Story No. 24: Provider from Maryland

Ms. T came to me for a routine ultrasound to see how her fetus was growing. She had not expected to find herself pregnant, as she had been using condoms for contraception. When she missed a few menstrual cycles she realized that now that she was pregnant. The walk-in clinic she sought help from was a religiously affiliated “pregnancy aid center.” At the pregnancy aid center the doctor performed an ultrasound, told her she was 19 weeks pregnant, and that she “really ought to seek prenatal care.” What the doctor chose not to tell her (and what couldn’t have been missed on an ultrasound by any physician) was that her fetus had multiple severe fetal anomalies including brain, heart and limb defects. When Ms. T finally made it to our ultrasound unit two weeks later, she was distraught and angry to find out that the physician who did her ultrasound at the pregnancy aid center had not shared with her any information at all about the existence of the anomalies. After extensive counseling about the anticipated outcomes for her pregnancy, and considering that she was trying to get her life back on track, stop using drugs, and go back to school, Ms. T decided to undergo an abortion procedure. She chose to go on oral contraceptive pills afterwards.

Two years later I saw Ms. T for a preconception consult. She had graduated from college, had a new job, and was planning her wedding. She wanted to make sure that she was as healthy as possible before she tried to have a baby. I have now had the privilege of caring for Ms. T through two healthy pregnancies – each planned and each very much wanted.