May 7, 2013

Surviving the First Day

Surviving the First Day
Please check out some of the Save the Children's annual report inspired haiku, here.

In honor of Save the Children's annual report, I'd like to talk a bit about my birth stories.

I wanted to be a mother. I thought I was ready to be a mother. I had doctors, doulas, grandparents accessible- practically at my beck and call. I had good food, access to good nutrition, clean water, even all the chocolate I could eat. I might have had a miserable pregnancy, but I had everything I might need to get through it successfully. I was incredibly lucky.

DD and SI were born five weeks premature, after I awoke in the middle of the night, hemorrhaging. We were unfathomably lucky. We live in a country with a profound access to medicine, in a city filled with hospitals, were were at a hospital with a remarkable success rates for delivering premature twins.

Despite their low birth weights and low blood sugar, they were cleared to leave the hospital in less than a week. We never had to spend a single night apart.

When I went to the hospital to deliver RH, it was the same story. I had another emergency c-section. My previous c-section scar was rupturing, if we continued to wait, I would have begun gushing blood and amniotic fluid into my abdominal cavity.

Again, if I hadn't been so lucky to live where I do, when I do, neither of us would have survived.

During the first months of life with my children, I was again incredibly fortunate. My doctors had access to a wealth of information, to medicine, and to facilities to keep us safe. To ensure that we were well.

I had access to lactation consultants, to clean drinking water. To a family that could care for me when I was unable to care for myself. To a community that supported me at home with my babies. To a culture that saw value in my contributions as a woman and as a mother.

Not everyone is so lucky. In fact, despite how advanced we Americans believe we are, the United States is ranked 30th in terms of the places you want to be to have a baby. Our infant mortality rate is shocking.

And each year, worldwide, one million babies die on their first day of life. Three million die in their first month. And of those three million dead children, seventy five percent could have been saved with the most rudimentary, basic care.

And here, in the United States, one in 2,400 women will die from complications of childbirth. That's a lot of deaths.

We cannot sit back and tell ourselves that this is acceptable. That infant and maternal death is a problem of the third world, or not our problem. It IS our problem, but further than that all the problems of the developing world are our problems. This is our planet, our species. We owe it to ourselves to live up to our own claims of the greatness of humanity.

We owe it to these mothers and babies to give them more from life.

Go to and learn something. Contribute. Cultivate your relationship with the rest of the world. With the rest of the country.

You are not helpless, you are not distanced from these problems by a world and a culture. This is your culture, the culture of humanity. And this is your world.

There are things that all of us can do. Ways we can contribute. Even sharing our stories connects us all. Every mother has the same, fundamental experience- one day, there weren't a mother. The next day, they were.

And every day after that, for the rest of their lives.

Let's consider that number, 3,000,000.

And let's do all in our power to bring it down.

Learn about the state of the world's mothers this Mother's Day. And learn what you can do to help.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely said - thanks for sharing your story -- I had excessive bleeding with my second boy after my placenta abrupted -- scariest time of our lives. So wonderful for you to share your story to help raise awareness of this remarkable project and chance to help millions of mothers and babies!



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