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False pregnancy, part 2

Posted Sep 26 2008 2:52pm

Hmph. Here it is - what? Thursday already?? - and I haven't posted since Monday. Sorry about that!

It seems I pissed some people off with my fake/pseudo pregnancy post. That wasn't my intention. (Believe it or not, I do care about the women and babies that I take care of!) My whole point with the pseudo/fake pregnancy post was simply this: we have noticed a dramatic increase in women presenting to L&D and the ER who claim to be pregnant, but in fact are not pregnant. Whether the women are convinced they are pregnant, have positive tests, or are mentally imbalanced are totally another story. Each woman has a different story to tell, and have different circumstances that lead up to their presentation for care.

Our (my) concern is that in the most serious cases, women are scoping out the L&D unit, to find a baby to kidnap and pass off as their own. These are the situations that we (I) dread the most. This is why we have such strict security measures, and why we question the validity of women who present for care on L&D, but are in fact, not pregnant. We are concerned about the safety of the genuinely pregnant women, and the babies they are birthing. We have to assume the worst - a potential abduction - in order to keep the hospital environment secure for pregnant women and their babies.

So, if you present to L&D or the ER and state that you're pregnant, and it's found that you're not actually pregnant, we are going on high alert. If you've been seen on the hospital security cameras (99% of the time, an image is caught), your picture will be posted in L&D, postpartum, NICU, newborn nursery, the ER, and in the security office. We take that step to protect ALL women and babies!

If you genuinely thought you were pregnant, had a positive test, and are now showing no diagnostic evidence of pregnancy, then perhaps you had a chemical pregnancy, or were recently pregnant and miscarried without your knowledge. I empathize with your loss, and I apologize if we come across to you as questioning whether you were in fact pregnant. See above security reasons why we question the validity of your pregnancy status.

And, to anonymous - do you really think that we (I) hate "poor/low income" people, and treat them different than private paying insured persons? While some nurses/docs might treat a poor/low income person different, I would like to think that I don't. Anonymous -- I've been there, in the poor/low income person's shoes -- for several years I might add! I worked hard to get out the hole I was stuck in. I definitely empathize with those on public assistance, because I recall the humility I felt when I was sitting there in the public welfare office to apply for assistance. I remember having to be seen in a clinic for prenatal care, and feeling like I was looked down as a 2nd class citizen. I remember not being believed when I was asked at every prenatal appointment if I smoked, drank or did drugs. (I didn't, and still don't.)

But I also remember the kind nurses in the L&D unit who did my biweekly NST's for high blood pressure issues. I still recall that nurse who did the majority of my NST's, referring to my unborn baby as Snickerdoodle. I still remember that, and get a kick out of it! I remember the wonderful L&D nurse at the delivery of my child (who is now a teenager). She had the most relaxing, soothing voice, and was my light at the end of the labor tunnel.

So, please don't try and lump all healthcare providers as uncaring, or hateful of the people we care for.

Also, let me reinforce this: I change information in my posts, either combining different patients into one situation presented, or changing information around, so I am not posting about someone or a situation that could be recognized. I make up or change names, age/parity, gender of the babies, gestational age, and other identifying information. I might make a post that is a generalization of a situation I see frequently. Anything to protect the privacy of those that I care for on L&D. But at the same time, I do give my opinion or rant about certain things that drive me up the wall at that moment in time. Sometimes I might come across as negative, but realize that this is my outlet to vent my frustrations. Deep down inside, I love being a L&D nurse!
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