Open Arms Blog

If you have experienced pregnancy or neonatal loss, you are not alone

Pregnancy Loss Support

If you have experienced a pregnancy loss or neonatal loss you may be feeling pain that is difficult for others to understand. At Open Arms, we want you to know that you are not alone. One of the resources we always share with our clients who have experienced pregnancy or neonatal loss is In Loving Arms. In Loving Arms is a six-week support class that comes alongside hurting mothers and fathers and helps them heal and find comfort. Over the course of the six weeks of classes you will explore tough questions together with others who are also going through loss and hear testimonies from mothers and fathers who have found healing after the loss of their baby.

Tony and Kat shared, "This support came at a much-needed time in our life. It provided a safe place for us to grieve and heal alongside other hurting moms and dad."

To find out more about In Loving Arms and to register for their next 6-week session, please go to: https://www.inlovingarms4.com/ You can also call 818-927-2767 or email support@inlovingarms4.com.

This past year In Loving Arms planned a Wave of Light event to gather the community of those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. During this special event, parents who lost their babies came together and wrote down their babies' names and displayed them on a board together to honor their children. They also held candles together as they reflected and remembered their little ones. To see a short video clip from this year's Wave of Light event, please click here.

In addition to In Loving Arms, another resource we point clients to is the website Miscarriagehurts.com. On this website you will find helpful information including:

  • Exploring emotions as an important part of working through the loss of your child
  • Identifying losses and putting a name to them to help bring relief
  • Building support and reaching out to others to receive help
  • Telling your story to help you grieve
  • Identifying unhealthy behaviors and receiving resources to help with specific unhealthy behaviors that may develop

Again, at Open Arms we want you to know that you are not alone. If you need someone to talk to or would like to find help, please feel free to contact our office at 818-626-9400.

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Your negative pregnancy test and next steps

Negative Pregnancy Test - Now What?

AN IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY

Your pregnancy test came back negative. You may be feeling a huge sense of relief right now. In fact, you may have come in today feeling very nervous and worried at the thought of the possibility of being pregnant. Or maybe you are feeling sad or have mixed emotions. Either way, these emotions are completely understandable because your life could have changed drastically as a result of that pregnancy test.

So what should you do now? Your emotions leading up to taking the pregnancy test today are helpful in revealing how you really feel about the potential of being a parent and perhaps how you feel about your partner. Now is the perfect time to consider what steps you can take for your future. Consider this time as an important opportunity to evaluate your choices, especially regarding your relationship with your partner and your sexual intimacy with him.

HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • Am I prepared to be a parent? Am I okay with the possibility of being pregnant?
  • Do I see a future with my partner? Would I want him to be the father of my children?
  • If I was worried or nervous about this situation, what ways can I be protecting myself from a similar situation again?
  • In what ways might I have been putting myself at risk with my sexual choices?

We are holistic beings, and as holistic beings, engaging in sexual activity affects our emotional, spiritual, and physical health.

CREATE AN ACTION PLAN

If you are not ready to be a parent and you want to avoid any risk of infection with a sexually transmitted disease, consider talking to one of our case managers at the clinic today about creating an action plan together. The only 100% guaranteed way of preventing pregnancy or infection with a sexually transmitted disease is to practice sexual risk avoidance (abstaining from any sexual contact outside of a committed marriage relationship). All other methods leave you at some form of risk. Birth control pills provide no protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and condoms have been shown to provide only some protection from some diseases.1 The FDA publishes expected pregnancy rates with condom usage. Normally, around 2% of condoms are expected to break, but for each year of "typical" condom use, the pregnancy rate is 15%.2 Each year, 18 out of 100 women become pregnant using birth control pills.3 In addition, in America, there is a growing epidemic of STDs. It is estimated over 110 million people are now infected and 20 million new infections occur each year.4 Almost half of these new infections are in young people, 15 to 24 years old.5

TAKE OUR POSITIVE PARTNERSHIP CLASS 

If you are wondering what steps to take next in your relationship with your partner, our clinic provides Positive Partnership classes that are available to you to help you navigate through your relationship and to help you make intentional choices that will benefit your future. These classes include two modules, one for men and one for women, which teach vital information about relationships and marriage. If you think your partner can benefit from man-to-man support, we also have a male case manager on staff who would be happy to meet with him to discuss any questions he may have about his role.

All of our case managers are here to listen to you, to equip you, educate you, and empower you to make informed decisions about your life and to discuss how these decisions impact you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. 

If you have any questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us or visit us again.

References:
1National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Workshop Summary: Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention. Herndon, VA: Hyatt Dulles Airport, June 12-13, 2000 and the follow-up report: Fact Sheet for Public Health Personnel, Male Latex Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, found at: http://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.htm, accessed 3-23-2017.
2Commissioner, Office of the. "HIV/AIDS Prevention – Condoms: Barriers to Bad News." US Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Office of the Commissioner, https://www.fda.gov/ForPatients/Illness/HIVAIDS/Prevention/default.htm, accessed on 12-20-17.
3U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Birth control: Medicines To Help You, found at http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ByAudience/ForWomen/FreePublications/ucm313215.htm, accessed 3-23-2017.
4"Sexually Transmitted Diseases." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Dec. 2017, www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/adolescents-youngadults.htm, accessed 12-20-2017.
5"Sexually Transmitted Diseases." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Dec. 2017, www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/adolescents-youngadults.htm, accessed 12-20-2017.

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One morning, I woke up feeling nauseous. I felt pregnant, but I was not sure if I should trust the two faint lines on the home pregnancy test that I took; I had a lot of medical questions.

The Morning After Pill and The Abortion Pill

What Every Woman Should Read       

"One morning, I woke up feeling nauseous. I felt pregnant, but I was not sure if I should trust the two faint lines on the home pregnancy test that I took; I had a lot of medical questions."

I took the morning after pill during the week that I had unprotected sex, so I thought I was safe. I felt pregnant, but I was not sure if I should trust the two faint lines on the home pregnancy test that I took. I sat in shock, alone in my bathroom, my thoughts racing all over the place.

"Did it still work even though I didn't take it the morning after?"

With a quick Google search I was able to find a great deal of information online, but that only led me to ask more questions that were more unique to what I was experiencing.

Of course, first I wanted to know if I was pregnant. I was concerned that the morning after pill did not work for me. How effective is it? Did I take it correctly?

"What is the difference between the morning after pill and the abortion pill?"

I really did not want to involve any friends or family at that moment, but I did find Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic and they made me feel safe and supported.

"The case manager and nurse were able to answer my questions. During my appointment I was educated on pregnancy and so much more."

I learned how the morning after pill works depending on where I am at in my menstrual cycle. The morning after pill could not guarantee that I wouldn't get pregnant and I could experience possible short-term side effects when taking it. 

The morning after pill and the abortion pill are different but neither pill prevents sexually transmitted diseases. I learned that the abortion pill does not work if a pregnancy is ectopic (meaning if the pregnancy is outside of the uterus) and what signs to look for in case I needed to seek emergency care.

They really took the time at Open Arms to listen and provide me with accurate pregnancy testing and same day results. I felt so much better having someone to come alongside me and to gain the understanding of what was going on with my body, it was truly a freeing experience.

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Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic can help you know if you are pregnant and, if so, consider your next step.  All services are confidential and provided at no cost. This can be an uncertain time in your life.  We get it.  The Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic specializes in helping women and men facing unintended pregnancy. We have helped talk through questions and evaluate options with thousands of people just like you -- and we have a 99.3% satisfaction rating. We can help you, too.

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Pregnancy and Mood Swings: Surviving the Rough Patches

"I remember the day I got irritated over something extremely trivial. Just moments before, I was hopeful and excited about my pregnancy, the thought of being a mom and someday meeting my new baby."

My mood swings can be so unpredictable, complete with crying spells, but it's not an excuse to lash out and break dishes.

Pregnancy can also be a joyful life event with friends and family celebrating us, with sweet moments to savor.  When I laugh, I can laugh hysterically. I can even laugh at myself, like when I'm in the middle of a conversation and I'm fishing for common everyday words that I can't remember. Or I love this one, when I place the egg carton in the freezer and find it later when I'm going in for my absolute favorite: Chocolate malted crunch ice cream. Well, thankfully, I found some strategies to manage stress and emotional eating.  

The Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic and their amazing Pregnancy and Parenting Program provides the education on pregnancy and life skills that will prepare you for this beautiful journey of becoming a mom. I'm so glad there is support for moms like me who desire more in-depth training.  Training that goes beyond the short period of time that our prenatal doctors have to spend with us during our check-ups. Open Arms provides a variety of classes for all stages of pregnancy up through your first year of parenting.

"What you do here is life changing for women and moms-to be-! You provide peace of mind to confused and helpless people like me. I now have a very healthy boy close to 2 months old today. We are so appreciative that Open Arms truly opened their arms to us when no one would help us back then. As first time-parents, we can't thank you enough! You make a difference in this world!" 

I learned that hormones are not my enemy after all.  They actually regulate different functions in my body which play vital roles in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

Exercise is my friend, a mood lifter for my pregnant body and mind, and I learned to relax and enjoy the journey because this emotional rough patch won't last always.

 

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There are many things to consider when making a pregnancy decision, including understanding all of your options. If you aren't sure you are prepared to be a parent, have you considered providing parents for your baby? Here are five commonly asked questions expectant mothers ask about adoption with answers and resources that can empower you to make a decision for both you and your child.

5 Questions Expectant Mothers Ask About Adoption

There are many things to consider when making a pregnancy decision, including understanding all of your options. If you aren't sure you are prepared to be a parent, have you considered providing parents for your baby? Here are five commonly asked questions expectant mothers ask about adoption with answers and resources that can empower you to make a decision for both you and your child.

  1. How could I ever give up my baby for adoption?
     
    Adoption is not giving up your child—it is giving to your child the life you truly want for him or for her. If you are not ready to be a parent and are not able to provide the kind of life you would want for your baby, you can still provide for him or her through adoption.
     
  2. Can I choose the family for my baby?
     
    Yes! You can pick a family for your child and create a plan that has your child's best interests at heart. Most adoption agencies have many prospective adoptive couples, all of which must meet standards set by the agency and the state where they live. Families are thoroughly assessed before being approved for adoption and are visited by an adoption specialist after placement to ensure that your child will be well taken care of.
     
  3. How much contact will I have with my baby after the birth and after adoption?

    After the birth, you can spend as much time with your baby at the hospital as you choose. When making your adoption plan, you can decide how much contact you want to have with your child. There are three types of adoption to consider: open adoption, semi-open adoption, and confidential adoption.

    Open adoption is the option that allows you to get to know the adoptive parents and have ongoing direct contact with them. With this option, you may receive phone calls, pictures, letters, and schedule visits with your baby and his or her adoptive family.

    Semi-open adoption is the option that allows you to choose the parents for your baby, but identifying information is not exchanged. You may receive letters and pictures from your baby's adoptive family through the agency you choose to plan with.

    Confidential adoption is the option that protects your identity before, during, and after the adoption is complete. This is an option for you if you would like to remain completely anonymous.
     
  4. Can I get help with medical and living expenses while I'm making an adoption plan?

    Assistance with pregnancy-related expenses is available through many adoption agencies so that there is no expense to you for creating an adoption plan.
     
  5. How can I be sure my baby will end up in a good home?
     
    Adoptive parents are closely screened and evaluated through a lengthy process before being eligible to adopt a child. The adoption type you choose determines how much information you will receive about the potential family for your baby, and how involved you will be in your child's life. (For example, if you choose an adoption plan with some openness, you can get to know the couple more before making your final decision.) Remember, you remain in control throughout the adoption process.
     

Interested to learn more? Here are some next steps:

  1. Visit some other helpful websites to help you feel knowledgeable and confident in discerning whether adoption is the best option for you:
    1. https://www.bethany.org/pregnancy-support
    2. ImPregnant.org
    3. iChooseAdoption.org
  2. Connect with an adoption agency in your area. Local adoption agencies will be able to answer specific questions you may have and provide the support you will need to make a successful plan for you and your baby. You can find an adoption agency  near you by visiting http://www.adoptioncouncil.org/who-we-are/members
  3. Visit us! Open Arms is always here for you to talk about your options. If you would like to come in to meet with one of our case managers to discuss what to do next in a comfortable and confidential setting, please feel free to call or text us as 818-626-9400. We would love to meet with you.

 

Sources:

"10 Questions Expectant Mothers Ask About Adoption." Pregnant, Now What? Discussion Guide, 2014, pp. 14–14.

Julie Stobbe. I Might Consider Adoption If...I Might Consider Adoption If..., Focus on the Family, 2012.

Bethany. Ten Questions Expectant Mothers Ask About Adoption. Ten Questions Expectant Mothers Ask About Adoption, Bethany, 2015.

"What About Adoption?" Before You Decide, Care Net, 2016, pp. 28–31.

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It's late, where is it? It is normal to initially feel shock or other emotions all in the same moments. Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic is a safe place to talk about all of your emotions and your decisions when facing an unplanned pregnancy, you are not alone. No worries, no insurance needed. We offer free quality medical grade urine pregnancy testing and more. To be sure, take your first step by making an appointment with us.

3 Pregnancy Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore- How to be Sure?

Missed your period?

It's late, where is it? It is normal to initially feel shock or other emotions all in the same moments. Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic is a safe place to talk about all of your emotions and your decisions when facing an unplanned pregnancy, you are not alone. No worries, no insurance needed. We offer free quality medical grade urine pregnancy testing and more. To be sure, take your first step by making an appointment with us.

As one of our clients shared:

"I was nervous about coming but seeing how loving and how literally we were welcomed with open arms, I will definitely recommend to whoever is in this situation."

Food Cravings?

Pregnancy can often trigger food cravings. I wasn't actively trying but I got pregnant. Before I got pregnancy testing to be sure, one symptom that was screaming at me was this strong desire I had. It was past 10:00 at night and I was in search of french fries with ranch dressing. "Please don't skimp on the ranch Mr. Waiter, bring it!"  It was all I could think about. You may also experience food aversions which basically means that certain food could totally gross you out too, even foods that you normally would like.

Exhausted?

So many thoughts and questions are running through your mind regarding pregnancy and women's health. If you don't have the physical or mental energy to face them on your own right now, our services are provided with confidential care. Bring your questions and your immediate concerns, our professional case managers and medical staff work in detail with you to ensure that you are fully informed.

So, if you are experiencing these symptoms and suspect that you may be pregnant, don't ignore them. We can help you be sure.

 "With our holistic approach, we care for your whole person and we value your choosing us. Schedule your appointment today." OAPC Staff

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We offer free pregnancy testing and confirmation along with a written proof of pregnancy that will help you during the process of obtaining health insurance. We also offer referrals to prenatal providers as well as other free services for you and your partner.

Pregnant With No Health Insurance?

We can help you.

We offer free pregnancy testing and confirmation along with a written proof of pregnancy that will help you during the process of obtaining health insurance. We also offer referrals to prenatal providers as well as other free services for you and your partner.

Did you know...

  • Medi-Cal coverage is free insurance offered year-round. Check the income guidelines to see if you qualify to apply.
  • Presumptive Eligibility for pregnant women is designed to provide immediate, temporary coverage for prenatal care to low income pregnant women pending a formal Medi-Cal application and approval.
  • If you do not qualify for Medi-Cal you may qualify for MCAP or Covered California health plans.  There may be immediate coverage options for you! http://mcap.dhcs.ca.gov/Home/
  • Even though open enrollment for 2018 through Covered California is now closed, there are special circumstances that may allow you to enroll. For more information visit:  www.coveredca.com
  • Some hospitals offer payment plans for those whose income is too high to qualify for free insurance or may have low-income health plans available for you

What to do: Some practical advice

  • Check your employer benefits (if any)
  • You can apply for Medi-Cal at your local DPSS office
  • Research a medical discount plan or call hospitals to see if they provide payment plans.
  • The Child and Family Guidance Center offers free enrollment assistance for everyone visit: www.childguidance.org

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You may be eligible for paid leave during your pregnancy and following birth. We get asked about this often, and you may be wondering as well.

Pregnancy and Paid Family Leave

One of the common questions we ask our working clients is whether or not they have any concerns about their current job and their potential pregnancy. We ask this question because we know that potential parents are often wondering how a pregnancy will impact their lives financially and vocationally. We want our clients to know that there are resources that can help them navigate through this new season in their lives. One resource to consider is the State of California Employment Development Department's Paid Family Leave.

Did you know that as a pregnant or new mom, the State of California Employment Development Department states that you can receive up to four weeks of Disability Insurance (DI) benefits for a normal pregnancy before your expected due date?  In addition, you can also receive up to six weeks or eight weeks of DI benefits after your delivery to recover from childbirth.

To be eligible for California Paid Family Leave benefits, you must:

  • Have welcomed a new child into the family in the past 12 months either through a partner's pregnancy, adoption, or foster care.
     
  • Have paid into State Disability Insurance (noted as "CASDI" on paystubs) in the past 5 to 18 months.
     
  • Not have taken the maximum six weeks of PFL in the past 12 months.

Fun fact: You can break up your six weeks of leave. You don't have to take it all at once!

Click here to learn more about eligibility requirements for California Paid Family Leave benefits.
The next step after checking your eligibility is to file a claim. You can file a claim online (the fastest option) or by mail.

For more information about California Paid Family Leave, please visit the State of California Employment Development Department website here.

As always, we are here to help you learn about the resources that are provided to you during this unique time in your life. Please feel free to ask us any questions the next time you come in for your appointment or give us a call at 818-626-9400.

 

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Wisdom. Strength. Adventure. Protection. And a whole lotta Fun! The Open Arms team shares things our dads taught us and the funny things our dads did that created fond memories and that still bring a smile to our face:

Celebrating the Fathers who raised us up

"My dad is the kind of man who is always there to help anyone who needs him.  He so often sets aside his own comfort and ease to jump in whenever and however he is needed." D.H.

"The day my dad brought home a hula hoop and the day he took me down to San Pedro to ride a boat." S.W.

"My dad would always sing songs and tell me stories at bedtime.  Every night, he would pat my back until I fell asleep." P.C.

 "Dad, you held me in your strong arms and told me that God has something good planned for me." G.N.

"I remember my dad joyfully dropping me off and picking me up from kindergarten every day. It meant so much to look up and see him there to get me." S.L.

"My dad has taught me patience, taught me how to drive, how to love by the way he loved my mom unconditionally. It's impossible to try to think about it all without being overwhelmed with tears." D.E.

"I remember standing on his feet while he danced at the bottom of our stairs and then how I would try to hold on tight while he went on to walk up the stairs with me." A.L.

"My dad emptied his pockets of change every night and when the grandchildren came to visit he'd say, "go get a handful." CP

"I remember watching soccer with my dad on Sunday afternoons. We would sit in the living room to watch soccer and he always made us chicken alfredo to eat for lunch." M.P.

 "My dad took me fishing and he invented different snacks for us to have."  D.R.

 "I remember having hair salon time with dad and having him sit in a chair while I would try to pull out all of his white hairs." A.L.

"Hands down I was 5 years old at the Father daughter dance, I felt so beautiful and so proud." M.O.

 "My dad would spend time talking to me to prepare me to be the man of the house." K.W.

"I have fond memories of my dad bringing my mom and I home some of our favorite Mexican food." S.B.

My dad would ask me "who loves you baby?"  I would say "you do" and he would say "don't ever forget it." S.J.

"One of my favorite memories is making shortbread with my dad. To make the dough come together, it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance – Qualities he modeled and instilled in me." A.M.

"My father forced me to stand on my own two feet and made me a man." MP

"I remember my dad as a loving dad who wanted to provide for his family the best way he could. He often took in odd jobs in addition to his fulltime job so he can give us more than just the basic necessities." C.J.

"Dad, thank you for being a great father to me.  I know you did your best.  You were a great role model for me too. Thank you for caring and being in my life." KS

Thanks for stopping by, be sure to share your memories of your dad in the comments below.

(If you are unexpectedly facing fatherhood and would like some support, we can help.  Click here for information on our services for fathers.)
 


 

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Taking a Fresh Look into 2018

I'm not leaving behind all that I have learned in the previous years that have made me who I am today. No doubt that I am a woman with goals, dreams, and aspirations. We all can lose perspective at times, so let me encourage you that these dreams positively DO have the possibility to thrive through the unexpected. The unexpected phone call, the pop quiz in your World History class, an unexpected break-up, job loss and yes even if the unexpected comes to us in the form of a new little life. There are resources available, so please know that we are just a phone call or a text away in case you find yourself asking "Am I pregnant?"

I cannot count the number of times I felt alone in making some of life's hardest decisions and grasping to find my way through. I could have benefitted from a person to talk to who cares, who understands the decisions that I am faced with, someone to walk me through solutions that I can trust. It is our desire to come alongside you as women and men who are facing an unexpected pregnancy to offer you our resources along with community referrals to support you in the best possible ways. We don't profit from your reproductive choices, we are solely donor supported by people who sincerely care. They make it possible for us to offer you free clinical pregnancy testing and confirmation. In addition, all of our services are free & confidential.

I love the beauty of a rainbow, the colors, the warmth.  For me it represents hope. Like the new year ahead of us, it reminds me of the possibilities and a valuable insight: I have the amazing liberty to embrace the unexpected by being courageous, thoughtful and engaging in light of the pressures that we all face.

To read what others are saying about us, visit our Yelp page. You can also request an appointment here. We look forward to the opportunity to get to know you.

Happy New Year!

Samantha Jackson
Office Administrator

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