12:34 PM

Personal Nurse Liaison Guides First-Time Mom Through Difficult Pregnancy

After trying to get pregnant for a year, Jacqueline and Ricky Musselman finally heard the good news: Jacqueline was expecting. The couple was elated. Yet the happy news came with questions – lots of them.

Jacqueline was the first among her extended family and friends to get pregnant, so she didn’t have an experienced support network to turn to for advice. Within weeks, she was turning to Kelly Pica, LPN, a personal nurse liaison with LVPG Obstetrics and Gynecology, for all things pregnancy related.

“I had so many questions and concerns as a first-time mom,” says Jacqueline. “Kelly answered questions early on and scheduled my first appointment. Later, I learned she was going to be my personal nurse liaison. I was really excited, because we had already established a relationship.”

When she needed information or reassurance, Jacqueline called Pica. When she needed to schedule office visits or tests, or to get an answer to a nagging question that couldn’t wait until the next appointment, she called Pica. In return, Pica kept Jacqueline’s care team up-to-date on information about her condition – which became critical as the weeks ticked by.

“First-time moms are often worried and anxious,” says Pica. “They want to do the right thing for their baby. I tell them to call anytime – for big questions or little ones – that’s why I’m here. It helps, because I know their history and can share their concerns with the care team.”

Help for severe morning sickness

At six weeks, Jacqueline began experiencing nausea. When symptoms worsened, she was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum – a pregnancy symptom characterized by extreme nausea, vomiting and weight loss that also can lead to dehydration.

After finding information on using Sea-Bands® for nausea, Jacqueline called Pica for confirmation. When the anti-nausea wrist bands didn’t help, Pica suggested Gatorade, then frozen Gatorade, small frequent meals, then an over-the-counter version of an FDA-approved morning sickness medication. However when her insurance company wouldn’t quickly approve the prescription version of that medication (Diclegis®), Jacqueline turned to Pica again.

“I was in tears and frustrated because the insurance company was dismissive and rude to me,” says Jacqueline. “Kelly jumped in and spent hours talking with them to get my prescription covered.”

Over the next several weeks, Jacqueline’s symptoms worsened. Pica suggested a trip to the hospital for IV fluids ­– a recommendation echoed by her obstetrician-gynecologist.

Late one evening at 16 weeks, Jacqueline’s pain worsened. She was sent to the ER where she was tested and admitted for emergency gallbladder surgery. Within a week, the severe nausea and other symptoms were gone.

“Nausea and vomiting affect up to 50 percent of women in the first trimester and beyond,” says Emily Brophy, MD with LVPG Obstetrics and Gynecology. “The symptoms usually appear before 9 weeks gestation. While gallbladder disorders can affect pregnant women, they are rare affecting less than one percent of women during pregnancy.”

A healthy baby

After the surgery, Jacqueline’s pregnancy became more routine and her phone calls to Pica less frequent. When doctors decided to induce labor, Pica was at Jacqueline’s side for non-stress testing and an ultrasound.

“Kelly was there at the beginning of my pregnancy and at the end too,” Jacqueline says. “She never dismissed me or made me feel bad for asking a question.”

Today, Jacqueline and Ricky Musselman are proud parents to Franklin, a 9 pound, 6 ounce baby boy who his mother describes as “amazing.”

“He eats, sleeps and is happy,” says Jacqueline. “I can’t wait to introduce him to Kelly at my follow-up visit. She’s my nurse, but she feels more like a friend.”