will most likely wait on finishing the rest of it until it calls me again. Those two sections of Light is the New Black and Eat Pray Love really made me feel ALIVE again. I honestly can’t explain it. And I’m not even saying that these two books will do the same for you. But I do recommend that you search and keep reading until you find that something that speaks to you. And don’t be ashamed to quit a book in the middle and come back to it later, it just might not be what you need at that time.

I started therapy in November. I’m in this weird place where I think, is it still taboo to do therapy? But then I also think therapy is a very millennial thing to do. I initially hesitated sharing this with you even though there’s a chance that you are either currently in therapy or thinking about therapy. I started out using TalkSpace which is online therapy where you don’t have to go into any office or have any insurance and you can email, text, voice message, or even FaceTime your therapist. It’s uber convenient. You can text your therapist immediately instead of waiting until your appointment. I don’t use TalkSpace anymore because I didn’t feel like I really had that much to talk about that I needed 24/7 access. I also found out that my insurance covers therapy and because I felt like one session a month would be sufficient and it was more cost-effective to pay the copay rather than the monthly fee for TalkSpace. Although, I don’t have like huge problems or traumas, having someone to talk to has been AMAZING– like AMAZING! I can’t even begin to tell you how great it’s been.

**Here is a promo code for TalkSpace that you can use to get $55 off of your first month: SLEEP55. This is not an ad and I’m absolutely not sponsored! HA! I wish! I just think mental health is important.**

And the last thing that has helped me keep my head above water is having people around me that will be brutally honest when necessary. My husband and I had a conversation that at first I was like ‘how dare he say those things about me to me, he’s a hater and haters go’n hate!” But once I stepped back and thought about what he actually said, I realized he had some valid points. Normally I am the person on the other end giving out the cold hard truth but this was one of the first times that I had been the recipient. The message that was delivered to me was that I don’t ever put any real effort behind things. That I could be really good at things that I tried if I would just practice. He was right. I can’t think of the last time that I have actually put effort into anything. I do feel like things come naturally to me but that doesn’t mean that I am actually good at things. And that’s my downfall is that because I am able to pick something up and do it fools me into thinking that I am actually good at it. I need to put forth effort. There’s so many things that I say I want to do, but it’s almost like I want it to just happen with as little effort as possible. Now that I am aware, this will no longer be happening! Which is why my new New Year’s resolution is to  have a ” Year of Do”!

So cheers to more doing and less talking about doing!

Vegetarian

health, lifestyle

Whatever you do, do not watch What the Health? I made this mistake at the end of August. And now I’m going on my sixth week of being a vegetarian. The main points that What the Health covers are as follows:

  1. The connection between the large-scale agribusinesses, their lobbying power, and the medical system in the Western society;
  2. The lack of nutritional training doctors go through in medical school;
  3. How the meat and dairy industry employs tactics similar to those used by the tobacco industry when talking about its products and public health;
  4. Why organic meat, dairy and eggs are not necessarily better for us than their conventional counterparts;
  5. The devastating impact of animal agriculture on the underprivileged communities of color.
  6. The role of USDA checkoff programs in promoting meat and dairy to the public;
  7. How our obsession with animal-based protein is harming us.

I was vegan for about a week but knew it wasn’t something I could maintain so I switched it to something I can maintain. I eat seafood, cheese, and eggs. I may adjust it over time to be a little bit more restrictive but right now this is something I can do. What the Health convinced me that this would be something that is good for me because it seems like meat puts you at a higher risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and increased insulin resistance. Being a black woman I’m already at risk for every one of those things. So I felt like if there was a chance that avoiding meat can help reduce my risk for theses diseases then this is something I need to be willing to try. The insulin resistance definitely struck a chord since it was showing up as a symptom of my PCOS. I felt like as a woman who eventually wants to try to have kids that if being a vegetarian can help with my PCOS, it is something I have to do.

Since I have been a vegetarian; I have lost weight, I have lost inches, and I have more energy. It hasn’t been that hard honestly. The hardest thing is trying to figure out something quick when you are in a bind. The Harmon’s salad bar has been my saving grace.

I was and still am a little fearful of becoming a ‘starch’itarian; this week I am planning on only allowing one carb/starch per day just to make sure that I am filling my plate with veggies and not with pasta, potatoes, and bread. I want to make this more of a focus now that I have figured out how to make it without meat. I know that carbs turn into sugar and if I have an insulin resistance then this is going to affect it. I will let you know how this goes.

If you are thinking about becoming a vegan/vegetarian and you aren’t sure about what to cook check out the minimalistbaker.com. She has tasty recipes and most of them are 10 ingredients or less! #NOAD #NOSPONSOR #JUSTDOPE

Dependency

lifestyle, Social Media

Social media kills me.

This time it is Pinterest. Having access to everything at your fingertips seriously can cripple you. I have been on this quest to lose weight, who isn’t? So naturally I jump on Pinterest and look up all of these weight lifting routines that I need to incorporate into my workout because:

  1. Look at these girls’ bodies
  2. They have all these likes so it must be working!

So months go by with me doing these workouts written by girls that in no way, shape, or form have a body like mine and I’m not seeing any results. FINALLY the other day I was at the gym and I logon to Pinterest because I need to figure out what workout I’m about to do and my phone won’t connect, so I’m all panicky like what am I supposed to do now!? Then I have this brilliant idea of, why don’t you just do what you used to do when you came to the gym before you were looking for tips from everybody and their grandmamma. Then I had the flood of memories of how well I was able to whip my body into shape doing what I KNEW my body needed.

How did I get to the point that I didn’t even realize I have become so dependent on the internet to tell me things about myself that I already know?

Hippie

lifestyle

It turns out my dad is sort of hippie. If you have ever met or seen my dad this would throw you completely off guard probably as much as it’s throwing me off guard. Maybe he’s not a hippie; maybe he just hates Big Pharma! Ha, I don’t know which it is but either way you go it’s surprising to me. Let me tell you this first, then we will get back to my dad.

I had set up a bunch of doctors appointments to make sure things were running regularly. Things weren’t running so regular; I had a gastrointestinal issue and I was showing symptoms of PCOS. In order to combat some of the symptoms I was having, the doctors gave me all kinds of prescriptions. Doctors NEVER give me medicine, so this was a surprise. I started taking them and they made me fill super shitty. I was going to ride it out because doctors aren’t wrong, right? They completely wrecked my diet because I was constantly nauseous. I felt so ill that I could have been cast as an extra in The Walking Dead.

So back to my dad, one morning I was sitting in my car outside of my office struggling to make it in to work and my dad called me. My mom told him I was on all of these prescriptions and that even one of the prescriptions I was on she had to take for her diabetes. He told me that he thought it was a bad idea for me to take something that made me feel so awful. He told me how he has gone natural to combat his high blood pressure and cholesterol because he didn’t feel like the long-term side effects of his prescriptions were worth it. And if that wasn’t going to get me to consider doing something natural he let me know that he would be more than happy to spend my life insurance policy when I’m gone. And that he wouldn’t feel the least bit bad about it because I was foolish for taking all of those pills. That last part made me laugh, because I think my dad realized he was being too sweet and caring so he had to switch things back up!

But he was right, when the GYN said that my lab results were showing a bit of an insulin resistance I asked her if there was some way I could adjust my diet and exercise in order to help. She explained that I could reduce the percentage of body fat that I was carrying and that would help a lot. In the world we live in today I would say the majority of people would like a magic pill to fix it all. And that’s what she was offering me and I took it! I knew in my heart that I would prefer to try to fix this issue with diet and exercise but when offered the easy way out, I took it. And I suffered.

After I got off of the phone with my dad I decided I was no longer going to take any of the medications. I think more than anything what I needed from my dad was to confirm that I felt right in thinking that the doctor had over-prescribed me drugs. It felt good to know that I had someone in my corner.

I’m not sure if I’ve made the right decision. But I can tell you it is a whole lot better being a human rather than a zombie.

 

 

 

 

Boredom

lifestyle

I have completely neglected this blog and my excuse is that I have been too busy. I think about writing often, I just haven’t done it. Almost every night before bed I think to myself that I should have taken some time to write something today. This whole excuse of being too busy, is just that an excuse. In all actuality I have plenty of time. I just choose to fill up every minute of my time. I don’t allow myself boredom. Instead of sitting in my boredom, I fill my “extra” time up with social media and TV. I forget that so-called boredom is where creativity is birthed.

Over the past few months I have allowed myself a few moments of boredom to come up with great writing ideas and great plans for my future. What I haven’t done is allowed myself the time to make these ideas happen.

I am going to be proactive about setting time aside for writing and going after my new goals. Be prepared to hear a lot more from me because this outlet is definitely high on my priority list.