No Prenatal Care and No Empathy

As an OB nurse, one of the most unfortunate and all too often scenarios we encounter is having to take care of women who have had little or no prenatal care.  When they present to our unit, for a moment we hold our breath.  Will this be the patient that escaped any pregnancy-related complications?  Will she deliver a healthy baby, screaming and pink…or will this be the patient that walks in and makes us all scramble? We have all seen horrible outcomes from these scenarios. It’s easy to lose empathy for people who do not get adequate prenatal care.

Growing up, my mother made sure that I never missed a routine doctor’s appointment and she made me get a dental checkup every 6 months.  When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was all of two weeks pregnant, and living in England.  I was not a citizen, and I wasn’t sure when I was coming back to the United States.  I was twenty-four years old, but felt like I was fourteen.  Pregnant, and in a country that was not my own, I worried about how I would get the care I knew I needed.  My mother-in-law was a midwife in England at the time.  She made an appointment for me to see a provider, who confirmed I was pregnant and gave me prenatal vitamins. Although I ended up flying back to the United States three months later, I was fortunate to be given the care I desperately needed for the three months that I was there.

Once, when working triage, a woman came to the hospital very pregnant.  She did not have a provider, and had only gone to a local clinic once, early in her pregnancy.  She lived in a very rural area, and did not have much family here.  Honestly, she was very young, very poor, and very uneducated.  But here she was in front of me, flushed, sweating, and swollen.  I was still a new nurse, just off of orientation, but even I knew that something was very wrong.  Her eyes were glossy and puffy, and she didn’t seem to be hearing or understanding what I was asking.  When I took her blood pressure, the cuff kept inflating in an endless attempt to take her blood pressure.  The nurse that had been my preceptor came into triage.  She did not speak, but I watched as she glanced at the oxygen on the wall, making sure there was a nonrebreather mask and oxygen tubing readily available.  At the time, I did not know how she could have known I would need it; she had only seen the woman walk in.  She had been at the bedside for less than 30 seconds when the patient starting seizing.

This was the first time that it was my patient, my patient seizing right in front of me.  Other nurses flooded into the triage room, everyone scrambling to do everything that had to be done to save that mom and baby.  Simultaneously, nurses started an IV, nurses administered drugs, a nurse tried to find fetal heart tones. At the same time, nurses were asking me for any information I could provide about the patient that I had literally been taking care of for less than two minutes.  I told them the only thing I knew: The patient was around 36 weeks pregnant, she hadn’t had any prenatal care, and her blood pressure was 289/118.

When the baby was pulled from her mother’s abdomen, the meconium was so thick, the baby’s skin so stained, it was evident that the baby had been in distress for a long time.  Although every detail I had semi-managed to obtain before she seized pointed to her delivering a late pretermer, the baby weighed over nine pounds, which we would later attribute to severely uncontrolled gestational diabetes.  The few minutes it took to perform chest compressions and then intubate that baby felt like forever.  That day when I left the OR, there was no one waiting to see how mom and baby were doing. My entire insides were shaking.  I was shocked and thankful that this mom and baby were both still alive.  I replayed every second in my head, wondering if I could have, should have, done something differently, something that would have made a difference.  I immediately had to take my own blood pressure.

When I went back to the nurse’s station to try to chart every event that had happened from the time the patient had walked into triage to the time she had been taken to ICU by another nurse, all I could think about was how something like this could have happened.  I didn’t understand how someone could not see a provider for their entire pregnancy.  Where had she expected to deliver at? At first, I was angry that someone could be so careless…I mean, didn’t she know that her baby could have died from her uncontrolled diabetes?  Didn’t she know that they both could have died from her high blood pressure, not to mention her seizure?  Didn’t she know that she put everyone at risk walking into a hospital when no one knew a single thing about her?!?  And then I realized—no, she didn’t know any of that.  And I was immediately filled with empathy for a patient who did not have a mother to make sure she went to every routine appointment, and for whatever reason, for whatever circumstance, did not know better or was not in a position to do anything about it.

That patient would not leave the hospital for weeks, and when she was finally able to the leave the hospital, she left with kidney failure and detached retinas in both eyes.  After delivery, her baby was immediately transferred to another hospital, where they would use hypothermia therapy in an attempt to prevent long-term brain damage. When any baby is transferred to another hospital, it’s hard to find out how everything turned out, but even after all these years, I still hope that the baby made it, and was able to recover.

If you are a patient, know that seeing a provider throughout your pregnancy is crucial to the health of you and your baby.  Women must take good care of themselves before, during, and after pregnancy.  Talk to your healthcare provider before getting pregnant about how you can best prepare your body for pregnancy.  If you are already pregnant, try to make the best choices possible for you and your baby.  Choose to eat healthy foods, exercise, stay away from stress, quit smoking (or at least cut back!), and see a provider throughout your entire pregnancy.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you need help, ask people for it. Don’t be afraid to tell people what you need.

And if you are the nurse that has ever had to take care of a woman who did not take care of herself, who inadvertently did not take care of her baby, remember to step back, take a breath, and find your empathy. Every life that we witness being brought into this world, we have no idea how their little life will turn out.  That baby may be the girl who grows up and does everything right, is afforded every opportunity, or that baby may grow up and be the girl who does not have anyone to tell her better, who just doesn’t know.  Be the nurse that teaches people to be better by the compassion that you show, by the care that you give.  The work we perform on a daily basis has the ability to change so many lives in so many different ways.  There will be more patients with no doctors, there will be more patients with no prenatal care, but I hope I’m never the nurse with no empathy.

JME Portraits-girl

 

Until my next delivery ❤

Health Resources and Services Administration

  • Every year nearly one million American women deliver babies without receiving adequate medical attention.
  • Babies born to mothers who received no prenatal care are three times more likely to be born at low birth weight, and five times more likely to die, than those whose mothers received prenatal care.
  • If you are pregnant, programs in your State can help you have a healthy baby. These programs offer medical care, support and advice for pregnant women, information about health insurance and other services you and your baby may need.

Prenatal Services


48 thoughts on “No Prenatal Care and No Empathy

  • August 9, 2014 at 4:41 am
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    Great article as always but, please use provider. Many women use midwives or nurse midwives and we are wonderful providers of care for women.

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  • August 9, 2014 at 5:22 am
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    Love to here some of you cnm stories (as a cnm myself)

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  • August 9, 2014 at 5:32 am
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    Unfortunately this was me with Cam. I didn’t see a doctor until 33 weeks. It wasn’t due to my negligence but insurance problems. I was scared and praying hard those 33 weeks. Every thing came out ok though, thank God! Great read as always!

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    • August 9, 2014 at 5:46 am
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      I know all too well how difficult it can be for people to have access to insurance. It’s very very unfortunate!! I love Camie!

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  • August 9, 2014 at 6:44 am
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    I needed this… thanks

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  • August 9, 2014 at 12:30 pm
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    Beautifully spoken! I was an L&D RN for 14 years before continuing on to become a CNM. Both roles have been so fulfilling in their own different ways. But as I have evolved as the provider who takes care of these women for roughly 7-8 months before they step thru the doors of L&D, I get to know them on many levels. Many have no skills for parenting unfortunately because they basically have been raised by wolves! I try very hard to care for them as a complete person and not just that pregnant belly. I challenge the nurses in L&D to not be judgmental with women that walk through their doors because they do not know where they have been or where they are forced to go to when they leave that unit. It is not our job to judge and any compassion we extend to them can be the pebble that starts a big ripple. In the 30+years of caring for women, I have known at least a dozen that I met as those patients that would have been judged harshly. But people can change and they are now nurses and one even became a midwife! It is so gratifying to see people break a cycle and become the women they deserve to be! So remember, “There, but for the Grace of God go I…” Sorry for the length but few things are as important as compassion! ADORE your blog posts, you are as skilled a composer of thoughts as you are an L&D nurse, I am sure!

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    • March 14, 2017 at 10:39 pm
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      You’re still sitting high and mighty by assuming they need to “change”. They don’t. You’re stuck in a mindset that simply doesn’t reflect reality.

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  • August 9, 2014 at 1:34 pm
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    I am a social worker in L&D. Thank you for this post. To be completely honest, when a pt like this walks through the door it is frustrating and hard not to judge. Your post served as a reminder to dig for a little more empathy and get the full story before thinking awful things about the pt. Not everyone has the intellectual and emotional capacity to understand the importance of adequate follow up while pregnant.

    For those who postpone prenatal care due to lack of insurance – I urge you to look up your local community health center. These facilities provide services to all people despite their socioeconomic status. Fees for service are typically on a sliding scale based on income and assets and all pt’s are screened for Medicaid (most pregnant women qualify for Medicaid. This varies by state.)

    Again, thank you for this post. We all need a reminder sometimes.

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  • August 9, 2014 at 5:39 pm
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    I needed to read this today. Yesterday I took care of a G2 Guatemalan girl with no prenatal care. We have a growing Guatemalan population in our area, and while our community is working to make sure they receive prenatal care and understand the importance of it, we still have them come in without receiving care to deliver every couple of weeks. It is very difficult to communicate with them because they don’t usually speak Spanish. I get irritated that they could be so careless, but then think about how scary the situation must be. To be in a foreign country where nobody speaks your language and to come from a village with no running water or electricity and have to walk 3 hours to get to a hospital. The type of care that is routine here is not what is done where they are from. Luckily,most of the time, the outcome is ok. I love the way you write and enjoy reading your articles! Thank you for sharing your stories and information.

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    • August 9, 2014 at 6:04 pm
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      It’s very easy to lose empathy with these situations. I have to remind myself too. But I always remember that this could have been me in so many ways. Growing up I made so many stupid, crazy choices. What if I didn’t have parents that kept putting me back onto the right path? I was never into drugs, but it just took me forever to finally finish college! It’s hard being poor.

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  • August 10, 2014 at 3:17 pm
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    When you lose your empathy for your patients whatever the circumstances, it may be time to look for another job!

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    • December 21, 2015 at 4:50 am
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      Are you a nurse?

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    • January 2, 2016 at 6:13 pm
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      Well said and it’s scary how many of them admit to prejdice of this sort that can effect a patients future dealings with medical care. To the person who asked if she’s a nurse? Shame on you, you don’t get points for being a nurse in order to speak. You feel it’s okay to judge others but not be judged as nurses yourselves for the lack of empathy. If you truly lack empathy of any sort for any patient the responsible thing to do would be to leave the profession people don’t need care from the cold hearted when they are in possible life threatening circumstances.

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  • August 10, 2014 at 5:18 pm
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    These women and families who com into our care are almost always the ones who teach me most about empathy and grace. I hope for some teachable moments with them and that they will not feel judged. Thank you.

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  • August 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm
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    I recently retired after 40 years as a L&D nurse. Sometimes I swear your posts are from a younger me. I’ve always said I should have written a book of all the stories….love reading your blog. Keep up the good work with patients and telling your story.

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    • August 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm
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      not intentionally anonymous….Shari Arner BSN, RNC practiced in Chandler AZ and now retired in Collingswood, NJ

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  • August 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm
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    I had no prenatal care with my first pregnancy. I went to two appts and got signed up for medicaid, but every time I would go to the hospital where the office was, my heart would pound and I couldn’t catch my breath. A couple of times I stood in the lobby, willing myself to go in, in tears, but I couldn’t. Eventually I gave up. I didn’t make a connection between the sexual violence and physical abuse I’d experienced earlier in life with my inability to get through an OB appt. It just seemed unbearable to me, and dangerous. I was so afraid they would hurt my baby. It made perfect sense to me that they would, because I lived in a world where big people hurt smaller people. Doctors and nurses were big people to me.

    But when I went into labor, I showed up at the hospital anyhow. The nurse who checked me in to triage was clearly irritated with me, maybe even angry, but she asked me why I’d had no care and I managed to squeak out that I was afraid of doctors. I didn’t know how else to explain it. A little while later, they sent a new nurse over and she was so kind to me. There was no judgment, just a few encouraging words and a kind look. She stayed after her shift was over to see me deliver my baby. She was the one who made sure my daughter was breathing well before handing her back to me. I’ll never forget her. Later I was able to look back at her compassion as evidence that the world wasn’t always dangerous, and that people wanted to help me and my daughter, not hurt us.

    That was five years ago. I’m starting my second semester of nursing school in a few weeks. What that nurse did for me and my daughter in one shift has rippled outward in countless ways, ways too numerous to mention here.

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    • August 12, 2014 at 4:42 am
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      Thank you so much for taking the time to tell everyone your story!!! I hope I was your nurse. lol And I hope a ton of other nurse’s out there wondered if they were your (sweet) nurse. <3 Good luck with nursing school!! xx

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  • August 11, 2014 at 8:33 pm
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    It IS hard to care for some at the bedside with compassion, and I see it all the time in some of my coworkers: the open hostility and judgment based on report and/or what they see in 5 minutes of assessment. I distinctly remember one night taking care of a NPNC patient who was a drug user and who had had a very emergent, very preterm, very complicated c-section delivery. My coworkers said, “how can you be so NICE to her???” I simply told them: it’s my job to be her nurse, not to judge her. As hard as it is some days, and it IS hard, because I’m not God, I’m human, I always try to remember to check myself mentally. I have no idea where this woman has been before she landed in this bed before me, and yes, the care I give her now could affect her (positively) for a lifetime. Nurses hold so much power in the respect that what we do for our patients and how we treat them matters SO MUCH. They don’t remember their doctors a lot, but they remember their nursing care.

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    • November 3, 2015 at 6:22 am
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      You just described me 13 years ago. I was the one with the emergent, preterm, drug addicted baby. I was hopelessly selfish and lost. I gave up my kids for adoption. I knew I was toxic to them. I quit using drugs over 10 years ago. I now work at a Hospital. When parents and patients come in with drug problems or mental health problems, they are who I gravitate towards most. They already feel unwelcomed and unloved in their own head, and judgement won’t make them “change their ways.” I just tell them my story, and offer assistance to help them find support. Most won’t make it. That’s a cold hard fact, but the few that break free, is poetry in motion.

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      • November 3, 2015 at 3:49 pm
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        I call those ‘divine appointments’ when you have people put in your path like what you describe. Though I don’t have a ‘past’, I am drawn to patients other would not care for. I have some beautiful memories!

        I now work in the land of the privileged. This carries it’s own set of problems. For me, it’s hard. But maybe I’m here to learn to be more tolerant.

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  • August 14, 2014 at 4:09 am
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    Love, love, love your blog and everyone who takes the time to respond. We learn so much from your posts, even an RN who’s practiced for 35 years!!

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  • December 14, 2014 at 6:23 pm
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    This is something more nurses need to read I guess. I am not the no prenatal care patient. I had excellent prenatal care, never missed an appointment, my last routine OB appointment my BP was high and my OB decided to induce me. I had one L&D nurse who started out very hostile, I overheard her talking about me in the hallway about why was I so “dressed up, who gets their hair and makeup done to have a baby”. I was on my way to work, I was a high roller host for the casino. We have to look like we represent luxury and glamour! It was basically just my work uniform. She proceeded to treat me badly, assuming I expected to be treated like a princess, telling me every step of the way I wasn’t getting special treatment. She became more hostile when my gorgeous, loving, devoted husband got there, and my friends and family after him with my hospital bags and birth plan. She wouldn’t allow me to wear my special L&D gown I ordered so I wouldn’t have to wear the hospital gown. She wouldn’t allow my birth plan. Any of it. My induction was ragged, she didn’t administer the medicine when the dr ordered or let me sleep at all. She turned off the power to my room to “test the generator”. She instructed me to push for 7&1/2 hours. She took 2 hours to prep and take me in for my “emergency” c section. So long that I heard my Dr yell at her in the hallway. She ruined the birth of what will be our only child. All because she decided she didn’t like how I looked.

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    • December 14, 2014 at 9:39 pm
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      Ugh. This is so upsetting. Like, it makes me angry. I hope you wrote to the hospital and told them about your experience.

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      • November 3, 2015 at 6:28 am
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        I would have demanded another nurse. Also her supervisor and a patient’s rights advocate. This behavior isn’t just appalling but dangerous.

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    • November 3, 2015 at 3:54 pm
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      Oh honey! I’m sorry for your miserable experience. I think I’ve only met one nurse of that caliber in 35 years!! Next time (if there is one) will be better. Oh my!

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  • May 19, 2015 at 6:02 pm
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    Reblogged this on Ex Natural Childbirth Advocates and commented:
    I wish that it was always ignorance, but it isn’t. There is a movement out there right now called “freebirth”, and its full of women that exhaustively looked into child birth options and chose an unassisted pregnancy and birth. Home birth midwives (who are not nurses) teach classes to women wishing to freebirth in order to rake in a few thousand dollars off of this horrendously dangerous practice.

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  • May 19, 2015 at 6:04 pm
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    Non-nurse midwives that do home births teach classes that encourage unassisted pregnancy and child birth. If only it were just ignorance… there are many people profiting from selling quackery. I follow a lot of groups about unassisted pregnancy and child birth and its like a religious belief in the safety of birth. The stories that end like this one are not updated with happy pictures so no one hears about them, thank you for sharing this case with the world. Maybe you will convince someone to seek prenatal care.

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  • July 3, 2015 at 10:22 pm
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    Not everyone that chooses no prenatal care are uneducated, drug addicts, young mothers or ignorant! I believe choosing the prenatal care that is best for yourself is very wise. Pregnancy & birth is WAY too medicalized these days! Birth is best when left alone. I am currently pregnant with my 4th child…and received prenatal care with my first. I did everything my doctor told me…had all tests done. But with my other pregnancies I did things differently. Little prenatal care & opted out of all testing. I think the outcome of good births & healthy babies is due to good nutrition…and a healthy mindset. With this pregnancy I am doing my own prenatal care (checking my BP…tracking weight…I have a Fetoscope) I won’t be doing ‘routine’ prenatal testing. But it doesn’t worry me. Pregnancy & Birth is a natural process of life…our bodies were created to grow babies & birth those babies NATURALLY!
    All my births have been okay….my babies have all been perfect & I received no pain medication….the only thing I found wrong was that I delivered in hospital….where I was criticized…bullied…disrespected. Won’t make that mistake again!
    I’m not saying women that choose ‘routine’ care or put all their faith in hospitals instead of their own bodies are wrong. To each their own. But women should be able to make decisions on how they continue their pregnancy (and birth) without being worried about medical staff criticizing them.

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  • January 21, 2016 at 2:53 am
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    In N.F Ontario where I had my first 5 babies, I had normal regular prenatal care. I had gestational diabetes with my fourth and fifth and they only weighed a lb more than my first 2, never had to take insulin, had my 2 ultrasounds, dating and 20 weeks, had all the blood tests, NEVER had the tests for downs or anything because it wouldn’t influence my decision whether to continue the pregnancy and only causes unnecessary stress. My 6th pregnancy I had all new Drs in another province and I hated my life thought that pregnancy. I had to take insulin which made me itch uncontrollably, my baby came out only 7lbs 11oz, I had to drive 2 hours both ways twice week to have an ultrasound and the other day have a non-stress test with maternal fetal medicine, and had to drive and hour 2 other days a week for non-stress tests. Had to see a diabetes Dr a third day. So basically I spent my pregnancy in the car stressed beyond belief, feeling like I was gonna pass out from low blood sugar because I followed their directions to a T. Had to go in at 36 weeks(turned out I was barely 35 weeks) to be induced since normally my labours take a half hour at least 3 weeks early and the only hospital that would deliver a baby who’s mother has diabetes was 2 hours away. Then after my little girl was born we were home one day before we were back in the hospital for a week for jaundice while my husband was home doing God only knows what. Needless to say, I HATE prenatal care where I live and will only tell my Dr and husband I am pregnant when it is time for the 20 week ultrasound, and will refuse any care after that. I don’t see the problem with it if I take my prenatal vitamins, take folic acid, stop my psych meds till the dangers of birth defects are gone, stop them a month before to avoid withdrawals in the baby, eat healthy and maintain healthy blood sugars through diet, stop smoking, don’t take OTC meds, etc. I don’t see how it would be beneficial for me, the baby, my pregnancy, or my family for me to be so stressed out through my whole pregnancy, and all the constant non-stress tests were doing were showing me my constant never ending Braxton hicks contractions. Also being induced in Ontario only slowed my labour down to 4 hours from first drop of medicine. Here, it took 2 1/2 horribly long painful days with pretty much forced morphine, and I had to do it all alone because only people over 13 are allowed to be there and my husband had to take care of 3 children who were at the hospital with us and so wasn’t allowed in the room. I actually gave in and used the gas they provide because I couldn’t handle it alone. I was so disappointed in myself the hospital and everyone. Very surprised I didn’t slip into deep postpartum depression, but luckily my bi-polar kicks me into a manic episode a week or 2 after labour. I would love to hear your opinion on what I should do instead of avoiding all prenatal care for the sake of my baby and my sanity. Again, I follow all advice the Drs in Ontario gave me.

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  • January 21, 2016 at 2:55 am
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    Wow, that was a long rant. Sorry.

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  • March 15, 2016 at 10:09 pm
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    I should note that some women like myself try to get prenatal care but can run into insurance problems. I’ve been trying for two whole months to get an a prenatal appointment…. by now I’m more than 3 months along (or 4…. I’d really prefer an appointment to confirm). I have insurance but it has a tiny network and absolutely sucks, we live in a high COLA area meaning we don’t have a lot of extra, my doc’s office does not allow self pay, husband makes slightly too much to qualify us for medicaid, etc. The US has great care IF and only if you can get past the admin gatekeepers with your insurance information.

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  • April 25, 2016 at 7:55 pm
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    The problem with sliding scale clinics is that for people “in the donut hole” of health care, as it were, they are STILL unaffordable. With my oldest we had no insurance until sudden unemployment due to company closure bumped us into medicaid. Neither mine or my husband employer offered health insurance, part of why we found ourselves with an unplanned for the time but very much wanted pregnancy. Out of pocket costs at the sliding scale clinic ate my entire pay check while we ate expired food from the dent and doing store, because as a married household, we made too much for any discounts

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  • July 25, 2016 at 5:58 am
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    This is true. I was treated like scum my last pregnancy, which was my third baby, btw. I didn’t know I was even pregnant, when we suspected/learned (my husband and I) we rushed to the E.R. That night just to make sure everything was okay. Every nurse on the floor came in the room just to chastise me and reiterated how important prenatal care is.”I know this! That’s why we’re here!” I kept repeating. But they just acted so snobby. Finally a younger black female doctor came in, who was super supportive and understanding. I only mention her race and age because I think her socioeconomic understanding or upbringing made her more empathetic of the situation. She even gave the nurses who kept coming in the room, a look like “that’s enough! Already.” She’s the only positive experience I had dealing with that pregnancy. And I had delivered both my other children with this hospital in the past and had nothing but positive feelings towards them. My other 2 children had prenatal care from conception! Lol, I just knew I was pregnant with them. With my 3rd I was sick with the flu for what seemed like forever, even took a negative pregnancy test at one point, because I was throwing up so much, morning sickness was not an issue with the first two, so once again this wouldn’t have tipped me off completely. I also carry very well, I have never been one who shows until month 5-6. Luckily, I was able to get insurance even though I was about 3 or 4 months along at that point and paying was no issue.

    Once I went into labor and came back to the hospital I was basically neglected. Told “no” for an epidural. I was in extreme pain. This labor was different than the first two. They gave me IV pain relief, but it did nothing. I can’t remember if I was given an ultrasound at this visit or very shortly before, but it was known that the baby was “sunny side up”. The extreme pain was what many told me was “back labor”. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. I had no doctor in the room, but two female residents or nurses, I’m not sure honestly what their positions were, but they were definitely not prepared for my labor, no offense in any way, but they should not have been left alone to deal with me. I got to the point where there was no rest between contractions, I was exhausted and in so much pain and agony, that every time my body went into contractions, screams came out of me that were blood curdling, I just kept pleading for help, and then apologizing out of sheer embarrassment when the contraction would stop, because I had no control over the screams! The whole delivery floor could hear, so mortifying. Pushing did nothing, the baby wouldn’t move. I still don’t understand why they didn’t vacuum assist or something? Finally a doctor poked his head into the room, more out of annoyance it seemed like. He asked the girls ” how long has she been pushing like this?!”, “uh, just over an hour.” They replied, and the doctor nearly jumped out of his skin. He looked at me and bluffed, I think more than anything, ” if you don’t push this baby out in the next couple minutes, I’m taking you to C-Section!” The baby was also starting to have an increased heart rate at this time! I think this threat works on the lazy laborers and women who are just terrified of C-sections. But the moment he said the word, I said “yes please!!!!!” He knew then, something wasn’t right. They wheeled me out immediately, signing forms going down the hall, mind you, I’m still screaming uncontrollably, and apologizing, every 30 seconds.

    Once in the O. R. The anisthestiologist tried in vain to get the epidural to work and it wouldn’t! My poor husband wasn’t allowed in, so he had no idea what was going on, they just gave him scrubs to change into. He never made it into the room, because the doctor literally ended up knocking me out. I thought it was an oxygen mask, lol. I have never been put under before. All I remember is the blackness, which is terrifying in itself. The void of “nothing” where I existed for what seemed like seconds, but was probably hours.

    I awoke in pain, still thinking I was in labor, and wanting to cry/die over the unending torture this was! But a recovery nurse was by my side. She was quite the Chatty Cathy! She immediately filled me in on the details, quite enthusiastically! Handed me a pillow that some nice ladies had made from the rotary club, and advised me how important it was to cough often and hold that against my stomach. My throat was sore too and thats when she tells me I stopped breathing on the table and that my body temp dropped so low they had to wrap me in special blankets! Also told me how the baby was right there, stuck against my pubic bone looking up at everyone when he cut me open! She even had a small scalpel cut on her forehead! As she wheeled me down the hall wall telling me that she joked that her and all the other nurses in the floor thought I was just being “melodramatic!!!” Are you kidding me?! Who can be dramatic at a time like that?! And is this why no one seemed to do anything at all the whole time?! The experience wasn’t good, in fact I think I suffer ptsd from the whole thing and no, I’m not being dramatic. Luckily, my daughter was completely healthy, healthy weight and apgar score etc etc. I was 26 at the time and this was 6 years ago.

    Now I’m 32, and the same exact situation. I use birth control, I’m not that careless. The barrier method, contraceptives, Rhythm method and the general fear of sex/pregnancy method! Not to mention the fact that my husband drives over the road. I’ve reiterated a million times the rehashing of the story above for reasons why I simply cannot get pregnant again! Epidurals don’t work on me, vbac doctors are rare, and I don’t know if I’d ever want to try and deliver vaginally after last time, but I also know that to get a C-Section, I will have to be knocked out again, the thought scares me to tears, literally, now as I think about it. I practically died or something last time.
    I’m so resentful towards this pregnancy and my husband. Not only was the pregnancy “unplanned” but specifically “unwanted”. I have no idea when or how I even got pregnant this time. And I’m terrified and alone. Completely dependant on my husband financially, it’s not like I could have even gone and terminated had I wanted to! And it’s not even something I personally agree with! But believe me, the thought was there! I looked towards crisis centers, but ever since the change in insurance laws and all this craziness with healthcare I’m completely stuck financially. I don’t know why my last two pregnancies have been virtually undetectable. All I can think about is the horrible way I’m going to be treated when I go in to a doctor. It’s depressing, I don’t even leave the house, the combination of last time and this agoraphobia I’ve seemed to develope this time around have just compounded and made this situation worse!

    It’s how I found this blog, and seeing that nurses really do tend to lose empathy for people in my situation just makes me more afraid! And feeds the paranoia from my last experience.
    I don’t expect people to not judge me, believe me when I say, I’m my worse critic already. I just would like to think that doctors and nurses could put their personal feelings aside. I know healthcare is not a right. I don’t have a right to be serviced by people who put years of their lives and money into educating themselves so they can pursue their dreams, I know I am not entitled to that. But I just wish some of the ego and attitude could be left at home! Lol it really does affect the patient. Bedside manner really is a valuable trait! I hate that I’m in this horrible situation again, and all I can think is that my 3 existing children are going to end up with no mother coming home from the hospital in a couple months.

    You just never know what a woman is going through when she walks into your office/hospital. There’s rape situations, financial, transportation, shame, etc a million things! I promise you, no woman wants to be where i am right now. Those who seem like they show no emotion are probably so emotionally drained by the time they come in, nothing shocks them. And I can tell you personally it’s the fear of judgement that has mostly kept me away so far, The fear of a repeat of my last labor. Where my paranoia fed the thinking that I was purposely being neglected by doctors because they felt I myself neglected to see a doctor for months! As silly as it sounds! How come the husbands don’t get reemed?! Lol that fear of judgement and retaliation, do I have to worry about welfare wanting to take my baby because they think I’m neglectful?! I’m a stat at home mommy who home schools! Every waking hour is dedicated to my children! Affordable healthcare is exactly the opposite, they wanted 5 grand a month! I cannot afford that, I get the run around from state healthcare assistance, it’s so confusing now compared to my last pregnancy, I don’t even know where to start.

    We just need compassion and understanding as hard as that may be, you’ll see everyone has a story, a reason for their situation. I honestly can’t fathom why someone would willingly put themselves through this uncertainty. we are scared, alone and with zero resources, I’ve looked, I’ve signed up for a million things, I get free diaper texts daily, not helpful at all! It’s hell. ☹️

    Reply
    • April 30, 2017 at 5:48 pm
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      How did everything turn out? I hope you and the baby are well. I also hope Obamacare will be fixed to make things affordable in the US. Too many people that needed it, could not afford it (the increasing premiums) and out-of-pocket expenses have skyrocketed in order to make up for the losses generated by OCare. My pharmacy alone said they had a quick 40%+ increase in pricing due to Obamacare…so I don’t see the current form as affordable for ALL. I hope any changes under the new admin will be helpful. *fingers crossed*

      Reply
  • November 3, 2016 at 1:59 am
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    Please help. 7mos only have seen doctor 2x. 4th child. 40 years old. I want to go to appointments but can’t afford them. Doctor wants approximately 200$ a month. I can’t get Medicaid because I was born in Canada. I can’t afford my appointment s even with insurance. I can’t go to free clinic because I have insurance. What do I do? I’ve called nurses, obgyn’s, ER, hospitals they all say come in when your ready to deliver. I’m lost…..

    Reply
    • December 10, 2016 at 6:10 pm
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      This has been my battle. I’m somewhere between 20-22 weeks now. the ob gyn I seen when pregnant with my ds, her receptionist said I needed to talk to billing. Billing said I need to pay $2700 before I even talk to the nurse. For what? Why would I pay for absolutely nothing? Then another $300 per visit beyond the initial $2700! Because I have no insurance. So I got married, got put on my husbands insurance, called back, now they said I’m not showing up on husbands insurance, though I know it shows I am, but she goes on to say I am ” too far along to be seen”. What does that even mean? I haven’t delivered, I shouldn’t be too far along. My husband comes home in about a week and with him next to me I’m going to the ER to be seen since I have been feeling faint, I’m feeling like my hips are going to break apart and my heart feels like it’s rapidly going to explode out of my chest. BUT there are no doctors in the area willing to see me even though I have blue Cross Blue shield now. At least with him home, if I’m admitted into a hospital I will have someone to take care of our son. This whole insurance things is stupid. What happened to people WANTING to do their job and wanting to help people. I understand people want to get paid, but come on. Be realistic. I can’t help but think there is some kind of embezzlement going on in that office. I have money, but not to just throw away for no reason. To order a test, fine, but just to talk with a nurse and given papers of info that I can get from the internet and was already given to me previous years with my first? No. That’s just insane!

      Reply
  • March 14, 2017 at 10:36 pm
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    Pearl-clutching. The brainwashed who profit from it don’t mind repeating this tripe. Women who receive care from someone other than themselves are at a MUCH HIGHER risk of complications from intervention. To top that off, diagnoses are often nonsense. Go read all the women that were induced for “big baby”, and then the suckers come out 7 lbs.

    There is NOTHING anyone can do to keep me from completing all my natal-related care myself. Zzzziiiiilllllcccchhhhh. :)

    Reply
  • May 11, 2017 at 5:05 am
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    I’m due any day now and have only been able to see a doctor twice. I’m terrified it wasn’t because i didn’t want to see a doctor, but the father of the baby left me and I have literally had to do it all alone, find a place to live, find a job, prepare for baby and I’ve hardly been able to make ends meet by the time my Medicaid was approved i was 33 weeks and I had an ultrasound on my day off the baby measured fine and I was healthy for the most part up until then I’d only seen one other physician. I’ve been taking care of myself the best i can but I’m so scared still as labor approaches. More than anything I’m scared if I tell the hospital I don’t have a provider they might idk….take the baby from me I’m not even sure it’s legal to not be seen by a doctor. I guess my question is….what should I do?

    Reply
  • June 27, 2017 at 7:32 am
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    With your experience in triage, what would you recommend for someone who cannot find a doctor willing to accept them as a patient because they are considered ‘too high risk’? Would it be best for them to goto ER to receive care if no one else will see them? Can triage turn them away if they aren’t actively in labor?

    Reply
    • June 30, 2017 at 3:49 am
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      yes triage can, if her only issue is labor. I would recommend that you find a clinic. Call EVERYONE. Have your prenatal records. Don’t give up. The ER is not a place for prenatal care.

      Reply
  • July 18, 2017 at 4:34 pm
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    Same issues I’m 32 weeks and have only been seen once and can’t pay for delivery beforehand. No one will take me As a patient and the government won’t help because my income is just above the cut off.

    Reply

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