And Baby Makes Three
Date: October 7, 2013
First-time moms share their struggles and joys
Michelle Krupka, 35, Canton, Maryland
About four years ago, I found out that I had fibroids on my ovaries. I knew that I wanted to get pregnant within a year, but before I could even start trying, I’d have to treat my fibroids. My gynecologist referred me to a fertility specialist in Towson, who, after some testing, recommended that I see a doctor in the obstetrics and gynecology practice at Johns Hopkins Bayview.
My first appointment was with Linda Rogers, a nurse practitioner. During that visit, she reviewed my medical records and listened to my concerns. I genuinely felt like she cared about me. She knew I wanted to have a baby soon, so she referred me to a doctor in the practice to help treat my fibroids.
We tried different methods of birth control and even considered surgery. It was Lupron injections that would eventually shrink my fibroids and treat the symptoms they were causing. Once the fibroids were managed, which took about one year, I was able to think about trying to conceive.
It took me seven months to get pregnant. Even though I had a fairly easy pregnancy, I was always afraid that I’d have issues with my fibroids. Fortunately, I didn’t have any problems, but if I did, I knew I was in good hands. Knowing that there were a few doctors in the practice, I chose Dr. Shari Lawson as my obstetrician.
Dr. Lawson cared for me from the time I was three months pregnant to the day I delivered Daphne, who is now almost two years old. She made herself available for me when I needed her and always made me feel comfortable. Your relationship with an Ob/Gyn is such a personal thing, so it’s nice to feel at ease with the doctor who’s treating you.
Now, I’m eight months pregnant with my second child and couldn’t be happier. A lot of my friends travel 30 to 40 minutes for their prenatal care. I think it’s silly to travel so far when you have Hopkins right here in your neighborhood. When it’s time to deliver again, I know I’ll be in the hands of doctors and nurses who know me, and who go out of their way to make my family and me feel special.
Georgia Beglin, 27, Federal Hill, Maryland
I lived in Howard County for most of my life, so many of my doctors were in that area, including my Ob/Gyn. Once I married, I moved to Baltimore City, and shortly after that, I got pregnant. I knew that I’d have a lot of doctors’ appointments, so I wanted to go somewhere close to home. A friend referred me to Dr. Lawson at Johns Hopkins Bayview.
Just like any first-time mother, I was nervous and didn’t really know what to expect. Dr. Lawson had such a great bedside manner and made me feel completely comfortable. She explained every test and procedure that I needed to have performed, and was happy to answer any questions I had, no matter how foolish they may have seemed.
One of the things that really prepared me for having my baby was the weekend childbirth education class. My husband and I spent two days at the hospital learning about symptoms of labor, potential complications, breastfeeding and other useful information. It truly was a “crash course” in the labor and delivery experience. A lot of our friends spent weeks learning about childbirth. This condensed class was perfect for our busy schedules.
As we continued to prepare for our baby’s arrival, one of my tests came back positive for a mutated gene that could cause cystic fibrosis (CF). I was panicked. Every mother wants to have a healthy baby, and in the off-chance that the baby isn’t healthy, you want to be prepared.
Dr. Lawson was very honest with me about the likelihood of my baby having CF and eased my worries. My husband’s test results for the same gene came back negative, so there is a very rare chance that our baby will have CF. As you can imagine, we were both relieved. Now, we’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little girl, who is due any day.
Rebecca King, 36, Essex, Maryland
All I ever wanted to be was a mother. When I found out I was pregnant with my first child in 2008, I was ecstatic. My pregnancy was pretty easy, and everything was going smoothly until my water broke in the middle of the night. It was three months before my due date.
I immediately went to the emergency room at Johns Hopkins Bayview. I was taken to the labor and delivery unit right away. My son, Sean Michael, was stillborn. As you can imagine, I was devastated. All of my prenatal checkups were normal and never indicated that I could possibly lose my baby. How could this happen?
My husband, of course, was very supportive. But what really helped me through the loss of my son was the compassion of the doctors and nurses. My mother-in-law tells me that the doctor who delivered Sean actually cried when he was born.
For the next three years, I tried to have another baby. I had two miscarriages before finally getting pregnant with my daughter. I was considered a high-risk pregnancy because of my medical history, so clinic nurse Mary Merryman recommended that I see Dr. Linda Szymanski.
My pregnancy wasn’t easy. I had gestational diabetes, so it was very difficult for me to gain weight. My cervix also kept widening, so I had to have a procedure (a cerclage) to suture my cervix closed and prevent me from going into premature labor. I was scared and anxious about the procedure, afraid that the sutures would tear, and even worse—I was terrified of losing another baby.
I always assumed that once you got pregnant, everything would be okay unless you miscarried. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine having to go through all this. But you know what? I wouldn’t have wanted to experience it anywhere else.
Everyone was so unbelievable. Mary gave me her personal phone number and told me to call her if I had any questions or concerns. Of course, I did my best not to call, but knowing I had the option to call someone day or night was wonderful. Dr. Szymanski’s demeanor makes you feel completely calm, no matter what is happening. I have never felt so confident in someone before.
When the baby was full term, I had the suture around my cervix removed and went into labor five days later. On June 26, 2012, I gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Faith Makayla. She is now a year old and is so much fun to be around. I love watching her grow and change every day.
I am forever indebted to Mary and Dr. Szymanski. Because of them, my biggest wish was granted— I became a mom.
To make an appointment with a Johns Hopkins Ob/Gyn, call 443-997-0400. For more on obstetrical services at Johns Hopkins Bayview, visit hopkinsmedicine.org/jhbmc/obgyn.