Deliveries During COVID-19

Written by Patient Kimberly Fambrough

It was worth it….

December of 2019 and we see those two pink lines. She was our secret from the world until we heard “there is a heartbeat and everything looks great”. We were around 8 weeks. We waited until we reached 12 weeks to tell our families.

It was worth it… Then March 2020 hit. An unprecedented pandemic where no one knew what to believe. I remember having so many mixed emotions, but hope being the biggest. Desperate hope that the pandemic would disappear come August. I’d go to doctors visits alone and thinking “this won’t last the whole pregnancy, we will be okay.” As the months continued and new protocols were put into place, I began to get nervous. It was worth it.

I’d think of all the questions I needed to ask. I’d try hard to remember all details and report back to my family. It was overwhelming on my own. Having a second person there to support or help me remember information was supposed to be a given, yet suddenly I missed it and wanted it desperately.

It was worth it.

Ultrasound after ultrasound and scan after scan, I was alone. I looked forward to getting my temperature checked and masking up to see this sweet girl. By July, we are still battling this virus and reality sinks in that it will indeed “still be a thing” when I deliver.

It was worth it.

I find out only my husband can be with me. I was anxious.

It was worth it.

The big morning comes. It’s 5 am induction time and I was nervous about the process, the Covid test, not having my family waiting to rush in to meet her. I was sad knowing that they would meet her through a hospital window. I was worried that her sister would feel less important not being able to see us or meet this new baby for days during our hospital stay.

It was worth it.

She makes her arrival, my husband announces that she is here and we are all doing well. As soon as my family rushes to lay eyes on her, I realize in that moment, it was all worth it. Seeing their tears and smiling faces was the most heartwarming moment. I realized it was never just me. My daughter was with me the whole time and we helped each other get through delivery until our final introduction.

My pandemic baby was perfect and healthy. Had it not been for my amazing doctors, midwives and nurses, this experience would have been truly traumatic. Their support and love made it…truly worth it.

Lesley Clark…More than an Employee

By Cathy T. Larrimore, MD

I’m inspired by a quote I read about a certain couple which is, “many people know what they did, but only the two of them know how it felt.”  I feel this way about Lesley because for people to know she works here does not come close to describing her relationship with me and knowing what she has meant to me.

At times Lesley has been a mother to me, a sister, a friend, a daughter, and my cheerleader.

Sister

It’s common to think of your close friends as sisters, but when you have to go to bat for the other woman, is when you know if those feelings are true.  I was definitely in big sister mode when I supported Lesley as she cared for her ailing father in his final weeks, I admired her strength and knew if I could have had just 15 more minutes with my mom or my dad, I would have taken the opportunity.  Lesley went to her dad’s home each morning to care for him, administer his medications, and lift his spirits.  I had to defend her tardiness to work to her coworkers on an almost daily basis.  I was glad she could spend these minutes with her dad, and she was able to do all of her work when she got into the office without any problems.  I stand in awe of Lesley’s dedication to her family.  

Cheerleader

Outside of the office, Lesley is tirelessly advocating for our practice, finding new patients, and representing our practice with grace and pride.  While at church or the grocery store, Lesley always has us in mind when women need the services we provide.  We’ve spent many summers and falls at the Fuzz Run and other community events together meeting the public and seeing our patients.  I am always amazed when I see that Lesley truly knows everyone in our community, and the people she doesn’t know, she’s related to!  

Friend

We laughed about BobbyQ and shared our concerns for characters on the Walking Dead!  But when we lost Tyreese, Glenn, and Herschel, I think we lost a little of ourselves!  And Noah! In the revolving door, we still get horrified looks on our faces when that scene is mentioned; we didn’t ‘hate Chris,’ really!  Comparing our feelings about characters on serial shows, plot predictions,  and the like was always fun and taught us how we liked to pick the other’s brain.  More recently we’ve shared our “thoughts” on Rio from Good Girls!!  Enough said there!   And although Lesley tried, she was never able to teach me how to dance.  I know that watching me try to even do the YMCA at Christmas parties was very painful to her because Lesley can make the Chicken Dance look good!  

Mother

Lesley is the only person in my office who has seen me really cry.  Misty eyes don’t count!  My baby daughter went to rural India by herself for a month when she was a college student.  The trip was arduous and dangerous by American standards.  My daughter was studying the pollution in the Ganges River in Rishikesh.  Being the modern woman that I am (and possibly a control freak), I had tracking on her phone at all times, we stayed in contact via texts, and I knew how to use the airline plane tracking app.  On her last day in India, my baby contacted me as she was getting into a car for hire on her way to the Delhi airport.  The tracking on her phone stopped, and it looked like her location was in Delhi.  The plane’s takeoff was delayed.  But I wasn’t sure if she was on the plane when the plane finally took off from Delhi since the phone’s location still read Delhi.  I sent her more than 20 messages and they all went unanswered; I was frantic and fearful that she had been kidnapped or in an accident on the other side of the world.  I had no one to call, I couldn’t go there, and I didn’t know what to do.  Lesley found me crying in my office, and she knew what to do.  Lesley wrapped her arms around me and held me like I was a little child, her child, and I really needed that.  I found comfort and peace in her embrace.  I appreciated it so much.  It was not until the next day that I found out my daughter was on the plane and made it safely to Italy, and that she would be home later that day.

Daughter

Lesley was 21 years old when we met.  She was just a kid!  And now she is quite a woman!  She is wise and loving!  A woman we all look up to!  Lesley has been through a lot, and she’s always handled it with strength and grace.  My pride in Lesley’s wisdom as a mother, knowing how well her children are growing up fills me with great happiness for her accomplishments.  She always puts her children and family first.  And now, knowing she is leaving us to pursue a higher education warms my heart with the love of a mother for her daughter.  I can’t wait until she is finished with school! 

Over the last 16 years, Lesley has done it all for us!  The only job she has not done in this office is my job!  Yes, she has worked the front desk, the checkout desk, medical records, helped with audits, she’s helped out with whatever we have needed her to help us with, she has arranged MFM appointments, surgery appointments, and precepts!  Scanning in all of those ultrasound pictures, cutting and taping and scanning and scanning must have inspired her to want to be on the other end of those ultrasound pictures.  I am so pleased that she is pursuing a career in ultrasonography.  And one day, I hope she will be back home, scanning for us!

Lesley, we will miss you, I will miss you!  We wish you the bestNever forget, we are just a call or text away!  I love you!!

Covington Women’s Health Specialists Student Spotlight: Grace Kim

Covington Women’s Health Specialists is proud to offer a student program intended to give the next best and brightest training physicians a glimpse into what it’s like working in women’s health. We created the student spotlight blog series to highlight certain members in this program to give everyone an insight into this opportunity and the amazing people who participate. 

Next up is Grace Kim, Medical Student Year 3 (“MS3”). She’s recently completed a six-week rotation with Covington Women’s Health Specialists. Learn more about Grace by reading below! 

Why did you choose to work in the field of obstetric/gynecologic medicine? 

I love the field of OB/GYN, because it’s a nice balance of both primary care and surgery. I not only get to create long-lasting relationships with patients, but I also get to do procedures in the OR. This further assists my patient, therefore allowing me to create stronger bonds with them! 

What does your daily routine look like?

It’s different each day depending on whether I’m scheduled to be at the office, in surgery, or on L&D call. This diversity is one of the parts I loved about working here.

For office days, we’d usually see a wide variety of patients, including both OB and GYN, in the outpatient setting from 8 AM to 4 PM. These visits could range anywhere from routine visits to emergent, more acute problems.

On surgery days, I’d get to the hospital around 7 am to review the day’s surgeries so I know what to expect, as well as review the patient charts. Depending on the complexity of the surgeries scheduled, each day was very different. After the last surgery of the day, I would go observe ultrasounds in the office.

On L&D call days, I stay at the hospital from 7 am – 7 pm. During that time I see triage patients, visit current patients, and assist in deliveries and C-sections.

What are your favorite past-times? 

I really enjoy spending working out at the gym and cooking up new foods to try. Many of my friends and family know me as a huge foodie! I also love to go on long hikes and watch movies.

If you have any more questions about Covington Women’s Health and our student program, reach out to our women’s health experts by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954

What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

With more than 200,000 cases in the United States per year, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common medical condition that impacts women and their ovaries.

The experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists are explaining what is polycystic ovary syndrome, describing symptoms, and listing treatment options below!

What Is PCOS?

Known as a hormonal disorder, this medical condition commonly impacts women when they are in their reproductive years. Women who experience this disease usually have infrequent or long menstrual cycles, issues reproducing, and excessive male hormone levels.

While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, there are some elements that scientists believe might be at the root of this condition. Those are:

  • Excess androgen.
  • Excess insulin.
  • Heritage and family history of the disease.
  • Low-grade inflammation.

What Are the Symptoms?

The following symptoms usually begin during a woman’s first menstrual period:

  • Excess androgen, which causes:
    • Increase in body and facial hair.
    • Male-pattern baldness.
    • Severe acne.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Polycystic ovaries, which are enlarged ovaries that surround the eggs.

How Is PCOS Treated?

If your doctor is able to positively identify that you have polycystic ovary syndrome, the treatment for this condition isn’t necessarily to get rid of the condition. It’s more focused on  fixing certain symptoms.

Here are treatment plans that go along with having polycystic ovary syndrome:

  • Laser treatments, such as electrolysis.
  • Lifestyle changes, such as increasing daily exercise or restricting certain foods from your diet.
  • Medications, such as birth control pills.
  • Progestin therapy.

If you have any more questions, reach out to the women’s health experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954.

 

 

Understanding Gynecologic Cancers

One of the biggest threats towards a woman’s health is gynecologic cancers. In fact, about 94,000 women a year will be diagnosed with one of these types of cancers.

To help spread awareness and understanding, we’re explaining the five most common types of gynecologic cancers, how to prevent these major health issues, and the biggest signs something might be developing in you. Through this effort, we hope that everyone who reads this will have a full understanding of gynecologic cancers.

What Are the Most Common Types of Gynecologic Cancers?

 

Though the most common definition of gynecologic cancer is a type of cancer that grows in a woman’s reproductive system, there are five major places it can begin to develop. Where the cancer begins determines the type of gynecologic cancer it is.

Here are the five types to look out for:

  • Cervical Cancer: Occurs when the cancer starts in the cervix, also known as the lower and narrow end of the uterus.
  • Ovarian Cancer: Happens in the ovaries, located on either side of the uterus.
  • Uterine Cancer: This cancer appears in the uterus, where a child develops during pregnancy.
  • Vaginal Cancer: Occurs in the vagina.
  • Vulvar Cancer: Starts in the vulva, which is the outer portion of a female’s genitals.

What Are the Symptoms of Gynecologic Cancers?

Though the symptoms for each type of gynecologic cancer vary, it’s important to know the biggest signs so you can be aware of anything developing with your own health. Here are the major symptoms:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding/ discharge.
  • Abdominal and back pain.
  • Difficulty eating.
  • Feeling full quickly.
  • Frequent need to urinate.
  • Itching, burning, pain, or tenderness around the vulva.
  • Pelvic pain and pressure.
  • Rashes around the vulva.
  • Sores around the vulva.
  • Warts around the vulva.

How Do I Lower My Risks?

  • Be proactive in your health. Receive regular health screenings, such as the pap test or the HPV test, and visit your OBGYN yearly to receive annual exams. Doing so can help catch cancer before it’s developed far, increasing your chances of recovering.
  • Get vaccinated. The HPV vaccine can prevent the development of HPV, which causes these major types of gynecologic cancers. If you haven’t received this vaccine yet, speak to your doctor today to see if it’s recommended for you. If you have children below 26 years of age or are that old yourself, it’s highly encouraged that this age group receives this vaccine.
  • Understand the signs. Know the symptoms above so that you can recognize when something is happening in your body. The quicker you can spot troubling signs, the more likely you’ll be able to do something about cancer before it’s spread too far to be treated successfully.

If you have any more questions about understanding gynecologic cancers, reach out to the women’s health experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954.

Covington Women’s Health Specialists Student Spotlight: Leah Topper

Covington Women’s Health is proud to offer a student program intended to give the next best and brightest training physicians a glimpse into what it’s like working in women’s health. We created the student spotlight blog series to highlight certain members in this program to give everyone an insight into this opportunity and the amazing people who participate.

Next up is Leah Topper, Medical Student Year 3 (“MS3”) at the AU/UGA Medical Partnership. She’s recently completed a four-week rotation with Covington Women’s Health Specialists. Learn more about Leah by reading below!

What does your daily routine look like?

My routine is different every day! During my month at Covington Women’s Health Specialists, I’ve spent time in a variety of OB/GYN settings. That includes in the clinic, in the labor and delivery unit, and in the operating room. In all of those places, my routine includes learning from and working with the doctors and midwives, studying for school exams, and normal life things like exercising, talking to my family, and cooking meals.

What’s one thing that has surprised you about being at Covington Women’s Health Specialists?

This is my first rotation of medical school, so every day holds new and surprising experiences, plus opportunities to learn! One thing I have really appreciated is how friendly and kind everyone has been to me – the doctors, midwives, nurses, medical assistants, office staff, scrub techs, the list goes on. But I’m especially thankful for the patients, for whom I am grateful for their flexibility, patience, and willingness to help me learn and practice new skills.

Is there a specific patient or work experience that left a lasting impact on you? If so, explain how and why.

I feel so grateful and thankful for the opportunities I had by helping deliver babies while in the labor and delivery unit. These have been truly such incredible, amazing, and humbling experiences. Thank you to all of the mothers who let me be a part of such a significant moment of their lives.

What are your favorite past-times?

I enjoy exercising, hiking, trying new recipes and restaurants, doing jigsaw puzzles, and reading.

If you have any more questions about Covington Women’s Health and our student program, reach out to our women’s health experts by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954.

Covington Women’s Health Specialists’ COVID-19 In-Office Visits Procedures

Due to the current public health emergency surrounding COVID-19, we want to keep you ​updated on our processes ​for your visit to our offices.​ We are actively monitoring the overall COVID-19 status in the community ​and following all ​CDC and DPH guidelines. As needed, we will adjust our in-office visit policies to protect the health and safety of our patients and employees​.​ Our safety enhancements include:

  • ​We are taking the temperature of everyone before entry.​ ​ Anyone with a fever ​will not be allowed inside.
  • Any person entering our office is required to wear a face-covering​ and keep it on for the duration of your appointment. Click here to learn more about the CDC’s recommendations for cloth face covers. For patients who do not have a mask when they arrive to our office, you can buy a ZShield Wrap Mask for 30 dollars or can rent one for five. The ZShield Wrap allows workers to breathe easily and clearly communicate while protecting themselves and customers. ZShield Wrap creates an effective barrier between the user’s face and the faces of customers or students during any interaction that requires close contact.
  • ​P​regnant patients may bring one support person when an ultrasound is done if the person is the patient’s translator, or if the patient needs physical support due to a disability.​ We understand the variety of needs for a support person at your visit. Please reach out to our office if you want to request an additional reason for a support companion at your upcoming visit. We encourage patients to utilize videoconferencing on their personal devices or have their support person on speakerphone for the duration of the appointment.
  • Wash your hands after touching surfaces that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, etc.  You also need to wash your hands before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Watch this video on proper handwashing tips and check out the infographic below.
  • We will continue to implement televisits as a scheduling option for certain healthcare needs that can be provided over the phone without an in-person visit. Learn more about this service here.

​These ​processes protect the health of our patients, employees, and the community.​ Thank you for your patience and understanding. We appreciate your cooperation as we strive to accommodate your needs and keep everyone healthy.​

Wash Your Hands guide provided by the CDC.

Help Teach Little Girls (and Boys) How to Take Care of Their Bodies

As a parent, you have a lot of responsibilities.  The lessons you teach your children can stay with them for their entire lives. An important part of raising your children is teaching them about their bodies and the best ways to take care of them. Especially for little girls, these lessons can be vital in ensuring you raise healthy, well-rounded adults.

If you’re a parent and are lost on how to help teach little girls how to take care of their bodies, the women’s health experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists are here to help. While these physicians are dedicated to the care of women, these tips will work for little boys as well!

Let’s start with the basic tips below on teaching your kids how to take care of their bodies.

Bodies Come in Different Shapes and Sizes and All are Beautiful

Diversity is an important lesson, so start early. Show them that bodies come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Let them know that their body belongs to them!  Tell them that their body is perfect and normal, just the way it is, and so is everyone else’s.

Teaching them these body-positive lessons early will really empower them to love themselves and who they are. Every little girl should feel this way!

Teaching them that their bodies belong to them will give them a sense of pride and lays the groundwork for them being able to recognize inappropriate touching from others.

Physical Strength is Healthy

Exercising, eating healthy foods, and avoiding unhealthy behavior such as smoking will help keep your children strong and will help them avoid illnesses.  A strong body is more productive in helping your child have fun at play, do their daily chores, and exercise will help keep them deal with stress if this occurs.

Teach your Children about Mental Health

 

Let them know all the ways the mind is powerful, it lets them learn our world and themselves.  Their ability to learn and think is very special and important to keeping your kids happy and healthy, too.

Encouraging them to discuss their feelings. Let them know that discussing their emotions is healthy.  Make a promise to always be there for them to talk about what is happening or what is bothering them.

When they tell you what they tell you their ideas, let them know that you like the way they think!  When they tell you what they have learned, praise them for learning the information and sharing it!  Answer their questions, even if you have to Google the subject before answering!  Encourage their quest for knowledge.

Inform Them About Puberty

Telling your child what to expect as she grows is empowering and will help her not be frightened as her body changes. Explaining the process and giving them great detail will not only teach them that this process is normal, but it can also lessen stress and worries during the experience itself.  Promise to be there if she has questions or wants to tell you or show you how things have changed for her.

Talk About Sex

 

Included in the talks about puberty should also be discussions about sex! Many parents believe that not discussing sex with children will discourage them from participating in it. However, this is not a great tactic.

Children are curious and it is normal for them to touch themselves while trying to figure out what their body parts are for and why they feel the way they do.  While this is NORMAL, please let your child know that this should be done in privacy and that no one else should touch them in that way.  Answer their questions in a way that you are comfortable but punishing them and telling them that this is bad may be harmful.

Let them know how relationships and sex work when you feel they are old enough.  Teach them how they should handle their feelings and urges when the time comes.  Most importantly, teach them about respect. Remind them that others should respect them and that they should respect others.

Reassure your kids that you will be there if something uncomfortable happens to them or if they have questions and concerns.

Show Them Healthy Habits

 

Encourage your children to keep up healthy habits by keeping up with healthy habits yourself!  When you exercise and eat healthy foods in reasonable portion sizes, they will learn from you.

The goal of exercise is to keep the body strong and healthy.  Avoid obsessing over your weight or talking about the goal of being “skinny.”  Avoid smoking since children will want to smoke if you smoke.

If you have any more questions about how to help teach little girls how to take care of their bodies, reach out to the women’s health experts at Covington Women’s Health by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954.

Sweating Down There? It’s Normal!

It happens to all women. You’re out and about enjoying your day while it happens to be warm, or you’re putting your all into a work-out, and very quickly your underwear or groin area becomes drenched with sweat. On top of sweating through your armpits, you probably notice perspiration gathering underneath your breasts and in your vagina.

Sweating down there might be “gross,” but don’t worry! It’s 100% natural and something all women do. To help spread awareness on why this is so, the experts at Covington Women’s Health are discussing why women sweat at their vulvas.

Why Do I Sweat Down There?

Sweating is an absolutely necessary part of life. It’s your body’s way of cooling down your skin and preventing you from overheating.

Sweat comes from the sweat glands located throughout your body. There are two types: eccrine glands and apocrine glands. The latter are the ones that are in your vulvar area, because they are connected to the hair follicles there.

Just like there are two different types of sweat glands, there are also two different types of sweat! The sweat that happens in your vulvar area has a milk-like texture and can have a strong order. However, as mentioned above, while eccrine gland sweat is the process that cools down your body, many scientists and medical professionals aren’t sure of the purpose of apocrine sweat.

But, it’s still a totally natural process.

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Sweat?

Just like with excessive sweat through the armpits, this can also happen at your vulva! If you’re noticing a large amount of sweat at low-energy efforts, then it might be a sign you have a problem with excessive sweat in your vagina.

One example of a common reason why this happens is a medical condition called hyperhidrosis, which causes people to sweat more than others.

If your level of sweat is bothering you and impacting your quality of life, there are several things you can do! The best first step is to reach out to your trusted gynecologist to discuss what’s happening. They will be able to give you a plan to see if you can lessen the impact of your excessive sweat.

If you have any more questions about sweating down there, reach out to the women’s health experts at Covington Women’s Health by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954.

Covington Women’s Health Specialists Student Spotlight: Cat Palmer

Covington Women’s Health is proud to offer a student program intended to give the next best and brightest training physicians a glimpse into what it’s like working in women’s health. We created the student spotlight blog series to highlight certain members in this program to give everyone an insight into this opportunity and the amazing people who participate. 

First up is Cat Palmer, BSN-RN, IBCLC. She’s been working with Covington Women’s Health as a student nurse-midwife since January 2020. Learn more about Cat by reading below! 

Why did you choose to work in the field of obstetric/gynecologic medicine? 

I have always been passionate about women’s health. I believe that when women are supported to create the families they want in the way they want, women can be empowered to create the communities and the world that they want to live in. Reproductive justice gives people control over their own lives and their bodies. We can help create healthier, happier future generations. As a doula and lactation consultant, I was already familiar with approaching health from a holistic, person-centered approach, and so midwifery was the natural next step for me!

What are the key challenges of this field of medicine?

There’s never enough time! If I could spend two hours with each of my patients at each visit, I would. 

What are some unique and/or special skills you have as a student at Covington Women’s Health Specialists?

Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from Denise! She is an incredible preceptor and has made the concepts I learned in the classroom really make sense. 

What’s the most rewarding part of your clinical work?

I love it when people get curious about their own health and healthcare and start taking more ownership of the process. I love hearing patients’ questions and love when patients advocate for themselves to be cared for in a certain way. 

What does your daily routine look like?

On workdays I typically get up around 6 am, have a (strong!) cup of coffee, and then listen to the news as I drive to work. On non-clinical days, I wake up early, go for a run or do some yoga, then spend most of my day doing homework and bothering my two cats. I always make sure to save time at the end of the day to make a nice dinner- spending an hour in the kitchen at the end of the day is my favorite way to unwind. 

What’s one thing that has surprised you about being at Covington Women’s Health Specialists?

I love when I hear people say they are going to birth their baby in the same hospital that they were born in! 

Is there a specific patient or work experience that left a lasting impact on you? If so, explain how and why.

I will always cherish the memory of the first birth I attended as a doula. My client was young, and at first, I couldn’t tell if she actually wanted me to be there. After her birth, she told me that having my support meant the world to her, she had learned so much, and that she couldn’t have done it without me. It was an honor to watch her blossom into a mother, and I was so grateful that she trusted me to be with her on that journey.

Do you have any advice for people hoping to work in your field? 

Learn how to rest and take care of yourself. This work is so special, but it can be hard and requires a lot of your energy. Keep healthy boundaries and make time for yourself! 

Tell us about your family! 

My parents were reporters, so I grew up learning to ask lots of questions! I am so grateful for the curiosity they instilled in me and feel like it makes me a better clinician. They live outside of Boston, and we get to see them every few months. I live in Atlanta with my husband and two cats, and we see my aunts, who also live here, often. His family lives in Houston, and we make a point to see them frequently as well. My husband is the oldest of four siblings, which is a lot of fun for me because I grew up as an only child. I consider my friends to be family as well and spend a lot of time traveling to North Carolina, New York, Chicago, and California to visit them. 

What are your favorite past-times? 

I love to hike! I’ve been tackling bits and pieces of the Appalachian Trail over the past few years, and escape to North Georgia whenever I can to do another section. I also love to do yoga, read, and cook and bake for my loved ones. 

If you have any more questions about Covington Women’s Health and our student program, reach out to our women’s health experts by clicking here or giving us a call at 770-385-8954