We graduated from Medical school and we did our rotating internship here in Des Moines, at Des Moines general hospital-which is no longer a hospital. The fourth year of medical school is when you have to pick your specialty and then you interview for it. I have faced a lot of discrimination by the administration when I was pregnant as a Medical student at one particular hospital in New Jersey-It was New Jersey Christ hospital. It was horrible. I kept calling my school, saying what they were doing, and finally my school said If I promised not to pursue this legally you can schedule your rotations wherever you want- just don’t pursue legal action. And I had never said I was going to pursue this legally, all I said is this is illegal what this hospital is doing to me. I was just like thanks for the support, I just wanted them to agree that you can’t discriminate against a student because she is pregnant.
“Pretty okay for a pregnant girl”
They told me at first they weren’t going to take me because we were moving there from Florida and I was 7 months pregnant, and I was going to give birth there. And it was one week before we were going to move there and all I had heard from the school was that my rotation was set up. I was going to do emergency medicine and bob was going to do internal medicine for the first month. So I called about getting information about when and where do we meet on the first day and the lady is like, “we don’t know if we’re going to take you because you’re pregnant. But then she said we are going to take your husband.” I wasn’t for sure how they even knew I was pregnant, and when I asked she said that my school had told them. The explanation I got was is that if I went into labor early, they would lose two medical students instead of one. As if medical students are that important. They do scum work- they’re scum monkeys. Then she says that they cannot provide housing for pregnant students, but I was never asking for housing. I couldn’t believe they were saying this. Then they asked if I had insurance because they can’t provide any, it was terrible. So then I called my school and told them what they had said and they told me they would handle it. I was then told I can come, but there were all these conditions and rules I had to follow. When I finally arrive at the hospital the director of the program didn’t even know that this woman was saying thing- because I eventually did a rotation under him and he loved me. I continued to impress the doctors even with the stigma I had against me for being pregnant. My first rotation was emergency medicine with Dr. Somar, the head of the ED, and at the end when he had to do my evaluation he said that he’s never had such a brilliant, wonderful, medical student. He said I was the best med student he’s ever had, and gave all these examples of why and ended up writing a letter of recommendation for me for residency.
Then I had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, part of which I think was genetic and the other part was just largely stress related. So I ended up having my child right at 37 weeks, which is 3 weeks earlier than they had expected. When she was just ten days old we flew back to Iowa and I went back to work a week- two weeks after she was born. I did radiology here in Iowa with a colleague of my dad’s, this guy worked a half day’s work so it was awesome. That way I was able to be a mom, but then we went back to New Jersey to do more rotations, and I had this manual breast pump, because I couldn’t afford an electric one and this was before insurance paid for it, and the hospital put a conundrum on it for me. I had to be in the hospital from 7am to 7pm, those were my hours, and I couldn’t leave the hospital grounds during that time. So there was no place for me to pump.
“You can’t discriminate against a student because she’s pregnant.”
There was this stupid little room, in the residence lounge, with windows that were high. Well, one time I went in to pump and I sat at the door so nobody could get in, and someone looked up over and they reported me. They were a resident and not a student, but the administrative secretary told me that I was not allowed to pump on hospital grounds. So I asked her where I could pump, she had to give me a place to pump. And she told me I could pump at the dorms across the street and I told her well you said I couldn’t use the dorms, and she said well you aren’t allowed to leave the grounds from 7am to 7 pm, even to cross the street. But it wasn’t fair because everybody left any time they had free time. The residents lived across the street so they would go home and chill and watch TV if they had free time. So it was really stressful. Another example of discrimination I received was when I had been rotating in internal medicine after my ER rotation. I was a med student living off of loans, didn’t even have my own apartment, so I had limited maternity clothes. One of the doctors evaluated me and they were assholes. They were cocky and rude, and this one wrote that my professional attire was pretty okay for a pregnant girl. I was there in clean, professional attire every day. It wasn’t snazzy, but it worked.