Perhaps you’ve wondered what happens when a woman comes to our clinic, concerned that she may be pregnant.
When she enters the reception area, each patient is warmly greeted by a receptionist and asked to complete some intake paperwork so that we can provide the services best for her. She may have several people telling her the decision that she should make. To give her an opportunity to make a very small choice on her own, we offer her a choice of beverages from our Keurig machine.
A nurse will welcome her back to an inviting consultation room and she will have an opportunity to share her concerns, be listened to and ask questions. The nurse will address concerns that each patient identified and share evidence-based information about pregnancy, parenting, adoption and abortion as appropriate. Our nurses have the flexibility to take as much time as is needed with each woman to give her the best care possible.
As part of her decision-making process, a patient may be invited to complete the Ottawa Decision Guide, a decision-making tool often used in medical settings to help clarify each person’s options and the positive and negative outcomes of each potential decision. This guide and the conversation with a nurse often illuminate what is most important to each patient and what hinders her moving forward with a decision.
The nurse will administer her pregnancy test. Sometimes, a positive pregnancy test is met with cheerfulness, but often in our clinic a positive test can be overwhelming and bring sadness or confusion.
Sometimes a nurse prays with her patient. Sometimes the conversation leads to discussing spiritual things, like the great love that God has for her.
At the discretion of our nurses, any pregnant patient may be offered an ultrasound to date the pregnancy and verify a viable, in-utero pregnancy. Prior to an ultrasound, the nurse sonographer will share medical information about fetal development with her patient so that each woman knows what to expect during the ultrasound. If she is very early in her pregnancy she may schedule a follow up ultrasound appointment at seven weeks of pregnancy or a little later.
What happens next is determined by an array of factors, including each patient’s needs and desires. Any pregnant patient eligible for Badger Care may sign up for this health insurance via one of our nurses or consultants through Express Enrollment. She may also take with her a six-month supply of prenatal vitamins, thanks to a partnership with Vitamin Angels®, and a referral to a life-affirming physician. If she opts to sign up for our pregnancy, childbirth and parenting education, she can schedule her first education appointment and choose a handmade baby blanket. If housing is a concern, she may schedule to meet with someone from our residential program, The Elizabeth House for an initial conversation and screening.
If a patient leaves our clinic feeling that abortion remains her only option, her nurse treats her with respect and lets her know that she is welcome to return to our clinic at any time, regardless of her decision.
Our nurses follow up with each patient, with permission, to inform her of anything revealed in the ultrasound scan (after review by our volunteer OB/GYN consultant) and to answer any additional questions she may have.
Regardless of the circumstances, our staff gather to pray each morning, and sometimes at other times as well, to ask God to give hope and compassion to each woman and each man who walks through our doors.