Cassie came to the Sacramento Life Center for a pregnancy test and help getting set up with insurance. She had suffered a miscarriage in the past year and because of this wanted desperately to be pregnant again. Cassie and her boyfriend were ecstatic when they got a positive pregnancy test. Because she still did not have insurance, she was offered a free non-diagnostic ultrasound later in the week.
Cassie came back for the ultrasound and brought her boyfriend, Nathan, with her. They were both excited and nervous to see their baby on the screen. Unfortunately, once the ultrasound scan began, it became clear that something was dangerously wrong with this pregnancy. Cassie appeared to have an ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy outside of the uterus in her left ovary.
These kinds of pregnancies can be life threatening for mom and sadly cannot be continued without extreme risk. On ultrasound, it was noted that Cassie had been bleeding around the pregnancy. This is an indication that both Cassie’s pregnancy and her health were in jeopardy. The nurse immediately joined the sonographer to advise Cassie and Nathan as to the suspected findings and to let them know what the next steps would be. Cassie and Nathan were devastated to learn that there were suspected complications. The Medical Director was consulted and the couple was advised to have an evaluation at the ER immediately. Cassie was admitted through ER after being examined and was treated for a ruptured ovarian pregnancy. She required a transfusion and surgery. The Life Center learned this news when we received a call from the patient a few days later.
Ectopic pregnancy is the most common cause of pregnancy related death in the first trimester and accounts for approximately 10% of maternal deaths during pregnancy. Patients receiving free services at the Sacramento Life Center often times have road blocks to getting good early prenatal care. They may be ambivalent about continuing the pregnancy and delay medical evaluation. They may lack insurance. They may fear exposure of immigration status. They may lack basic knowledge of how to find a provider. Being a free, confidential provider for pregnancy verification and pregnancy viability determination may not seem like a “big deal”, but to Cassie and Nathan, it was truly life saving.