I'm not sure which frightened me more -- the embolism itself, or the helpful nurse who asked me if I had a will and an advance health care directive. Regardless, I feel I've been given a tremendous gift, and I don't want to waste it. As soon as I can take a deep breath again, I intend to shout that from a rooftop.
Part of the problem in the US is that we simply don't know exactly why women are dying, or even how many are. It is hard to be aware when we don't have a system that tracks these deaths and near-misses in a uniform fashion in all 50 states. Let me state that plainly - many states do not even have "pregnancy-related" on the death certificate. If we don't ask the question, how will we ever know the answer?