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My Midwife Didn’t Believe Me and Almost Cost Me My Life

May 15, 2021 By Alexandra Baldwin

My Midwife Didn’t Believe Me and Almost Cost Me My Life

I was a young single mom of a very low socio-economic status when I became pregnant for the first time. My midwife had a practice that centered on the theory of a more natural experience, reduced C Section rates, etc. Most of my midwives were white women who were very financially comfortable. I never saw patients that I identified with. Late into the second trimester, I noticed an abnormal amount of swelling in my feet. My weight jumped 4 pounds in a week. My midwife scolded me for my diet, and instructed me to eat better. I told her that I am very active, eat well, and that I had a co-worker notice my swelling and was concerned I had preeclampsia. She told me no, and she even refused to test my urine upon my request.

The next few weeks I began to swell like a balloon. After three days of having severe chest pain, I was convinced I was having heart attacks. Due to the completely dismissive behavior from my midwife, I was afraid to call for help. Finally after 3 days of having severe chest pain that I could not bare, I called her office. She told me that it was probably something that I ate and that my gall bladder was acting up. I waited 3 hours as the chest pains became unbearable, until I finally mustered the courage to drive myself to the Emergency Room.

When I walked to the desk, I told the desk “this may sound crazy, but I am pregnant and think I’m having heart attacks.” They took me directly to labor and delivery. They phoned my midwife, who said “she would come only if it was urgent, she had a patient driving an hour away from Eastham (a very wealthy, prominent community) to see her for a in office visit”

Labor and Delivery took my blood and my urine and by that time my midwife showed up to tell me my gall bladder was probably inflamed by something I ate. Much to her surprise, the ultrasound of my chest revealed I was experiencing was my liver that was ready to implode. I had level 1 HELLP syndrome snd my life and my baby’s life was on the line. They couldn’t transfer me because I needed immediate magnesium sulfate as they were afraid I might die during transport. My blood pressure was 200/90, and I was overcome with jaundice.

I was eventually transported out of state to a hospital with a NICU that specialized in high risk deliveries. I received many platelet transfusions. My son’s vitals were in distress and they told me they were not sure if he was alive. I had too few platelets to survive a C Section, so I just needed time. Finally, my platelets level rose and I had the C-Section. I was counseled that my baby may be stillborn, but they can try to resuscitate him if need be. I had the C section and I struggled to stay cognitively aware to listen for a cry. I heard him cry! I heard every doctor and nurse let out the biggest sigh of relief! One doctor even said “We look GOOD!”

The nurses at the hospital who saved my life told me that had I waited another 24 hours, I would have died. I truly believe that I was not given proper prenatal care due to my young age and socio-economic status. All women deserve proper healthcare, and I will never allow a medical professional to neglect me ever again.

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