Born a Mother || #Every2

When I first became pregnant, seven years ago, I was immersed in public health work – examining the intersection of poverty, HIV and gender identity as a street based researcher.  My evenings were spent in the classroom finishing up my Masters Degree.  As I dreamed of motherhood and my baby to be, I felt a natural pull towards global maternal health.  And now, as a mother of two, approaching Mother’s Day, I share my birth stories because every woman should have the fundamental right to life and health.

When I went into labor, my baby was in a posterior position resulting in an arduously long back labor.  Along with my doula, my birthing preferences were met with resistance as I was under the care of the Obstetrician that my provider hoped wouldn’t be on call that day.  Whatever discord I felt between the Dr. and his team dissipated from my mind as soon as I heard my doula say, “It’s a girl” – and I experienced that glorious moment when time seemed to stand still.  The minute that I became a mother for the first time. The moment that I met my darling Lucia Paloma.

born a mother every mother counts #Every2

Twenty Seven months later, I had a chance to experience that sacred moment again.  My Dr. had since left her former practice to form a minimally invasive partnership and aligned herself with a hospital known as a proponent of minimally invasive obstetrics.  St. Vincent’s hospital closed its doors the week that my son was due – and when I slid into a fast and furious labor, I waited for that call to tell me where to go.  My experiences at that lower Manhattan hospital were extremely positive.  It was my husband’s solid hip-squeezing technique and ability to coheres the nurses into letting me remain upright that severed as my saving grace.  And sharing in the birth of our son brought us even closer.  As the hospital walls echoed “DON”T PUSH”  I screamed “I’M PUSHING!!!!”, and my Dr. finally arrived to catch my sweet baby boy. Adrian Alessandro arrived ten days after his due date and birthing him was the hardest and by far the most empowering moment of my life.

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When I think back on the births of my babies, years later, my greatest concern at the time was unnecessary medical intervention.  I also think about the care and support that carried me through my pregnancies and postpartum; An endocrinologist to closely monitor my thyroid disease, a doula to support my first birth, a skilled and supportive Obstetrician, and a long term lactation consultant to support my breastfeeding goals despite being told it wasn’t possible due to breast reduction surgery nearly 10 years prior.

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I share these stories on the cusp of Mother’s Day because around the world, a mother dies every two minutes from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.  The majority of these deaths are preventable and that is unacceptable.  As we celebrate Mother’s this Sunday there are actions that we can do to help make pregnancy and childbirth safe for everyone by getting involved with Every Mother Counts, #every2 campaign:

  • UPLOAD 2 photos of the day you were “born” a mother on Facebook,  or  share your photos with the hashtag #Every2 on social media.
  • RUN 2 miles for Every Mother Counts and log them in the Charity Miles App. Every mile will generate $.25 for EMC.
  • SHARE 2 facts about maternal health on 2 of your social media networks with the hashtag #every2
  • INVITE 2 friends to Take 2 actions of their own.

Please join me in taking 2 minutes this Mother’s Day for mothers everywhere.

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