This post is part of a series where we highlight the lives of the moms we serve. Specifically we want to bring a face to the complex issues we have begun addressing in this blog – such as care in the first trimester.
All stories are compilations from conversations with actual patients and additional research. To protect identities, we have used stock photos.
By Lindsey Hill, Intern
We have talked about the importance of first trimester care and today will highlight the amazing story of an Arlington mom, Julie, whose complicated third pregnancy was made easier through the help of JB-LF and those who contribute to the foundation.
Julie was pregnant with her third child – an exciting addition to the family. In previous pregnancies, she had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which is a condition where blood sugar levels become high during pregnancy and requires daily blood sugar monitoring. Gestational diabetes affects up to 10% of women who are pregnant in the U.S. each year. Julie also suffered from chronic hypertension (high blood pressure) prior to pregnancy – a condition that increases the risks for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or kidney disease.
Julie obviously had her own health concerns, but knew that a healthy outcome was possible with monitoring. That feeling changed during an appointment in her first trimester when doctors discovered Julie’s pregnancy would add on to her already serious health issues. In addition, doctors detected that Julie’s baby had a serious anatomical defect, which was treatable, but would require her baby to be in intensive care for a long period after the delivery. This news was devastating to Julie, who on top of her own health challenges became fixated on what to do for her baby.
Needing a lot of support for both herself and her baby, Julie was at a loss for what to do. She would have almost weekly appointments, need follow-up ultrasounds and tests, and ways to monitor blood pressure and blood sugar. As if this all wasn’t hard enough, the situation was made harder by Julie having no health insurance, no paid time off from work, no car, and no reliable child care for her other children. How was Julie going to make this all work?
Enter the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation and it’s partners, who alongside its contributors, could help Julie in her pregnancy.
Through JBLF’s grant to help fund a telemedicine pilot program, the Virginia Hospital Center clinic could offer Julie telemedicine appointments where Julie’s doctors could connect with her to check blood sugar and blood pressure readings, as well as discuss changes to Julie’s diet, exercise, and medications. We also provided Julie with a home blood pressure monitor and transportation vouchers to get to and from doctors visits. In preparation for her newborn baby’s arrival home, we gave Julie a pack-n-play.
Today, Julie and her baby are alive and well, thanks to all who contribute to the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation. Julie’s story is one of the many that illustrates the importance of early intervention.