So now, my transgender child has been living like a girl in every capacity for five years. Long hair, pierced ears, all girl clothes…day and night, purse and accessories to a tee. After relocating from my divorce, and remarrying, we were living in a different part of town. No one knew that I originally had two girls, two boys…they only know about my three girls, and now two sons plus my stepson. Once I had the experience to share our journey in a book called, “Girl Nutz”, I had some wonderful opportunities to discuss having a transgender child. But sitting my daughter down to discuss these opportunities and how she felt about them, she simply said, “I just want to live like a girl”. Not a transgender girl, just a girl. It was all she needed to say. It was a done deal, we lived like a girl. My book could be put on hold and promoted under a less identifiable promotion process. Needless to say, it was what my daughter wanted, just to be a “normal” girl. This is not something I took lightly. My daughter has always been proud of who she is, transgender or not, she is confident and secure and so healthy but she wanted to be recognized for being a girl, 100% only girl. So we did.
I insisted on going home as soon as I could from the hospital. Nine hours of surgery, six blood transfusions and three days of incoherent state and one baby later, I went home. My newborn was healthy and ready to be discharged but I was not even awake until three days after the birth. With the pressure from the hospital to send my baby home but not even being able to make any coherent decision, my husband was in a tight spot. Trying to take care of me in the hospital, waiting for me to respond and being the only one there for our newborn, how could he be expected to spend his time now at home with the newborn and at the hospital waiting for me to come around. This was hard…unfair….a decision that should not have been made by a brand new father.
Some people get three months maternity leave, some get six months, but hourly workers get what they can afford. Since I was an hourly employee at the time of my child’s birth, I could only take off enough work that I could afford to take off without pay. So only after a month of life threatening complications, slow recovery, healing and resting…I went back to work. I look back on that time and know how desperate I was to “normalize” my life again after almost losing my life but looking back, I would have done so many things different. Each day is to be taken as an appreciation, a life to live, a day to cherish. Work can wait!
I never was a free spirit who only believed in breast feeding my children, fed them wholesome organic foods, and limited technology device usage but I did take making breast milk very seriously. I understood the huge benefits of breastfeeding and wanted my children to have every advantage in this world, and breastfeeding could provide physical health benefits as well as cognitive development benefits, just to name a few. So I breastfed! Each one of my kids was breastfed, then there was the last one born. When I was released from the hospital, because of all the complications and six blood transfusions, I only had 70% of my blood. My job was to make blood, not milk but blood. But I have always been an overachiever. I didn’t take no for an answer when, in the hospital, the nurses and doctors told me not to breastfeed my baby. I worked on it, I educated myself on what would help, I rested so my body can handle the overload of making blood and milk. And I breastfeed. I worked hard to get an ounce or two…but I was making milk. And I breastfed!
Last thing I heard was the doctor telling me I was going to get a DNC to vacuum out pieces of the placenta that are causing excessive bleeding…or so they thought. Three days later, I woke up. Thinking it had only been hours, it had been days, three to be exact. Not understanding why everyone was so happy to see me, exited that I was awake. I figured I was just coming to after a few hours of a DNC procedure…I had no idea it had been nine hours of surgery, six blood transfusions and three days later with my husband being told to say his goodbyes. I was not looking at recovery, I was not even pulling through the surgery half way through, when the doctors told my husband to call the family to let them know I am not going to make it. Three days gone, gone from my memory, gone from my conscious, but never forgotten. I am grateful for my three days, three days I lived, three days I recovered, three days I fought. Three days may be gone but three days helped me live.
I was given a 50/50 chance, if I made it through the night. After childbirth, I was bleeding out…severe complications on my fifth baby. I was not expected to live, the family called in to say their goodbyes, but I fought. I was not done. I was not done living, not done raising my kids, not done creating a life for myself or family. I came back to life after a few days of horrible statistics of living. Not coherent after the operation but give me a few days and I came back…back to finish my place on this earth, back to raise my children, my baby. Back to life…
He kept saying, “I’ll be right back”, “I’ll be right back”, I didn’t understand why. I thought I was coherent, I thought I was responding, I thought I was awake and recovering, but I wasn’t. It was a dreamlike state, remembering bits and pieces, I remember my husband standing in the door way saying, “I’ll be right back, I’m just gonna move the car”. Why did this seem crucial, why did he need to stress that he’d be right back? It was fine, I was just recovering from a DNC after birth, wasn’t I? But I wasn’t, I wasn’t coherent, I wasn’t responding, I wasn’t awake and recovering. I was non-responsive, and unaware. I had begun to bleeding out after childbirth, I had not been expected to live, it had been three days.
I have never been in the hospital to go under or have surgery done for anything, until this moment. I was bleeding out…after childbirth. Last thing I remember was the doctor saying they would perform a DNC to get the extra pieces of the placenta that are still in the uterus in order to stop all the excess bleeding. Assuming this is a routine procedure, I glanced over at my husband, my newborn son and back at the doctor. “Will it hurt?” was my only question. After giving birth, and delivering my son, the last thing I wanted was more pain. After my question escaped my lips, I blacked out and remember nothing for hours, even days. Nine hours of surgery, six blood transfusions, I was given a fifty/fifty chance to live.
It took three days for me to wake up. I had the baby…healthy, wonderful, beautiful, baby boy. That’s all I remember. After about two minutes of the nurse calling the doctor back telling her there was more than normal bleeding, I was out. The doctor told me they would do a DNC to remove the pieces of the placenta she thought was the cause of the bleeding. She couldn’t have been more wrong. If it wasn’t for the persistence of an amazing nurse I wouldn’t be here today. My five children would have gone on in their lives with no mother. She told the doctor to come back and check me again, then again, then again. Every time the doctor told her it was nothing abnormal. And every time the nurse did not believe her. Every time she got the doctor back in the room and every time insisted it was more. She was right! Thank god for this persistent nurse. I owe my life to her, literally.
When medical students are studying to get their Doctor of Medicine degree…they are given a patient scenario where everything goes wrong, when nothing should, no explanation. I was told, that was me. Four previous easy, healthy, quick labors and births, made it seem that this one would follow suit. It did not, not in any way. I suffered from placenta accreta. My placenta was too attached to my uterus and with delivery, the uterus tore. We knew none of this, not before, not during, not immediately after.