A Thanksgiving Message from April Chavez, Maternal Sepsis Survivor

April Chavez blog

April Chavez survived maternal sepsis–but at significant cost. She is now working with the Rory Staunton Foundation to promote awareness of maternal sepsis. We are proud to share her Thanksgiving message. To learn more about April, read her story here: April’s Story.

There is no turkey in the oven, no living room full of my family watching football and no smell of pie filling my house, but today and every day since I survived sepsis, are Thanksgiving for me.

Every day I am thankful that I survived sepsis.

Sepsis is the body’s extreme reaction to infection and claims more than 275,000 lives in the United States each year, leaving many others with life-changing disabilities.

Somehow, I survived, and I get to celebrate another holiday with my family. I constantly think about the women who have died from maternal sepsis, which is responsible for nearly a quarter of all maternal deaths in United States. Those women will never know what it is like to hear their child say “mama” or be able to hold their child when they are sick. They will never know what it is like to hear their child yell “touchdown” for every exciting play during a football game. They will never know what it is like to scoop their child’s poop out of the bathtub or step on blocks in the middle of the night. Because of maternal sepsis they will not be around to celebrate birthdays and holidays, but I am.

I am thankful that I am here. I am thankful that I survived sepsis. I am thankful that sepsis did not take any of my limbs or leave me with any other life-changing disabilities. I am thankful that I can share my story in an effort to help spread awareness about maternal sepsis.

Maternal sepsis can be difficult to recognize because a woman’s body experiences so many changes during and after delivery. Changes in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, temperature and pain are all things that might happen after giving birth, but they are also possible signs of sepsis. In my experience you can’t always rely on medical professionals to recognize sepsis. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself or a loved one to ask a doctor if symptoms could be related to sepsis.

– April Chavez, Maternal Sepsis Survivor