Pre-existing condition: May 4, 2017

Dear Mr. VP,

Today’s letter is coming a little early for two reasons.

1) I woke up with energy. I haven’t even had a coffee yet and I already cleaned out my built-in bookshelves. It’s not even 7 AM. Don’t know what’s going on there but I’ll take it. There’s a new shelf of honor for Narnia, the Magicians trilogy, and I threw Irene Nemirovsky and Margaret Atwood on that shelf too, for fun.

2) The vote on the ACA repeal is today and I’d like to chat about pre-existing conditions.

Namely: c-sections.

Let’s transport ourselves exactly 3 years and 9 months ago. We can even pretend it’s 7 AM, because after a night of fitful sleep (thanks, epidural for working for at least a bit) I woke up in the most tremendous pain I’ve ever felt in my life. Can I mention I also had a fever of 102? Yes, my epidural had stopped working and I was also fighting some sort of infection. They put me on IV antibiotics immediately. 

And I pushed and pushed and pushed. For three hours. Nothing.

The anesthesiologist came in. He did something with pain medicine and it worked again for a little. I took a break. And then I pushed for three more hours, and finally in pain so mind-numbing that I’m pretty sure I was actually screaming (I’ve blocked a lot of this out) I turned to my midwife and said “I can’t do this.” She nodded in agreement, told me she thought it was time to have a c-section, and the rest is history.

I’m pretty clear on the fact that if I hadn’t had access to an operating room, G and I would be dead.

But now I have a pre-existing condition. So if I ever end up in an independent market for health insurance, I’m fucked. Because I had a life-saving surgical procedure; one that saved not only my life, but my baby’s. I don’t want more kids, but insurers can look at my history and tell me I’m high risk because if I ever have another baby, it might be more expensive. 

32% of all U.S. births last year were by c-section. That’s an awful lot of people who are potentially screwed by this bill.

And that’s not even talking about other folks with conditions considered pre-existing, chief among those making me ragey being domestic violence and rape survivors. Oh, and kids who were born with special medical needs.

I couldn’t sleep last night I was so angry. What am I doing today? Contacting my Congresspeople. And hoping every other person who is as enraged as I am is doing the same.

P.S. If one man tells me they shouldn’t have to pay for maternity care, I’m going to tell them I shouldn’t have to pay for Viagra or the repair of their shattered fragile masculinity. 

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