Visiting the ER as a pregnant Transmasculine non-binary person.
Exactly one year ago today, I had to walk into my first Emergency Room visit, alone, as a pregnant Transmasculine non-binary person.
The day before I called my doctor because for two solid weeks I couldn’t stop puking. She suggested that perhaps it was no longer COVID-related (which I had tested positive for four week earlier) and asked if I could possibly be pregnant? I laughed out loud and then instantly got quiet. Yes, there was the possibility. Later that day I got my first pregnancy test and took it in @smoolovepottery bathroom while she sat on the couch absolutely sure I had lost it. I’ll never forget her face when I walked out with a darker double line than I had ever seen before. Wilder Lea was on their way!
I desperately needed fluids. It had been a day and half since I had gotten water down. I avoided the ER for as long as possible out of fear. It was already terrifying to access medical care as a Transperson. How was that care going to look at the start of a pandemic as a pregnant guy? It looked absolutely horrific.
I walked in and was immediately asked “why are here today?” I remember my entire body instantly get warm and sweaty. I told him I needed fluids becuase I was dehydrated but not to worry, it wasn’t COVID. He looked up with doubt and I knew I’d have to say.
I’m pregnant and I need fluids.
This is where the nightmare started. He looked up and said, “excuse me, sir?” I stood there, alone and having to explain myself while I left like I was dying. He then slowly walked away from the desk and went back into the Emergency room. He came back about five minutes later with a wheel chair and another man.
They took me back to a room where there was a doctor and three other nurses waiting. I again told them that I was pregnant and they all looked at each other, rather than me. They left long enough for me to get into a gown and then all returned.
“How is that possible?” They asked. I told them I was Trans and still had the reproductive organs that allow me to carry. Without asking, the doctor pulled robe down over my shoulder to examine my chest scars, the “proof” of identity. He then continued to touch my chest and shoulders while saying, “wow, you have a lot of muscle.” While this happens, I’m continuously trying to tell them that I’m pregnant, but I can see they didn’t believe me.
After about ten minutes of examining my upper body (without asking) and repeatedly asking me to confirm my symptoms, everyone left the room. There, the doctors stood just behind the curtain whispering about me, my body, and how to tell me that I wasn’t pregnant but in fact, likely had COVID.
This is where I lost it. I yelled with my shaky voice, “I CAN HEAR YOU. I’m right here and am the one you should be talking to not each other. I want an ultrasound now.” In hindsight, I realize this was the first time I advocated for my baby and how I found the courage to use my voice.
They agreed to call for an ultrasound and in the meantime, FINALLY hooked me up to fluids and anti-nausea meds. I then sat there alone in the ER room for an hour and a half, until the ultrasound tech arrived.
And then, my entire world changed and I heard your heartbeat. Everyone who stood in that room trying to convince me that you didn’t exist heard your heartbeat and stood there in disbelief. You were real and you were finally on your way to me. I was one day shy of being eight weeks pregnant.
At this point, the team of seven people that had been in my room dwindled down to two quiet nurses. They finished giving me my fluids, wrapped my arm and said I was free to go. Just like that, it was over.
All I needed was one ally in that room that day. Just one doctor or nurse who had the knowledge around how to properly care for Transgender patients. All while this was happening, Trump was trying to pass anti-trans health bills that would strip away access to health care for Trans folk. This was just the first of six ER visits.
Visibility is so important. Education is so important. Trans inclusive healthcare is so important.
I know it’s hard for some people to fathom that things like this happen, but they do. All of the time. This is the reality of what it means to be Transgender. I also want to acknowledge that I’m a white person who passes as masculine and that alone comes with an immense amount of privilege. Our Black Trans siblings face far worse than this and it needs to stop.
Please, help us make it stop. We’re human beings and deserve better.