Nurx provider Jenny Ingle Pappas didn’t think having her first baby would be scary. A young, healthy Family Nurse Practitioner and nursing professor in Punta Gorda, Florida, Jenny previously directed Title X women’s health clinics and worked in ER, nursery and postpartum units. So she should have had a textbook pregnancy and delivery, but bringing her baby boy Xander into the world was way more difficult than she expected, and gave her a new perspective on how it feels to be a patient. We talked to Jenny about new motherhood, her work providing women in need with reproductive care, and what she thinks women should know about the decision of whether and when to have kids.
Congratulations on new motherhood! How are you adjusting?
My son Alexander, Xander for short, is 6 months old and 22 pounds—he’s definitely a big baby! He’s healthy, and happy — most of the time, anyway. Motherhood is a big adjustment though. Nurx has been a saving grace since I can work from the next room when he’s asleep.
His birth wasn’t easy, though. What happened?
I had to spend the end of my pregnancy on bedrest, and because my blood pressure was too high they induced labor a month early. The induction took three days, I pushed for hours, and the baby’s heart rate kept falling. As a women’s health provider I knew how dangerous the situation was, so it was terrifying. I wound up having an immediate C-section and then had postpartum hemorrhage, so it was a very long recovery. Almost everything that could go wrong, did. However, I would do it all again to have my baby boy, Xander.
“I’m personally really glad that I had my career and a stable support system established before I made that choice.”
What did you learn about OB-GYN care by being a patient during a medically complex pregnancy and childbirth?
Being a patient definitely made me a better provider — I will be even more empathetic to my patients’ needs after this experience. I was surprised to realize how in doctor’s offices everyone is so busy, and it can be hard to provide quality care. All of my providers tried to take great care of me, but they have so many patients, it’s difficult to provide quality, compassionate care. My favorite thing about working for Nurx is I can provide safe, quality care because I can take time to look things up on a patient’s behalf, and I can consult with other providers if I want a second opinion on a patient’s situation.
Has new motherhood changed your point-of-view about birth control?
Being a mom is amazing but it’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’m busier than ever. In today’s world where many women have successful careers it’s important we are empowered and have access to care to be in charge of our reproductive choices. Motherhood is life-changing. I’m personally really glad that I had my career and a stable support system established before I made that choice.
“If you’ve had unpleasant side effects in the past it doesn’t mean the pill isn’t right for you necessarily.”
Before you moved to Florida you ran Title X clinics in rural Indiana. What are some of the barriers women there face when trying to access care?
Many people don’t have cars, or don’t have consistent access to transportation, and the socioeconomic barriers are huge, a lot of students especially didn’t have cars and didn’t have financial resources and really depended on the clinics. Many clinics are closing and provider shortages are common, especially in rural areas. I believe telehealth is an essential solution to help women access care. I’m currently working on my doctorate in nursing, and my dissertation project is on how to prepare nurses and providers to provide care via telemedicine. I know telehealth is only going to expand in the future because it is fulfilling a gap in the healthcare system.
What do you wish more patients knew?
I worked in rural Indiana during an HIV epidemic, and I have a lot of experience caring for people with sexually transmitted infections. Patients were surprised they could get STIs through oral and anal sex — any orifice you’re having intercourse with can be infected, which is why it’s so great that the Nurx Healthy Woman kit offers throat testing and the Full Control kit tests for both throat and rectal infections from home.
As for birth control, women don’t always realize how many options there are! Different pills contain different types and amounts of estrogen and progestin, and there are both monophasic and triphasic options. If you’ve had unpleasant side effects in the past it doesn’t mean the pill isn’t right for you necessarily. We can find the right contraception for you and our goal is to work alongside you until we find the perfect fit.
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