The one about preeclampsia

I’m in a same sex relationship and I’ve been married to my wife for the last eight years. We have a five-year-old and a five-month-old.  She carried our first baby because she is slightly older. I started the fertility process when our son was eight-months-old. Four years later, I was able to carry our baby. I used my wife’s egg and the same donor sperm. It was a gruelling process, but thankfully I got pregnant and had a fairly easy pregnancy with no complications.

I was under the care of midwives and they gave me an option to be induced because with an IVF baby there is a higher risk of having a stillbirth if you go past 40 weeks. And I didn’t want to risk that. I opted to have the baby a few days earlier than my due date. It was three days of induction that were quite traumatic. I don’t like things in my vagina - I should have thought that through before getting pregnant. Around 5 p.m. I started feeling contractions. They were ass contractions, like during a period. We got to the hospital and I was only 1 cm dilated. My midwife came at midnight, and unfortunately, my body wasn’t taking over.

By 3 p.m. the next day I was only 4 cm dilated so I ended up having a C-section. I had a bit of a headache but they said that was pretty normal. Because I had a midwife, I was able to leave the hospital after 24 hours. About three days later, I started having shortness of breath. My midwife checked my blood pressure and everything was fine. She thought it was likely anxiety. I kept telling my wife that this did not feel normal and she suggested we call an ambulance. I refused. It was about 3 a.m. and I hadn’t been sleeping because every time I attempted to lay down, I couldn’t breathe. I was gasping for air. It was terrifying.

We eventually called an ambulance. The paramedics checked my breathing and they didn’t think it was serious, but because we called an ambulance, they needed to take me to the hospital. The paramedic told the triage nurse, ‘she just has some shortness of breath.’ I spoke up over him and said, ‘I just had a C-section a week ago.’  No one took me seriously and I knew something wasn’t right. I was crying, I was emotional, I left the baby, I left my family andI was alone at 4 a.m. The nurse told me, ‘you have the baby blues.’ I felt like I was dying. I knew it wasn’t the baby blues but they put me on a chair in the corner and told me to wait.

There wasn’t a room for me and there were 17 people ahead of me in the triage. I got really emotional and reiterated that I just had a C-section a week earlier. A nurse looked over at me and said, ‘let's get you some water.’ She got me transferred to a unit where you can get your CT scans and X-rays done faster. I had a shit-ton of fluid built-up in my lungs. I had postpartum preeclampsia, which caused heart failure. It was terrifying and no one believed me. I constantly got dismissed.

I was admitted for three days. I called some close friends to be with me because my wife had to stay home with both kids. My friends advocated for me and made sure that I had everything I needed. Because I am a queer person of colour, I wasn’t being treated equally by the staff. I observed it when I came in. There was a dude who came in who was treated so much better than me. There is still so much unconscious bias that exists. It’s really fucked up.