Thursday, November 10, 2016

get involved

Yesterday I felt defeated, as I know many of you did. I think what shocked me the most about the results was learning that 53% of white women in America voted for Donald Trump (according to CNN exit polls). I just cannot wrap my head around that statistic. No matter your age, race or financial position, what could be a bigger priority to a woman than the rights to her own body? Seriously though, I would really like to know.

We have learned over the course of the election that Trump does not respect women or their bodies. Besides the infamous "Grab her by the pussy" conversation, Trump stated in the debates that he wants to overturn Roe vs Wade and have each state regulate their own abortion laws. I don't think people understand what impact that would really have on this country. Each state would go completely rogue. Abortion could be banned for any reason, including rape and incest, and in most Republican states, likely would. For the states that shut down abortion access and/or make it more difficult for a women to receive, there would then be an influx of women trying to get access in the few states that still performed them. In turn, the wait times would be so long that you wouldn't even be able to get the care you needed until weeks or months later. And at that point, it would be too late. The 20 week ban would certainly go into affect (as Republicans are already currently fighting it in numerous states), which would ban all abortions after 20 weeks. Women in my situation wouldn't stand a chance.

Trump promised to defund Planned Parenthood, which would in turn, cause them to shut down. Even if, EVEN IF Roe v Wade isn't overturned, where will women get abortion access along with their other healthcare needs? Where will they go to get their birth control so they don't end up with unwanted pregnancies in the first place? 2.5 million women and men in the United States annually visit Planned Parenthood for services and information. Where will all of those people go?

And if you're one of those women who believes they will never be in a situation of needing an abortion, I need you to hear me on this: neither did I. If your child bearing years are behind you, think about your daughters, sisters, nieces and grand daughters. Think about those women in your life being forced to carry a baby to term that's a product of rape. Think about those women in your life being put in a situation similar to mine, without abortion access. When 1 in 3 women in this country will have an abortion, you cannot hide in the idea that "it doesn't affect me."

So I have to ask the white women of this country again -- what is more important to a woman than women's rights?


Gah, I digress. I will never understand it, but I will have to accept it. Besides my complete frustration with the whole thing, there has been some inspiration and hope that has come out of this election. If we only looked at the millennial votes, Hillary would have trumped Trump. Significantly. This map shows the difference -- Hillary would have won in a landslide. That gives me hope. Hope for our future generations.

Another sliver of hope was Hillary's concession speech that she beautifully delivered yesterday. If you haven't watched it yet, I suggest you do.

"Please never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it. It is, it is worth it. And so we need - we need you to keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives." - HRC

So to the younger and clearly more progressive generation, I ask you to start fighting for what you believe is worth it. If you've stood on the sidelines griping about politics, human rights and policies, now is the time to get involved. Follow your passion. Follow what feels right in your heart. Find advocacy groups for things you support in your area and take action. Your voice is important, now, more than ever.

If women's reproductive rights happen to be what's important to you, here are 2 easy ways to get started:
  •  Visit Planned Parenthood Action and hit "Act" at the top right corner of the site. Then enter your email address and zip code so you can begin receiving news alerts on ways to get involved in your community. You can also make a donation to help Planned Parenthood.
  • Visit NARAL Pro-Choice America and hit the "Get Involved" tab. They can direct you to different ways to support women's rights in your community. 
These are both national groups, so once you actively engage with either of these groups, the doors will open for other opportunities in your area.

Millennials: now is our time. "They tried to bury us. They didn't know we were seeds."

Friday, November 4, 2016

it's time

James and I had our 3rd trimester ultra sound early last week. At this point, I thought I had passed enough hurdles, felt enough hourly kicks, and was far enough along in this pregnancy to go into this ultra sound a little more relaxed and confident. But of course, that wasn't the case.

Ultra sounds are traumatic for me. I think once you've been told the worst news on two separate occasions -- "I'm sorry there is no heartbeat" and "I'm sorry, your baby won't survive" -- there is a level of PTSD wrapped up in the entire experience.

The anxiety usually starts about a week or so leading up to the ultra sound and peaks during the scan itself. It's probably embarrassing to admit, but I have cried through every single ultra sound of this pregnancy. I cried while the sweet nurse drew my blood for my NIPT chromosome tests. I cry every time I wait for the doctor to review the scans, and I've cried every time the doctor has told me that everything looks good. I've cried a lot. I know I've said it before but I will say it again -- you have to do whatever you have to do to survive a sub pregnancy.

This scan was no different, except this one was performed at my regular obgyn's office instead of the maternal fetal medicine office (MFM) for hi-risk patients. Since I have cleared so many milestones at this point, my doctor thought it was perfectly fine to have this check on regular ultrasound equipment.

James has been with me for every ultra sound which has been an unbelievable support. Typically he's just as worked up as me, but this time he seemed pretty calm as we waited to get called. I tried my best to feed off of his vibe, but the second I heard my name called, my stomach dropped.

I walked into the dark room and was very taken aback with how chatty the ultra sound technician was. I've become so accustomed to the technicians at MFM who are all very direct, informative and emotionless. It's usually very mechanical -- I am going to measure the brain now, I am going to move to the heart, here is the right kidney, here is the left kidney -- and when I'm emotional and scared, that's exactly what I need. They don't mess around because they have seen the worst.

The second I laid on the table, the ridiculously nosy technician looked at our paperwork and immediately attacked me with a million questions.

Technician: Why is this your first ultrasound in this office?
Me: Because I have been going to MFM this pregnancy.
Technician: Why? You are still young?
Me: Because I've had multiple losses.
Technician: Oh I'm so sorry... how many?
Me: Two.
Technician: Oh, I bet it was because you didn't have enough progesterone. Am I right? Was it your progesterone?
Me: Um, no. My losses were unrelated.
>Awkward pause<
Technician: Let's take a look at this baby! There she is! Oooo look at her little feet! How adorable!
>Cue the tears<
(For some reason the feet always get me...I can't help but picture the doctor placing Grace's tiny feet on that little piece of paper that I have in her memory box)
Technician: (Completely ignoring me) Oh look, she's grabbing her feet with her hands above her head! Isn't that cute?
Me: Is she measuring on track? Does her heart sound okay?

Most mothers want to "oo" and "ah" over their baby waving at them, sucking their thumb, or in my case, reaching for their toes. And that is so great if that is all you think happens in an ultrasound, but I'm not most mothers. I need facts: nuchal fold measurements, number of heart chambers, heart rate, brain size, organs check, number of weeks she's tracking. I literally cannot breathe or blink until I get confirmation that the baby looks healthy. Clearly this particular technician did not understand that. We finished the scan and she handed me some pictures of our daughter while babbling on about names. Of course she printed the feet picture.

I am proud to say that I made it through the entire experience without punching her in the face, so that's a win. And I'm also proud that I managed my first half-smile during a scan when she said she could see our daughter practicing her breathing. (Not because I thought that was cute, but because that's a very good sign that she is developing well.)

We had an appointment with our doctor immediately following the scan and she confirmed that everything looks right on track. Those words still feel surreal to me. Even now, at 28 weeks pregnant, I still ask her to repeat it.

Then my doctor looked at me and said, "Hadleigh, it's time." Confused, I asked, "For what?" She smiled and said, "It's time to get excited about bringing your daughter home in 12 weeks."

Baby girl's feet at 28 weeks.