“It isn’t always smooth sailing, and that’s totally okay.”

Maven member Melissa shared her story with us about what it was like to navigate pregnancy during this pandemic, and how Maven has helped her every step of the way. Navigating her third trimester and planning for delivery during COVID-19 was challenging, on top of an early diagnosis that made it complex from the start. After sharing her story with us, Melissa welcomed a healthy baby girl into the world just days ago.

Here’s Melissa’s story, in her own words.

Right now, with COVID-19, doctor's offices and hospitals feel like a scary place. There have been times that I have felt nervous to call my OB office with a question or a strange symptom for fear of being asked to come into the office or go to the hospital, which feels like a risk. It can also be difficult to touch base and get answers for non-emergency questions and concerns.

With Maven, I can book an appointment and get answers and support almost immediately. Having Maven available to consult with a professional about what is normal and what needs to be addressed either immediately or at my next appointment has been such a support.

With being homebound for months and feeling isolated during a time that was supposed to be filled with happiness and excitement, I became frustrated and depressed. I was able to meet with a Maven Mental Health Provider who made me feel validated and empowered for going through the pregnancy and bringing a little one into the world right now.

Every provider I've met with, every article I've read, and every aspect of Maven emits empathy and incredible knowledge. Maven, as a whole, just seems to get it and genuinely wants to help each parent on their journey. It feels like every practitioner I've encountered on Maven sees me and my pregnancy as a unique experience and treats me like a person, not just a patient. There is such a difference in receiving care that is designed to provide you with knowledge.

Turning to my Maven care team at each stage of pregnancy

From the early stages of my pregnancy, I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare condition of unknown origin that causes extreme morning sickness, weight loss, dehydration, and malnutrition. Little is known about this condition, except that Kate Middleton and Amy Schumer made it famous, and methods of treatment vary dramatically.

This is where Maven made such a difference.

Because I was mostly homebound and unable to make a bunch of appointments to see specialists, being able to meet with Maven providers from my couch made it possible to get advice and treatment suggestions that I otherwise would have forgone. Through Maven, I was able to meet with specialists with experience treating my condition who were able to answer my questions and advise me on so much to improve my overall health and well-being.

Dr. Jackie Stone, a Maven OB-GYN, became my go-to for everything pregnancy-related. When I was unknowingly experiencing terrible side effects from medications, she was able to identify the root cause of my complaints and suggest an alternative medication combination that made a massive improvement for my quality of life. Later, when COVID-19 made me uncomfortable with in-person visits to my OB, I was able to consult with her about what could be done via telemedicine with my doctor's office and what appointments had to be in-office to maximize care and minimize risk. Throughout my pregnancy, she was able to provide information that I was able to use to advocate for myself and my care to feel like I was in control and receiving the type of treatment that was right for me, not just the cookie-cutter standard.

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My Maven Care Advocate also connected me to a Nutritionist, a Nutritional Therapist, and a Chinese Medicine Practitioner to correct some of the nutrition depletion and find holistic ways to treat my condition.

Once I was able to get some of the nausea and vomiting under control, I had lost 25 lbs and was extremely weak—not a position you want to be in before the marathon that is labor and delivery. I met with a Maven Physical Therapist who was able to suggest some easy exercises that would not only build back my strength, but also prepare me for pushing.

As I entered into my third trimester, planning for the birth and postpartum period became my primary focus, as this is my first pregnancy and I don't know what to expect. Meeting with a Maven Midwife, Doula, Pediatrician, and Lactation Consultant helped me to create my birth plan for delivery, inform my process to interview and select a pediatrician, and prepare me for breast feeding and infant care.

Barbara Heid, a Maven Doula and Childbirth Educator, became an incredible support to me. Barbara completely changed my entire mentality from being absolutely terrified of childbirth to understanding it in a way that makes me feel secure and confident in my ability to make it through.

Maven means “support, confidence, and empowerment”

For me, Maven is synonymous with support, confidence, and empowerment. Going into pregnancy, I felt extremely underprepared and, frankly, fearful to be bringing another person into the world. Maven gave me the knowledge and support to make informed decisions on my care and allow me to feel prepared to be a parent.

It may be naive, but as I'm approaching my due date, I feel that I have it under control and will be ready for whatever comes, especially with the knowledge that if anything comes up, Maven is there for me and I can book an appointment with a practitioner for help and support whenever.

My tip for other pregnant women

I wish someone would have told me that pregnancy can be one of the hardest things to go through, so feeling like it's hard is okay. No one gets a medal for pretending that it's easy and if you don't talk about what is happening and what your experience really is, you can end up feeling pretty isolated. There seems to be a social pressure to feel blessed to be having a child, but it isn't always smooth sailing and that is totally okay.

“It feels like every practitioner I’ve encountered on Maven sees me and my pregnancy as a unique experience and treats me like a person, not just a patient. There is such a difference in receiving care that is designed to provide you with knowledge.”

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