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It was January 2019 when I found out I was pregnant with you. I immediately scheduled an appointment to find out if you were a boy or a girl – but it was so early the doctors couldn’t tell us yet. I was only 19 and your Daddy and I didn’t know much about what pregnancy entailed, other than cravings and morning sickness. We had no idea we were in for a frightening rollercoaster ahead. But what we did know, was that no matter what, we couldn’t wait to be your parents and welcome you to the world with love.
At 13 weeks, we finally found out we were going to have a beautiful baby girl. We knew you would be Daddy’s little girl, and Mommy’s new best friend. Looking back, from that moment until your big arrival four months later, time flew by.
For the next four months, we traveled all across the country. We went to Hartford, CT to watch Daddy dominate in the NCAA Tournament. We went to Arkansas and South Carolina to visit with your grandparents. We traveled to New York to watch Daddy be picked No. 2 overall in the NBA Draft. We also spent a lot of time in Bradenton, FL where Daddy was working hard to prepare for his rookie season. Throughout all of this travel, we had monthly or bi-weekly doctor’s appointments to check up on you. At every appointment, Daddy or your grandmother Jama was right there with us. We were so happy when the doctors kept telling us everything looked great. Your heart rate was strong, you were growing and I passed my sugar test. There were no signs that warned us for what was to come.
It all happened so fast. A week before you entered the world, I started feeling a little off.
It was a long road to recovery for you and me. You were in the NICU for six weeks and I was being driven to countless doctor appointments to monitor my health. After almost three weeks of medicine and nonstop blood pressure tests at home, I finally started to get better. My blood pressure went back to normal. My vision was slowly returning. But I still felt so much hurt because you couldn’t be home with us. I thought to myself – I never want any mother to feel this kind of pain, to not be able to care for her child in the first moments of their life.
Today, as I reflect on this experience, I realize how many signs and symptoms I missed. I didn’t know any better. A few days after your birth, I listened to a voicemail from my doctor informing me I had high levels of protein in my urine, which is an indicator of Preeclampsia. I listened to that voicemail two days too late. My condition had already rapidly progressed, and you were already here two months earlier than expected. I felt so guilty. I kept wishing I heard that voicemail sooner. I felt like I was the reason you were in the NICU and I didn’t do enough to prevent it. If I had just known the signs, or if I had answered the phone when the doctor called. I had no idea what Preeclampsia was, or how to prevent it. No one educated me and I don’t want any other woman to go through something that could be prevented. I knew I had to find a way to tell our story. Even if it only helps one family, that’s enough.
I was so happy to find the Preeclampsia Foundation. They work to educate and bridge the gap between patients and healthcare providers. They have several resources and dedicated people working to help women and families similar to us. I am so inspired by their work, and thankful to know this organization exists. I knew right away their mission was something I wanted to support. Beyond improving education, I also want to work to limit racial disparities in healthcare, because black mothers and infants die at a much higher rate when giving birth. I will work hard to help better educate pregnant women on Preeclampsia and other conditions they may experience. I want you, and all women, to have a better experience than I had. Everything I do is for you, and I promise to make a difference.
Just Do It 4 Kaari.
Read my whole story here:
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