Starting today, I am recruiting one person each day for the next 25 days to donate blood through my American Red Cross Virtual Campaign. My goal is to match the number of total donors to the approximate total of units of blood product I received last year to save my life.
On the 25th day, as we celebrate the day we were able to leave the hospital as a family, I will donate.
On September 23, 2022, following a normal, healthy pregnancy, I gave birth to a perfect baby boy named Benjamin Fox. Benji’s entrance into the world was fast and furious. Too fast for my epidural to take effect, too furious for my body to keep up. Moments after our long-awaited gender reveal and introduction to our son, I suffered a severe postpartum hemorrhage. When in-room measures to stop the bleeding didn’t work, I was rushed to the OR for additional interventions. I continued to bleed as these interventions failed, ultimately entering a trauma state where any blood I had left stopped clotting altogether. My medical team performed a hysterectomy in a final attempt to save my life. Many hours and blood transfusions later, as my amazing husband and family waited for updates and cared for our newborn, I was stabilized. I spent the next several days on a ventilator, mostly lucid, in the ICU, before being stepped down to L&D to continue healing and to savor every sweet moment with my son and husband. We returned home, all together and healthy, on the night of September 28.
Almost a year later, we continue to be incredibly grateful–for a little boy who brings sunshine to every day; for family and friends who lifted us up in prayer, who brought us meals, who listened then and now; for a knowledgeable, fast-acting medical team; for the kind strangers who donated their blood. We also continue to be incredibly sad, to grieve the vision we once had for our family. The duality of those feelings, every day and often simultaneously, is dizzying.
We have been intentional about separating the joy of Benji’s birthday from our traumatic experience, and we aim to spend every September 28 honoring the strength of my body, of our family.
Donating blood seems like an obvious choice for our first anniversary. I hope you’ll join us.