A Patient's Journey
My experience with the doctors, nurses and administration staff was great from the moment I walked in to OBGYN Associates. The front desk staff and nurses were so helpful—checking me in and answering any of my questions. I was extremely nauseous for over half of my pregnancy and I was constantly calling in to talk to the nurse about medication or symptoms I was experiencing. Not once did they make me feel like I was a burden to talk to and I felt as though they always did everything in their power to either help me right then or get an answer from the doctor and get right back to me.
The toughest moments were in the beginning when I was sick. I blew through countless nausea medications and often ended up in the hospital for fluids because I couldn’t even keep water down. My OBGYN, Dr. Shepard, insisted I keep trying different medication and even consulted other doctors on their opinion—she said that I was one medicine away getting a port just to keep me healthy. Finally, once I could keep my food down, I was informed I had gestational diabetes. The farther into my pregnancy, the more difficult it was for me to hit my numbers after eating and that was frustrating. I had a hard time with it.
Dr. Shepard never rushed me in our appointments and always made sure all my questions were answered before I left. I often complained about having a rough time with my nausea and gestational diabetes and she told me about how she had similar issues so I didn’t have to struggle alone. She understood what I was going through and gave me the strength to soldier on.
Right when things were looking up, I received a call that I had a cord and placenta issue: the umbilical cord wasn’t attached to the center and I had to have more ultrasounds taken to make sure the baby was still growing adequately. Receiving that news over the phone scared me, but I knew my next appointment was coming up. Dr. Shepard sat me down and walked me through everything to make sure I was felt better about the situation. I was always terrified that I was going to have to have a C-section due to the gestational diabetes, but she calmed me, letting me know that it was not likely.
Sometimes I had to bring my toddler along to my appointments and Dr. Shepard did so well with her. She would talk to her and distract her so she wouldn’t be upset that she couldn’t sit on my lap.
During my delivery, I wore a unicorn mask while laboring and the staff and Dr. Shepard took a picture with me. We had fun that day. Delivering and having a baby is stressful and so I wanted to make it as fun as I could.
Dr. Shepard and her main nurse, Melissa, made me feel like more than just another patient. I joked with them and they remembered the smallest details about my life that they would later mention and ask me about. They made sure all my questions were answered even after I had delivered the baby. After giving birth, I was sad that I wouldn’t get to see them every week. We had become good friends.
My piece of advice for someone else who has the same experience as me, is be very open with your doctor and nurse. I took one nausea medicine that seemed to help some for a while, but it made me extremely tired and depressed. I called my nurse crying and they instantly changed my medicine. You can’t be afraid to talk to them because they are there for you and your baby’s health. Be strong—it is truly such a short time that you are pregnant and everything is worth it when your little one is in your arms.
-Andrea Harms, OBGYN Associates of Coralville and Iowa City patient