6 Week Postpartum Update and Why Maternal Care in America Sucks

The United States is ranked 61st in Maternal Health and we have one of the highest infant mortality rates in the developed world. For being one of the wealthiest nations, this country is one of the only ones lacking in maternal care.

Three weeks ago, I started hemorrhaging at home due to some retained placenta that was left inside my uterus from labor. So much blood was pouring out of me…I ran through the kitchen to get Dustin and rush to the hospital. I turned around and looked back at what resembled a murder scene. Blood everywhere. Literal pools of blood. I became lightheaded, struck with fear, and my body started tingling. I honestly wondered “is this it?” “am I going to miss out on watching my baby-girl grow up?”

I was sent to the ER downtown and immediately had an emergency D&C to remove the rest of the blood and clotting. I lost so much blood that evening that I required a blood transfusion. Soon afterward I started spiking a high fever and spent the next four days in the hospital being treated for potential infection.
Fast forward three weeks later to my 6 week postpartum checkup. I was feeling great and was looking forward to getting the okay from my doctor to do things like workout, hike, and have sex again. My doctor and I decided to do one last ultrasound to make sure everything was out of me, just for peace of mind. I was optimistic going into the ultrasound but was immediately crushed when I saw the screen…there was still more placenta in there…how the fuck is there still more? My doctor scheduled me for the following afternoon to do my second D&C, this time with a camera and ultrasound to make sure she was getting it all. I was terrified to go home and start hemorrhaging like last time. She called for more blood products because there was a possibility that I would lose a lot of blood like last time. My doctor also brought up the possibility of a rare condition where the placenta continues to grow back which results in the need for a hysterectomy. My terror and anxiety was multiplied by a kazillion at the thought of losing my ability to have anymore children and going through menopause at the age of 22.

As I write this, I’m sitting on the couch at home recouping from my procedure. My doctor confidently told me that she thought it all went well and she got everything out of my uterus successfully. I’m hoping and praying for no more complications and to finally heal properly. Before I go on, I just want to say that I’m beyond grateful my daughter was delivered healthy and safe. I’m grateful that I came out of the hospital safely. I’m also grateful for the doctors and nurses who took care of me both times.

But the more I think about everything, the more upset I become.
This. Shouldn’t. Have. Happened.

My entire healthcare experience during my pregnancy felt rushed. My appointments always felt rushed and even my delivery felt rushed. One second my doctor was there, then the next she was telling me congratulations on the baby and that she will see me in 6 weeks and walked out the door.
I shouldn’t have been rushed through my appointments and most importantly my delivery, accidentally leaving me with a large amount of placenta left inside of me. It took me trusting my gut and listening to what my body was telling me to initiate getting an early check-up and for my doctor to find out what was wrong with me. That just isn’t acceptable. After everything we go through, women deserve so much better than what we are offered.

People treat pregnancy as a fragile state. But once we have actually undergone the physical trauma and emotional exhaustion of it, we are expected to almost immediately rejoin the rest of the world as normal human beings even though we just went through one of the most life-changing and strenuous events of our lives. The reality is that it can take months to properly heal from childbirth and overexertion after labor could potentially lead to complications like depression, infection, uterine bleeding, or prolapse.

There is this attitude surrounding women in our country that “women have been doing this since the beginning of time and we can handle everything on our own.” And if they don’t live up to these expectations then they feel like there is something wrong with them. I remember two weeks after giving birth…being apologetic to others for feeling so tired, for the house being messy, and not being able to complete my assignments for school. Bullshit. I shouldn’t have to feel sorry for needing extra sleep and spending what little free time I do have to take care of myself emotionally and physically.

We should take our maternal healthcare and healing seriously like they do in other countries like France, where they spend a week in the hospital after giving birth or Sweden, where prenatal care is free, both parents receive a year of paid leave, and they have the highest breastfeeding rates and lowest infant mortality rates in the world. If we started talking honestly about the time and energy it actually takes to grow a human being inside you and recover from childbirth, then maybe women wouldn’t feel the pressure to return to “normal” as quickly as possible. Just maybe we would have better standards of care for pregnant women, and maybe I wouldn’t have hemorrhaged all over my kitchen floor, or ended up needing two separate surgeries to correct the issue in only a matter of weeks.

xx, Chanel

 

Spring Is In The Air

It’s been 3 weeks since Acacia was born. SO much has happened since then and a lot of it will be talked about in my 6 weeks postpartum post. For now, I’ll just say that it has been the hardest, yet most rewarding 3 weeks of my life so far. A is becoming more alert now and loves staring at people. She also loves sleeping, boobies, and crying a lot. Seems like normal baby shenanigans to me!
I’ve been getting excited by all the warm spring weather lately. Flowers are blooming and the sun is finally shining. We’ve gone to the park a couple times and spent afternoons rocking in the rocking chair on our front porch. I’m cherishing every moment with Acacia being this tiny since she is already almost a month old and is starting to grow so fast!


Wearing:

Dress – Spell & The Gypsy Collective
Sweater – Tilly’s
Baby Onesie – LiveStyled
Baby Bow – Carter’s

xoxo, Chanel

A’s Birth Story

February 27th, 2017

I had been looking into natural ways of inducing labor and found that one of the more delicious ways to go about it is to eat an insane amount of Pineapple. And I did just that…by cutting up an entire pineapple and blending it into a berry-pineapple shake, drinking canned pineapple juice, and eating freshly cut slices all night long. It’s safe to say that I’ll be all-pineappled-out for a long while!
Also, lot’s of bouncing on the yoga ball happened. But mostly just a lot of laying in bed because of how uncomfortable I was at that point.

February 28th, 2017

I woke up on my due date early in the morning to cramping. I tried to record them on my contraction calculating app but fell asleep for a few more hours before getting up for a doctor’s appointment. My doctor notified me that I was 4 cm dilated and could expect to have her either tonight or the next day. The contractions kept happening at a slow and steady pace all through the evening.
Due to pain and anticipation, I didn’t sleep that night.

March 1st, 2017

After standing in the shower for over an hour letting the warm water run down my back to sooth my contractions, I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore and it was time to visit labor and delivery. They sent me home at 6a.m. with a shot of medicine in my butt to help me sleep. I dozed in and out of sleep and pain until about 11a.m. when I woke up with contractions about 4 minutes apart. It was really time, this time! They finally checked me into the hospital at 6 cm dilated. I received an epidural as soon as I got to my room…I actually received it a lovely total of 3 times because they kept missing the right spot. But soon I found relief in the numbness. My family finally arrived and they kept me distracted for a while as we exchanged the presents that I put together for the gigi & papa-to-be, uncle-to-be, and of course daddy-to-be. It wasn’t even two hours later that my epidural wore off completely and I was in the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt. I was silent except for the frequent curse words muttered under my breath. It was like everyone else in the room wasn’t there – my boyfriend, my mom, the doctors – they were all a haze and I was alone in the room with my suffering. I tried focusing on my breathing but the pain and urge to push were so intense that it was hard to think of anything else. I begged for anything to help ease the pain but the nurse told me the only way to get rid of it was to push. And so I began 45 minutes of hard labor. I felt every push, every rip, every movement as my baby descended closer to being born. Finally, with one last push followed by the greatest relief I’ve ever known, my daughter was placed into my arms. The shock was immediate and the euphoria soon followed. She was born healthy, wide eyed, and beautiful. We spent the next 3 days in the hospital, getting acquainted, spending quality time, and falling irrevocably in love with our daughter.

xoxo, Chanel

Hello World

March 1st, 2017. 5:54 P.M. The exact time and date that my heart and soul grew infinitely bigger in order to accommodate a love so deep.
I’d like to introduce the world to one of its newest, most precious little humans. My daughter – Acacia Everly. She was born bright eyed and healthy. I’m absolutely over the moon with happiness. Every cliché thing that I’ve ever been told about becoming a parent is 100% true. I went into that hospital as one person and left a completely new one. This past week has had its ups and downs. To say that I’m emotional right now would be an understatement, but overall it’s been the most blissful week of my life so far. Part of me wants her to stay this tiny forever – it actually makes me want to cry sometimes…but another part of me is so excited to see her personality blossom and watch her grow into her own person.

I’ve been taking a break from blogging the last week or so to adjust to the mom-life and recover from labor physically and emotionally. I’ll be posting her birth story in the next couple days.

XX, Chanel

The 39th Week

As I enter into what might be my last week (or days) of pregnancy, I can feel my body preparing for labor. A combination of tightening, cramping, and the uncomfortable sensation that I’m either going to pee my pants or that the baby is going to punch her way out of me. 

This pregnancy has taught me a lot of things about myself. It’s been a truly humbling experience through and through – for my body and mind. I’ve experienced relentless discomfort and pain that, in the moment, felt like would be the end of me…only to triumph through it and realize how strong I really am if I just simply allow myself to be. My entire self-image has done a complete 360 as I’ve whitnessed my body morph itself into a vessel 3x its normal size in order to house not one, but two souls inside of it. Sometimes I’m in awe of this incredible transformation, while most times I selfishly dread the marks left on my skin and the thought that my body will never be the same again. I’ve gained a new form of respect for my own mom and all other women who have gone through this transformative process before me. I now believe that pregnancy is the ultimate expression of true feminine power. And though I’ll never be able to prepare myself for it mentally, I know that the most painful part is still yet to come…only to bring me the most life-changing moment I will ever experience and a true understanding of what unconditional love means. 

Maternity Photos

Maternity Photos

I can’t even imagine the tiny feet that will fill these shoes. I’m excited to meet you, little one. I’m excited to show you the world and watch you grow into the person you’re meant to be – whoever that person is. 

xx, Chanel

Vlog: Tips For Flying While Pregnant

I threw together a vlog, to go along with my original post, that talks more about my personal tips to help make flying while pregnant a little more pleasant for all you traveling mamas out there.
I’d really appreciate it if my lovely readers would show my new YouTube account some love by liking and subscribing to my videos! And if you have any suggestions for future vlogs, be sure to comment and let me know!

Enjoy!

 

 

xx, Safe Travels

Whimsical Nursery Reveal

Nursery Wall Art

I cannot believe how fast my pregnancy has flown by. It feels like just yesterday I was looking at the pregnancy test in shock and awe. I’m so excited and nervous! There is less than two weeks until my due date and I could pop any day now! It really hit me how fast things are moving when we set up the crib and nursery this week. I loved watching Dustin set his up daughter’s crib and helping him paint the wall pink while the dogs watched curiously from the baby activity mat.

Setting Up Crib

Pottery Barn Crib


Whimsical Crib

Butterfly Pillow

Baby Nursery

Nursery Mirror

I wanted a whimsical boho-chic room with lots of blushy pinks and hints of gold, baby blue, and mint green thrown in the mix. The adorable crib, bedding, and canopy are from Pottery Barn Kids. We found most of the wall decor at Hobby Lobby. They have a huge selection of children’s decor right now that fits my vision perfectly and for a good price too. I love the sentimental touches that we added – like my old tea set in the corner of the room and the lyrics to “You Are My Sunshine” on the wall, which my mom used to sing to me and my brother all the time when we were little. We’re still waiting on the matching changing table to arrive and there are some things I’d like to add over time, like a little teepee to play in and some bookshelves, but ultimately I couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out!

xx, Chanel