A journey of hope and healing after a decade of infertility and two maternal near-misses.

There Are Others

I've said it many times before: there are dozens and dozens of blog posts, notes and thoughts I have written over the last four years just waiting to see the light of day. Early on, I starting emailing myself in real time as a coping mechanism. It helped me document what I needed to, avoid ruminating on it and hopefully (someday) come back to it and develop it further. I still use this method to process and piece together timeline blog posts. Other anecdotes have been in the blog queue for the simple fact I haven't been ready to release them into the wild yet. Here is one of them. 


October 10, 2017
My second postpartum hemorrhage/ Hemaperitoneum trauma anniversary is Wednesday.  I thought I was handling it well (my second pulmonary embolism anniversary came and went without a blip).  I thought I was sufficiently distracted by birthday parties and all things fall, but tonight the nightmares started again.  

A woman sits behind me on a bus and tells the two kids with her that they have one more stop. She needs them to color while she gives blood. I turned around to thank her: “as a transfusion recipient, thank you for giving!” She asks how long ago I needed blood and tells me that she’s a near-miss survivor. She needed blood herself so now it’s important for her to give when she can. We start comparing stories and she had the same OB/Gyn practice.  Her doctor missed all her complication signs. Her doctor was the same on-call doctor I called THREE TIMES for help leading up to my frenzied emergency room stabilization, surgery and eleven day hospitalization.

I woke up in a sweat thinking ‘there are others at this practice’.  It kind of makes sense now, because when I requested medical records from my OB’s office a few months after my ordeal, I never got them. I always thought that was strange. Maybe they were worried I was going to sue. Maybe I should have sued. I was in the thick of recovery and following up on records wasn’t high enough of a priority at the time.  

Tomorrow it is. --wishing nightmares and insomnia would take a hike.


Two years later, I'm still gathering the courage to fight for my medical records at my delivering hospital. Interestingly, when I wrote this, I didn't have any other records yet.  It would be another two months before I got the box. I know so much more now. For example, I no longer hesitate to call it a postpartum hemorrhage, and I've dropped the hemaperitoneum. But this was back when I was still questioning everything. And in true form that makes me smile, my gratitude for blood donors came pouring out, even in a PTSD-laced nightmare. 


Focus on the good, and the good gets better. 

Mood: Overwhelmed with gratitude and grief
Music: Vance Joy- Alone With Me
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Related posts about maternal morbidity and survivorship:

About the Author: Casey Cattell struggled with infertility for more than a decade before giving birth to her son in 2015. She is a two time Maternal Near Miss Survivor writing to give hope to women in the midst of these hardships. She is a Patient Advocate, Heroes For Moms Ambassador, survivor support group leader and has shared her story with many organizations and media outlets, including the Empowered Health Podcast, the National Blood Clot Alliance and co-authored Nobody Told Me About That-The First Six Weeks. Casey and her husband live in the Northeast, USA and in their downtime like to hike with their young son. If you liked this post or were encouraged by it, please consider passing it on. Find Casey on Instagram and Twitter..

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