OneWorld prenatal team builds trusting connections
Connection binds people together in a unique, intangible way. Beyond geography, knowledge and language, connection drives us forward. At OneWorld’s Women’s Health Center in South Omaha, connections form every day.
In the summer of 2021, the prenatal team took a course on using ultrasounds to find fetal heartbeats and take images for prenatal patients, so they can hear and see their babies.
Normally, OneWorld’s sonographers perform ultrasounds, but the prenatal team wanted to provide non-medical ultrasounds to help patients bond with their babies early on in pregnancy.
Soon after their training, the prenatal team was gifted new handheld ultrasound devices to use during prenatal visits.
“Patients can’t feel their baby move when they are 2-3 months along, so the new ultrasounds are a way they can connect with their baby before actually feeling them,” said Meredith Rudish, CNM, Midwife.
Amidst the medical histories, lab work and tests, hearing the baby’s heartbeat and seeing the images make the experience a reality for prenatal patients.
“People come to pregnancy in a lot of ways, and the images mean a lot of different things to our patients,” Meredith said. “Some women are still adjusting to the idea of having a baby, some have been waiting for years, some have had a tough first trimester and some have had multiple babies before. Hearing the heartbeat and seeing the baby for the first time brings out a lot of emotions and can create a bond.”
The prenatal team also collaborates with OneWorld’s pharmacy, social work, behavioral health and financial teams to help patients beyond clinical care.
“Some of our patients are new immigrants who literally arrived within the last few days from another country with no food in their stomachs, wearing flip flops and thin skirts in December. We call in our troops to help them, and let them know we are here for them. They are not alone in their pregnancy,” said Donna Faber, MD, Family Medicine Physician.
Patients deliver their babies at CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center – Bergan Mercy or Nebraska Medicine. After delivery, a OneWorld pediatrician or family medicine physician checks in on the newborn at the hospital and speaks with the parent(s) about scheduling a follow-up appointment at OneWorld.
“Aside from delivering the baby, we are also the mom’s advocate, especially if English is not the mom’s first language, or if they don’t have anyone to support them,” said Meredith. “Whether she’s about to deliver, or has 20 hours to go, we all do our best to meet the patient where she is at and give her everything she needs.”
Similar to delivery, the needs of every patient are different.
Meredith said she remembers one patient who only spoke Spanish and had irregular bloodwork throughout her pregnancy but was not able to see an oncologist, which was needed for further analysis. When it was time for the patient to deliver, Meredith stayed by her side for the entire labor.
“I learned so much about her. She opened up to me about her abusive partner and the other traumas and barriers she faced,” said Meredith. “I helped deliver her baby, but because she felt comfortable enough with me, we were able to work with the social work team to help obtain supplies at our Baby Boutique for her baby and transportation to see an oncologist.”
The patient was diagnosed with a mild, treatable cancer.
“Had we not connected during her labor, it would have been easy for her to slip through the cracks and never see an oncologist,” said Meredith.
“Even though I only cared for her during her pregnancy, the other aspects of her care came together because of that trusting connection.”
At OneWorld, we believe in whole person care for every person.
Preparing for a newborn goes beyond the doctor’s office. OneWorld’s Baby Boutique provides a variety of essential baby care items for low-income, underserved prenatal patients. Patients earn “Baby Bucks” by attending their prenatal appointments to spend in the Boutique.
Over 450 prenatal patients from July-November 2021* visited the Baby Boutique to pick out diapers, onesies, blankets, socks and essential items for their newborn.
The Baby Boutique opened in 2013 with the generous support of local donors. With the help of volunteers and donations, OneWorld’s prenatal patients are able to get clothes and supplies for their newborns without the financial burden. To learn more and get involved, visit oneworlomaha.org/onesies.
*Due to Covid-19, the Baby Boutique was closed from March 2020-June 2021.