The first time Jenny (not her real name) gave birth, in January of 2017, she was a mere sixteen years old. Not long afterwards, her gynecologist, perfectly agreeable to accommodating an adolescent unwed mother’s lifestyle, fitted her with an IUD. It was only a few months later that Jenny missed a period.
“That’s normal for someone with an IUD,” the gynecologist told her when she called, concerned. “It’s nothing to worry about.” The doctor made no suggestion that Jenny take a pregnancy test nevertheless. Neither did she mention that it’s possible for someone with an IUD to become pregnant. Most importantly of all, Jenny’s gynecologist didn’t advise her that when someone with an IUD does become pregnant, that pregnancy will likely be complicated or high-risk.
A few months later, Jenny arrived in the INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital Emergency Room in excruciating pain. Her own OB/GYN had moved away from this area and, as it turned out, Jenny was indeed pregnant. Now her ectopic pregnancy had ruptured, and she had to be rushed to surgery. Dr. Cvetkovich, on hospital duty at the time, had the unhappy task of removing Jenny’s irreparably damaged fallopian tube.
Following up with Jenny after the surgery, Dr. Cvetkovich learned that no one had ever told this teenager the truth—that the only sure way to avoid pregnancy is abstinence outside of marriage, and that practicing that kind of restraint would be far better for her emotionally and physically. The result had been two pregnancies (one of them life- threatening) before Jenny’s seventeenth birthday, and a permanently diminished reproductive capacity for the future.
In keeping with Tepeyac’s high standards of care for adolescent patients, Dr. Cvetkovich gave Jenny the extra time and tenderness she needed. She communicated essential knowledge about fertility, pregnancy, abstinence, and other matters relating to female wellbeing. Thanks to Tepeyac, this adolescent mother has been enabled to take several giant steps toward womanly maturity. As she moves forward, she does so equipped at last with the information she needs to live a happier, stronger, and altogether healthier life.