“I can't imagine going through that [pregnancy] alone and not being able to understand what was happening.” – Ana
Ana (whose name is changed to maintain privacy) has some difficulty with English. This is especially the case with medical vocabulary. So when she scheduled a doctor’s appointment, another Spanish-speaking friend recommended that she contact the Hispanic Health Advocate (HHA) at Catholic Charities. Ana was greatly relieved and requested that our translator accompany her to the appointment.
There she and her husband received joyous news – they would once again be parents.
After this initial visit, our advocate continued to provide interpreting services at Ana’s scheduled checkups. She also convinced Ana to enroll in a Safe Slumber class at a local hospital, where she was educated in techniques to avoid sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Everything was going well for Ana until her six-month prenatal visit.
“Sometimes clients face really scary situations,” says HHA Manager Jessica Hanna. “And they might never even know it without the help of a medical translator.”
Ana was told that the latest ultrasound revealed that her baby’s amniotic fluid was below average and that the baby was measuring small. The doctor said that if the trend continued, the baby would have to be delivered early to minimize the risk of a stillbirth. The doctor also cautioned Ana that if she felt any contractions, or noticed little fetal movement, she should go to the hospital immediately.
"I was constantly worried about my baby,” says Ana. “I had so many questions and I just felt scared.”
With their child at only 24 weeks gestation, Ana and her husband were very upset to learn of her high-risk pregnancy. They understandably leaned even more on our interpreting services for all Ana’s biweekly ultrasounds and monitoring of the baby’s heart rate.
“Naturally we encourage clients like Ana to take ENL (English as a New Language) classes,” says Jessica. “But until they become more proficient in the language, we are there for them.”
With consistent monitoring of mom and baby, Ana was able to make it to 38 weeks. It was then that the doctor decided to induce her. She gave birth to a four-pound, six-ounce boy and, although he was small for his gestational age, he was delivered without complications, and was very healthy and alert.
“I'm so grateful because all my questions were answered by the doctor. I could ask whatever I wanted!” Ana says. “I can't imagine going through that [pregnancy] alone and not being able to understand what was happening.”
Ana and her family are very thankful for the Hispanic Health Advocacy program and are greatly relieved that they were able to express all of their concerns, and in the end, have the outcome we were all praying for.
“I am so happy I had Catholic Charities to help me and my family,” says Ana. “I don't think these are just services. I think this is the Church being the Church.”