“I Had a Rainbow Baby and I Named Her Brave Heart”
By: Sade’ Paris
Everything they expected to go wrong went right until it didn’t! The hospital made me feel defeated during every visit. I was overcome with guilt within myself and I did not want to fail. They fed into my fear and did not give me much hope or sympathy. Their every response to a problem was surgery, and I wanted to do all I could to not let that happen.
The hospital was no longer willing to continue caring for me and suggested I dissolve the pregnancy by taking a pill. At 3 months and 3 weeks I was told my pregnancy was not viable. With the nurse’s optimism blighted by code of conduct regulations, all I could do was give up. I was not provided any support or console. It was something I had to go through alone.
“I wanted someone to connect with culturally and who grew up with similar traditions.”
A year and six months later, I found out I was pregnant once again. I wanted to take all the necessary precautions so this pregnancy would be viable. Cleo was a benefit that was provided to me by my job. As soon as I reached out, I was told that a Guide would be provided to me. They explained all the amazing benefits and how important it would be for me and baby, As I anxiously awaited for the incoming email from my new Guide, deep down inside I wanted my guide to be Black. I wanted to be able to speak freely and not be given textbook material on how society has studied child-birth through the centuries. I wanted someone to connect with culturally and who grew up with similar traditions. I soon received an email from Natasha Sobers. After speaking with her, I knew Cleo was spot on when catering to their clients.
Natasha wanted to know my expectations for my pregnancy and provided me resources in what I should look for, if not expect when expecting. I was able to then navigate what I felt was best for me as a patient during my prenatal visits, to foods that would be nurturing for my body as well as the development of my unborn baby. The information provided before my appointments kept me ahead and my doctors on their toes. She encouraged me that if I ever felt uncomfortable, speaking up would not work against me. I was also given guidance on what accommodations I could receive while working, which was put in place by my job with no hesitation.
Since I knew that African-American women were more at risk in child-birth, and not provided the same resources as other women, I wanted my pregnancy to be handled with care and consideration. I wanted my doctor to be knowledgeable and have the mental capacity to care for African-Americans in every aspect possible. I needed not to be treated like another statistic. My doctor assured me that she and her colleagues understood my concerns and would provide me the support I needed. Her team was diverse, so after meeting everyone, I was open to this facility being my primary prenatal care.
“To voice your opinion is to voice your freedom to choose.”
When it comes to preference some women do not care or are too afraid to speak up. But I, as a woman of color, I wanted someone to connect with, and speak freely to. Communicating what you prefer in a Guide and a doctor can lead to an open discussion about your health and can allow you to make well-informed decisions. My doctor even agreed that the stereotypes that African-Americans feel less pain are believed by doctors today. Since I approached her with that being my primary concern, she assured me that under her care, my pain would not be minimized to what studies say. To voice your opinion is to voice your freedom to choose. If your doctor is not willing to have an open discussion with you, even though you feel that there is more you need to know or do not understand, reach out to someone willing to listen.
As an African-American woman, I am happy I was provided a Guide like Natasha, it allowed me to grow in so many ways and it led me to have a healthy pregnancy. At the age of 33, I gained 32lbs, that’s a win for me because I am 115lbs. My doctor’s colleague arrived first at the hospital at 2:00 in the morning. She was told I was doing well and progressing very fast. I was in labor under 6 hours, and it took me only 18 minutes to deliver my darling baby girl. I had a Rainbow Baby and I named Prea, which is North African, meaning Brave Heart.
Can you relate? What are your thoughts?