labor nurse has been reborn and shares her experiences as a new nurse-midwife, woman, and blogger

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

More Than Meets The Eye

There was a young woman I met through my last clinical site that had a story that stuck with me. Emma was from England and came to the US as an au pair. She met her husband while nannying, and decided to quit the au pair business for wife-hood. I met her at her very first appointment for her first pregnancy.

Emma was very excited about becoming a mother; she obviously loved young children. The problem was her husband. He wasn't quite as thrilled. A baby would cut into his lifestyle, which included bar hopping and loose women. He was so displeased with this baby that he denied paternity.

This didn't all come out in the first visit. But during her first appointment I got the sense something wasn't right when I asked her about her husband, and then more so when I asked her the domestic violence screening. Emma denied being unsafe in her relationship but I didn't believe it. That's a hard thing to deal with because you can't help someone when they deny their problems.

During Emma's second prenatal appointment, she asked about how to get paternity testing. Her husband wanted proof he was the father. If he wasn't the father, then he wanted her to get an abortion. If he was, he was going to divorce her. Nice guy, huh?

I was surprised when this husband accompanied Emma to her third prenatal appointment. He sat quietly in the room, smiled when I said hello, and acted like any other intimidated first time father at his wife's appointment. This was just before an amniocentisis that she scheduled to determine paternity. My clinical placement was over shortly after this, and I never learned what the results were.

Until today. My previous preceptor called me today, saying that she knew I'd be interested in hearing the latest. Emma's amnio results were surprising: her husband was not the father. But this wasn't the problem. Emma has disappeared. As in missing. The only reason my preceptor knows this is because the police recently came into the office to question her about Emma. They asked if Emma expressed wanting to go back to England. Apparently the husband claims that Emma threatened to go back to England upon learning of the paternity results. Yet her parents and siblings over in England have not seen her.

My preceptor was concerned that something more sinister than just running away has happened. I wonder if my initial instinct was trying to tell me that something was going to happen, or is it just coincidence?


kelly said...

So upsetting, as are the statistics that indicate a woman is most likely to be murdered by her partner while she is pregnant. That abusers often start abusing during pregnancy. I am so glad that prenatal care includes the domestic violence screening questions, though it must be awful to be unable to help because someone is in denial.

Please let us know if you find out more.

Joyce said...

Well, I'm sure most of us readers are going to have the feeling the husband did something to this young lady. I hate hearing about this type of story. I know pregnancy is when women are most susceptible to domestic violence and when I first learned this statistic, I was absolutely shocked. What kind of monster would hurt a pregnant woman?

TracyKM said...

Wow. Do you have any follow up?