Igniting a preexisting condition before my first breath
Upon hearing the news that the American Health Care Act — AHCA, Trumpcare , Paul Ryan’s baby, the GOP’s famed repeal and replace extraordinaire— had passed in the House , I was struck by what it would’ve meant for my origin story.
I was born via emergency Cesarean section, breach, after the doctors delivered my twin sister naturally. They hadn’t expected us to be in the same amniotic sac. But there I was, coming out too soon, in distress. They acted quickly, breaking protocol as they prepped my mom for surgery in a vaginal delivery room. And ten minutes after my mom pushed out one baby — after my sister took her first breath — there I was to join her.
Imagine my mother, exhausted, exhilarated, two healthy baby girls, not without excitement. Imagine having the realization that what saved your child’s life and brought her into the world now means you have a costly insurance liability that will raise your rates. A raise, for some families, prohibitive in its heights.
Imagine how this medical procedure, vastly expanded since the year I was born, would figure differently into the lives of millions of American women and their families. When a Cesarean is elective, planned, and advised — how will a doctor respond to a patient’s concerns? “I know this could impoverish you, but your pregnancy risks…” Imagine being that pregnant patient, or her partner. Imagine being that doctor.
This is but a single kind of life experience that would be disfigured by this law. Imagining my origin story as a major stressor — a game changer — for my mom, squeezed some words out of me. Zoom out: how many aspects of life that would transform in their meaning and their stakes. Life, rife with pre-existing conditions. Our struggles and triumphs, all liabilities.