We're having it to raise awareness of Postpartum Hemorrhaging (PPH), a deadly condition that kills women each day around the world. Despite being the richest country in the world, the U.S. ranks 60th in the world for maternal mortality, the worst of all industrialized nations. The number one cause of maternal death is postpartum hemorrhaging. Many more mothers suffer through PPH and often have long lasting effects like post traumatic stress disorder. Yet people simply aren't aware of this dangerous condition so it can be hard for survivors to find support. Starting the conversation is the first step to decreasing PPH and saving lives.
It's EASY to sign up online for our drive at: www.redcrossblood.org. Just register then use sponsor code: SODU to find us! We'll have face painting, fairy hair booths, tasty food and drink, goody bags with coupons and sample from local businesses, raffles, free childcare, one site therapists for survivors, and more, so please sign up and enlist a friend. Together we can save the life of a mother!
You can also RSVP to the public event on Facebook, but you'd still have to make an appointment through the red cross. The event page is a good way to get updates about the event, like new sponsors and vendors that will be present.
If you have any questions or want to be a sponsor or volunteer, contact SoDu Parents Posse founder Kat Benson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you know someone who wants to support this drive but isn't local, they can still join in at our virtual drive to "get their sleeves up" and pledge to donate blood, money, or time in their own area at - http://sleevesup.redcrossblood.org/SoDu-Parents-Posse-raises-awareness-of-postpartum-hemorrhaging
Here are the powerful stories of the blood drive organizers, Marianne Drexler and founder Kat Benson, both of us are PPH survivors.
"In March of last year, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Less than 15 hours later I awoke on life support in the ICU where I spent two days without my child. I later found out that I survived a massive postpartum hemorrhage and needed a total of 12 units of blood products and an emergency hysterectomy to save my life. Without the skilled hands of my medical care team, many prayers, and blood from donors like you I would not be here today. I will never know why this happened nor will I ever be able to personally thank my donors but hosting this blood drive is just one way I can give back. With this drive, we hope to raise awareness for postpartum hemorrhage – the leading cause for maternal mortality worldwide and on the rise in the United States. We hope to honor all the mothers who die or nearly die when all they wanted to do was bring life into this world. This past March, I gave blood for the very first time and I would encourage any of you who are eligible to do so as well. It’s a simple, easy thing to do to save a life and take it from me, recipients are eternally grateful for your gift!"
My (Kat's) story:
"This past week was the 4th anniversary of my daughter's birth, and the day I suffered from unexpected postpartum hemorrhaging. Her labor was wonderful, and a joyous occasion welcoming our baby girl. However, hours after the birth, when I was being moved from the labor to maternity ward, the doctors realized that I was still bleeding. The medical team flew into action and I had many painful procedures done to find out the cause and stop the hemorrhaging. I was pale and my blood pressure was dropping, while my brave husband held my hand and our newborn was in a bassinet right next to my bed as I screamed. That night I lost over a third of the blood in my body and nearly my life. I stabilized thanks to multiple transfusions as I was being prepped for emergency surgery. I couldn't believe that one of the most joyous days of my life, turned into a day where I nearly died. Postpartum hemorrhaging was the most traumatic experience I've ever been through, and later caused Postpartum Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I donate blood today because someone donated the pints I needed that day. Without those pints, without someone else's generosity, I wouldn't be here today."
I didn't know anything about PPH before this horrible event, and sadly, many pregnant woman are not aware of the risk, and how there is no way to predict if someone is prone to it. What makes it even harder is that there is a lot of silence around the issue, even when mother's die from it there cause isn't often spoken about due to the overwhelming tragedy of it all. Women with newborns are expected to be happy about their births and new babies, and so stories of survivors are rarely told. When we announced to our parents group that the focus of the blood drive is to raise awareness about PPH, it was astounding how many other woman came forward with their own stories of how terrified they were, and how there was no support to speak of.
As a parents group we support each other each day with advice, laughs, and playdates. But with this drive, we want to accomplish something even more meaningful. The Red Cross has to collect 15,000 blood donations every day to have enough blood to help patients in 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. That’s a lot of patients in need and all of us, coming together, can help ensure patients receive life saving blood.
for the Red Cross as well as raising awareness about PPH.
Spread the word so that no woman feels alone.
Make and keep an appointment to give blood to the American Red Cross, wherever you live.
Someone donated the pints we needed after our daughters were born -
we hope the blood we donate during our drive will save someone else's life.
We'd like to share some resources and non-profit organizations
with you so that you can support the cause of combating PPH:
Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. They inform, engage, and mobilize new audiences to take actions and raise funds that support maternal health programs around the world. Campaign to end preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth around the world. Amazingly, they follow the rare 100% model, where 100% of your donation to Every Mother Counts will go directly to their portfolio of programs around the world to insure that mothers get the care they need. EMC raises awareness and educates audiences about the fact that even in the 21st century, these deaths still take place and up to 98% of them are preventable. Their goal is to inspire every individual they reach to get involved and take action. Whether that is raising awareness through social media, running, volunteer events, or even buying a product that generates a donation. They believe that actions speak louder than words and that by taking action we can raise both awareness AND resources for women who need our help. There are three critical barriers to maternal health around the world: lack of education, transportation and supplies. EMC is currently invested in 7 countries around the world including the US and support 9 programs. They are committed to staying directly involved in these programs and to bringing stories of success back to our supporters regularly so that they can see exactly where their dollars are going.
Christy Turlington Burns, a mother, social entrepreneur, and supermodel, is founder of Every Mother Counts. Having endured a childbirth complication herself, Christy was compelled to direct and produce the documentary, No Woman, No Cry about maternal health challenges that impact the lives of millions of girls and women around the world. As a result of her global advocacy work she was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014 and Glamour Magazine's Woman of The Year in 2013.
which works to employ a successful healthcare model that has resulted in fewer deaths in place where it's been implemented. The social media branch of the organization can be found at www.maternitycrisis.com
In the past twelve months, only 11% of the U.S population has heard, read or seen anything related to the dangers surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. Most U.S. adults are unable to identify the leading causes of maternal mortality – postpartum hemorrhaging (59 percent were not aware this is a leading cause) and preeclampsia (66 percent were not aware this is a leading cause). Yet, when people learned that women are dying during pregnancy and childbirth, the majority (81 percent) of U.S. adults were outraged to hear that these deaths are preventable, and the majority (70 percent) are upset that more emphasis is not placed on reducing maternal mortality. The SoDu blood drive happens to fall one week before World Blood Donor Day, the organization that created the video above.
One of the most powerful stories on the site is the blog entry "Give Blood - Save a Mother's Life" by Melissa Price at www.unexpectedproject.com/give-blood-save-a-mothers-life/.
As PPH survivor Melissa states, "Every day, 2 – 3 women in the US die as a result of complications from pregnancy and childbirth. And there are at least 158 more (per day) that survive a maternal near miss – an event in which a pregnant woman comes close to maternal death but survives. A woman like me. There are times when my mind goes back to that day and thinks, “What if it had gone the other way? What if I had not survived?”
Is there anything we can do on a political level?
The closest we've come is House of Representatives
Bill 4216 (113th session):
Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2014
The purpose of the bill was to amend title V of the Social Security Act to provide grants to States to establish State maternal mortality review committees on pregnancy-related deaths occurring within such States; to develop definitions of severe maternal morbidity and data collection protocols; and to eliminate disparities in maternal health outcomes. (Timoria wrote about it here.)
Sadly, the bill failed to pass in 2014 and without pressure from survivors, women, mothers, voters, and organizations like the ones above, it has no future.
Thank you for being a part of this life changing event!