Category Archives: First Care Clinic

Figuring Out What’s Best for You

Chloe* found First Care Clinic, saw that it had great reviews, and tells of her experience with welcoming and helpful staff. She talks about walking through best and worst case scenario and sorting out her options.

Request an AppointmentIf you think you might be pregnant and are looking for someone to talk to — someone who won’t judge you but will help you process your thoughts and feelings — listen to Chloe’s story and come see us.

If you think you might be pregnant in the Madison, Wisconsin area, text or call us at 608-259-1605 to make an appointment – all of our services are free of charge.

Request an Appointment

 

*Name changed to protect privacy.

I Can’t Be Pregnant

“I can’t be pregnant. Not right now.”

“I have plans. And I can’t afford a baby.”

Perhaps you or someone you know is having thoughts like these. You may wonder what to do next.

Should I have an abortion? Parent? Or maybe consider making an adoption plan? All of these sound like hard choices. Where do I go from here?

The nurses and patient advocates at First Care Clinic are here to help you sort through your options and create a plan to move forward. Come see us.

To find out more or to make an appointment, call or text us at 608-259-1605.

Request an Appointment

Introducing Katie

Katie, our new Education Manager, has been a labor and postpartum doula since 2009. She is also a childbirth educator. Katie first volunteered for our clinic as a childbirth educator in 2011-2012.

When Katie graduated from high school, she began working for the Salvation Army in their youth programming. In 2009, while taking a college psychology course, she learned something unexpected.  Her professor was also a doula. This professor taught about the psychology of the birth experience and how it affects moms and babies.

Following this introduction, Katie wanted to find out more about doualas. She went to doula and childbirth education training. Soon she became an apprentice for a seasoned doula. During her one year apprenticeship, Katie continued to work at the Salvation Army. Upon completion, she taught childbirth education, newborn care and safe sleep at the Salvation Army. She also volunteered as a doula for some women in the shelter.

From 2011 until 2015, Katie worked as a full time doula. She also taught childbirth education classes for Meriter Hospital during this time. Following this she worked as a supervisor for FSET.

Katie Casey, Education Manager
Katie is excited to be “back in the birth world,” teaching and forming relationships with moms.

Katie has helped many women prepare for the birth of their children. She has been alongside numerous women in the delivery room. One doula experience is particularly memorable. Katie served as a doula for a pregnant teen who was alone. She did not have support from the father of the baby or either of her parents. This young mom endured a very difficult and long labor. When her son was finally born, the new mother said to Katie, “Thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you.” Recently, Katie saw this woman at a park with her son and was pleased to find that they are doing well.

Katie and her husband have been married for over 20 years and have three teenage children. Their family has a dog that they enjoy very much.

Katie likes music. She plays piano and sings. She also enjoys writing fiction and reading.

She is excited to be “back in the birth world,” teaching and forming relationships with moms. Her favorite part of working with pregnant women is seeing an expectant mom’s outlook turn around. It’s exciting when she begins by saying, “There is no way I can do this” but changes to say, “I’m excited about this and can do it!”

5 Ways to Help a Friend

What do you say when a friend tells you she might be pregnant? 

Recently I was talking with a woman I’ll call Leslie. Leslie was a client at First Care Clinic a couple years ago.

Leslie told me that she wished more people knew about First Care Clinic. Then she told me why. Leslie has a friend who had been pregnant and ended her pregnancy. Leslie didn’t know how to help support her friend as she was making her pregnancy decision.

5 ways to help a friend who might be pregnantEspecially for situations like Leslie’s, we like to share these 5 Ways to Help a Friend Who Might Be Pregnant.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Listen without judging. Many women who are facing an unintended pregnancy expect that some around them may look down on them for how they got into this situation. A listening ear is invaluable and can be rare.
  • Don’t pressure her. Women facing unintended pregnancies often feel pressure from their boyfriend, parents or friends. Support her and let her know you care without adding pressure.
  • Let her know there’s a place she can go for help in First Care Clinic.
  • Be there for her. Invite her to join you for coffee or to call you whenever she needs to talk to continue the conversation.
  • Keep the news to yourself. Don’t share the news with others. Keep her confidence unless there is a dangerous situation which should be reported.

Here’s how we can help:

  • Medical services
    • Pregnancy testing
    • Obstetrical ultrasound
    • STI testing and treatment for women
  • Education and support
    • Evidence-based medical education about pregnancy options
    • Pregnancy, childbirth and parenting education
    • Support for men from men
    • Healthy relationships education
    • A listening ear and ongoing support
  • Residential maternity program, The Elizabeth House

We offer all of our services confidentially and free of charge.

Don’t keep First Care Clinic a secret! If you know a young woman or man who might be making a pregnancy decision, listen, be there and spread the word that there is help available!

Looking for Mr. Right?

Are you looking for “Mr. Right?”

Often we think that if we just find the right person, life will be great. But what if Mr. Right turns out not to be so “right” after all? Or what if he’s mostly looking for what he can get from you? And truth be told, you’re looking for what you can get from him too?

Men might be looking for sex. Women might be looking for companionship and intimacy. Maybe you’re looking for sex too. Or maybe sometimes you feel used and like you’re missing something.

Everyone wants healthy relationships, but sometimes we are not sure how to get there or what a healthy relationship looks like.

First, you need to be safe. If you’re in an unsafe relationship, get help. Call 9-1-1 in an emergency – or text us if you need help in figuring out where to go or how to get out.

Second, instead of focusing on looking for the right person, or holding on to him no matter what, focus on becoming the right person. Are you someone you would want to spend time with? Are you trustworthy? Work on communicating in a way that is loving and truthful.

Third, create healthy boundaries. You are valuable because you are a human being. Do not just go along with what someone else wants because you’re trying to hold onto the relationship. If you want to wait for sex, don’t go to his apartment at the end of a date.

Fourth, consider your values and goals. Don’t compromise your values and goals for a relationship.

In a healthy relationship, both people seek to be friends. They want to get to know each other and enjoy shared activities along the way. Physical involvement follows relational and emotional connectedness. Sex is treasured and reserved for a lifelong committed relationship.

Sometimes in a relationship, this ordering may get turned upside down. Early physical involvement may stunt the growth of emotional intimacy. Sex may substitute for learning more about each other’s personality, goals and character. When conflict or pain arises, it may be easier to turn to sex than to work through issues and grow together.

It does not have to be this way. You have the freedom to choose sex now or to save sex, beginning today, for the person who commits to love and cherish you for the rest of your life.

Interested in talking with someone about this? Text or call us at 608-259-1605.

Chloe’s “Best Decision She Ever Made”

Chloe* had been feeling really sick for about six weeks – so sick she spent most of her time on the couch. A medical appointment found nothing wrong and Chloe soon began to feel better.

Chloe and her best friend, Allison*, decided to vacation in the Madison area. While on the drive, Allison asked Chloe if she could be pregnant. “Absolutely not,” was Chloe’s reply. But she started to wonder. A pregnancy test indicated that Chloe was indeed pregnant.

“I was absolutely freaking out,” Chloe remembered. “I needed answers now and didn’t want to wait until we got back home. I was in total disbelief and just wanted to find out.”

Chloe searched online and found a clinic in Madison, Care Net’s First Care Clinic. “It said it was free. That was hard to believe, but I made an appointment and went in the next day.”

Chloe and her best decision
“It was so valuable to talk with your clinic staff. They took a neutral position on my options and spent so much time with me.”

Chloe expected something “run down and shady—like something you’d see on a TV show.” But when she arrived at First Care Clinic she found something entirely different. “It was so, so nice. The facility was amazing and the people were extremely helpful. I was sitting there thinking, ‘They’re going to bill me for something.’ I was so nervous. It helped that they let Allison stay with me the whole time.”

First Care Clinic staff took the time to listen and heard Chloe’s worries. “One of my biggest concerns was talking to my parents. I’m not married. My parents are kind of old school and I didn’t know how to tell them I was pregnant. The clinic staff helped me talk through why I thought they’d be upset and how I could deal with different reactions and concerns.”

Clinic staff also gave Chloe the tools she needed to make decisions about her pregnancy. “I filled out a decision guide that helped me break down all my options and weigh the pros and cons of each one.

“If I chose to have an abortion, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to live with myself afterwards. But I also wasn’t prepared to be a mom and had so many worries. I wasn’t sure what to do.”

Having to make such a critical decision on her own was terrifying. But Chloe soon realized there was someone on her side. “It was so valuable to talk with your clinic staff. They took a neutral position on my options and spent so much time with me.”

“They did a pregnancy test and then an ultrasound. I was in awe. I could see that he already had arms and legs and was moving around. It was pretty crazy.”

Chloe chose to carry her baby to term. Her son, Ethan Lucas*, was born earlier this year and is “doing great.”

“Since coming to First Care Clinic, I have definitely changed. I feel that I was a mature person before, but this experience helped me grow up even more. Becoming a mom and having my son has given my life a whole new meaning.”

Chloe thanked those who make First Care Clinic possible. “First Care Clinic helped me to make the best decision I ever made.”

* Names changed to protect privacy.

Dads Matter

Dads Matter.

With Father’s Day just around the corner, it seems appropriate to turn our attention to Fatherhood.

While our clinic provides medical services for women only, we do offer other services for the guys. If a man is trying to figure out his role when his girlfriend is pregnant or if he wants to learn to be the best dad he can be whether or not he and his girlfriend will be parenting together – we can help.

So, if you’re a guy – read on to find out about what we can offer for you. And if you’re a woman, share this with your boyfriend, fiancé or husband.

Making a Pregnancy Decision

If you’re a guy and you think your girlfriend may be pregnant, or she tells you she is, it might be hard to know how to respond.

Be sure to listen, stay calm and talk about it. She needs your support now more than ever. Your thoughts are likely very important to her as she makes her decision. Find more do’s and don’ts here.

Don’t just say, “Whatever you want to do.” Even though she has the legal authority carry the pregnancy to term or have an abortion, you have a very active role in this situation. We can help you have this conversation.

We will also provide pregnancy testing and ultrasound as indicated – free of charge. You are invited to be at this appointment, and, with her permission, be there for the ultrasound.

And you can meet with a male peer advocate who can help you fully understand the options your girlfriend may have – and your role in this decision-making process.

If you are coming with your wife or girlfriend to an appointment for a pregnancy test or ultrasound, and you would like to talk to another man about your questions or concerns, text or call 608-259-1605 to schedule this meeting.

Preparing for Fatherhood

Not sure how to be a dad? Perhaps your dad was not involved in your life very much – or maybe you’d just like to learn more than you picked up along the way.

Fathers play a very important role in their children’s lives.

Our Practical Fatherhood curriculum is specifically designed with dads in mind. This series of 10 lessons, in a one to one format, can help you learn about role models, discipline, respecting your child’s mother, and the “dad difference.”

Fathers are also invited to attend and participate in all of our education programs where you will learn about nutrition, safety, fetal development, preparation for delivery and birth and more. There are more than 90 lessons available from which you and your girlfriend may choose.

Interested in learning how to be a dad from someone who’s been there? Male mentors are available to meet and discuss relationship and parenting issues. Get the tools you need to be equipped for fatherhood.

Childbirth Education & Infant Safety

This class, facilitated by a Lamaze trained RN, is designed with you and your girlfriend or spouse in mind.

You want to be a good partner to your wife or girlfriend, and to get off to a good start being a dad. Our Childbirth Education classes help you to do just that. Some of the things you’ll learn:

  • How to time contractions
  • When to go to the hospital
  • The stages of labor and the support you can offer
  • How to advocate for your baby’s mother

Like all of our services, Childbirth Education classes are free and confidential.

Regardless of how far along your partner is in this pregnancy, we can help you along the way. Text or call 608-259-1605 today to get started in having the conversations to make a pregnancy decision or to prepare to be the best dad you can be.

Think You Might Be Pregnant?

Being pregnant can be an exciting, scary or overwhelming time – especially if you think you might be pregnant and weren’t intending to become pregnant right now. Even if you feel like your world is a bit out of control, there are people who can help you figure out whether or not you’re pregnant and help you sort through your options.

The most common sign of being pregnant is missing your period. However, this sign can be misleading if your periods are irregular.

You could also experience nausea, with or without vomiting. This is often called morning sickness, but can occur anytime day or night.

Your breasts may also feel sensitive and sore because of early pregnancy hormonal changes.

You may need to use the bathroom more often and feel unusually tired or moody.

You could also experience bloating, light spotting or cramping, constipation, food aversions and even nasal congestion.

You could have many of these signs and not be pregnant. Many of these signs could also be symptoms of being sick or under stress or could mean your period is about to start. And you can be pregnant without experiencing many of these signs of pregnancy.

If you have had a missed period or think you may be pregnant the only way to know for sure is to have a pregnancy test. Call or text now to make an appointment at First Care Clinic.Request an Appointment

Even if you’ve already taken a home pregnancy test, you should contact your health care provider or our clinic to have your pregnancy confirmed so you can begin getting the care you need.

 Wondering what to do next?

If you think you might be pregnant in the Madison, Wisconsin area, we can help you find out for sure. Our clinic provides everything free of charge and confidentially – pregnancy testing, consultation on your pregnancy options, ultrasound as indicated and STD testing and treatment for women.

You will have the results of your pregnancy test during your appointment.

If you are pregnant, you have three options:

  • Parenting – Continuing the pregnancy and raising your child
  • Adoption – Continuing the pregnancy and letting someone else parent the child
  • Abortion – Ending the pregnancy now by having an abortion

We can help you explore these options.

We will listen to you as you talk about your feelings, values and fears. We can help you think through who your support people are and talk about resources that are available to you. And we’ll answer questions you might have.

Call or text us today to get started.Request an Appointment

Wondering how to tell your parents?

This is a common question. You may be nervous about how your parents would react to the news of your pregnancy.

Everyone’s parents are different. However, parents may initially be disappointed but often become more supportive than you may expect. Your parents could become your biggest ally.

This is big news. Plan to have a conversation when you and your parent(s) have time to talk and aren’t already upset or really stressed about something. And probably not too late at night either so they’re not really tired.

If you’d like help in talking through how to talk with your parents, we can help. Call or text us and we’ll set an appointment for you to meet with a nurse or patient advocate.

You don’t have to walk through an unintended pregnancy alone. Talk with someone you trust or contact us and we can help. That’s what we’re here for.

Request an Appointment

Questions about STDs?

Do you have questions about STDs? Or wonder if you might have one and not know it?

April is STD Awareness Month. There is good reason to be aware of the risks associated with sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Infection rates in the United States continue to climb. Young people aged 15-24 account for about half of the nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections each year, according to the CDC.

The approximately 1.5 million cases of chlamydia reported in 2015 represent the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to CDC. Substantial increases were also seen among reported cases of gonorrhea and syphilis.

Also according to the CDC, women and infants are at significant risk for long-term consequences of STDs. For some women maintaining the relationship with her partner may take a higher priority than STD risk reduction, thereby affecting her sexual and reproductive health, as well as the health of her unborn baby if she is pregnant.

So what can you do about it?

First, know the facts.

A few answers to common questions:

Q. I don’t have any symptoms. Can I still have an STD or STI?

A. Yes. While you may have symptoms such as vaginal itching, vaginal discharge or red sores with an STD, some common STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, often do not have symptoms. Most people who have chlamydia do not know it.

Q. How does someone get an STD or STI?

A. You get an STD or STI by having sex with someone who has that sexually transmitted disease or infection. Having sex means having anal, oral or vaginal contact.

Q. Can I prevent an STD by washing or douching after sex?

A. No.

Q. How do I know if I should get tested for an STD?

A. If you are sexually active, you should be tested. See the CDC’s guidelines for how often to get tested for various sexually transmitted infections. First Care Clinic offers comprehensive STD testing for women free of charge. Call or text 608-259-1605 to make an appointment to get tested.

Q. What do I do if I have an STD?

A. Many STDs are curable and all are treatable. First Care Clinic or your health care provider can recommend and prescribe specific treatment for you.

There is good news. STDs are preventable. There are things you can do to avoid getting or passing on an STD.

The surest way to avoid STDs is to not have sex. To reduce your risk, agree to have sex with only one person who agrees to only have sex with you. Read the CDC’s “Lowdown” infographic for more about how to prevent STDs.

Request an Appointment

Welcome

Welcome to First Care Clinic, one of the most trusted women’s health clinics in Madison, WI for over 30 years!

Our medical professional provide compassionate medical care, free of charge and confidentially. If you are experiencing signs of pregnancy, pregnancy symptoms or thinking about abortion, call us.

We are available to discuss your options, listen to your concerns and answer your questions.

We also offer STI/STD testing and treatment for women, diagnostic ultrasound and pregnancy and parenting education.

To make an appointment, call or text us at 608-259-1605.

And visit our new blog to find up to date information related to pregnancy, sexual health, healthy relationships, abortion, community resources and more.