Client Project on Maternal Health Got Me to Thinking

TRIGGER WARNING: This post talks about fertility, maternal morbidity, pregnancy and the birthing experience.

Between shutting down my baby manufacturing plant and having clients who deal with maternal health and morbidity, I really understood how magnificent and miraculous it is to be able to grow and deliver a whole human being and survive to tell about it.

For decades, every month my body prepared itself to receive a seed and grow a human. It did this without me thinking about it. And when no baby was made, it released that potential as menstrual flow and started the process all over again.

It’s quite mind-blowing when you really think about it.

And there are no guarantees when it comes to this process.

Especially for Black women. Our rates for death during or after childbirth are incredibly high.

There’s no guarantee that mom and/or baby will survive the process.

One of my high school classmates had an ectopic pregnancy right after high school and passed away.

When I first moved to Houston, a coworker was raising her granddaughter because her daughter died during childbirth.

Because of recent work with clients, I understood just how close I came to not delivering my own babies.

I knew I had fibroids. My doctors told me. What they didn’t tell me is how those fibroids could impact me carrying and delivering those babies. It is a miracle my two are even here.

After each delivery, each doctor said the same thing.

“Huh, your placenta almost detached from your uterus.”

I didn’t understand.

Elgin—my husband—thought I had bad placentas.

When really, I was experiencing placenta abruption due to the fibroids.

No one ever told me that.

No one suggested if I wanted to have more children, I should get treated for the fibroids.

Who knows what would have happened with a third pregnancy.

A few years ago, we were hired to capture footage of a summit that dealt with maternal health and morbidity. I was blown away. The speakers, the mothers who spoke, the loved ones of women who had passed away all shared their stories and my heart broke. But even with so much pain, there were inspiring stories and a real push to improve the birthing experiences for all women.

So when we got the call from our client to travel to Baltimore and film Thaen’s story, we were thrilled.

We weren’t ready for Thaen’s story though.

We interviewed her at length and it all didn’t make the final piece but I will never forget this amazing woman. Or the fact that a dental student ended up delivering one of her babies.

Below is the opening sequence to our client’s video.

When they release it in full, I’ll share it with you all.

Thaen’s OB/GYN, Dr. Jason Vaught and the labor and delivery nurse, Carli Shaw went above and beyond to make sure Thaen delivered her baby safely. And she did. There were a few hiccups but you’ll have to watch the video for the full story.

Getting pregnant, carrying the baby, delivering the baby, and even surviving the first year aren’t always a guarantee.

I didn’t know how close I was to not delivering my own babies.

So to all the amazing people in this space bringing awareness to these issues and helping moms, thank you for your work.

It’s an honor to help tell these stories.